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Fiji - Cooking and Food
Overview of Fijian Cuisine History
.Fiji is a mirific country formed from 300 mountainous islands. On each Island an interesting mix of people can be found. Fiji is a multicultural society formed particularly from Polynesian, Indian, Melanesian, Chinese and some European influences. This is why the cuisine from this country is very diverse, complex and delicious. It all started with the arrival of the European sailors to Fiji’s lands starting with the Dutch navigators who came to this country somewhere around 1643. Due to their coming Fiji people discovered the sea cucumbers and this led to an increase of trades with Western and eastern people. The British ruled this country starting with the late 1800s and brought with them the cattle and some exotic plants and fruits from Africa and the Americas. East Indian cuisine developed in this country because of the indentured laborers that the British brought from India to work on the Sugar plantations. Also thanks to the Indians nowadays Fiji cuisine uses a lot of different spices and knows how to cultivate and combine the pulses.
Nowadays Fiji cuisine is a great mixture of Polynesian, Indian, Melanesian, Chinese and Western cuisine. Some of the most used ingredients in Fiji cuisine are yam, breadfruit, cassava, taro root (dalo) and leaves (rourou). Also meat is staple of this complex cuisine such as Beef, poultry and Pork. And of course one can never say “no” to a great dish made with seafood. Most of salads, appetizer, soups or beverages are obligatory made with the exotic fruits found here such as guava, mango, bananas and pineapple. Alongside with the coconut milk, these fruits can be used to prepare either sweet or salty and spicy dishes. Generally when cooking a Fijian main course one could always include meat, poultry garnished with cassava ortaro and boiled taro leaves. To increase the flavor of any dish ingredients such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, Indian-Fiji curries and chilies are a must. Any traveler trough this country can find besides the local and Indian cuisine many types of international cooking.
Preparation Methods for Fijian Cooking
Fiji cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Fiji cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Fiji cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Fiji is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine. The visual attractiveness of the dish is also important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Fiji’s regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Fiji dishes and cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes.
Special Equipment for Fijian Cooking
Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Fiji cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Fiji dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Fiji food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".
Fijian Food Traditions and Festivals
Being a country with a multicultural society, Fiji has many festivals and holidays endlong the year. Some of the most important public holidays are: the New year’s day held in January, Easter in April, Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday, National Youth day and Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day all held in May, Queens Birthday in June, Fiji Day in October and Christmas Day held on 25 December. Either they are celebrating the Hindu culture or the Chinese or Melanesian ones, this festivals enhance the greatness of Fiji cuisine. Specific local dishes are served on platters during these festivals. Fish is served marinated and steamed in lime and coconut cream. This dish is called Lauren. Kassaua, another dish most of the time served during festivals is made from boiled or baked tapioca and cooked coconutballs and mashed bananas with cream. Besides this dishes festivals are the greatest opportunity for a meat dish made after special recipes and involving many exotic ingredients such as the Indian curry. The innate and not only love this kind of food very hot and most of the time served with fat people breadfruit and wine.
People in Fijian Food
- Are you into Fijian Cooking and would like to be interviewed?
There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Fiji dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Fiji chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who has never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or brand new, modern dishes, Fiji chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.