26X2, Week 3: Cook Islands
Admittedly, I knew nothing of the Cook Islands before this challenge. That’s exactly why I’m doing this! These recipes were the most fun to read through so far, so even if you don’t plan to make any yourself, I suggest reading them for their charm. I set out to make the tiopu kuru (breadfruit stew), but the elusive breadfruit was impossible to find in Philadelphia. I even spent a few hours in Chinatown with a dead phone (I needed you, Google translate!) and no luck. Plan B was to buy as many Cook Island ingredients I could remember reading about and hope they were sufficient for at least one recipe. That’s how I ended up with a papaya, mangoes, limes, three forms of coconut, turmeric root, arrowroot, bananas, and yucca (I was guessing at this point).
It ended up being enough for two recipes! I put on some Cook Island music and got started.
The first recipe I attempted was Banana Poke. It’s a sweet, starchy dish that can be used as the starch component in a meal. We ate it like a dessert. I pictured it being almost like a cake, but the final texture was more…wobbly than I envisioned. From what I read, this is correct. Just not something we’re used to here! But that’s exactly the point of trying these new recipes. I loved the tropical flavors and the deep, caramelized crust. I referred to two recipes throughout the process that you can find here and here.
The second recipe is simply titled “Traditional Breakfast,” and it was more of an assembly process than a method for cooking. But I had all the ingredients on hand, so why not! You can read about this breakfast here. It includes a cut and cleaned papaya, mango, banana, fresh, shredded coconut, and a squeeze of lime. The flavors were so bright and cheery first thing in the morning. It’s hard to have a bad day when it starts like this!