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vendredi 10 avril 2015

The delights of Lola

Chicken Fāfā

To speak of traditional cook in Polynesia, is to say also that the recipes are handed down from generation to generation. In Lola’s family, a native of Vanilla Island (Taha'a), each member can take care of the mā'a, or meal: no gender distinction.

Fāfā sticks or island spinach branches
"Chicken fāfā ", a well-known and favorite dish, combines poultry, leaf and fruit in an unctuous and tasty dosage. Power engineering, it is concocted by Lola's kinship for special occasions. Each and everybody have one's culinary rites!

The fabulous coconut, emblem fruit of the islands
So, for you to share this recipe with the flavor and aroma delicately delicious, let the "know-how" be. This small gourmet series is entitled "The delights of Lola"…

A typical local recipe
The "Chicken fāfā ", a tutelary recipe, uses only local products: chicken, coconut milk and fāfā. Let's see its origin. 

The chicken would have left traces there are more than 3000 years in the northwestern islands (Vanuatu) and East Pacific (Tonga). It would have been introduced with the first waves of immigration: but, this story shall also be told... So, refer to the news supplied by your beloved archaeologists.

This lineage of the chickens
As for our cock of Bankiva, the species that is resistant and grows on most archipelagos of French Polynesia, features characteristics like no other. The animal lives in freedom in the gardens, in the city and in the forests. Its flight is powerful and it sings both day and night; except for the rainy season when the showers pour out. As for the chicken, if you don’t have the chance to catch one, the supermarkets and small shops provide you with local battery-farming or free-range chickens, or imported from Australia too.

For those without fa'a'apu, the fāfā is part of basic vegetables in Polynesia, abundant in all markets. For its consistency and taste, it is comparable to spinach (leafy-vegetable), of which the bottom rod melts during cooking. It may be replaced by the taruā, another kind of tuber. Moreover its smoothness will be used to enhance some surprising desserts.

At the market, some taruā….
If you're not one of those athletic cooks who do their muscles by grating the flesh of nuts, coconut milk is available in bottle in all the small groceries of the fenua. With these three ingredients, of which the last is a fruit that forms part of the composition of savory and sweet dishes, you are sure you can taste delicious typically natural homemade products.

“The nice dish of Lola”
No need cookware or convoluted utensils. The recipe is for lovers gourmets. Lola, has just received his last SMS, just to confirm the veracity of her magic formula: it’s only gradually that we will show the delectable secrets.

You have to know first of all that the proportions fit your appetite. A Tahitian serving is about two metropolitan portions. Your turn to play! For 3 people, Lola works by feel.

Enjoy: a creed!”
The bunch of fāfā:
  1. Place on the table, a beautiful bunch of green spinach leaves that still diffuse sunlight. Remove the stems and unstick the thin skin that's squirming by spirals: cut them to the size of a cigarette filter. Slice the largest leaves in half. Wash.
  2. Dip them in a pot of boiling water. Allow to cook until the leaves are darker: between "green spinach" and "emerald green". A good half an hour. Leave to drain.
  3. Replace by the stalks diced. You know they are cooked when they are engulfed in the bottom of the pot. Let drain well.
  4. Slice into strips a half onion. Already, the delicious and subtle fragrance of your mixed vegetables tickles pleasantly your nostrils...  

The "Recipe Lola," that's all that!
The chicken:
  1. So, to make sure you don't waste all the morning, even in the most idyllic setting of a fare (home), open to all breezes, choose rather a boneless chicken. You'll just cut it into small approximate cubes.
  2. Marinate in a little soy sauce, dye the meat of a light tan. Add salt.
  3. In a skillet, brown with a little oil, a small amount of onions. Then add the chicken pieces.
  4. The preparation is ready when the onion slices have melted: it's magic! It is essential to taste and to let people around you sample it, even if it's still early, even if you are still on coffee time that accompanies your task. Otherwise, the cook is upset!

The chicken is browning…
Coconut milk and simmering dish:
  1. Into a deep dish  or lidded cooking-pot, the principle is that of layer: first spread the chicken pieces
  2. Then, hide them with all the greenery
  3. Later, garnish with the onion slices
  4. Finally, sprinkle everything with the third of a bottle of coconut milk.
  5. Cover! Bake! For a good half an hour, more if you prefer a slightly crunchy texture. And do not forget to cover ... for it keeps the appearance of stew.

Coconut milk, a flavor!
Obviously, while the dish is cooking, you can do the things you need to do or any other form of leisure. It's time to dive into reading your favorite newspaper.

Sorry! After sacrificing the urgency of the dishes, because you still used: a cutting board, a knife, a bowl for vegetables, another for the marinade, a deep-dish, a plate , a stove, a drainer, here called "bailer", a spatula, a slotted spoon, a wooden spoon ...

But it also goes without saying, that to wash dishes does not imply the master-cook, but her temporary kitchen-helper.

Lola's torments
The first concern of Lola, besides the anxiety that all culinary offering demands, because it's good gift for the taste buds when this vast culinary operation is approached, is at the level of the cooking time and of the reaction in baking of the various ingredients.

Chicken fāfā for licking
 The second is characteristic of the taruā-leaves: you must suppress your cravings and keep you wanting to taste the fāfā leaves raw. They would be toxic! We have not tried.

The third, which is not the least of which, is to check that the gas cylinder will not empty halfway through... We admit that this minor incident has not spared us!

The fourth is to drain the water from the pot, which is said this way: "I must capsize my water"

The penultimate, if you have no lid to cover the dish in the oven: that preparation may broil and the meal may look like a flan. It's not worse. And that could be a variant. Cooking is always an alchemy!

The last is a desire of Lola, issued with the deepest humility: "And good appetite, friends! »

The ballet of Lola's hands
As for the Tahitian cook, it adorns of a gesture harmony.

Rest assured! The recipe is actually simple. It just requires a little attention.

An article of Monak

Glossary taken from the dictionary of: l’Académie tahitienne :
- mā'a : usually food, meal, dishes...
-fāfā: (Root: fa = petiole). Young stems of "Taro" or "taruā ", intended to be eaten like spinach. The pota is made with young leaves.
-fāfā papa'ā: spinach.
- pota : 1) All green vegetables: cabbage, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, leaf of "Taro" or "tarua."        2) More properly, young leaves of "taro", "taruā " and "kararū."
-fa'a'apu : Plantation.
- fare: House, box, building.
- fenua: 1) Island, country. 2) Earth field property. 3) Earth, human lifetime.

 © Monak & Julien Gué. Ask for the authors’ agreement before any reproduction of the text or the images on Internet or traditional press.

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