World Cooking – Fiji

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Fiji
Progress: 113/193

So the weather improved enough for me to go on a longer walk in order to secure an ingredient. Turns out it was one of those things at the Lidl that was ‘once it’s gone, it’s gone’ so I made do with something from Tesco instead which was just as good. This is a roundabout way to say that I was finally able to make the dish I have been wanting to make for Fiji for a long time.

Fiji is the third of four countries that I will be making food for from the Melanesia region – having already made food for Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Due to their history as part of the British Empire, and the indentured servitude of many people from India, there is a sizeable minority of Indo-Fijians and so the Indian influence on a more typical Melanesian cuisine is felt deeply.

You still have a majority cuisine which is primarily seasonal, based on what comes from the sea and features local starches such as yam, taro and coconut. Because of the unique history and continued residence of many with an Indian background, I wanted to find something that symbolised this and would make for a different dish from Oceania. Thanks to a good amount of searching, I found what I needed.

Main: Fijian Duck Curry

There is one sentence in this recipe from That Fiji Taste that made me realize that this is something I need to make: “Duck curry is one of Fiji’s favourite dishes”. This coming from a blog about Fijian recipes as written by someone from Fiji carries a lot of weight. Also, in making this, I am adding a new meat to the list of things I have used to make dishes for this challenge. Barring finding actual goat meat nearby or there being a national dish containing turkey, I am not sure if or when this will happen.

The curry itself is a dry one, the only sauce coming from the ducks natural juices, rendered fat and the oil that you cook the spices and onion in. Since it specified a masala spice mix, I figured it would be a good idea to use the leftover mix I made for Kenya. After all, that was fresh enough and I had exactly the right amount left.

Since Lidl no longer stocked a whole duck, I used a pair of duck legs and a pair of duck breasts. It was £4 more expensive this way, but it did take a lot of the faff out of having to debone a whole duck for the sake of curry meat. It also gave me a better idea of the calorie counts, which would be slightly inflated as I only included a third of the duck skin as the recipe indicated.

What was left was probably enough for two good-sized potions than four, but this was a delicious meal and I really did appreciate how flavourful and rich the sauce was. It would have been better with actual rice instead of the konjac rice I had, but that was to ensure I would be able to have something to dip in the sauce – so the pay-off was ultimately a good one.

Next time I post for this particular list, I will be definitely be making something from Asia. Again it will depend slightly if I am able to get what I need and if I am happy to do curry twice in a row. Then again I have really neglected the Indian subcontinent since doing Pakistan years ago, so it makes good sense for me to cover it soon.

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