Lately I’ve been on a Polynesian kick. I’ve been reading books about the South Pacific and watching some YouTube videos about people living on their sailboats in exotic places like Fiji and Tahiti. It’s put me in the mood for all the tropical food, so today Elle and I made two beautiful recipes with some tropical flair.
Before I go onto the recipes, let me recommend a book to you. It’s called “Sea People” and it’s about how Polynesia was settled. You may have heard of the book “Kon Tiki,” about the guy who built a raft and sailed from Peru to some island in the South Pacific. Supposedly that proved that the Polynesian islands were settled by indigenous South Americans. “Sea People” offers a contrasting view. What’s really interesting though, is all of the information about the way the ancient Polynesians navigated.
Being south of the equator, they didn’t even have the North Star to use for direction. Nevertheless, they were able to travel across vast, empty stretches of the Pacific. What I found fascinating was the way that the Polynesians imagined themselves in relation to the world, their conception of themselves in space, versus the way that the European explorers did. Once Polynesia was “discovered,” the European sailors and the Polynesian navigators tried to talk to each other about maps and geography, and found that they had very little in common when it came to conceptualization. It’s a fascinating read. Go ahead and buy some pineapple- coconut popsicles before you begin though, because you will be in the mood after reading about warm, tropical breezes and turquoise water.
Another fun recommendation is Kimi Werner’s YouTube channel. She’s a free diver and spear fisher living on Maui, and she has excellent videos about cooking fresh, local food. (She tries to adapt it for people who don’t live in Paradise like she does.) Elle and I have been watching a ton of her videos lately. After I watched this one, about how to make a tuna poke bowl, I had to have something similar. I was craving fish big time!
I got wild caught mahi and decided to make a spicy ceviche. Ceviche is raw fish soaked in lime juice. The acid in the lime juice “cooks” the fish. Mine turned out perfectly. It hit the spot for my craving and looked pretty in the bowl to boot! Then Elle made a banana “pudding” that she came up with all on her own using what we had in the pantry. Both recipes are below.
Fresh fish – it can be from the grocery store but make sure it’s WILD CAUGHT! Farmed fish is groooosssssss, and you don’t want to eat it. Trust me on this.
Sesame or chili oil
Fresh green onions
Cut up the fish into little chunks and then squeeze fresh lime all over it. Stir it up so that the lime juice coats the fish. Let it sit in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.
The next two ingredients are to taste, no measurements. I use a dash of sesame oil, about half a tablespoon. I’m more liberal with the sriracha sauce. I like it spicy. Stir it all up and top with fresh chopped green onions. It’s delicious! We served with fresh mango and avocado sprinkled with chia seeds. It makes a happy, colorful presentation!
For the Banana Pudding, it could not be easier. Use a fork to smash a ripe banana in a bowl. Pour in enough coconut milk to make it moist. We used the carton of coconut milk that you get at the store, but you can also use the kind that comes in a can. Add a dash of half and half or heavy cream to make it creamy, and mix it all up until it’s the consistency of thick, lumpy pudding. Top with chia seeds and enjoy!