Two Recipes to learn French & Kanak Cuisine
Staying in New Caledonia means that you have to be “French” for a little while. Once you’re done learning their language, why not study about their cuisines? The sophisticated French taste in New Caledonia is mixed with the colourful, tropical Pacific lifestyle.
The traditional cuisine in New Caledonia is composed mainly of beef, dear, pork, chicken, fish, crabs, lobsters and other sea shells, yams, taros, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, vanilla, mangoes, bananas, passion fruit, and more. Spices are also available like hot peppers.
The influence of New Caledonian cuisine is mostly French. However, there are influences of Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Melanesian. Food is prepared in different ways. Often, food is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over hot coals.
Here are TWO recipes you may want to try:
Modern Bougna Serves: 4 Time: 2.5 hours
1 parsnip, peeled 1 Desiree potatoes, peeled 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled 1 carrot, peeled 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces 2 large tomatoes cut into 6 1 onion, sliced 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed 4 sprigs of parsley 2 springs of thyme 2 cups coconut milk 1 cup chicken stock or water Salt and pepper
- Pre heat the oven to 200C.
- Using a fork scratch the root vegetables all over to get a rough effect, then cut the parsnip in two, potatoes in four, sweet potato in four or six if large and carrot into four.
- In a large heavy based stewing pot add the root vegetables ensuring they fit nice and snug. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces and season again with salt and pepper. Arrange the onions, garlic, tomatoes and herbs on top before adding the liquid.
- Cover with baking paper, then foil and finally place the lid on top. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes before turning the oven down to 160C and baking for a further 2 hours.
Pineapple and Mango Tart Tatin with Coconut Sorbet
Sorbet 1 cup of sugar 1 cup of coconut water (or just plain water) 2 cups of coconut milk Juice of half a lime 1 egg white
Tart Tatin 60g butter 225g caster sugar 1 small pineapple, peeled and sliced into rings, core removed with a small cookie cutter 2 mangoes, peeled and cut into large chunks Pinch of cinnamon 1 vanilla bean, seed scrapped from pod 1 sheet of good quality store bought puff pastry
- For the sorbet, make a sugar syrup by boiling the coconut water and sugar for 5 minutes. Cool completely. Now add the coconut milk and lime and stir well.
- Place in an ice cream maker and churn as per manufacturer’s instructions. Once the mixture starts to become thick, add the egg white and continue churning. This will make the sorbet very glossy. Freeze the sorbet until ready to serve.
- Pre heat the oven to 180C.
- Heat a non-stick ovenproof frying pan that is approximately 23cm wide and add the butter. Let it melt, then add the sugar and 60ml water. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and starts to thicken. Add the pineapple and cook for a further 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cook until you have a dark caramel.
- Give the pan a shake every couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, add the mango, vanilla and cinnamon and very carefully rearrange the pineapple to form a rose shape in the pan.
- Roll and cut the pastry into a 26cm circle. There should be a 2-3 cm overhang. Lay the pastry over the fruit and then tuck in all sides, as if it were a blanket. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Once cooked, bring it out of the oven and rest for 5 minutes before gently twisting the pastry to ensure nothing is stuck to the pan. In one big gesture, flip the tart tatin upside down onto a plate. Serve hot with a big dollop of coconut sorbet.