Samoa in the South Pacific, is not known for gourmet food or cooking but there are certainly a few things that could be compared to other well known dishes like Japanese sashimi.
Because of the location, Samoa has access to fresh tuna fish that is brought in to the fish market every morning. The fresh tuna is not only excellent for making tuna steaks, you can also use it for something called OKA.
The Polynesian people have naturally been using the local products when creating the recipe and still these ingredients will be found in any country in the world.
Another main ingredient in the OKA recipe is the coconut cream which is proven to be very healthy.
Traditional Samoan healers tells us, that the Samoan people were all healthy before the white man brought the processed food to the island.
Today Samoa has one of the highest diabetes rates in the world.
Preparing the OKA.
OKA is both healthy and delicious. In Samoa, the OKA is an important part of the Sunday family feast. It is made in the following way:
* Cut the raw tuna in small thumb nail size pieces and put in a bowl.
* Cut cucumber, tomatoes and onion very fine and add it to the bowl.
* Add fresh coconut cream (or from can) sauce together with some lemon juice.
* Add salt and pepper and some chili sauce if you like it hot.
Mix it all together and serve in small cups or bowls.
Leave it in the fridge for some time if you prefer it cold.
Another important food item in Samoa is the palusami.
You start preparing palusami by collecting the young leaves from the taro plant (taro is a starchy edible root, bigger than a potato).
Make a mixture of coconut cream, onion and salt which will be used together with the taro leaves.
Put many taro leaves together and form a small bag. The coconut cream mixture will be poured into the little bag and closed.
A bread fruit leaf is usually used for wrapping the small taro leaf bag together, preventing it from falling apart.
The palusami will now be put on hot stones and baked in what the Samoans call UMU. After about 45 minutes on hot glowing stones and covered by large banana leaves. The palusami is ready to eat. The leaves have now dissolved and mixed with the coconut cream providing a delicious part of the Sunday meal.
Most visitors to Samoa love this traditional food experience where both OKA and palusami plays a big roll.
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