Assignment 23: Kiribati

Kiribati2Location: Oceania
Population: 110,000
Capital: Tarawa
Geography: A diverse collection of 34 islands in three main groups.
Language: Gilbertese, English
Signature flavours: Coconut, kabocha pumpkin, breadfruit, seafood

The Menu

Recipes for Kiribati cuisine were few and far between. Eric found a few, and then drew from general information on the cuisine to build other dishes. He found that most foods from Kiribati centred around seafood, coconut, or kabocha (and sometimes all three), and chose a variety of dishes to showcase the Kiribati dining experience.

KBT tuna

Pan-Seared Tuna: A fresh, juicy cut of yellowfin tuna, pan-seared and left slightly raw inside.

Prep and cooking time: 10 min
Difficulty: 1/5

Soft-Shelled Crab: Crab tossed with butter and flour, and pan-fried.

Prep and cooking time: 15 min
Difficulty: 2/5

KBT kabocha
Kabocha pumpkin

Kabocha and Coconut Soup: A thick soup of kabocha pumpkin, shredded coconut, and ginger.

Prep and cooking time: 40 min
Difficulty: 2/5

KBT breadfruit
Deep-fried breadfruit

Deep-Fried Breadfruit: Chunks of a starchy tropical fruit deep-fried and served with a coconut and curry sauce for dipping.

Prep and cooking time: 30 min
Difficulty: 3/5

Pumpkin and Pandan Pudding: A sweet dessert of kabocha pumpkin, pandan leaves, and sugar.

Prep and cooking time: 40 min
Difficulty: 2/5

KBT desserts
Poi (left), pumpkin and pandan pudding (right)

Green Coconut Poi: A pudding made of young coconut, coconut cream, jaggery sugar, and dried banana.

Prep and cooking time: 15 min
Difficulty: 1/5

The Shopping List

Pandan leaves for the kabocha pudding were found at a small Sri Lankan grocery store, along with frozen young coconut meat.

KBT jaggery
Young coconut flesh, dried banana, coconut cream, and grated jaggery sugar

The excellent cut of tuna and the soft-shelled crabs came from the Seafront fishmonger at St Lawrence market. T&T provided the kabocha, and Freshco provided the breadfruit and jaggery.

The Meal

One thing I found amazing about eating Eric’s creations were how different coconut can taste. In the soup, the flavours were sweet and savoury; in the dipping sauce, the coconut tempered the spice of the curry and added a buttery taste; in the poi, the young coconut flesh was tender and sweet. I enjoyed them all. The breadfruit was a surprise — neither of us had tried it before. It had a sweet smell, but a mild flavour and starchy texture not unlike cassava. The seafood stole the show for me, though. The tuna was juicy and fell apart as we cut it. The crab was buttery and delicate.

KBT crab
Soft-shelled crabs a-frying


Disclaimer: I’m not a professional chef. I’m just a passionate cook with a curiosity for flavours I’ve never tried. For great recipes from gifted local cooks, follow the links above.

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