Chicken Lap Lap – Polynesian Style Chicken with Taro
We have just spent a week visiting family in Rarotonga, Cook Islands where we really did just relax at the beach and not get distracted by our everyday life of emails, blogging, Twitter, Facebook since we had no access to it. I thought I was going to blog while I was there, Facebook pictures of me lounging on the beach and tweet about local cuisine…how reliant we become on our media outlets and to find you have none came as a shock…but not for long. After the first morning the IPad and mobile phone where soon replaced with a good book, snorkeling in the lagoons, taking a siesta, shopping at the local food markets, sampling new cuisine and sun set cocktails.
While there I bought a book on South Pacific cuisine called Me’a Kai by Robert Oliver which is beautifully presented with glorious photos of local dishes, the people and scenery. I have never cooked Pacific cuisine even though we have access to a lot of the ingredients in Auckland so this Sunday, upon our return, we headed to Avondale market were we knew we would be able to buy Taro root and Taro leaves which are common to South Pacific dishes. The has a great combination of spices with a creamy coconut base. We also had the pleasure of sharing this meal with Sue from Couscous & Conscious who is currently staying in Auckland.
- 2 large banana leaves
- 5 cups grated taro root
- 200ml coconut milk
- 2 cups spinach, wilted & chopped
- 4 tomatoes, quartered
- Pre heat oven to 180C.
- Boil or steam the banana leaf to soften and lay one leaf in the bottom of a large greased casserole dish.
- Cover banana leaf and casserole dish with grated taro root and pour over 100ml of coconut milk. Place the spinach on top of the taro.
- Place the quartered tomatoes around the side of the dish.
- Pour 100ml of coconut milk over everything and cover with another banana leaf and the casserole dish lid.
- 1 free range chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Juice of 1 lime
- Vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1.5 tsp coriander seeds
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
- 1 chili
- 2 cloves garlic
- Place chicken pieces in a large bowl.
- Grind spices in a mortar & pestle then add chili and garlic and grind together to form paste.
- Add lime juice and oil to the paste then pour over and coat chicken pieces completely.
- Place chicken in a roasting dish.
- Put both the taro base and chicken tray in the oven to roast for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes remove the casserole lid and top banana leaf off the taro and roast for a further 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced ginger
- Juice and zest of 2 small limes
- 1tbsp flour
- 200ml coconut milk
- 2 spring onion, finely sliced
- Salt & pepper
- While chicken is cooking make the sauce
- Place a tablespoon of oil in a pan with the ginger and garlic over a low heat.
- Cook for several minutes then add the flour to form a paste and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, lime juice and zest and spring onions and cook for 10 minutes over a low heat.
Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble arrange the chicken pieces over the taro base and then pour over the coconut sauce just before serving.