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  Traditional Tongan cooking and food: coconuts and the Umu
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Added: Monday, September 15th, 2014
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Traditional Tongan cooking and food: coconuts and the Umu

From the Global Village Travel Guide and DVD, “Islands of the South Pacific”. Stock footage available from Transcript:One of the most universally recognized images of the South Pacific is the coconut ‘s an excellent colonizer, capable of surviving long periods of time floating along until chance might have it bump into a patch of warm soil on which to root. The coconut is an indispensable ingredient in Polynesian life. Its milk provides a nourishing is also dried into Copra for use in cooking oil and body coconuts are even used by children as flotation devices!But, most of all, it is the basis for almost every traditional dish in the Polynesian staple dishes include a concoction of Taro leaf, which is much like spinach when cooked, onion and corned beef. This is wrapped in a banana leaf and the coconut milk is added last. for dessert the mixture might be papaya slices and coconut milk. After wrapping, the bundles are placed in the pre-heated Umu or underground oven along with Taro root or families have Umus and they’re used it is full the Umu is covered with banana leaves and old matsto keep in the hours later the bundles are removed from the Umu and opened to reveal succulent, savory dishes. For special occasions, a very large umu may be used to bake an entire feast. The key to a successful umu is a tight seal which allows the food to be simultaneously steamed, smoked, baked, and traditional serving plate — a slice from a banana tree trunk–is as recyclable as the pot that cooked the dishes. And, of course, the fingers can always be used again!

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