Friday, January 16, 2015

Something fishy

Wycliffe has a new children's book out: 
"In this new book, kids meet Kate, a Wycliffe missionary kid, and her
friend, Mack. They're traveling around the world learning about languages,
cultures and countries. It's an awesome way to help expand kids' worldview
from a biblical perspective, and to teach them about the importance of
Bible translation. You can read more about the book here."

Our family got an e-mail asking if we would submit some recipes as an extra resource to go alongside the new children's book, which we thought was pretty cool since we have four kids who love to cook and eat Solomon Islands' food.  I thought I would share the recipe here.  Our family loves pumpkin stuffed with coconut cream, fish, and onions, and we are trying to measure ingredients to make it easy to replicate the recipe, no matter where you live.  When my friends taught me how to make it, we just "eye balled" everything, so now I'm having to backtrack and figure out how much to use.

Stuffed Pumpkin
(serves 8)
Round pumpkin - about 5 lbs. and 8 inches in diameter
onions - two small or one large, depending on how much you like onion
garlic - one or two cloves, again depending on how much you like garlic
salt to taste - about 1 tsp.
Red snapper - between 4 and 5 lbs.
dry coconuts - 2
boiling water - 2 cups
Bake the fish uncovered in a 350 degree oven about 30 minutes, or until the flesh of the fish is opaque.  While the fish is baking, chop the onions and garlic, and sauté them in a nonstick skillet.  Set aside. 
Wash the outside of the pumpkin and cut a "lid" in the top (similar to how you would cut the top of a jack o' lantern).  Scoop the seeds out and save them for toasting, if desired.  Toasted pumpkin seeds make a very nice garnish for this soup.  When the fish is done, debone it and add the meat to the inside of the pumpkin.

Add the sauted onion and garlic to the inside of the pumpkin.
If you have a teenage boy at your house, give him a hammer and ask him to smash the two dry coconuts.  Or maybe you could borrow an enthusiastic boy if you don't have one of your own.  Pry the bits away from the shells.  Put the flesh of one dry coconut into the blender. 
Add one cup of boiling water and blend until smooth.  Pour into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer or tea towel,  let this mixture cool or you will burn your hands on the next step.  Ask me how I know.  This is not how I make coconut milk in the Solomons.  I use a bush knife, a coconut scraper, and cold water, and I just pour the water in until it looks good.  I burned my hands all for the sake of science.  Just call our kitchen the "Solomon Island's Test Kitchen".  Take the shredded coconut and squeeze the milk out, handful by handful, through the strainer into the bowl.

Now, pause and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Pour the coconut milk back into the blender, add the second coconut and another cup of boiling water. Blend.  Using a large strainer or a tea towel to catch the coconut, pour the coconut milk into the pumpkin on top of the fish and onion mixture.  Squeeze every bit of liquid out of the shredded coconut.

The pumpkin should be almost full when you have finished squeezing.  You don't want it too full or the lid will make the filling overflow.  Add about a teaspoon of salt and stir the mixture inside the pumpkin.

Cook the pumpkin on a baking tray for about 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with chunks of pumpkin and toasted, salted pumpkin seeds.  This is also yummy (and stretches to feed more people) served over rice.  If you want the soup thicker, use less water when you make the coconut milk.  The mixture will congeal into a delightful creamy middle.  Kind of like a big Cadbury Crème Egg.


Anonymous said...

The very telling of the recipe was delightful! Feels like reading a Crescent Dragonwagon recipe (coming from me, that's a huge compliment). Maybe we'll try this recipe when you're in Conway, huh? Would love to serve this to friends.


Bartokhound said...

I just love the way you share this recipe, Joanna. You had me at "two dry coconuts." Ah, that we had coconut trees at our disposal in the High Plains of New Mexico!!!

Looks delish! I think a lovely companion recipe for the book would be those yummy pumpkin greens with curry and coconut cream you served us. Would make use of the entire pumpkin!