Tonga is located in the continent of Oceania. It has Samoa to the north, American Samoa to the northeast, the Cook Islands to the far east, Niue to the far southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the south, New Zealand and New Caledonia to the far southwest, Fiji and Vanuatu to the west, and Wallis and Futuna to the northwest.
The capital is Nuku’alofa.
The official languages are Tongan and English.
The climate is semitropical EXCEPT in the northernmost islands where they are prone to typhoons December and April.
The staple foods are sweet potato, taro, yam, cassava, mutton, beef, chicken, fried rice, banana, mango, avocado, coconut, and so many more delicious foods (https://metrosouth.health.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/cultural-profile-tongan.pdf).
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 1 medium tomato, chopped
– one 12 oz. can corned beef
– 8 oz. frozen package coconut milk, thawed
– aluminum foil, and or banana leaf, for wrapping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash and remove the stems from the lu’au leaves.
- Chop the onion and tomato.
- Thaw or make the coconut milk.
- Layer two or three leaves in the palm of your hand.
- Place a heaping tablespoon or so of onion and tomato into the center of the leaves.
- Top with about 2 heaping tablespoons of corned beef (one can will make about 5-6 packets).
- Ladle about ¼ cup of coconut milk on top of it all.
- Wrap the lu’au leaves into a bundle and then wrap and secure with banana leaf or aluminum foil.
- Place the lupulu in a shallow pan and bake for about 1 hour.
- Peek into the bundles to make sure the lu’au leaves are thoroughly cooked and a dark, soft green color. (This is important, as raw taro leaves irritate the skin and throat when not fully cooked).
- Cook longer if necessary.
- Remove from the aluminum foil and serve hot with whatever sounds nice – rice, yams, taro, etc.
Here is how my Lu-Pulu turned out I used aluminum foil and laid it over the Brown rice. VERY good!!
TONGA UFI HAKA (Yams in Coconut Cream) (http://www.ukrainianclassickitchen.ca/index.php?topic=2910.0):
– 2 medium yams
– ½ C coconut cream, fresh or canned
– 1-1/2 C water
- Peel yams and cut into chunks.
- Bring coconut cream and water to a boil, add yams and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes or until tender.
I had never had yams in coconut cream, but it was very tasty!!
For the lolo (coconut syrup):
– 1 C sugar
– 1 C coconut cream (or thick coconut milk)
- Put the sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and dissolve slowly.
- Before reaching boil, add the coconut cream and stir until mixture is thick. Set aside.
For the topais (dumplings):
– 2 C flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1-1/2 C shredded coconut
– 2 ripe bananas, mashed
– 2 TBSP sugar
– 1 vanilla bean, split in half and grated
– ½ C water
– 3 TBSP butter
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, ½ C shredded coconut, bananas, sugar and vanilla in a bowl.
- Mix all ingredients together and gradually add ½ C of water to form a fairly dry dough.
- Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and place in the pot of simmering water.
- Gently boil the dumplings for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add 1 cup of shredded coconut and stir until the coconut turns golden.
- Put the dumplings in the pan and coat with coconut for 2 minutes.
- Remove carefully and serve with the coconut syrup.
I was unsure how these would turn out and taste, but I was pleasantly surprised!