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Tokelau Darussalam - Cooking and Food
Overview of Tokelauan Cuisine History
Tokelau is represented by 3 islands: Fakaofo, Nukunonu and Atafu, which are close to Samoa shore, in the Central-Western part of the Pacific Ocean. The vegetation is rich and mostly formed of coconut and various other palm trees (including banana trees), that have leaves used for cooking. Fish is the staple meat and may be prepared in various ways, including roasted, grilled, raw and in soups or stews. There is a wide range of edible and enjoyable fish species: Tuna (ahi), dolphin (mahi mahi), Parrot Fish (pakati), Barracuda (ono), coconut crabs and Crayfish rutiana.
Due to the fact that this island is a touristy area, there is a wide range of international restaurants, like Chinese, Indian and Italian, but the New Zealand influence is also very much felt. The international cuisine is more visible in the center, Fakaofo and the traditional meals are homemade in the rest of the regions. The region is a New Zealand province, so the diet of the people includes elements that are found in the New Zealand's cuisine. Most of these meals are served in the busy places, which are full of tourists all year long, while in the rural areas, mashed veggies and fish are the most consumed meals. The seafood dishes and meats are more common in the busy areas than the stewed veggies or soups, while in more rural areas or islands, the coconuts and bananas are the staple aliments and they are bases for some recipes that can also be found in Hawaii.
Various cooking traditions are borrowed by Tokelau from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Tokelau cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Tokelau cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Tokelau is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine. The visual attractiveness of the dish is also important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Tokelau’s regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Tokelau dishes and cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes.
Special Equipment for Tokelauan Cooking
Tokelau cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Tokelau dishes: cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers and other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Tokelau food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".
Tokelauan Food Traditions and Festivals
Tokelau people consider their holidays and celebrations to be of high importance and so, they prepare rich and complex family dinners, with a variety of dishes. On Christmas, people from this region consume the ika mata, which is a raw fish dish, the rukau, which consists of taro leaves and root, and kumara (sweet potatoes) salad. The traditional desserts are almost all based on local fruits, like coconuts, bananas, citrus fruits, avocados and melons – used for various ice-creams and cookies.