Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chicken Tahitian Style

French Polynesia is an overseas country of France in the South Pacific. It's made up of 118 islands with 5 main island groups. Do not think that French Polynesia is some enormous place, though. The total area of land is about a third of the size of Connecticut, and 67 of its islands are too small to be inhabited. The nation is spread out over 1,245 miles, and its largest island is Tahiti. The largest city is called Faaa with almost 30,000 people. There are only about 270,000 people total, so Faaa has a good percent of them. Another cool fact is that the word tattoo originated from the French Polynesians, and the tattoo has a very important cultural value.

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I made poulet fafa for my meal tonight, a chicken dish cooked in the French Polynesian underground oven, or Ahima'a. It is part of a big Sunday meal, and is a cultural norm in the islands. Traditionally this dish is made with taro leaves instead of spinach, but taro leaves are pretty hard to come by in Tennessee, so spinach is the best substitute that I could find.


Poulet Fafa
1 cup canned coconut milk
1- 12 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
¼ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp oil
1-2 cups water
rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a pan with a lid over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until golden brown. Put the chicken in the pan and brown both sides (about 1 minute per side). Add the water to cover the chicken, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Pour in the spinach and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes until tender. Drain of any excess water. Stir in the coconut milk ad serve over plain rice.


I enjoyed my French Polynesian meal. I just loved how you can see the blending of the Polynesian culture and French language (the official language of the islands) in the name poulet fafa.

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