Last week we hosted my best friend from high school and her family- her husband, kids, parents and brother. They had just been on a pilgrimage from the USA back to the place of our childhood- Papua New Guinea (or Nuigini, as it's called in the National language, Tok Pisin), 20 years after leaving. I spent 8 years of my childhood in ' The Land of the Unexpected' and haven't been back since. It was quite a nostalgic week as we viewed photos taken of the place that was once my home- so familiar and changed at the same time. We shared stories of memories past and created new memories for the future.
I really like serving this with some fish crumbed in dukkah and pan fried in coconut oil, with a pile of steamed broccoli or green beans. It also makes a nice alternative to mashed potatoes, to serve alongside steak or sausages.
Serves 4-6 people as a side dish.
- 800g- 1kg kau kau (orange sweet potato)
- 1 large or 2 small brown onions, finely diced
- 2 cm knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
- 8 cloves garlic (or less if you're not as big a fan of garlic as I am), finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons smokey paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (optional)
- 10 -12 big grinds each of fresh sea salt and pepper
- 270g tin of coconut cream (I use AYAM brand because it is totally 100% coconut, no additives, no water, and is super thick. If you use a brand that has water added, buy a larger sized tin- like 400g- and leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours before using. DO NOT SHAKE IT, and pour off the liquid and only use the cream.)
- optional- grated cheese of choice for topping
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
- Cut the kau kau into rounds about 1/2 cm thick. I don't peel mine, as I like to keep all the nutrients from the skin, but I make sure it's well cleaned.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the kau kau and cheese. Mix really well to combine, until there are no big lumps of coconut cream.
- In a square baking dish, about 20 x20 cm or 8 x 8 inches (I use a Pyrex glass dish), smear a large spoonful of the cream mixture over the bottom. Lay a rough layer of kau kau rounds on the base, smear with some more cream, and keep layering until the kau kau and cream is used. Make sure you end with a layer of cream.
- Top with grated cheese if desired.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, until soft throughout and cheese is deep golden.