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Cook Islands Recipes

supplied by Mereana Hutchinson, Rarotonga

Moina Tai – Coconut cream sauce

Grated coconut flesh
Muslin cloth
Narrow neck glass bottle/carafe

Press cream wrapped in muslin cloth into bowl. This is best done when grated coconut is room temperature or warm as cream will be easier to extract for this very thick and rich cream. Add salt to taste. Pour into Bottle ready to use.

Light coconut sauce

Grated coconut
Lemon or lime

Add water or milk from coconut and mash into grated flesh before pressing through muslin cloth. Add salt and finely diced onion and juice of half a lemon. Pour into bottle ready to use. This may be kept to ferment for a special flavoured sauce. Serve with a small dish of fresh chillis.

Tai monomono

Young Coconut (Komoto which is a young coconut at the 'fizzy' stage before dry-nut stage)
Bottle Gourd Container
Salt or seawater
Onion (optional)

Open young coconut and remove flesh into chips two inches long (5cm). Take brown off flesh. The coconut meat at this stage is soft but beginning to firm and not yet hard white flesh as in the dry nut stage. Dice onion finely. Place in bottle gourd container/glass bottle and pour salt water in and put stopper in bottle. Leave to ferment for some days or a couple of weeks. Allow to stand in warm spot to help fermentation to take place. Excellent sauce with barbecued fish, pork and taro from the 'umu'.  Keep chilli handy.

Tai oporo - Fresh coconut sauce


Take any of the left over coconut sauce of each day and pour in a glass bottle and add chillis and put a stopper in the bottle. Use this as a coconut chilli sauce. Every day top up with left over coconut sauce and add more chilli. As the days go by it begins to ferment and develop heat and gas from the chilli. It may pop its stopper from time to time. This is a popular sauce and not recommended for the weak stomach. The fermented stage of the sauce is easy to digest, similar to yoghurt, but it may take time for the stomach to adjust to it. Great with rich meats and fish.

One interesting thing about eating in our homes is the use of fresh lemons. A bowl of lemons and a small dish of chillis and a bowl of ripe bananas are the accompaniments for all meals along with a variety of coconut cream sauces. It is almost like the use of ketchup or mayonnaise and tabasco. It is an everyday chore to prepare the coconut sauce. The canned variety is useful for adding to cooking or when pressed for time.



© M. Hutchinson

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