NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship, Oscar Elton Sette
March 12 – March 26, 2012
Mission: Fisheries Study
Geographical area of cruise: American Samoa
Date: March 18, 2012
The stewards/cooks on the Sette are Clementine Lutali, Jay Egan, and Jeffrey Falini. They have created the most amazing fare including traditional Samoan dishes. Clem, the Head Cook, told me that the Sunday meal in American Samoa is very important and she was right. Families in American Samoa gather in the morning for church, and then meet with the entire extended family for a large mid-day meal, followed by a nap. This includes everyone; grandparents all the way down to babies. In the afternoon families might take a walk to the beach for some family time and then have an afternoon tea with home-baked bread.
Our Sunday evening meal aboard the Sette consisted of turkey gravy and dressing, roast beef and au gratin potatoes, and green papaya salad with roasted garlic and peanuts. We finished with a lovely dessert of Puligi Keke, a Samoan coconut cake served with Crème Anglaise.
Some other Samoan dishes we’ve had onboard are:
Faálifu: boiled and cooked in coconut milk and caramelized onions
Faalifu Kalo: taro in coconut milk
Faalifu Fai: green bananas in coconut milk
Faiai Feé: Octopus with coconut milk
Faiai Pilikaki: Can of mackerel with coconut milk
Faiai Eleni: Can of tomato mackerel with coconut milk
Oka: Samoan raw fish, tomatoes, and onions marinated in fresh coconut milk
Mochiko lehi: a Hawaiian method of frying fish (lehi, a type of snapper) Mochiko can be done to chicken too.
There are many kinds of ulu/ breadfruit in American Samoa including: máafala, uluvea, puuoo, aveloloa, ulumanua. Breadfruit is used as a starch in the American Samoan diet, including:
- potato salad substitute,
- Uluwua: unripe ulu is baked on banana leaves in a traditional Samoan oven, served dipped in coconut milk
Method of cooking:
- Umu: Samoan Oven. American Samoans use a traditional outdoor oven. It starts with a roaring fire set in a brick oven. After the firewood has died down, hot, smooth rocks are layered over the burnt wood. Cooking continues using the hot rocks as the heat source.
- Suaia: Fish chowder with fresh coconut milk
- Kale Faiai: curry with coconut milk
- Puligi keke: steamed cake with white cream sauce
- Panikeke: deep fried donut cake
- kake: Samoan cake
- Suali: a banana pudding similar to tapioca
- Paniolo: (Hawaiian cowboy bread) cornbread with pineapple and coconut milk
- Fáausi Taro: Raw pounded taro shaped into balls like hush puppies. Sauce: Caramelized sugar and coconut milk.
Panipopo: buns made with fresh coconut milk served with a fruit glaze.
PANI POPO (COCONUT BUNS)
9 cups flour, divided use
3 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
You’ll need two 8 1/2-inch-by-11-inch baking pans for this recipe.
Set aside 3 cups of flour. Mix 6 cups flour and yeast. Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt until warm and butter is just melting (about 120 degrees). Add this to the flour and yeast mixture. Mix for 30 seconds on low speed; then mix for 3 minutes on high speed.
With wooden spoon, add the rest of the flour; knead for 6 to 8 minutes. Place dough in a large greased bowl; flip once to grease both sides of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
While dough is rising, prepare coconut sauce:
4 cans (14 ounces) coconut cream
2 cups sugar
Mix well in bowl with whisk. Set aside.
Make a fist and punch down middle of dough to collapse dough.
Divide dough into 2 parts; let rest on lightly floured surface for 10 minutes. Roll out into a rectangle about 16 inches by 9 inches. Brush top of dough lightly with coconut sauce.
Roll dough tightly into a long roll. Cut into 9 pieces. Place in baking pan. Repeat with second half of dough. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes. Pour 3 cups of coconut cream over each pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 18 buns.
After dinner, we watched fishing off the longline pit. As fish were caught using long lines, we were treated to an Hawaiian island delicacy by NOAA officer Justin Ellis, Hawaiian Shave Ice: fluffy ice, sweetened condensed milk, assai beans, your choice of syrup (coconut, pineapple, passion fruit), vanilla ice cream.
The fishing ventures were successful bringing in 2 fish: a rare Sickle Pomfret and an orange fish.
I went to bed early since I would join the small boat operation in the morning.
Small shrimp (too many to count)
Q: Do you eat the fish you catch?
A: Yes, the stewards (cooks) on board prepare the fish that is caught everyday. The snapper and tuna have been made into many tasty Samoan dishes.
Q: Have you seen any sharks?
A: Yes, the most interesting shark we caught in the net was the cookie cutter shark. Its bite is very unique. As it bites its victim it turns its mouth taking a deeper piece of flesh, which makes the healing process slower.