DS Singh's favourite pudding!
Detective Sergeant Susie Singh, Horseman's invaluable partner in my Fiji Islands Mysteries, never misses a chance to eat Fijian vakalolo, or steamed pudding, her ultimate comfort food. Her boss Joe Horseman likes them too, but he would pass up vakalolo any day for a fluffy hot scone, fresh out of the oven and thickly spread with jam.
Newly arrived in Fiji, I first tasted vakalolo when our neighbours in Suva knocked on our door and presented a basket of leftovers from their lovo party that day. Along with the smoky chicken and vegetables, were two pretty little parcels, tied up in banana leaves. From the first tentative bite, I was hooked by the unique taste and texture. We were lucky our lovely neighbours often held gatherings and attended village feasts because we prized the leftover baskets they always brought to us afterwards!
I recently discovered this recipe on Rima's Facebook page @fijistylemyrecipes and thank her for allowing me to use her recipe and images. Rima would be pleased if you visited and liked her page.
Vakalolo (Steamed cassava pudding)
2 cups grated cassava (manioc)
1/4 cup grated coconut
1/4 cup coconut cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp finely grated ginger (optional)
Fresh banana leaves or aluminium foil for wrapping in small parcels
1. Mix together all ingredients well in a large dish.
2. Wrap 2 heaped tbsp mixture in banana leaves or foil to make 8 small parcels (cut banana leaves evenly to make parcels)
3. Steam for 45 minutes in a steamer or rice cooker.
1. Use fresh cassava and coconut if available.
2. Heat banana leaves both sides on the stove ( heating softens the leaves making them easy to wrap.
3. As a variation, my neighbours added mashed banana to the mixture.
Even if you don't try it yourself, you'll get an idea of the flavour!
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