Bula! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love food and that I love to cook. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that we were going to be partaking in a cooking class at Flavours of Fiji Cooking School! Fiji’s population is made up of a combination of native Fijians who are Melanesians, and Indo-Fijians who have descendants from India. This cultural mix is reflected in Fijian cuisine, especially in our cooking class menu.
Our 8-course menu was split into three categories: Fijian selection, Indian selection and Tropical Sweet Selection. We were greeted with chilled coconut juice (straight out of the coconut!), got a brief overview of popular Fijian cooking ingredients and got the opportunity try our hand at shaving coconut meat without injuring ourselves. The Fijian dishes included a soup called Kokoda that is similar to ceviche in that the white fish (Walu) is marinate in lime for an hour before combined with onion, tomato, chili and coconut milk. Then we took to the burners to make Ota Vaka Miti, also know as Rourou, which is like a Fijian form of kale/spinach. We cooked the greens down then added diced onion, tomato, chili, lemon and coconut milk. Are you sensing a spice pattern?
While the fish was marinating in the lime juice, we moved on to the Indian selection of our meal. We prepared Bhindi Curry which is actually known as okra curry – a popular ingredient southern US dishes, Murghi & Aalu Curry which is a more traditional Indian curry with chicken and potatoes, fresh cucumber chutney and Roti. Roti! I LOVE Roti and I’d never made it before! It was unbelievably easy…as long as you don’t get too distracted by watching it bubble in the frying pan and accidentally burn it…not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…
Finally it was time for dessert. What I love about most island destinations is that the desserts tend to not be overly sweet because coconut is generally a main ingredient. Fiji is no different! Dessert consisted of local plantains and freshly grated coconut simmered in coconut milk and cane sugar. Delish!
The total class was about three hours long and a fantastic introduction to Fijian cuisine. Classes are limited to 10-12 participants and the recommended age for kids is at least 8 years old. In my opinion, kids should be around 12 years old because the burners were a bit high and children should be at least 5 ft. tall in order to reach everything safely. Costs are $170 Fijian, per adult and $110 Fijian, per child.
Have you taken a cooking class before? What did you make? What kind of cuisine was it? Let me know!