Faiai Eleni is a savory coconut fish stew that we first enjoyed when we were on our honeymoon in Hawaii, at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. We participated in an AirBnB experience called "Prepare Polynesian food in a Fire Pit" and although sadly I don't see it offered on AirBnB any more, I'm sure there are other ways to participate in it on the island or as part of the Cultural Center's offerings! It was a very special experience and I am glad we were able to try authentic Polynesian cuisine.
We learned all about how the Samoans would cook using the different parts of the coconut tree, how to weave a basket, how to prepare chicken for the fire pit, making taro leaves with coconut cream (palusami), preparing breadfruit, and more! We then enjoyed a meal together afterwards with what we made. This dish was an immediate favorite of ours and I immediately asked our host how to make it since it wasn't one of the dishes we made together as a group (it was prepared already and appeared alongside the rest of the food we made).
Faiai Eleni is a coconut cream fish stew that is baked and typically uses mackerel, onion, taro leaves or spinach, and cooked in coconut cream and some mayo. It is so creamy and delicious and goes so well with rice!
This dish is great for a quick weekday meal or when you're looking for a comforting dish to eat with rice. It comes together relatively quickly, and for the most part you are throwing everything together into one pot. Once all the ingredients are cooked and well incorporated in your pan, you can either serve as is, or you can place into an oven safe casserole dish and bake for about 25 minutes. This allows the flavors to truly marry in the oven! The process of baking is similar to how the dish would normally be cooked in an earth oven under hot volcanic stones called an umu.
It's not a "pretty" dish per se, but it is certainly delicious! Plus, it includes plenty of veggies with the onion and spinach, and healthy fats from the coconut milk base.
I always make enough so that my hubby can take it to lunch the next day, and he's always excited for it! You can either do plain white rice or you can flavor your rice with garlic, ginger and coconut oil to make it even more fragrant.
Coconut Tuna & Spinach Faiai Eleni
Until next time,
I started watching Kdramas again recently (Just started It's Okay to Not be Okay) and needed to eat something to satisfy the craving after watching the actors and actresses slurp on some hot kimchi stew hehe. I have always loved kimchi jigae and soondubu dishes because it is so easy to put together and also a great way to pack in plenty of veggies and leftovers.
One of my favorite ways to make it is to include soft tofu, fresh cabbage, kimchi, carrots, fish tofu and berkshire pork sausages ❤ We usually have fish tofu, fish balls, and the berkshire pork sausages in our freezer to cook with instant noodles or for hotpot night, so it's a great addition to kimchi stews and soups as well! It is so perfect and so spicy delicious for when it's cold out! Warms you right up from the inside out 🥵❤
A trick to make your broth have more depth of flavor is to add a spoon of white miso, or to make a dashi broth base. You can boil dried kelp and anchovies to achieve this from scratch, or a spoonful of instant dashi also works in a pinch. It adds an extra bit of umami to the soup that is deeper and more delicious than just adding salt!
It only took about 10-15 minutes or so for it to be ready to eat, super easy one pot meal, and can be easily made vegetarian if you take out the sausage/fish tofu I added.
KIMCHI TOFU STEW
Makes 2 servings.
-1 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp miso
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- Gochugaru (1-2 tbsp) depending on how spicy you like it
- 1 cup kimchi
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 cups chopped cabbage
- 1 chopped carrot
- fish tofu (optional)
- berkshire sausages (optional)
- 1 box soft tofu
- 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
Just throw it all into a pot and boil together until the veggies are soft (to your liking). Would be awesome to eat with rice or if you are doing low carb, just eat it as is!
Hope you enjoy!
Until next time,
Let's talk kale today. I could talk all about the benefits of this superfood vegetable that is great for you, but let's be real here, you can do your own research on that if you really wanted to. What I will talk about though, is how Wilson and I want to be more healthy and have a more balanced diet because we are getting older (30+ now! ahhhh) and while KBBQ, hotpot, seafood boils, rice, pasta and fried chicken every day sounds like a dream, we probably won't last long on this earth if we actually do loll! So, kale seemed to be a vegetable to get behind, or at least start adding to our diet. My hubby only likes enough vegetables that I can probably count off on one hand, and so cooking vegetables in a way that is yummy (or easily hidden HAH) is good.
But, to be honest, there just aren't that many recipes online for kale that I enjoyed. Once in a while, I'll buy kale and throw it in some kind of vegetable and bean soup, but after a while, that got old too. We aren't really fans of kale chips or kale salads, so when we still have at least half a bag of kale left with no inspiration, I was at a loss. But my sister told me to use it as a substitute for dishes I would normally use spinach in, and it opened up more possibilities for me! I decided to make breakfast with it to finish off the remaining bag of kale in our fridge by incorporating it into breakfast shakshuka!
Shakshuka is a North African dish that is popular throughout the Middle East, specifically in Israel. It's easy to put together and is essentially a mix of onions, tomatoes, and peppers in a tomato based sauce seasoned with paprika, cumin, chili powder, and topped with poached eggs. I decided to add in kale, mushrooms, as well as some chicken sausage, and it came out delicious.
Extra plus because it's also healthy, and a great way to use up/sneak veggies into your diet 🤭
This dish is so good with some toasted bread to dip into and smother the runny poached eggs all over. I added a splash of sweet soy sauce and it provided some extra umami, especially with the mix of mushrooms, tomato and onions. The kale and chicken sausage gave it extra body as well, making it a filling and satisfying breakfast dish.
This is definitely a dish we'll be making again and again, and a great way for us to eat more veggies. We rarely eat breakfast--if anything, we're more brunch people, but this dish is great for any meal, but even better incentive if we make it for breakfast because it's so quick to put together and has great savory flavors. I hope you enjoy it!
KALE AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE SHAKSHUKA
Makes 2-3 servings.
1. Cook red onions until translucent in olive oil, then add garlic, tomatoes, kale, mushrooms, chicken broth and cook until kale has softened.
2. Add sliced mushrooms and sliced chicken sausage, tomato paste, tomato sauce, sweet soy sauce, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, sugar and paprika, mix and cover. Add salt to taste if you feel you need it. Then lower heat to medium and cook for about 3 minutes.
3. Open and mix again, then crack 4 eggs on top of the mixture and cover again, cook for about 5-8 minutes or keep an eye on it until eggs reach your preferred doneness. I like them just cooked until the egg whites are no longer transparent and the yolk is still runny!
4. Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and chopped parsley. Enjoy with buttered, toasted bread!
Until next time,
Just a gal who loves to eat and cook ❤