(130) Nauru – Coconut Crusted Fish

Coming in at 130 is Nauru, a country of Oceania found Northeast of Australia in the central Pacific Ocean. This tiny nation is well known for its export of phosphate, one of the highest in the world. Due to overmining however, it has significantly harmed the island. Nauru is one of the least visited countries due to many people not realizing it exists. It is the 3rd smallest nation at the size of 8.1 square miles.

Aerial view of Nauru. Source: sisinternational.com

As one would expect, the local fare consists of lots of seafood and locally grown produce like coconuts and pandanus. There is moderate influence of Chinese cuisine and Australian. One common dish of Nauru is known as “coconut fish” which consists of raw tuna served in coconut milk with seasonings. Coconut breaded fish is considered the national dish of the nation and so happens to be something we enjoy. Let’s get cooking!

There isn’t a lot to say for the reason behind the national dish other than the necessity of the ingredients to the nation and the complimentary flavors. I couldn’t find if there was a recurrently used fish so we used cod which is abundant in rural Maine supermarkets.. if I could have gotten my hands on mahi mahi or tuna I would have used those in a heart beat.

To one up the coconut we served the fish with coconut rice (a staple in our household). At the time I made the dish I got fresh sugar snap peas and decided it would well suit the dish. An after thought was a wedge of lime, definitely would have brought the flavor up a notch.

We thought the almonds brought an appealing sweet, nutty flavor which went well with the coconut. Although the breading tasted good it would have been better on chicken in our opinion. Of course the fish choice and lack of flavor complexity could have easily been altered with addition of citrus or vegetable variety. We rated this one 7/10

(103) Micronesia – Coconut Chicken Curry

Micronesia, officially known as the Federal States of Micronesia is a country that spans over 600 islands and even more atolls in the western Pacific Ocean. The name Micronesia comes from the Greek words “mikros” meaning small and “nesos” meaning island. The main country is made up of four island states: Chuuk, Pohnpei, Yap, and Kosrae. This Oceania country was once a territory of Spain, Germany, and Japan. During World War II Japan had a Navel Base at Truk Lagoon (also known as Chuuk Lagoon) which now is a hot spot for scuba diving to explore the several ship wrecks and other sunken army vehicles along with the reclaiming coral reefs. Another spot to visit in Micronesia is the ancient city that was built between 1200 and 1500 on a coral reef and is the only one of its kind.

Source: Planet of Hotels

As an island nation, Micronesia depends on natural resources for much of its cuisine. Taro, bread fruit, coconut, banana, and yams are the most common staples. Shellfish, pig, and chicken are the primary proteins on the islands. Many inhabitants grow raise their own livestock and harvest the above staples. There is a mix of eastern and western influences due to its prior inhabitants, every state also having its own distinct cuisine. Rice is an important element and can be found served with every meal. Micronesians also take care with their seasoning, a step that shouldn’t be skimped.

The meal I prepared for mighty Micronesia is a coconut chicken curry. I couldn’t find much on origins, I summed it up to a flavor fusion from its culinary influences. You can find the recipe here.

The cooking and preparation was easy and was done in half an hour. The steps were simple and easy to follow. I had no complaints! As a bonus I used coconut milk to make a fragrant coconut rice, (in Jonathan voice) yasss queen!

Micronesia served up a flavorful curry with beautiful colors from the array of veggies. The spices were comforting and not too strong. The variety of ingredients gave nice contrasting textures. We thought this dish deserved 7.75/10 as a rating.