Olympic Feats and Tasty Treats

The Olympics are here again, that wonderful global event that brings the world's cultures closer together every few years.

Trivia questions are added with every new Olympic Games, but here's one that's been around for awhile. Did you know that the colored "rings" associated with the Olympics, often on flags, represent each of the 5 continents that participate in the Olympics - Africa, Asia, Europe, North & South America, and Oceania (the area encompassing Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia with islands such as Tahiti and Fiji, as well as countries like Australia and New Zealand)? Well, now you do! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To give you a hand with something a little out of the ordinary, here are a couple of easy and fun recipes from Oceania and Africa for you to try. Share them while you're watching the games! 

Poisson Cru (Tahitian lime-marinated tuna)

 

This famous Tahitian dish is similar to Latin ceviche or Hawaiian poke. It differs primarily in the addition of coconut milk, which softens its flavor. Poisson cru only marinates very briefly so the lime juice doesn't have time to "cook" the inside of the fish. The Tahitian name for poisson cru is e'ia ota. The same dish is called oka i'a in Samoa.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients


Highest-quality ahi tuna, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 1/2 pounds)

1/2 cup  fresh squeezed lime juice 

1/4 cup coconut milk 

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tomato, seeded and diced

3 to 4 scallions, chopped 

big pinch of kosher or sea salt

pinch of fresh ground pepper 

 

Directions


1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large, non-reactive bowl and set aside to

marinate for 10 or 20 minutes. (A non-reactive bowl is one that is made of non-porous

material the does not alter or add a flavor to or change the color of a food being prepared.

Stainless steel, glass, enamel, and glazed ceramic are examples of non-porous materials

that do not adversely affect the taste and appearance of foods such tomatoes or citrus

fruits that are high in acidic content and may react with absorb components of porous

subtances.)

 

2. Drain excess liquid and adjust seasoning to your taste. Garnish with some freshly

chopped scallions and serve in bowl or large clam shell.

 

Variations


Make sure to use very fresh, high-quality fish for this dish. Such fish is often marked

"sushi grade" in the market. If you don't like tuna try another "meaty" fish such as

halibut, snapper or swordfish. Other ingredients you might add if you like include

cubed red peppers, grated carrots, diced red onion, minced garlic.

Sometimes a pinch of sugar can be added to take the edge off the acidity.

 

 

 

Binch Akara  (African black-eyed pea fritters) 

 

 


This African dish, famous in such places as Nigeria and Zambia makes for a great appetizer. Black-eyed peas as they are known in America or cowpeas in English-speaking Africa are used in Western Africa to make a batter from which fritters are made. The fritters are commonly prepared at home for breakfast, snacks, as appetizers or as a side dish. They are often sold  by street vendors as well.

 

Ingredients

 

1 pound black-eyed peas, dry

2 cup water (or more)

1 teaspoon salt

1 small onion finely diced

fresh ground pepper to taste

2 cups oil

 

Directions


1. Pour dry beans into a blender with 1 cup of water and chop peas for one minute.

2. Pour in large bowl and add more water.

3. Stir until the skins separate from the peas and float in the water.

4. Strain into a colander, allowing all skin and eyes (the black "eye" on the peas) to flow out.

5. In a mixing bowl, combine the chopped beans beans, onion and fresh ground pepper.

6. Add salt, and stir with a wooden spoon for two minutes or until well combined.

7. Heat oil until moderately hot. Test by putting a few drops of water into the hot oil.

When it sizzles, it is ready.

8. Drop the bean mixture into the hot oil by the spoonful. Do not overcrowd.

9. Fry until all sides of the bean drops are golden brown.

10. Remove from the frying pan and drain on absorbent paper.

 

So even though you may not be able to visit the Olympics this year, you can certainly share the cultures of the 5 rings and enjoy some tasty treats!