Rourou is an authentic Fijian dish made with taro leaves or ‘rou rou’ in Fijian, cooked or stewed in coconut milk. The simple rourou is usually served as a soup or a side dish accompanying various fish or chicken dishes. It is sometimes enriched with the addition of nutmeg, ginger, or garlic for extra flavor.
Although Fiji has a vast reserve of top-quality fish, today, they also purchase cans of fish like tuna for storage and easily prepare food without heading out to go fishing. Cans preserve the meat well and provide a useful backup when a day of fishing does not go too well or when the weather makes it tough. Rourou peti typifies the Fijian food, uses Fiji’s favourite ingredients and makes this dish a winner!
An alternate substitute to rou rou is pumpkin leaves, but Chinese cabbage will also work. Choose leaves that are young and around 15- 20cm in diameter if possible, which will allow them to be filled with a sufficient amount of filling to make a good meal.
How to cook Rourou, Fijian dish
- Place 1 litre water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, peel the taro, breadfruit and sweet potato (root crops), then cut them into thick chunks. Add to the boiling water and cover—cook for approximately 10 minutes.
- Boil 1 cup water in a saucepan over low heat. Add a pinch of salt.
- Take the taro leaves and fold them into quarters. Add to the boiling water.
- Add the onion and coconut milk to the pan with the taro leaves, and add additional salt if necessary. Bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and set aside. Be sure to cook the taro leaves for at least 10 minutes, to remove the toxin that causes itchiness from the leaves.
- Remove the root crops and slice them about 2 cm thickness. You can eat them boiled like this or fry them.
- To fry, add the root chips to pre-heated cooking oil until golden brown in colour. Sprinkle a little salt over the root chips and serve with the rourou mixture as a dipping accompaniment.
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