No-ue: Niuean takihi

Regular readers may have noticed that we’ve been AWOL for a few weeks. When this has happened in the past, it’s been for exciting reasons like exotic holidays or that small matter of our wedding. Whilst we do have another reception coming up in 11 days (eek), that actually has nothing to do with our prolonged hiatus. You could also assume that Ash’s dislike of coconut might have led to a deliberate delaying of cooking this coconut-heavy Niuean dish, but the reason is even less interesting than that. Ladies and gentlemen, we can reveal that we have not made an international dish since 17th September because…. we were waiting for papayas to ripen.

We found (to Ash’s dismay) that Niue’s national dish is takihi, a dish involving only three ingredients: papaya, taro and coconut cream. Our immediate reaction to this was that it must be a sweet dish, so we went out and bought some papaya and eddoes (substitute for taro) with the intention of making it for dessert. Unfortunately, only green papayas were available at our local market, so on Greengrocer Google’s advice, we sat back and waited a few days for them to ripen… and waited… and waited… Then, on Sunday night, we decided we’d had enough of waiting: it was time to get it over with.

Recipe cobbled together based on a few different websites and the quantity of ingredients we had available.

2 small papayas
3 small eddoes (would have been 5 if they hadn’t gone off while we were waiting for the ripening papaya!)
250ml coconut cream

1. Slice the papaya and eddoes and layer on a large layer of foil in an oven-proof dish.
2. Pour the coconut cream over the top.
3. Seal up the foil so that it makes a parcel and bake at 180C for about an hour.

Papaya and eddo

Uncooked takihi


Girl and boy portions
Girl and boy portions!

Until a few months ago, Miranda had no idea that Niue was even a country. Ash had heard of it, because they have a rugby team, so knew that it is a Pacific island. Beyond that, though, our knowledge now pretty much extends to the fact that it has a rather odd national dish. Firstly, apparently it’s supposed to be a savoury side dish rather than a dessert. Secondly, honestly, it just isn’t very nice. Ash managed a taste of it; Miranda gallantly ate through half of it; both of us felt rather cheated as far as dessert goes (probably a predictable outcome for something that isn’t actually supposed to be a dessert, to be fair – it just doesn’t seem like it could go on the side of meat). The coconut cream was nice, but would have been just as nice if eaten straight out of the carton. The papaya just tasted like papaya and the eddoes were a bit weird combined with the other two ingredients. It’s possible we did something wrong, as apparently we were supposed to be able to slice the finished product (rather than spoon its liquidy self out into a bowl) but it’s hard to see how far we could have gone wrong with three ingredients!

After the dessert disappointment, Miranda bravely polished off the cold leftovers for breakfast, which actually kind of worked (and did just about stave off hunger until lunchtime), but at the same time wasn’t really worth getting excited about. Tomorrow’s muesli will be enjoyed rather more!

So in short, the wait wasn’t really worth it, unfortunately. We won’t be making this one again. Let’s hope our upcoming Tongan dish both happens sooner and tastes better!

3 thoughts on “No-ue: Niuean takihi

  1. You must use Taro instead of your substiture Eddoes, as I have never heard of Takihi using this product. The taro also needs to be fresh and not at the end of its life like the Eddoes you used. The Taro must be thinly sliced and then layer Taro upon the Papaya and add then add coconut cream and salt between layers. Repeat for at least 9 layers. Takihi cooked correctly will look like Potato Gratin. The salt will help bring out the sweetness of the Papaya in contrast to the savoury Taro. You also should cook it for a good 2 – 2 1/5 hours. No way should it be mush, sounds like the Eddoes were out of date.

    • Thank you for the feedback. Eddo is a variety of taro so we didn’t think it would be a major problem. We probably won’t make it again, honestly, but it’s interesting to hear how we could have done it differently.

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