Local plant based foods of Micronesia

Maxon and Jamie brought doughnuts and dough sticks make of fried ground taro - gluten free doughnuts. The hard taro, mwahng, is grated, sugar is added along with one teaspoon of baking soda, and then the dough is hand worked into the desired shape. Then the taro shapes are fried.

Any shaped can be created and fried.

Jamie Barnabas and Maxon Defang presenting their gluten free doughnuts.

Luthen Jacob presented a Mortlockese dish, "uht amat" made from boiled ground bananas. Food color is a modern addition to this dish.

Luthen Jacob

Aiesha-Lane Santos, Junia Alanzo, Shannon Jonathan present mwahng kedihdi

Mwahng kedihdi is made by boiling hard taro for 30 minutes or more. Sugar is added to the water, along with sweet coconut milk.

young mashed banana (uht pwul sukusuk)

Jannessa Johnny, Evangelina Kapiriel, and Loryann Martin presented uht pwul sukusuk

Rohtamahn koahp noahir

Jeanie Bartolome and Merany Pelep presented rohtamahn koahp noahir. Sugar, water, and yams are boiled in a pot for about an hour, mixing and stirring as the water is reduced. The hot yams are then mashed down and coconut milk is added and mixed in. Best consumed hot from the pot.

Uht sukusuk

Alyssa Washington presented uht sukusuk

The rubric includes points for physical presentation, and this particular coconut frond bowl basket was an exemplar of that metric.

Points 1 2 3

Ingredients No local Some local All local

Physical presentation Culturally inauthentic, foreign style Mix of local and foreign presentation elements Culturally authentic and appropriate

Appearance Unappetizing Neutral Appetizing

Recipe No explanation of steps Steps unclear Steps well explained

Apparent effort Little to no effort Some effort Required a lot of effort and work

Difficulty Easy Moderate Complex

Taste Inappropriate Good Awesome

Inside the basket was koapir kahu made with uten ruk. The name refers to the production process. After boiling, then the bananas are mashed vigorously, as in "shake your booty" vigorously according to the presenter.

Annalissa Rafael explaining her uniquely named dish

A variety of dishes including uht piahia (unpounded banana with coconut milk), uht sukusuk (pounded banana with coconut milk), mahi piahia (breadfruit with coconut milk).

Banana chips are a perennial favorite.

Erika Billen, Michelle David, Myreesha Daniel, and Starcy Rodriguez with their dishes.

Banana chips uncovered.

Michelle presenting to the class.

On the left is a breadfruit roasted in an open fire, on the right a pounder used to pound breadfruit

Breadfruit baked in a ground oven using hot rocks, or roasted in an open fire, and then pounded produces a staple food for many Pacific islanders. When Pohnpeians char breadfruit in an open fire and then pound the breadfruit, the resulting dish is called lihli. The presenters explained that the name can be deconstructed linguistically as meaning "woman-woman" and thus the dish is very enchanting. Very ripe breadfruit is charred in an open fire with a hole made where the stem used to be attached. This stem is removable in sufficiently ripe breadfruit. The breadfruit is done when smoke comes out of the hole. During the charring process the breadfruit is turned.

Jayson Paulus and Mihkel Fritz explain the process of making lihli. The pounder is sometimes carved on the spot from Morinda citrifolia, weipwul tree. 

The hole is visible in the above photograph. Traditionally only a a shard of coconut shell was used to then peel the breadfruit. Pounding was ritualized with only the back of the hand being used to "turn" the breadfruit as it is pounded. The pounder was to work alone, no one was permitted near the pounder during the process. No one could sit nearby, no animals were permitted around the pounder. This activity was often done in the early morning, before you use the bathroom: you had to be scrupulously clean in order to pound the lihli. 

Allison Fugog prepared the Yapese variant of uht piahia known as pa'aw ni che and also known as pa'au ni thip chig. Cooking is a skilled process: overcook the coconut milk and the oil will separate out. This can cause diarrhea in those who eat the dish.

Allison Fugog

Coconut milk, and to a lesser extent coconut, is always problematic in a dish - dishes with coconut go sour within a few hours of preparation unless refrigerated. Coconut milk is particularly prone to fermenting and the result of eating coconut gone bad is almost always diarrhea.


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