I am so excited about my next destination! I hate to admit how unaware I was about New Caledonia’s place in the world – as in, I literally had no idea where it was – but now I do know, and I’m thrilled to learn as much as I can.
I already have quite a few books lined up and ready to go, so I’m diving right in.
Nice to meet you, New Caledonia!
Location of New Caledonia (Image by TUBS via Wikimedia Commons)
Emblem of New Caledonia (Image by J.delanoy via Wikimedia Commons)
Map of New Caledonia (Image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Country #35 is one that has a place in my daydreams: New Zealand.
Yeah, yeah – Lord of the Rings. I, just like everyone else, was pretty obsessed. Those films have probably been a mixed bag for the Kiwis, huh? I’ll move past all of that and read about what else is going on, beyond hobbits and mind-blowing vistas.
Realm of New Zealand (Image by Sesmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Location of New Zealand (image by By Gringer (Own work) Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of New Zealand (By Zscout370, Hugh Jass and many others [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Is this really something that the Solomon Islands is known for? Probably not, but I could use my freshly-made coconut milk, I like the blog I found it on, I didn’t have a lot of other options, and it sounded really good.
** curry powder: the original recipe calls for 3 tablespoons, but that really depends on your curry powder. I happen to have a pretty intense one right now, so 2 tablespoons would have been enough. What brand or blend you have on hand will also affect how much salt you will use.
Heat oil in large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
Saute shallots until softened (3 to 5 minutes)
Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder; stir and heat for 1 minute
Add garlic and ginger, being very sure to not burn garlic – cook for another minute
Add the butternut squash, making sure to stir and coat with as much of the curry mix as possible
Add stock and water; bring to a boil
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for around 30 minutes.
You’re looking for the squash to be fork tender but not too mushy.
When tender, transfer in batches to a blender to puree, or use an immersion blender
Stir in the coconut milk, the rest of the curry, lime juice, and salt to taste.
Let the flavors mingle for a few, and then serve with limes slices, fresh cilantro, or fresh basil
Much like my search for books about the Solomon Islands, my quest for recipes did not turn up much. I kept running into the same three recipes from other global cooking blogs; we all seem to like the same food.
So…I combined a few things and here we are: I made homemade coconut milk and then whipped up some soup, using that very fresh ingredient. Easy peasy.
First up: Lots of coconuts in the Solomon Islands…coconut milk seemed like a natural thing to make.
Homemade Coconut Milk
This is really straight-forward stuff, and once you make it, you won’t want to use store-bought again.
What you’ll need:
1 8oz bag Dried coconut (flakes, shredded, whatever).
I’ve always used non-frozen shredded; I would imagine frozen would be just fine, thawed
4 cups Hot water (not boiling; remember – you will be touching it with your hands in just a few)
Cheesecloth or nut milk bag
Bowl (lined with cheesecloth)
Medium size Mason jar (to put your awesome coconut milk in)
What you’ll do:
Dump the whole bag of dried coconut into the blender
Pour all the water directly on to the coconut
Let sit for a few (maybe 5-10 minutes)
Puree 1-2 minutes
Pour into the cheesecloth/nut milk bag
Most of the liquid should go right through; make sure you squeeze out the rest
Transfer to your Mason jar
Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or frozen for 3 months
Coconut oils solidify in cool temps really quickly. Just shake for a few minutes, and you are ready to go
Use it where ever you normally use coconut milk and/or any other kind of milk.
I love this stuff. So simple, so inexpensive, so good. And you can make soup! More on that tomorrow…