If you’re trying to infuse more island-style flavor into your daily meals, look no further than our list of staples for your Pacific-inspired fare. Don’t forget to visit your local restaurant, Big Island BBQ, in Liberty Lake for a delicious fusion of flavors and dish ideas to replicate at home.
Coconut milk — and other forms of coconut — is often a key ingredient in many island-style dishes. Did you know you can make your own? All you need is two cups of freshly grated coconut and 1¼ cups of hot water. Blend together in a blender or food processor, and then strain through a coffee filter after letting it cool for five minutes. Use immediately in your island-style dish that calls for coconut milk.
Pronounced “PWAH-sun croo”
This dish is a signature to the islands of Tahiti and translates to “raw fish” in French. This dish consists of raw tuna marinated in lime juice, mixed vegetables, and coconut milk. A traditional vegetable mix includes fresh carrots, cucumber, tomato, green onions, and lime zest — but feel free to add or subtract ingredients depending on what you like!
If you’re a fan of ceviche, you’ll love this traditional Samoan dish. Oka is made with raw Samoan fish like masimasi, marlin, albacore, wahoo, sailfish, giant trevally, mahi mahi, barracuda, dog tooth tuna, or yellow-fin tuna. It’s chopped up into small pieces and marinated in lemon or lime juice, coconut cream, onions, and salt. If you like a little spice, you can also add some chili to your oka.
This Fijian vegetable is comparable to asparagus. It’s an unopened flower of a cane shoot and comes in both green and red colors. In the late 1800s, many Indians were immigrating to Fiji, and they brought their traditional flavors with them. A traditional duruka dish features the vegetable served in curry or coconut milk. In fact, if you’re making an island-style dish that includes curry, it probably has some Fiji-Indo influence.
This dish comes from the islands of Vanuatu and is prepared using a popular island-style cooking method of using hot stones. A dough mixture is created with grated manioc, yams, or taro root. This mixture is then placed in wild spinach or taro leaves. The dough is drenched in coconut cream, and chicken or pork pieces are added. Wrapped in the leaves of the lap lap plant, the mixture is then placed in a ground oven where the hot stones cook this dish.
The word poke translates to “chunk” in Hawaiian. If you’ve ever been to Hawaii or visited a Hawaiian restaurant, chances are that you’ve seen this on the menu or tried it. Originally, poke was made of reef fish, sea salt, seaweed, or roasted kukui. The most traditional marinade for poke is soy sauce, sesame oil, and onions. As it’s gained popularity, different poke dishes are available around the U.S.
Bougna is one of the few surviving traditional dishes from the indigenous Melaneisan settlers, called the Kanak, in the French territory of New Caledonia. This dish from the South Pacific island is made of crab, chicken, or lobster, and then cooked with yams and sweet potatoes. The entire mixture is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked under a traditional hot fire.
Many local restaurants around the U.S. are beginning to experiment with these traditional island-style dishes. You can try a version of your own at home or you can visit Big Island BBQ, a local restaurant in Liberty Lake, to try some of these flavors for yourself. Our menu is inspired by Japanese and Pacific island dishes. Join the Big Island family and try us today.