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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baby Toa's Welcome Dinner

In honor of Kaitlin and Josh Hunt's new baby boy, I made a Samoan and Swedish dinner (mother and father's heritages, respectively).

Baby Toa was born on Friday, January 28 and he appears to be absolutely darling, just like his older siblings!

Kaitlin gave me the recipes for the Sapa Sui and Pani Popo several months ago but I'd never gotten around to making them before. Her recipe called for frozen veggies in the Sapa Sui, but our store didn't have any stir-fry mixes left (sold out because they were on sale) so I decided to use fresh mushrooms, bell pepper, and green beans. I don't really think of mushrooms as being a major part of Polynesian cooking, but they sounded good.

While cooking, I did some reading online about Polynesian food and it appears that these cultures eat a lot of canned foods (meats, vegetables), especially since World War II. Maybe next time I'll try using canned veggies for authenticity. At least I used canned meat! When I think of places like Hawaii I definitely think of stuff like Spam.

Below is the step-by-step for making Sapa Sui, a savory bean starch noodle/meat/vegetable dish served over white rice...and for a sweet coconut bread dessert. Both are really good! We will definitely be making both of these dishes again.

For the Swedish part of the meal, I decided to make meatballs, gravy, and mashed potatoes with a dollop of lignon berry preserves...just like I order at Ikea! I already had homemade meatballs in the freezer (they are super handy as a fast toddler meal), I used some beef base to make a quick milk gravy, and there was just enough lignon berry jam left in our jar. Next time we're at Ikea I need to make sure to buy another jar so we can have Swedish crepes when my parents visit (my dad's favorite breakfast).

Sapa Sui
  • 5.5oz package of bean thread (aka, glass noodles; look in the Asian food section)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup or more frozen vegetables (or fresh or canned)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup soy sauce (to taste)
  • 1 can corned beef or 1.5 cups diced chicken cooked in oil and garlic
Boil noodles in salty water for 5 minutes. Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes until noodles are softened. They will look like...well, glass! I'm sure these slippery noodles would be fun to use for a children's Halloween party--worm soup anyone?Saute onion in oil. If using fresh vegetables, cook at the same time. If using frozen veggies, steam or microwave them. Remove veggies from pan and set aside.

Cook meat in more oil until done (I used corned beef and it is already cooked but I diced it and browned the cubes for better flavor). Drain the noodles, return them to the pot, and use kitchen scissors to cut them into shorter lengths (just stick the scissors down in there and cut).

Add veggies, meat, and half of the soy sauce. Stir to combine. Taste and add more soy sauce if you like.

Serve over white rice.Pani Popo
  • 1 batch of dinner roll dough (canned, frozen, or from scratch--I made whole wheat dough with sugar to make them more dessert-friendly)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 9x13" pan
Prepare dough as directed. Before baking, mix milk and sugar together and pour over the rolls (it helps to have an adorable child on hand to help with the mixing). The might float because of the liquid, but don't worry because they will absorb some and a lot will cook off during baking.

Bake according to your recipe/product. My pan looks a little funky and I'm guessing I baked them too long so more of the moisture is gone, thus the line around the perimeter. No matter, they were scrumptious!Welcome to the world, Baby Toa! You came down from heaven to join a wonderful family!


mu rye uh said...

love it!And you reminded me how much I need to make those pani popo

LSharkey said...

For the dinner roll dough, did you use a yeast dough or more of a baking powder biscuit-type recipe? Looks delicious!

The Bowers! said...

It is just a yeast dough. I made it in the morning, but just popped the bowl in the fridge. That night I made it into 12 balls and let them rise in the greased pan in a warm over for an hour before I put the coconut/sugar mixture on top.

The left over rolls are delicious warm or cold out of the fridge...we had some as a snack this afternoon with coffee while Eddie napped.

steph.kelley said...

Hm! That Pani Popo is an interesting idea. Aren't you sweet to make the baby-heritage-themed dinner! <3