Recipe: Kiribati Pumpkin Coconut Soup
Have you heard of the Republic of Kiribati? Do you know how to pronounce Kiribati? Had I not met a really interesting couple a number of years back who had spent some time living in there, I wouldn’t have known that this country existed. One of them was teaching at the local university and they told stories about Kiribati culture and sadly how our refusal to deal with climate change will ultimately lead to Kiribati being reclaimed by the oceans as they rise.
On that positive note, it’s pronounce ki-ree-bas, and it’s an island nation comprised of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, with a population of roughly 120,000 people. It only has 818 square kms landmass making it the 24th smallest country in the world, but is spread across 3.5 million square kms of ocean which straddle the equator.
Finding a vegan recipe for Kiribati was a bit of a struggle. It doesn’t have much arable land so there isn’t a lot of local agriculture, and given its proximity to the ocean, seafood makes up a lot of the diet. However, sweet potatoes and pumpkins are known to grow on some of the northern islands and a pumpkin or sweet potato and coconut soup is one of their traditional dishes.
I will admit I wasn’t that excited about this recipe. I make soup all the time, and I make pumpkin or sweet potato soup regularly enough that I didn’t expect this to really stand out. However this recipe used a lot more coconut milk than I normally would, and a lot, lot more ginger. It was visually beautiful pastel tangerine, and the flavour was creamy with a bit of a kick – and tasted even better the following day. The recipe was straight forward, which goes to show you don’t always need complicated for delicious. I’ll definitely make this again!