Great Eats: How2Pisupo, a Dummy's Guide

A break from introspection to talk about one of my great loves: food. Food, water and shelter are the three bare necessities we need to survive. These requirements morph to like and to love through evolution of culture.

I love food because I was taught how to enjoy it as a child. Food was an integral part of family and friends' gatherings. You were doing your guests a disservice if they weren't so plumped by the end of the night, and you weren't rolling them out the door.

With time, I've learned the merits of self-control (got a bad back? Maybe watch the waistline) and being able to distinguish good food from degustative greatness.

Being a twenty-something in a city whose main past-time is "restauranting" has meant we're largely spoiled for choice. But, like everything in life, if I had fabulous food all the time, not only would it hurt my bank account, but my taste buds would forget their scale for comparison.

Take the following: it's a standard meal from the Fatherland that any Samoan would recognise.


Pisupo ("pea soup", which evolved as a term for anything that came from a can) is corned beef, cooked through with onion, garlic and pepper to personal taste. Some eat it wrapped in taro leaves, others eat it with baked taro or bread fruit, but - if you're like me, and rice is much easier to obtain - rice works just fine.

Pisupo is the quintessential five minute recipe for that one day of the week you're too tired to consider anything else, and don't mind a little grease. Unless you're more traditional, meaning you'd see it more often.

Breaking this down into a recipe is the hilarious equivalent of telling an Englishman how to dip a biscuit into his tea, but I'll attempt it properly for those interested in How2Pisupo.


So, you want to Pisupo?

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients: 1 can of corned beef "pisupo" (326g) 1 medium-sized brown onion 2 teaspoons of minced garlic

Cooking Instructions: 1) Dice onion, caramelise in pan with garlic over medium heat 2) Add pisupo, mashing up all the pieces 3) Heap pisupo onto rice and combine 4) Apply to face

Serves three people, or one (possibly half a) hungry Samoan.


Other Recipes

More enterprising Samoans have found novel and healthier ways of re-inventing the traditional pisupo, such as the following recipe from New Zealand's Heart Foundation: Corned Beef Stir-Fry.

The Corned Beef Burgers from the One Samoana community have a typical lack of vegetables, but the flavour of corned beef in burger form will be different from what you'd traditionally expect from a burger. I'll need to try that one day.


In conclusion, apply to face, with moderation.


Sunday, 3 June 2012