Nauru

Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation, covering just 21 square kilometers and is the only republic in the world without an official capital.

Nauru is a phosphate rock island, and its primary economic activity since 1907 has been the export of phosphate mined from the island. Nauru boasted the highest per-capita income enjoyed by any sovereign state in the world during the late 1960s and early 1970s. With the exhaustion of phosphate reserves, its environment severely degraded by mining, and the trust established to manage the island’s wealth significantly reduced in value, it briefly became a tax haven and money-laundering center to obtain income. Since 2001, in exchange for aid from the Australian government, Nauru housed a detention center for asylum seekers trying to enter Australia. The unemployment rate is estimated to be 90 percent, and of those who have jobs, the government employs 95 percent.

By measure of mean body mass index (BMI) Nauruans are the most overweight people in the world with 97 percent of men and 93 percent of women being overweight or obese. More than 40 percent of the population has type 2 diabetes, the world’s highest rate.

They are unable to grow fresh vegetables so the diet is limited. Almost all food in Nauru is imported, except for fish, coconut and a few other items. Spam and Corned Beef are popular and they also eat a lot of rice. I struggled to find an authentic recipe for Nauru, so I decided to challenge my culinary skills by experimenting! I cooked yellowfin tuna (which is available in Nauru’s waters) with coconut, chilli flakes & lime. I served it as a canape to our guests and they thoroughly enjoyed it!! If anyone has any traditional Nauruan recipes, I’ll happily cook Nauru again.

Rating: 8/10

Serves: 5 (as a canapé)

Prep time: 5 mins + 2 hours marinating time
Cook time: 7 mins + 10 mins resting time

2 yellowfin tuna steaks (about 400g)
1 small can coconut cream
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 lime, zest & juice
Baguette

Place the tuna steaks in a bag with all the other ingredients and refridgerate for 2 hours.
Heat a medium size frying pan to medium-hot and place the tuna steaks in when it’s hot, without the marinating juice.
Cook on each side for 3 minutes, then put the marinating juices into the pan, turn up the heat for 1 minute then turn it off, put a lid on the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm the baguette a little in the oven.
Place the tuna in a bowl and mash it with a fork, then pour some of the juice over the tuna but don’t make it too wet.
Slice the baguette into small rounds and then put a teaspoon of the tuna on top.

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