The Independent State of Samoa made up from two entities; Independent Samoa (or Western Samoa) and the US territory of American Samoa. The two main islands are Savai’i and Upolu. The Samoan Islands share a history of being one of the strongest cultural forces in the Pacific and were the first small island country in the Pacific to become independent in 1962. Ongoing scientific research suggests that Samoa’s history dates back 3,000 years. It is located south of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.

At the end of December 2011, Samoa jumped forward by one day, omitting 30 December from the local calendar, when the nation moved to the west of the International Date Line. This aimed to help the nation boost its economy in doing business with Australia and New Zealand. Before this change, Samoa was 21 hours behind Sydney, they are now three hours ahead.

The famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson brought his family to live on Upolu in 1890 and built a large home in the foothills above the city of Apia, where he spent the last five years of his life. His home was destroyed in the cyclones of the early 1990s but was rebuilt and opened as a museum in 1994 on the centenary of his death.

Samoa has all the attributes of island paradise; white sand, blue lagoons and jade jungles, but without the glitz and flashiness of mega tourist resorts. With an average temperature of 26.5 degress, it is a very appealing destination for travellers seeking both serenity and adventure.

Popular food in Samoan cuisine are rice, fish, roasted chicken and pork, yams, taro, fresh fruit and coconut. Dishes I came across include umu (oven-pit-baked meat), sapasui (chop suey), puligi (pudding) and oka (raw fish in lime juice and coconut milk). I cooked Chicken Kale Moa (Samoan chicken curry) which had a subtle flavour but a little lacking in umph. I made 2 versions, one with potatoes, one without (as I’m not a big fan of potato in curry) and we preferred the one without potato. I would be inclined to use hot curry powder next time.

Rating: 6/10

Serves: 2
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 40 mins

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp curry powder (use hot curry powder if you like heat)
350g chicken breast, cubed
1 cup water
2 cups coconut milk
2 medium potatoes, chopped into cubes
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp water
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then fry the onion gently for 5 minutes until it is translucent
Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and fry for about a minute stirring well.
Add the chicken, 1 cup of water and 2 cups of coconut milk. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and cover.
Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
Add the vegetables and bring to a boil again. Turn down heat and cover again. Simmer for 20 minutes or until soft.
Add the cornflour mix and turn the heat up to medium, stirring until thickened.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Serve with boiled rice.

Ingredients for chicken kale moa (Samoan chicken curry)
Chicken kale moa (Samoan chicken curry
Chicken kale moa (Samoan chicken curry
Harvesting coconuts in Samoa
Harvesting coconuts in Samoa
Samoan beach
Samoan beach

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