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Sepik River patrol curry

[Barbara Smak preparing dinner in a Chambri fireplace pot: 28k]

If you were with us on patrol on the Sepik River, rice with curry is what you'd get. The canoes are tied up for the night. We've finished our wash-wash in the cool muddy bath of the river. It's time to cook.

Barbara Smak preparing the onions for our curry at her family's backpacker lodge in Angoram, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. Her kitchen fire is built in a Chambri hearth pot. More on New Guinea pottery at http://www.art-pacific.com/artifacts/nuguinea/potschmo.htm

1 lb. (1/2 kg) or more white rice depending on how many people we're feeding that night. Most Sepiks don't like our curry, so we bring along tins of mackerel for them to use on their rice. We feed our crew and any good friends we have in the village, plus the family whose house we are staying in, or if we're in the men's Haus Tambaran, we feed the Big Men who are in charge. We bring all our own food out with us from the coastal town of Wewak, including extra coffee, sugar, powdered milk, biscuits and cigarettes for gifts, both because it's nice to treat your hosts and because sometimes food is short in the village and it's not fair to eat provisions we haven't helped to get.

Start the rice boiling on the cook stove first because it takes a while to cook this much and sometimes there is only one stove or fire. Use more water than usual. When the rice gets soft, but before all the water is absorbed, remove the pot from the fire, cover and set aside to absorb the extra water. If it's left on, the rice will burn on the bottom because all New Guinea trade store pots have very thin aluminum bottoms --- get used to mushy rice.

In the second saucepan, pour in a couple of spoons of oil. Saute one or more chopped onions until soft. If we can get them, we add diced garlic and any available greens: green pepper or aibika (sort of like spinach).

Open 2 or more tins of trade store meat: Hong Kong crammed duck, stewed chicken. These often are canned whole, including the bones. We toss any hard bones found while eating down through the floor boards to the dogs. Sometimes we have to use corned beef if we've restocked from a small bush trade store.

Holbrooks Curry Powder (kari in pisin) is generally mild, so we add it by the heaping spoonful.

We can get by with just this, but it's nicer with:
1/2 to 1 packet dried coconut milk
1 packet dried instant soup (The creamed corn or chicken and mushroom ones are good.)
1 or more tins of canned vegetables: corn, green beans or mixed vegetables

Heat to simmering and serve over the rice.

The longer we're out bush, the better it tastes. We finish eating and clean-up before 7 o'clock if possible, because around 7:10 the mosquitos come up and we want to be safely in our mosquito nets.

See also:
Pasepa Swann's Fiji curry

Back to Recipe toc or browse Alamos lime pie | Blue corn posole stew | Boiled peanuts or soybeans | Chargrilled Atlantic salmon | Chocolate sour cream cake | Chutneys | Curried pumpkin soup | Eggplant parmesan | Flo Chang's fish recipes | Lemon basil salsa | Pasepa Swann's Fiji curry | Picadillo chili dip | Pie crust | Sepik River patrol curry | Slow-roast lamb | Smoked salmon soufflé with dill | Spice pumpkin pie | Sweet potato spread | Sweet rice | Tamale pie | Winter squash: acorn maple | Winter squash: butternut ginger


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