Expedition To Tonga II: Baked Goods And Sweets

Not a great deal to report, from Tonga, in these categories, but what there is will rattle your sweet tooth! And then, there’s also a breakfast sandwich that will satisfy your strongest savoury cravings. Like Sierra Leone in Africa, Tonga relies heavily on imported wheat flour, but the price doesn’t deter them!

Tongan Breakfast Sandwich - © instructables.comTongan Breakfast Sandwich: Sets you up for the whole day!

If you think the Breakfast Sandwich is amazing, prepare yourself for a real treat! You can make al of these sweets and desserts in your own kitchen – with the help of a few special ingredients!

On our menu today

Ma Moluu: Plain White Bread. It came with traders and explorers who also brought wheat flour and yeast. It’s considered a staple these days. But it doesn’t come sliced.

Panikeke: ‘Round Pancakes’. About the size of a golf ball, these little sweeties are crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside – like a plain ‘cake’ doughnut.

Panikeke - © polynesia.com

The recipe calls for flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, eggs and milk. They’re deep fried, then allowed to drain thoroughly. A breakfast fravourite. But they’re also dusted with powdered sugar for a snack.

Panipopo: Sweet Breakfast Rolls. You start with the universal Soft White Dinner Roll dough (yeast-raised, using milk powder), and bake in coconut milk or cream. Tanned and soft on top; soft and gooey on the bottom. Everybody loves ’em. In fact, variations on the Panipopo are found all around Polynesia.

Faikakai Topai: A bowlful of torn-up wheat flour dumplings drenched in caramelized coconut sugar syrup.

Faikakai Topai - © thecoconet.tv

Folks occasionally sub out the dumplings in favour of taro, breadfruit or bananas. The syrup is the thing!

Tongan Breakfast Sandwich: A meal between 2 slices of white bread. First, you soak two layers of plain ramen noodles with beaten egg and cook on a griddle or heavy frying pan. While they’re cooking, sautée a handful of sliced mushrooms and two slices of deli-style Roast Chicken or Turkey. Layer the sandwich as follows: One slab of noodles, one slice of cheese, one slice of meat, the mushrooms; then reverse the order right out to the second slice of bread. Toast on a griddle like a toasted cheese, until the cheese melts and the sandwich is heated through. It clocks in at more than 1,200 calories of fat, salt and protein (along with a mega-dose of Ramen starch), and will set you up for the rest of the day!

Ma Pakupaku: Breakfast Crackers. Kind of like hard tack crossed with saltines. Just wheat flour, sugar, salt and water.

Breakfast Crackers - © @MaisieMae_ via Twitter

Folks use them as a base for appetizers as well as in the usual way: soaked in cocoa and eaten with a spoon. Tongan breakfast ‘cereal’.

Pai Siamu: Tongan Jelly Roll! Also called ‘Jam Pie’. You make a sponge with flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, eggs and milk. But note that this sponge is heavier and cakier than the traditional European version. Roll out the dough about 1/2 in. / 1.25 cm thick and top it with your fave jam or jelly and roll up into a log. Bakes at 275 F for about 45 minutes.

Pai Faina: Pineapple Pie. A pineapple custard pie with a crust of flour, baking powder, utter, milk and eggs. Definitely pastry, but tender and fine-textured.

Tongan Pineapple Pie - © thecoconet.tv

Topped off with a baked meringue dotted with peach slices and chopped peanuts. Talk about rich!

I’ll bet some of those dishes took you by surprise!

I was most taken with the idea of caramelized coconut sugar syrup! I’d try that on anything. And that Tongan Breakfast Sandwich is one in a million. I’ll have to file the recipe under both Ramen and Grilled Cheese! There are other popular Tongan breakfasts and desserts, but none as exotic or ‘out there’ (in my estimation) as the ones we’ve toured today!

~ Maggie J.