You can’t come to New Caledonia without trying bougna. We especially recommend trying it among the tribes of the islands and the mainland (Grand Terre).
Bougna is the traditional dish of Melanesians: the ingredients are wrapped in banana leaves and enclosed in an oven made from hot rocks. It requires very involved preparation.
Bougna is a kind of chicken, fish or flying fox stew that includes taro, sweet potato, plantain, tomato and yam.
Choose a young banana leaf with a central rib that is not too thick. Place the leaf over an open flame, turning it several times so that it soften up as it browns. The cut up ingredients are then piled on the leaf and moistened with coconut milk. The banana leaf is carefully folded close and securely tied with vines.
The Kanak oven
- Start a fire with twigs and coconut fiber.
- Place some dry wooden branches over the fire to create a platform.
- Place the stones evenly around the fire. Stoke the fire and wait.
- When the stones are hot, move them aside and set the bougna to cook.
- Cover with the stones and freshly cut leafy branches.
- Cover with earth and cook for about 2 hours.
- Remove the earth and stones to uncover the bougnas.
Serve the bougna right in the banana leaves, opened up attractively and decorated with flowers.
In collaboration with Anne Ronchin, New Caledonia Tourism, Point Sud
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