Haere mai, it’s coffee time ! It’s Sunday morning, you didn’t really think you would stay in bed, right? It’s the only day of the week it is socially acceptable to eat four firi firi in a row… In Polynesia, this breakfast is an institution, we would not miss it for anything in the world.
Homemade mahi mahi head, pork trotters, ina’a (alevin) fritters or vana (sea urchin) for the early birds, mixed nem and samosa platter from the well-known “blue shop” for the others. Everyone makes sure to wake up before the sun rises to come back with their hands full of delicacies.
Come on, jump in my pick-up truck, we are heading to the market of Papeete. 4 a.m. and it is already crowdy, people gather around the stands in order to grab the last bottle of taioro, choose some fish freshly caught from the lagoon, amass a couple of warm chao pao and jostle for the last Tahitian raw fish. We are willing to cover miles for just a few onces of roasted pua’a (pork).
But let’s face it, the real star of the week-end is indisputably the firi firi, this little eight-shaped doughnut… With its golden skin, moist texture and irresistible aroma, it is going to be really hard not to yield to temptation, especially since you can find it almost everywhere in our islands nowadays! On the market stalls, in convenience stores, by the road, just follow the smell.
Thus, it is unfortunately true that you may encounter some difficulties in finding some at the grocery next door, this is why we decided to reveal the recipe to start the day off right!
To get this incomparable taste of paradise, you will need:
As usual, take your shoes off, put on a pareo and add a few drops of monoi on your wrists – well, it will probably not affect the taste but it will set the tone. Afterwards, as for the background music, I’ll let you judge, depending on whether you are more into Manahune, Pepena, Esther or Gabilou…
Now, start by dissolving the yeast in lukewarm water, add a tablespoon of sugar, mix and leave the yeast aside to activate until frothy. Incorporate the flour, sugar, water and coconut milk, sprinkle it all with a pinch of salt and whisk until it becomes thick and smooth.
Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place to rise for three hours. Of course if you were here, I would recommend to put it on your deck but, depending on wherever you are, you should definitely get closer to the heater if you are far from the equator…
*** Musical interlude ***
Ding! It’s time, as you wait for the oil to reach 170°C – 340°F, put the batter into a piping bag and cut a 5 cm / 2 inch hole and then it’s just like the Tiurai (local fun fair in July) ! I’m pretty sure you already saw how to make churros. The process is the same, except that you neet to shape the pieces like an eight before deep frying it. Make sure to practice the bases of the Ori Tahiti dance by repeating the famous varu (eight) move with your hips…
Fry them on both sides until golden (they need to be brown, a great tan made in Tahiti…). Put your cute little eights on a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain the excess oil, then roll them in granulated sugar and serve!
I am told that your travel agents love to eat vanilla and cinnamon flavored firi firi at their desk…
Now that you know how to cook the basic element of your weekly brunch, let’s find an alternative to your sandwich loaf, ladies and gentlemen, a thunder of applause for the coconut bread!
To make the perfectly smooth bite, you will need:
Oh please, don’t you start eating all the firi firi as you cook… First of all, mix both flour and baking powder. Add the salt, sugar and progressively incorporate the coconut milk as well as the lukewarm water until it becomes doughy.
Pour a little of flour over your work surface and knead the dough for about ten minutes, let’s say four songs…
Shape it into a ball, put it into a baking dish that you cover up with a cloth and, again, put in in a warm and humid place.
*** New musical interlude / Ori Tahiti Zoom session ***
After two hours, you can knead the dough once more and pour it into a previously buttered mould. I know, it requires a bit a patience but it is worth it – okay, perhaps you can eat one firi firi. Wait for two more hours.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), baste the dough with egg yolk / coconut milk mix and, once your coconut bread starts to get a golden color, put a knife into it, if the blade comes out clean, you are done !
I hope your guests have arrived, you are good to go… Tama’a maita’i !