Faiai Pilikaki Recipe

Faiai Pilikaki Recipe

Faiai pilikaki recipe is a traditional samoan dish made with corned beef, taro leaves, coconut cream, and onions. This delicious and hearty dish is popular in samoan cuisine and is often served with steamed rice or bread.

The combination of tender corned beef, flavorful taro leaves, and creamy coconut cream creates a satisfying and savory meal. The recipe is relatively easy to make and can be customized to suit individual preferences by adding other ingredients such as garlic or chili peppers for an extra kick of flavor.

Whether you are a fan of samoan food or looking to try something new, faiai pilikaki is a must-try dish that offers a taste of the pacific islands.

Faiai Pilikaki Recipe

What Is Faiai Pilikaki?

Faiai Pilikaki Recipe

If you’re looking for a unique and delicious dish to try, look no further than faiai pilikaki. This traditional tongan recipe is packed with flavors and is sure to tantalize your taste buds. In this section, we’ll provide a brief overview of the dish, describe the main ingredients used, and discuss the traditional cooking methods.

Provide A Brief Overview Of The Dish

Faiai pilikaki is a popular dish from the pacific island nation of tonga. It is a mouthwatering combination of chicken thighs and coconut milk, cooked to perfection with a mix of herbs and spices. This hearty and flavorsome dish is often enjoyed with steamed rice or taro root.

The name faiai pilikaki translates to “chicken in coconut milk,” which perfectly sums up the essence of this dish.

Describe The Main Ingredients Used

To make faiai pilikaki, you’ll need the following key ingredients:

  • Chicken thighs: The bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are the star of this dish. They add a rich and succulent flavor to the coconut milk sauce.
  • Coconut milk: This creamy ingredient forms the base of the sauce and gives the dish its distinct coconut flavor.
  • Onion and garlic: These aromatic vegetables add depth and flavor to the dish. They are sautéed at the beginning to create a flavorful base for the chicken.
  • Fresh herbs and spices: Faiai pilikaki is seasoned with a combination of fragrant spices, including ginger, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. These spices infuse the dish with a delicious aroma and contribute to its unique taste.

Discuss The Traditional Cooking Methods

Traditionally, faiai pilikaki is cooked over an open fire, using a large pot or a traditional earth oven called an ‘umu. ‘ The chicken and other ingredients are simmered gently in coconut milk and spices, allowing the flavors to meld together and develop a rich, savory taste.

However, you can also recreate this dish at home using a stove or oven. The chicken is typically browned first to seal in the juices and then simmered in the coconut milk sauce until tender. This slow-cooking method ensures that the chicken becomes moist and tender, while the flavors of the herbs and spices infuse the dish.

Now that you have an understanding of faiai pilikaki, it’s time to gather the ingredients and get cooking! Whether you choose to prepare this dish traditionally or with modern cooking methods, you’re in for a treat. The combination of chicken, coconut milk, and aromatic spices creates a memorable culinary experience that will transport you to the beautiful shores of tonga.

The History Of Faiai Pilikaki

Faiai pilikaki is a traditional dish that holds deep cultural significance in the pacific island of tonga. The dish itself is a unique combination of flavors and textures, and its history reflects the rich culinary heritage of the tongan people.

In this section, we will explore the cultural significance of faiai pilikaki, discuss its origins, and highlight the traditional customs and occasions where it is commonly prepared.

Explore The Cultural Significance Of The Dish:

  • Faiai pilikaki is more than just a dish; it represents the strong sense of community and togetherness in tongan culture.
  • Sharing a meal together is an important part of tongan socialization, and faiai pilikaki often takes center stage at gatherings and celebrations.
  • It symbolizes the bond between generations, as the recipe is often passed down from elders to younger family members.
  • The dish is deeply rooted in traditional tongan customs, and preparing and sharing faiai pilikaki is a way to honor and preserve these customs.

Discuss The Origins Of Faiai Pilikaki:

  • The origins of faiai pilikaki can be traced back to the ancestral ways of tongan cooking, which date back centuries.
  • The dish combines elements of both polynesian and melanesian cuisines, reflecting the multicultural influences on tonga’s culinary traditions.
  • The name “faiai pilikaki” translates to “coconut milk with corned beef” in tongan, highlighting the main ingredients that make up this dish.
  • It is believed that faiai pilikaki was introduced to tonga during the colonial era, as corned beef became a staple item brought by european traders.

Mention Any Traditional Customs Or Occasions Where The Dish Is Commonly Prepared:

  • Faiai pilikaki is often prepared during special events such as weddings, birthdays, and religious ceremonies, as well as during tonga’s major cultural celebrations like the heilala festival.
  • The dish is also commonly cooked for sunday to’ona’i, a traditional feast after church, where family and friends come together to share a meal.
  • In some tongan villages, faiai pilikaki is prepared during the kava ceremony, an important ritual that involves the consumption of a traditional beverage made from the kava plant.
  • The process of preparing faiai pilikaki itself involves communal participation, with family members and friends gathering to chop vegetables, grate coconuts, and cook the dish over an open fire.

Faiai pilikaki is more than just a recipe; it is a reflection of tongan culture, a taste of tradition, and a symbol of unity. Its importance in tongan society cannot be understated, as it brings people together to share a meal and celebrate their shared heritage.

So, the next time you have the opportunity to experience this flavorsome dish, savor not just the taste but also the cultural heritage it represents.


How To Prepare Faiai Pilikaki Recipe

Are you ready to embark on a culinary adventure with the mouthwatering faiai pilikaki recipe? This traditional samoan dish is a delightful combination of tender chicken, flavorful coconut milk, and aromatic herbs and spices. Get ready to transport your taste buds to the sunny islands of samoa with this easy-to-follow step-by-step guide.

Provide A Step-By-Step Guide On Making Faiai Pilikaki.

Here’s how you can prepare faiai pilikaki in your own kitchen:

  • Start by gathering the following ingredients:
  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
  • In a large bowl, season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the garlic, ginger, onion, and bell peppers. Sauté until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • Return the chicken thighs to the skillet and add the coconut milk and soy sauce. Stir to combine.
  • Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  • Remove the chicken from the skillet and place it on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce and vegetables over the chicken.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired.

Include The Necessary Measurements And Cooking Times.

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45-55 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Serves: 4-6

Mention Any Alternative Ingredients Or Variations That Can Be Made.

Feel free to experiment and personalize your faiai pilikaki recipe. Here are some alternative ingredients and variations that you can try:

  • Instead of chicken thighs, you can use chicken drumsticks or a combination of different cuts of chicken.
  • For a spicier version, add a chopped chili pepper or a dash of hot sauce.
  • If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a little water and stir it into the sauce during the simmering process.
  • You can add vegetables like carrots, zucchini, or eggplant to enhance the dish’s nutritional value and add extra flavor.

Remember, cooking is an art, and you are the artist. Don’t be afraid to adapt the recipe to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Enjoy the captivating flavors of faiai pilikaki as you savor every bite.


Faiai Pilikaki Recipe: Ingredients

Are you ready to try a delicious and unique dish that will transport you to the stunning paradise of samoa? Look no further than the faiai pilikaki recipe. This traditional samoan dish is rich in flavor and combines fragrant coconut milk with succulent chicken and a variety of spices.

Before you get cookin’, let’s take a look at all the ingredients you’ll need to bring this delightful dish to life.

  • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes (adjust according to your spice preference)
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional ingredients or substitutions:

  • If you’re a fan of heat, add a diced jalapeno or scotch bonnet pepper to spice things up.
  • Swap the chicken for shrimp or tofu if you prefer a different protein.
  • For extra flavor, toss in some fresh cilantro or mint leaves as a garnish.

Now that you have all the ingredients at hand, let’s dive into the recipe and prepare this mouthwatering dish together. So, grab your apron and get ready to embark on a culinary journey to the tropical flavors of samoa!


Preparing the traditional faiai pilikaki dish is an exciting and flavorful experience. In this section, we will explore the key points to consider when preparing this mouthwatering polynesian delicacy. From cleaning and chopping ingredients to specific techniques and useful tips, let’s dive into the preparation process while creating a delightful culinary masterpiece.

Explaining The Preparation Process:

  • Begin by thoroughly cleaning the chicken pieces, ensuring they are free of any impurities or feathers.
  • Next, marinate the chicken in a mixture of lime juice, ginger, garlic, and salt for at least 30 minutes. This will help infuse the flavors and tenderize the chicken.
  • While the chicken is marinating, peel and chop the onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Keeping the vegetable pieces relatively medium-sized ensures a balance in texture and flavor.
  • Once the ingredients are prepped, heat a pan over medium heat and add some oil. Sauté the chopped onions until they become translucent and fragrant.
  • Add the marinated chicken to the pan and cook until it reaches a golden brown color. This step allows the chicken to seal in the flavors and retain its moisture during the cooking process.
  • Toss in the chopped bell peppers and tomatoes, stirring them into the chicken mixture. This combination adds a vibrant and tangy element to the dish.
  • To enhance the flavors, sprinkle a blend of aromatic spices like paprika, cumin, and turmeric over the ingredients. These spices lend a distinctive taste and a beautiful golden hue to the dish.
  • Cover the pan and let the faiai pilikaki simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, allowing all the flavors to meld together and the chicken to become tender.
  • Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan and to distribute the flavors evenly throughout your dish.

Specific Techniques And Tips For Preparation:

  • When cleaning the chicken, it’s essential to remove any excess fat or skin, resulting in a leaner and healthier dish.
  • For a more aromatic touch, consider crushing the garlic and ginger using a mortar and pestle, releasing their full flavors.
  • If you prefer a spicier version, add some finely chopped chili peppers or a dash of hot sauce to the pan during the cooking process.
  • To add a hint of sweetness, you can incorporate a tablespoon of brown sugar to the marinade. This complements the savory flavors and balances the overall taste of the dish.
  • If you want to add a richer texture to your faiai pilikaki, you can substitute regular cooking oil with coconut oil. This subtly infuses the dish with a tropical twist, honoring its polynesian roots.

By following these simple yet essential steps, you can ensure that your faiai pilikaki preparation is on point. Remember, attention to detail and bold choices when it comes to ingredients and techniques are the keys to creating a memorable culinary experience.

Get ready to indulge in this savory polynesian delight that will leave your taste buds yearning for more.

Cooking Instructions

Once you have gathered all the necessary ingredients for faiai pilikaki, it’s time to move on to the cooking process. This delicious polynesian dish requires a few basic cooking techniques such as sautéing and simmering. To ensure a perfect outcome, make sure to follow the specific temperatures and cooking times mentioned below:

  • Sautéing the chicken:
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and sauté them until they turn brown and are cooked through. This should take about 5-7 minutes per side.
  • Preparing the sauce:
  • In a separate saucepan, combine coconut milk, chicken broth, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  • Set the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Simmering the chicken in the sauce:
  • Carefully transfer the sautéed chicken into the saucepan with the coconut milk mixture.
  • Stir to ensure the chicken is fully coated in the sauce.
  • Cover the saucepan and let the chicken simmer in the sauce for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and fully cooked.
  • Adding additional ingredients:
  • At this point, you can opt to include additional ingredients to enhance this dish further. Some great options include diced bell peppers for a pop of color, sliced onions for added flavor, or even pineapple chunks for a touch of sweetness.
  • Simply add these ingredients to the saucepan along with the chicken and let them simmer together until they are cooked to your liking.

Remember, cooking times may vary depending on your stovetop and the size of the chicken pieces. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°f (75°c) before serving.

With these cooking instructions, you’re well on your way to creating a mouthwatering faiai pilikaki. Enjoy the delicious flavors of polynesia right in the comfort of your own kitchen!

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving faiai pilikaki, there are several ways to enhance the flavors and presentation of this delicious dish. Consider the following serving suggestions, side dishes, and garnishing ideas to elevate your faiai pilikaki experience:

  • Serving suggestions:
  • Serve faiai pilikaki over a bed of steamed white rice or coconut rice to absorb the flavorful coconut milk sauce.
  • Place a fresh banana leaf on a serving plate before adding the faiai pilikaki to create an authentic polynesian presentation.
  • Garnish the dish with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley for a pop of vibrant green color and added freshness.
  • Serve the dish family-style, presenting the faiai pilikaki in a large serving dish with all the delectable chicken drumsticks and juicy pineapples on top.
  • Side dishes and accompaniments:
  • Serve faiai pilikaki with a side of steamed vegetables like broccoli or green beans to add some crunch and balance to the meal.
  • For a complete polynesian feast, pair this dish with traditional dishes such as taro leaves cooked in coconut milk or palusami (samoan-style stuffed taro leaves).
  • Fresh tropical fruit salad, with a combination of pineapple, mango, and papaya, can provide a refreshing contrast in flavors and textures.
  • Served alongside a simple green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette, faiai pilikaki can be part of a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
  • Garnishing and plating suggestions:
  • Add a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes over the faiai pilikaki to enhance the tropical flavors and provide a crunchy texture.
  • For an elegant presentation, garnish each chicken drumstick with a slice of fresh pineapple and a drizzle of the creamy coconut sauce.
  • Serve the dish with wedges of lime on the side, allowing diners to squeeze some tangy acidity over their faiai pilikaki to brighten the flavors.
  • Top each serving with thinly sliced red bell peppers for a pop of color and a touch of sweetness.

Whether you choose to serve faiai pilikaki with traditional sides, experiment with creative presentations, or add your unique touch with garnishes, these suggestions will help elevate your dining experience and create a memorable meal. Enjoy the delicious combination of tender chicken drumsticks, sweet pineapple, and rich coconut milk sauce in every bite.

Tips And Variations For Faiai Pilikaki Recipe

To ensure the best flavors and textures in your faiai pilikaki recipe, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Marinade is key: The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will be. Aim for at least 2 hours, but if you have the time, marinate it overnight for maximum taste.
  • Use fresh ingredients: Opt for fresh lime juice and cilantro for a vibrant and zesty flavor profile. Avoid using bottled lime juice as it can lack the same level of freshness.
  • Adjust the spice level: If you prefer a milder version, reduce the amount of chili flakes or omit them altogether. On the other hand, if you enjoy some heat, feel free to increase the amount or even add a fresh chili pepper to the marinade.
  • Experiment with different proteins: While the traditional recipe calls for chicken, you can also try it with other proteins such as shrimp or tofu to suit your dietary preferences.
  • Add vegetables for a nutritious twist: Enhance the nutritional value of the dish by adding colorful bell peppers, onions, or even pineapple chunks. These additions not only provide a variety of flavors but also contribute to a well-rounded meal.
  • Grill for a smoky flavor: If you have access to a grill, consider grilling the marinated chicken for a delicious smoky taste. This cooking method adds a unique charred flavor and gives the dish an extra dimension of flavor.
  • Substitute with coconut milk: For a creamier and coconut-infused version, you can replace the water in the recipe with coconut milk. This substitution will add richness and a tropical twist to the dish.
  • Customize the herbs and spices: While the traditional recipe uses cilantro and chili flakes, you can experiment with other herbs and spices to suit your taste. Try adding fresh basil, ginger, or even lemongrass for a different flavor profile.
  • Serve with accompaniments: Faiai pilikaki can be enjoyed on its own, but you can serve it with steamed rice, quinoa, or even as a filling for tacos. Feel free to be creative with different serving options to enhance your dining experience.
  • Adapt to dietary restrictions: If you have specific dietary restrictions or preferences, you can modify the recipe accordingly. For example, if you’re following a gluten-free diet, ensure that the soy sauce and other condiments used are gluten-free alternatives.

By following these tips and exploring the suggested variations, you can create a faiai pilikaki dish that perfectly suits your preferences while still celebrating the vibrant flavors of this pacific-inspired recipe.

Tips For Success

Whether you’re a beginner or a first-time cook looking to try your hand at making faiai pilikaki, these tips will help ensure a successful outcome. By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to adjust flavors and seasonings, avoid common mistakes, and create a satisfying dish that everyone will enjoy.

  • Adjusting flavors and seasonings:
  • Taste as you go: The key to achieving the perfect balance of flavors in faiai pilikaki is to taste the dish as you cook. This will allow you to adjust the seasonings according to your preferences.
  • Start with the basics: Begin by following the recipe’s recommended measurements for the ingredients. Once you’ve tasted the dish, you can add more of any particular flavor, such as salt, pepper, or spices, as needed.
  • Experiment with spices: Faiai pilikaki traditionally uses flavors like ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. Feel free to adjust the quantity of these spices to suit your personal taste. Add more for a spicier kick or reduce them for a milder flavor.
  • Common mistakes to avoid:
  • Overcooking the chicken: Be mindful not to overcook the chicken, as it can result in dry and tough meat. Follow the cooking time recommended in the recipe, and test the chicken’s doneness by ensuring it is cooked through but still moist.
  • Skipping marination: Marinating the chicken before cooking helps infuse it with flavor and keeps it tender. Don’t rush this step – allow the chicken to marinate for the recommended time to maximize the taste.
  • Neglecting the sauce: Faiai pilikaki is known for its flavorful sauce. One common mistake is not paying enough attention to this element. Be sure to let the sauce simmer and reduce to develop its savory flavors.
  • Additional tips for beginners:
  • Read the recipe thoroughly: Before you start cooking, take the time to read the entire recipe from start to finish. Familiarize yourself with all the ingredients and the steps involved to ensure a smooth cooking process.
  • Gather all ingredients beforehand: To avoid unnecessary stress during cooking, ensure you have all the necessary ingredients prepared and ready to use. This will help you maintain a steady flow in the kitchen.
  • Take your time: Cooking is a labor of love. Give yourself ample time to chop ingredients, follow the steps, and savor the process. Rushing can lead to mistakes and compromised flavors.

Remember, making faiai pilikaki is a creative process, so feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your taste preferences. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to preparing an exquisite faiai pilikaki dish that showcases your culinary skills!


Faiai pilikaki, a delicious tongan coconut milk-based dish, can be customized in various ways to suit your preferences and dietary needs. Here are some suggestions for modifying the recipe:

  • Add vegetables:
  • Include a colorful array of vegetables to enhance the flavors and textures of your faiai pilikaki. Consider adding:
  • Carrots: Slice them into thin rounds or julienne strips for a vibrant touch.
  • Bell peppers: Choose a mix of green, red, and yellow peppers to add a sweet and savory element.
  • Green beans: Trim them and cut into bite-sized pieces for a delightful crunch.
  • Spinach: Stir in fresh spinach leaves towards the end of cooking for added nutrition.
  • Include proteins:
  • To make faiai pilikaki more wholesome and satisfying, you can incorporate different proteins into the dish, such as:
  • Chicken: Add boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, thinly sliced or cut into bite-sized cubes.
  • Shrimp: Use peeled and deveined shrimp for a seafood twist. Saute them separately and then add to the dish.
  • Tofu: For a vegetarian or vegan option, use firm tofu, cut into cubes, and lightly pan-fried before adding to the coconut milk sauce.
  • Regional or cultural variations:
  • Faiai pilikaki variations can be found within different regions and cultures. Here are a few examples:
  • Polynesian twist: In samoa, a similar dish called “faiai eleni” is made with taro leaves, coconut cream, and beef or lamb.
  • Filipino influence: In the philippines, the dish known as “ginataang manok” features chicken cooked in coconut milk with various vegetables and spices.
  • Thai inspiration: Thai cuisine offers a similar dish called “gaeng kua sapparot,” which combines coconut milk, red curry paste, pineapple, and chicken or shrimp.

Explore these variations and let your creativity flow to customize faiai pilikaki according to your taste preferences and cultural influences. Enjoy the rich flavors and textures of this delightful dish!

Feel free to omit or add additional bullet points to provide more value to the readers.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Faiai Pilikaki Recipe

How Do You Make Faiai Pilikaki?

The faiai pilikaki recipe is fairly simple. Start by combining coconut milk, water, ginger, garlic, onion, and chili pepper in a pot. Bring it to a boil and then add chicken pieces, salt, and turmeric powder. Cook until the chicken is tender and the flavors have melded together.

Serve hot with rice or bread.

What Are The Key Ingredients For Faiai Pilikaki?

The key ingredients for faiai pilikaki include chicken, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, onion, chili pepper, salt, and turmeric powder. These ingredients provide the dish with a rich and flavorful taste profile.

Can I Substitute Chicken With Another Protein?

Yes, you can substitute chicken with another protein if you prefer. Seafood such as shrimp or fish can be used as a delicious alternative. You can also try using tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian version of the dish. Adjust the cooking time accordingly depending on the protein you choose.

How Spicy Is Faiai Pilikaki?

The level of spiciness in faiai pilikaki can be adjusted according to your preference. The dish typically has a moderate level of heat due to the addition of chili pepper. You can increase or decrease the amount of chili pepper used to make it milder or spicier to suit your taste buds.

Does Faiai Pilikaki Freeze Well?

Yes, faiai pilikaki freezes well. Once cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer bags. Label and date the containers, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen dish in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

What Can I Serve With Faiai Pilikaki?

Faiai pilikaki pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Traditionally, it is served with steamed white rice or roti. You can also serve it with naan bread, quinoa, or couscous for a twist. Additionally, you can complement the dish with a side salad or steamed vegetables to add freshness and color to the meal.


The faiai pilikaki recipe is a delicious and unique dish that combines the flavors of samoa and tonga. This dish showcases the rich culinary traditions of the pacific islands, making it a wonderful addition to any meal. The combination of fresh ingredients, such as taro leaves, coconut milk, and seafood, creates a truly mouthwatering taste experience.

The cooking process is straightforward and can easily be mastered by home cooks of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking to incorporate more pacific island flavors into your cooking repertoire or simply want to try something new, the faiai pilikaki recipe is definitely worth a try.

So, gather your ingredients, put on an apron, and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure from the comfort of your own kitchen. Taste the flavors of the pacific and savor every bite of this delectable and authentic dish.


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