Jamie Oliver step aside…Coconut chicken PNG style (with a few additions)

Add a bit of lemon grass and you should be fine. 

You know what?  Forget the Jamie Oliver stuff.

What you want are  those  BIG Maryland pieces  of  chicken.  Large ones that refuse  to fit into a pot.   So get a few of those.  A few… I mean PNG ‘few.’

Stuff them into a large pot  with a bit of  water and boil the heck out of  them. ‘Go in’ with two large onions, four whole Mt. Hagen size shallots.

This is where the flavor gets interesting.

Add two cans of  coconut milk. You can say all you want about  canned coconut milk. But hey… who wants to sit on a scraper grating away at two large coconuts when you’re hungry.  So… yeah,  canned coconut milk it is.

Then,  add  half a handful of lightly crushed  black peppercorns and four large dried mushrooms.  Black peppercorns and mushrooms are the missing magic ingredients in PNG cooking.   Add one large Lae market type ginger.  Don’t chop. Crush and dump that into the pot.

Add  four large carrots. Go to Mt. Hagen  market and buy those damn carrots.  They are the ONLY  ones you want.  Don’t chop them into bits (Jamie Oliver crap).  Just peel them like a kaukau,  quarter them lengthwise then cut them in half.

Dump those in the pot.

Do the same with four large tomatoes. You don’t want those that are very ripe.  Quarter them and into the pot seeds and all.  Why celebrity chefs remove the seeds?  I don’t know.   Add  one green  and red  capsicum.    Tomatoes,  capsicums and carrots have mild flavors but add a lot of punch when cooked with all of the above.

Don’t worry about timing  your cooking. As long as the bottom of the pot doesn’t burn you are fine. Stir occasionally and cook until the chicken skin starts to disintegrate when you poke it with a spoon and when the bone on the drumstick becomes exposed.

By now the tomatoes will have blended into the soup with the  tomato skins looking like pieces of broken red balloons. You’re on the right track.

When you can stick a fork into the chicken thigh and twist.  That’s the time you turn off the stove.

I am assuming that you greased  a large pot of rice hours earlier  and it has cooled ready and waiting for the  chicken.

Eat in  bowl  so that the soup doesn’t spill.

Ok. Go imagine.


After the fall of Cardinal George Pell in Australia, what’s next for PNG Church?

170726085308-02-pell-melbourne-court-arrival-exlarge-169It was bound to come to light sooner than later.   Over the last 20 years,  the  Catholic Church has been under intense pressure to admit to  cases of sexual abuse within its ranks.

Admitting is one thing. But investigating and brining criminal proceedings against  the offending priests and other members of the clergy is another matter altogether.  It is something the  Catholic Church has  shied away from for  many decades.

This week, people around the  world  read in horror as  the Vatican treasurer,  the third highest ranking  Catholic clergyman down from the  Pope,  George Pell,   was  found guilty of  sexually assaulting  two boys when he was archbishop.

There is no need to go  into the details  here because there is  enough of  it online.  But what we  should note  is that the abuses happened over several decades and that  large amounts of money were used to silence many of the victims and their families.   Why is this event in Australia significant and why should it concern Papua New Guineans?

There are 2.7 million  Papua New Guinean  Catholics.  Nearly a third of Papua New Guineans state “Catholic” as their  church denomination.    We have the biggest Catholic population in the Pacific.   The  Church has played an important part  in the  early development  of the country  from the construction of schools, health centers and economic activity.

Those at the  helm in Papua New Guinea as well as well as the people need to take stock of what has happened in Australia.  Serious questions need to be asked.

With the recent developments, many critics argue that the church has lost its moral compass and maybe, lost its relevance as well.  George Pell, may be just one person. But he represented millions in Australia.  As the institution argues against abortion, same sex marriages and  family planning the Pell  trial has exposed ongoing abuses  and the moral hypocrisy  that were covered up  until the trial and exposure of   Pell as a child abuser.

 What should also concern Papua New Guineans is that over the last 50  years,  Australian Catholic Dioceses and orders  transferred  priests  and religious brothers to rural parishes in  Papua New Guinea  to  prevent  Australian authorities  following through with child abuse  investigations   and making arrests.

One example… In 2014, Australian priest, Fr. Roger Mount,  stalled a deportation from Papua New Guinea. Previously known as Br. Roger Mount, he was  investigated for  child abuse whilst in Australia and was later sent to PNG where he  worked  at the Sogeri parish  for  20 years after his abuses came to light.

His victims in Australia were reportedly paid the equivalent of  K400,000 to shut up.

Roger Mount is one of several other members of the clergy sent to Papua New Guinea to ‘hide’ from Australian authorities.

Many of those decisions were made primarily   because our systems were and still are  too weak to track down offending  members of the clergy and there is little awareness of  the different forms of abuse in rural areas.

Cardinal John Ribat,  the most senior  priest in PNG  seems to have taken a strong stance against abuses.  But his words need to be enforced in a country where abusers of the worst kind tend to hide.