” The tamatama has its own ancient folklore. In recent times it has earned its place amongst the traditional cuisine served both as entree’ and also thrown into the smorgasbord mix and fray of local and modern delicious dishes.
It owes its popularity to the delicate and caring hands of women in the close-knit village family households.”
Words and images below Simon Pentanu
Tamatama is a local rich vegetarian dish slowly prepared by stirring fresh coconut oil over hardwood fire stoked under undamaged selected banana leaves or in tradition claypot (kakasi’). It is entree’ on its own but has gradually found its way for pickings as part of many smorgasbords amongst other garden food and seafood.
Best eaten hot to warm for a unique taste that caresses the pellet when eaten on its own. Comes in straight up and down longish shapes, meatball sizes and, occasionally, in flat and roundish scone shaped finishes.
Varities come in banana, taro and cassava prepared on their own or mixed in a single dish finish.
Rarely spared to last overnight as it slowly loses its freshness and taste. However, leftovers can be heated to get a roasted banana, taro or cassava taste but at this stage it is usually eaten for the feel of the remaining rich coconut oil and cream which still holds its taste at any temperaure.
In most cases it is prepared as an entree’ or to adorn other main local dishes as part of a group meal, usually provided on order or request.
The local Nasioi name is tama’ but has christened itself into a bit of a double whammy and moutful to be known these days more popularly as tamatama. In Torau where they differ slightly in both shapes and sizes but holding its own in taste it is known as pisu.
Toronisi refers to how the tama has been rolled and prepared ready to eat into this shape.
A local delicacy, tama(tama), an alluring banana pudding cooked in pure coconut cream presented on oiled cavendish banana leaves. This preparation is called Toronisi.