Let's hear from you folks out there! Share your favorite recipe for fekei, telulu, tahroro, etc. People are especially interested in the substitutions you make when you can't get the original ingredients. To have your recipe posted email me at ahoward@hawaii.edu

guava jam & jelly
sua pana
biscuits in coconut milk
te posi
sua pofo
dunking biscuits
po'oi vi


This bread is easy to make and quick to cook, and the oil does not get into it - it only stays on the outside. Best eaten while still warm and on the same day.


4 level cups of flour
1 sachet of Mauripan dried yeast
4 tblsps sugar
1 level tspn salt
2 dstsps butter or margarine
Warm water for mixing
Oil for deep frying
(tblsp = tablespoon)
(tspn = teaspoon)
(dstsp = dessertspoon)


Sift together the flour, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, then rub in the butter / margarine. Add just enough warm water to form a pliable dough - as you would for buns or bread.

Knead the dough for about 10 or 15 minutes, then let it stand in a lightly floured basin for 20 minutes in a warm area to rise. (Before you do this, you can either sprinkle some flour over the dough or rub some salad oil over it to prevent it from sticking to the basin, and cover it with a clean tea towel).

After 20 minutes your dough should have doubled in size. Punch all the air out of it, then roll out with a rolling pin on a well floured surface to about half an inch in thickness.

Cut out into squares, oblongs or diamond shapes and let stand for a few minutes.

In the meantime half fill your frying pan with salad oil and place on stove to get nice and hot (make sure the oil is not too hot or else the bread will burn).

Place the bread pieces into the hot oil and when brown turn them over to brown the other side. Repeat this process until all the bread pieces have been cooked. Place cooked bread in basin lined with lunch paper or foil. Best eaten while still warm, with butter and jam.


a) Instead of the butter or margarine you could try using a small teacup of lolo(coconut cream)

b) Form small balls from the dough (size of a golf ball maybe), flatten out then place some mashed banana, jam or any other filling, into the center, then wet the edges of the dough and close together with the filling intact inside. Deep fry in the usual manner.

c) You could make savoury breads by omitting the sugar and increasing the salt to two tsps. savoury fillings could be made using leftover curry, chopsuey, tinned fish or meat, etc.

Submitted by Ethel Morris <edoloresmorris@gmail.com>


During the guava season it is wise to stock up on your jams/jellies.

These fruit are plentiful and it is a lot of fun when families go guava picking together, filling their sacks with the ripe yellow fruit. But care must always be taken to BEWARE of the hornets, as they like building their hives or nests on guava trees, and when disturbed, they swarm angrily toward the nearest persons and sting them! A hornet's sting is very painful and the stung area usually puffs up or swells.

For those living in the city or town areas, it is wise just to buy the fruit from the markets where they are sold by the heap.


Ripe guavas
Lemon juice (1 cup or more)
Brown Sugar
Water (enough to cover fruit)
Jam jars (sterilized)


Peel the outer yellow skin off the guavas, cut guavas into quarters and scrape out the insides (seeds). When making guava jam the outer yellow skins and the seeds are not used.

Wash the quartered guavas and put them in a large heavy saucepan. Pour just enough water into the saucepan to cover guavas and boil briskly until the fruit is all pulpy or soft. Remove from stove.

Measure out this fruit mixture, and for every cup of fruit you will need a cup of brown sugar. If you have four cups of fruit you must use four cups of brown sugar.

Put the fruit, lemon juice and sugar into a big heavy saucepan and keep boiling briskly, stirring every now and then until a little dropped onto a wet saucer begins to jel or thicken.

Appearances can be deceptive, the jam mixture may look and seem to be runny, while it is boiling away merrily on the stove, but do not be fooled by this. If it is over-cooked it will become hard and almost like toffee when it has cooled down.

Remove from stove and while still hot fill all the jars. Make sure they have good tight lids. This jam can keep for months.

Submitted by Ethel Morris <edoloresmorris@gmail.com>


When making jelly the whole fruit is used.


Ripe guavas
Brown sugar
Lemon juice (1 or more cups)
Water (enough to cover fruit)
Jam jars (sterilized)


Wash all the guavas and cut them up into a big heavy saucepan. Add some water - just enough to cover the fruit, and boil briskly until the fruit is all mushy and very soft.

Pour fruit mixture into a muslin cloth and hang suspended overnight above a clean basin so that all the juice can drip out. If you do it this way, your jelly will be nice and transparent and not clouded. Some people prefer to squeeze the bag so as to get more liquid out of it - but this causes the jelly to become cloudy. A little patience is all that's needed.

Next day when you're ready to cook your jelly, just follow the same instructions as for the guava jam, and when a little dropped onto a wet saucer begins to jel, remove from stove and fill the jars.

Submitted by Ethel Morris <edoloresmorris@gmail.com>

SUA PANA (a type of niuafo'ou fekei)


2 cups coconut water
2 cup cassava starch
1/2 cup lolo (coconut cream)
3/4 cup sugar


Put starch and juice in a frying pan and stir until it is thick and transparent. Add lolo immediately and turn off the fire. Stir until lolo changes colour; then lastly add sugar and stir it in.

If you like it thick add more starch at the beginning; if you like it soft add more coconut water before you stir in the lolo.

Submitted by Elizabeth K Inia


This is a favourite with the school children after a hard day of sport, weeding, collecting coral, building a stone boundry etc...

The idea is to have the biscuits (prefer hard, Fiji or NZ ) soaked in coconut milk but not overdone to prevent soggyness!


Depending on the crowd, 2 kilos biscuits is plenty. First grate the coconuts, 2 at least, and squeeze for the cream. Add a little water so as not to make it too thick. Mix your sugar to taste. Now break the biscuits into bitable sizes into a pot or bowl. Pour the coconut cream mix (lolo) and serve.

Good Eating folks!

Submitted by John Muaror

Most Rotuman women who have lived, or are living now, on the island of Rotuma, will tell you about how stores are always running out of supplies of basic food items, such as flour, butter, biscuits, sugar, tea, cooking oil, etc. and how they have to cope with the situation as best they can -- for the sake of the children.

When our family lived at Upu during the 1960s, with four growing children to care for, I learnt how to cook various dishes made from natural foods whenever there was a lack of such basic items of food as mentioned above. Indeed, my children came to enjoy them more than they did the bread, biscuits, etc. and so did I.

The following recipe is one I used a lot during those days on the island. As usual I have not used measurements but have left it up to the person according to the amount they intend to make.


Topoi can be eaten as either a porridge or a dessert.


Grated cassava (tapioka, manioka, tavioka)
Lolo (coconut cream/milk)
Boiling water


Grate cassava finely, and divide in two piles (one pile smaller than the other). Add some sugar to larger pile of cassava (enough to taste) (optional). You may also add a bit of grated coconut as well (optional). Form small balls (about the size of a table tennis ball) out of this mixture. Fill a pot half or three quarters full of water, put on the stove and when it is boiling briskly, drop in the cassava balls. Close pot lid firmly and let balls cook in boiling water. When cooked, remove balls and place in a dish. Thicken the water in the pot by adding the other pile of grated cassava and stirring continuously until it is smooth and thick like porridge. Add some thick lolo to the mixture, stirring well, then add sugar to taste. When it is cooked, you can either return the balls to the mixture or keep them separately in the dish. Some people prefer their topoi to be smooth without any balls.

This can be eaten either hot or cold and makes an excellent porridge or dessert.

Submitted by Ethel Morris <edoloresmorris@gmail.com>


I used to make this a lot as it was a great favourite of family members. Although it took time to grate the tapioka, it was worth waiting for, and people over on the island have the time to wait -- there is no rushing or bustling about, no set time schedules to follow -- everything and everyone, moves at a leisurely pace!

This is a very simple recipe and all you will need is:

Grated tapioka
Sugar (optional)
Thick lolo
Banana Leaves (if you don't have banana leaves you can use greased oven bags) -- just be sure the water doesn't get into the bags.


Soften your banana leaves and remove the thick part of the midriff (be careful to keep the leaf intact). Grease the leaves with either lolo or cooking oil. Set them aside while you grate your tapioka finely. Mix some sugar into the grated tapioka (optional), place some of the tapioka mixture onto the center of a greased banana leaf and make a parcel (or teposi). Tie it up. Do the same with the remainder of the tapioka mixture. Place a big pot of water on to boil and when boiling briskly, carefully lower the teposi into the pot. Cover with a good tight lid and let it boil until the teposi is cooked (this should not take too long - about 15 minutes or so). While the teposi is cooking you can grate your coconuts and make your thick lolo.

Spill the water out of the pot and remove the parcels (teposi). Open the teposi and cut them up into fingers. Place them in a big dish. Serve each person with a small bowl of lolo for dipping and some slices of the teposi. Tastes delicious!!

Submitted by Ethel Morris <edoloresmorris@gmail.com>

SUA POFO (Sua means to stir, Pofo means lumps)

It takes skill and practice to make this delicious sweet, which can be likened to fekei. It is enjoyed by one and all and there never seems enough to go around. Like topoi, it takes a lot of preparation (only more) and so it is good to start the day before you plan to make this dish. I have heard many comical stories with regard to the cooking of this dish! One man accidentally got a lump of the very hot mixture on his foot and danced and hopped around the kohea in pain and frustration! Another man, in his great effort of stirring the mixture, overturned the pot into the hearth (puafta) among the mahala, and started screaming in anger and frustration, giving a couple of good kicks to the pot!! All this looked very comical to the onlookers, but the cook didn't think it was funny at all!!! You notice that I mention only men. Well, this recipe is usually only cooked by men as it involves using a lot of muscle in the stirring of the mixture (it gets very thick and difficult to stir) and you have to hold on to the pot tightly as well. So, one hand is used for holding and steadying the pot, and the other hand for stirring the thick mixture.

I learned to make this sweet through practice and now find it easy to make.

You will need the following: A good big sturdy pot, a muslin bag or cloth, and an ipesi (wooden stick used for the mixing of fekei). You will also need buckets and a large container.

The day before you make the suapofo, you must finely grate the tapiok (the more the tapiok, the more mara (starch) you will have. Make your mara by putting some of the grated tapiok into a clean muslin bag and immersing it in some water (be careful that the mouth of the bag does not open otherwise the tapiok will escape into the water). Squeeze the bag of tapiok and move it around in the water as you would do when losaing or mixing yaqona, to get all the starch out of it. Pour the milky water into a very large container or basin or bucket. Repeat this process in some clean water to make sure that all the starch has been educed. Keep repeating this until all the grated tapiok is finished. Let it stand for a few hours so that all the starch settles at the bottom of the large container. Pour the water out carefully and you will find your starch at the bottom -- scrape it or scoop it out into a basin and spread it in the sun to dry ready for the following day.


Mara (starch) made from grated tapiok (tapioka, manioka)


Place your mara in the large sturdy pot. Pour some water into it -- from half to one cup for a small lot (you will need more for larger amounts of mara - you will soon know from practice how much water to use). Mix the mara and water together with the ipesi until the mara is all dissolved. Place your pot over the fire or hearth (puafta) and keep stirring the mixture with the ipesi -- do not let up -- you must keep stirring. As the mixture thickens you will find it harder to stir and harder still to hold on to the pot. When it is very thick, add some rich lolo and keep stirring till the lolo is all absorbed. Now spoon some sugar in according to your taste and keep stirring the mixture. By this time the mixture should be in lumps and should have a shiny look. If the mixture doesn't get lumpy, it is a sign that too much water was used in the mixing. But it is still very good to eat like this and sort of slides down your throat when you eat it!

Suapofo tastes very much like the fekei niufo'ou.

Submitted by Ethel Morris <edoloresmorris@gmail.com>


The following method of cooking fish on the island of Rotuma is very popular and fish cooked in this way is very tasty and nourishing as well. As most people on the island are not fortunate enough to own a fridge, and as fish does not stay fresh for long, this method of cooking fish ensures that for two days at least, a family can be assured of having fish for their meals. If a telulu is well-cooked, it can be repeatedly reheated over live coals or a hot piece of iron, and taste just as fresh.

Any type of fish can be used, but I have found that the tastiest fish are the middle-sized ones such as Riki, Polo, etc. not forgetting the little black fish that is caught in shoals by the women and known as Tutu. These fish are very tasty! Even sea eels can be cooked this way.

There are two methods for making telulu, one of them is with tahroro (a thick sauce made from the half-matured coconut), and the other just using plain salt.

TELULU (Re Tahroro)

All you will need is fish and tahroro.


Banana leaves
Breadfruit leaves
Large sheet of tin or piece of iron
Cooking hearth 


Scale and gut your fish and remove the gills. Let them stand so that all the water drips out and they are nice and dry.

Remove the thick mid-riffs from the centres of the banana leaves making sure that the leaves are not torn. Pass them over an open fire to soften the leaves and make them pliable. Spread a leaf out. Sprinkle tahroro generously over the centre part of the leaf (closer to the top) and place a layer of fish on the top of the sauce (fish can be over-lapping each other). Sprinkle more tahroro between and over the fish. Make a parcel by folding the two sides of the banana leaf over the fish, and folding again from the bottom by bringing the bottom of the leaf up to cover the whole parcel and to meet the top part of the banana leaf. Place the parcel on a large breadfruit leaf and fold the breadfruit leaf around it to form a firm parcel. Tie the top together to keep the parcel intact and from unravelling. Repeat with the remainder of leaves and fish.

Place your large piece of iron or tin over the hearth fire and when the metal is very hot, place your telulu on top of it. Let the telulu cook for a while on one side (about 10 to 15 minutes) and then turn it over to cook the other side the same length of time. Usually by this time the breadfruit leaf has been badly burned or scorched, but the banana leaf parcel inside is intact and the fish is succulent and juicy and ready to be eaten. The smell of cooking telulu gives forth an appetizing aroma which makes your mouth water!

For the plain salt method, follow the same instructions using salt instead of tahroro.

Variations: Substitutes for the following:

Banana and breadfruit leaves  



Tin or iron 


Roti iron or hot plate



Grated cheese (blue vein or any other strong cheese (or plain yoghurt)


Try sprinkling some finely chopped mint or dhania (coriander) over the sauce you use. Add some finely crushed chillies to the sauce for those who like hot sauces.

Mrs Ethel Morris <edoloresmorris@gmail.com>


Po'oi vi has always been one of my favourite recipes. It is especially refreshing on hot days as a thirst quencher and nearly everyone enjoys it.

I remember those far-off days when we lived in Upu on the island of Rotuma. Many were the times when our ho'aga got together during the vi season and made large basins of po'oi outside under the shade of the trees where it was cool and everyone had their fill of this rich vi desert/drink.

I will not attempt to give exact measurements as it is best to leave it up to the person making the po'oi due to taste and texture. You will need the following ingredients:

Ripe vi or green ones (or a mixture of both)
Sugar to taste
Lolo (coconut milk)
Some grated coconut, or
Flesh of young coconuts (optional)
Water or Juice of the young coconuts (optional)
Ice cubes


Peel as many vi as you desire (depending on how many people). Grate them finely into a large basin, being very careful not to grate in the stringy parts of the vi. When that is done, add the sugar you intend to use and stir it all up. Let the mixture stand so the sugar can dissolve slowly.

While it is standing, grate your coconuts, the amount depending on the volume of po'oi you intend to make. Before squeezing the grated coconut, keep out a handful or two (optional). Strain your lolo or coconut cream into a jug.

If you intend to use the handfuls of grated coconut or the finely grated young coconut flesh, now is the time to add them to the vi and sugar mixture. Some people prefer not to use either of these as they prefer a smoother texture.

Pour your coconut milk into the mixture and mix well.

Now if you are planning to use the juice of the sweet young nuts, now is the time to pour it all into the mixture, otherwise, you can just pour some fresh water in instead. Use just enough water (ice water) so that there is enough po'oi to go around. Stir it all up and taste it to see if it is sweet enough (if not add more sugar). You can drop some ice cubes in the basin to keep the po'oi nice and cool.

Serve the po'oi in the grated halves of the coconut shells.

Mrs Ethel Morris <edoloresmorris@gmail.com>

All about fekei [from The Spinoff, 15 May 2022]

Also check out this photo essay by Hillary Morris about the making of fekei ulu (breadfruit fekei).

Here's an article about dunking biscuits that Steve Walker in Sydney, Australia came across on the ABC website and passed on. Since biscuits are such an important part of Rotuman culture we thought we should post it.

Wed, 25 Nov 1998

Britain's obsession with tea--and the pastime of soaking biscuits with it--has reached a new level after a physicist released a paper on dunking.

Optimum angles, perfect dunking times for different biscuits, wrist action to prevent dripping--it is all finally spelled out clearly for the hapless dunker in a research paper by Bristol University's Dr Len Fisher.

Dr Fisher used a belt-sander, an x-ray machine, a microscope, sensitive scales and even gold in coming up with his answers. And his recommendations? Use a wide-brimmed cup filled close to the brim, dunk at only a slight angle so only one side gets wet and turn the biscuit upside down when withdrawing so the dry side supports the wet.

Dunking times range from three seconds for a gingernut to eight for a digestive.

From Tivaknoa Sievinen in Stuart, Florida, USA

Here in Florida, we have access to fresh coconuts and also canned coconut milk. We use the canned milk with canned corned beef, fresh spinach, and onions, in heavy tinfoil, and cook it in the oven. A Samoan friend once told me that he used half & half cream when coconut milk was not available and it turned out just great. He also said that he used lettuce, but I have not tried it.

As for the fekei, my brother said that he had mixed the fekei uhi the regular way, and had cooked it in the microwave and it was good. I know left over fekei of any kind, heated up in the microwave, is great.

Straight from the cooking bure
an article in the Fiji Times by Geraldine Panapasa, Sunday, June 03, 2012