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| Inspiration | Sapasui – a dish made to be shared: Celebrating Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa

Sapasui – a dish made to be shared: Celebrating Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa

I felt quite nervous trying to create a Sapasui recipe for Samoan Language Week. Who was I, a Polish palagi, to attempt to cook this much-loved traditional dish. However, I was up for the challenge. I’d certainly seen it cooked enough times, had Samoan ladies share the recipe verbally with me, and had definitely eaten plenty of this delicious dish to know the taste and texture required. But would my version pass the eagle-eyed review of the Sapasui critics?

Check out Regina's Sapasui recipe here.

During my 5+ years of working in Pacific public health with the Heart Foundation’s Pacific Heartbeat team, I had supported many nutrition health promoters to share a healthier version of Sapasui with their communities. We created a recipe that uses a lot, and I mean a lot less soy sauce than the traditional recipe and a lot more vegetables. Why you may ask?

Firstly the traditional recipe often has only one onion as a vegetable, and we know for our health we need to up our game and try to increase our fruit and vege intake to 7+ a day. This is according to the most recently released Ministry of Health 'Eating and Activity Guidelines for Adults'. So the Pacific Heartbeat version included plenty of extra vegetables.

Secondly, soy sauce is really high in sodium which is linked to high blood pressure, a risk factor for developing kidney and cardiovascular disease, especially stroke. So if you have any health issues and need to reduce sodium in your diet, you’d best opt for the Heart Foundations healthier version. You can find it in their recently updated cookbook Pasifika Tastes. At the same time check out the other healthier versions of traditional Pasifka recipes.

I was not alone in the creation of my Sapasui recipe. I did have backup through my good friend and ex-work colleague Sam Misionare Lafolua. He reviewed the recipe, without suggesting any changes (whew!) and generously translated it into Samoan for us for Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa. Fa’afetai Sam and if I get any critics, I’ll send them your way….just joking!

I’m not sure if my Sapasui will pass the grade, but we all enjoyed eating it at the office and I noted when I went to take the leftovers home that my work aiga (family) had cleared out the pot before I got there. No problems, Sapasui is a dish that is made to be shared.

Posted by Regina Wypych

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