Lovo is a traditional Fijian dish that involves cooking food in an underground oven, also known as an “earth oven” or “imu.” The food is wrapped in banana or taro leaves and placed in the earth oven, which has been heated with hot stones. The food is then cooked slowly, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the leaves and the smoke from the hot stones. Here is a recipe for making lovo at home:
- 4 lbs of your choice of protein (such as chicken, pork, or fish)
- 4 lbs of root vegetables (such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and taro)
- 4 lbs of starchy vegetables (such as plantains, cassava, and breadfruit)
- Banana or taro leaves
- Hot stones
- Build your earth oven by digging a hole in the ground that is about 2 feet deep and 4 feet wide. Line the bottom of the hole with hot stones.
- Cut the protein into large pieces and place them in a large bowl. Peel and chop the root vegetables into large pieces and add them to the bowl with the protein.
- Wrap the protein and vegetables in banana or taro leaves, making sure to completely enclose them. Place the wrapped packets on top of the hot stones in the earth oven.
- Cover the earth oven with a layer of soil or sand, making sure to seal the edges tightly to keep the heat in.
- Allow the food to cook for several hours, checking it periodically to ensure that it is cooking evenly. The food is ready when it is tender and flavorful.
- Remove the food from the earth oven and unwrap the packets. Serve the lovo with the starchy vegetables and any desired condiments or sauces. Enjoy!
Note: If you don’t have access to an earth oven, you can also cook lovo in a traditional oven or on a grill. Simply wrap the protein and vegetables in banana or taro leaves and cook them slowly over low heat until they are tender.