Have you ever eaten pukpuk? Chances are that you haven’t, though you may have tasted alligator. Pukpuk is the Tok Pisin word for crocodile, and Brian and I have recently decided to add it as a staple of our diet here in PNG. No, there are no crocodiles in the Highlands, where we live, but there are plenty in some of the coastal areas of PNG. We buy our pukpuk from the freezer section at the store. Crocodile tail is a pretty lean and healthy meat. It tends to take on the flavor of whatever you cook it with, and so it goes well in many dishes as a substitute for chicken. We like to marinate it and grill it. Also, at about $2.50 per pound, it’s by far the cheapest meat that we have available here, which is helpful for those months when you need to tighten the belt a bit.
Here is the recipe we used last night, in case you get a hankering to try it. (You could also substitute chicken) We served the grilled pukpuk over salad with guacamole. Yum!
Chili-Lime Crocodile Kabobs
3 Tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1-1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp minced garlic
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. crocodile tail, cubed
Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and seasonings together to make the marinade. Place crocodile meat in a shallow dish, add marinade and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Thread cubed meat onto skewers. Grill for about 5 minutes, turn and grill about 5 minutes more.