Recipe: Paraguayan Cheesy Cornbread | Sopa Paraguaya

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Rumor has it, no meal is complete in Paraguay without a slice of warm, cheesy cornbread. While sopa means soup in Spanish, this is definitely bread and... traditionally, all mixed up with a happy bundle of homemade cheese. One of our readers - Emily - says everyone in Paraguay makes their own cheese so that this would be no big deal to a local. I read up on the origins of this bread... there are two main versions. In the first version, Don Carlos ( President of Paraguay from 1842-62) … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tapioca & Banana Dumplings in Coconut Milk | Saksak (w/ poll)

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I don't make a lot of really, really weird things on this blog. You won't see deep-fried tarantulas or monkey brains. This is because I feel strongly that regular people (and by that I mean regular-really-special-all-kinds-of-wonderful  people like you), living in average towns (that they love with all their heart, like you do) should be able to replicate this adventure without pulling their hair out by the roots. Simply put: the more people cooking the world, the better. And I'm here … [Read more...]

Recipe: Plantain Chips with Sea Salt | Tostones

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Fried plantain chips are a slice-it and deep-fry-it situation that you'll find all over Panama (and beyond). They're the kind of yummy you can enjoy whether you're grouchy and glum or over-the-moon happy. Today I made a nice "thick cut" chip - for a little crispy-chewy action, although tostones are often shaved skinny, like potato chip. Either way you'll find it helpful to use a mandolin for nice, even slices. This is nothing like a sweet banana (looks can be deceiving). This is … [Read more...]

Recipe: Grilled Plantain spears with crushed peanuts | Boli Bopa

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This is so quick, it's silly. All you need are a few medium-ripe plantains (as pictured), some red palm oil, and a bit of salt & hot pepper. You can find the red palm oil at your natural grocer or, if you're lucky enough to have an African market, there. You brush on the red palm oil (back in the day I wrote a bit about this popular west African oil)... Sprinkle with salt and whatever spices you like (think hot, like cayenne... or mild, like paprika)... Grill until tender and … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cardamom Caakiri

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There are very few things that surprise me any more. A toddler falling apart five minutes past her bedtime? Predictable. Going twice as long between mowings in the 100F-mid-July-inferno? Guaranteed. Two things that do succeed at surprising me? The last season of Lost (no spoilers please!) and using couscous to make a tangy-sweet pudding. Yes. I'm considering eating caakiri while watching Lost to see if the surprises cancel each other out. It could happen. So. Let's back up a moment and … [Read more...]

Recipe: Moroccan Honey Buttered Semolina “Crater” Pancakes | Beghrir

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Oh, goodness. Where do I even begin? Do you see that honey dripping off the edge of the crater cakes? Each drop is perfumed with the haunting aroma of orange blossom water and butter. Hello. I mean, really. I'm pretty sure I can just pack up and go home now. My job is done. Talk about good-glorious-eats! But, for those few who aren't yet sure if this Moroccan treat - officially called Beghrir - is right for their breakfast table, let me continue. These semolina pancakes aren't … [Read more...]

Recipe: Chickpea Crepes (Socca)

Photo by Florian K.

I am ready for a day-dreamy sort of day. One where I walk along the pier and smell the salty, ocean air...  On this easy-breezy day I'll nibble  bits of crispy socca - an olive oil and chickpea based crêpe popular along the riviera. On this day I do not stumble. I do not stain my shirt. Nothing I say sounds silly and I'm free of heartache. Yes, there are days when a crêpe can do this for you... ...especially if enjoyed in glitzy Monaco, with diamonds on the soles of your … [Read more...]

Recipe: Mamaliga (Dense Cornmeal “Bread”)

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I've done it standing in front of my refrigerator at midnight. I've done it at 8:30 in the morning, right after eating a complete breakfast. I've even done it in celebration of eating all my veggies. I fill my belly with bowlfuls of carbs - pasta, bread, potatoes, or rice - it really doesn't matter. Simply put: I'm carb crazy. Enter Mamaliga, Moldova's favorite side dish (and Romania's, too). Carb-tastic. This thick, dense polenta is made with corn meal (the coarser the better), water, and … [Read more...]