Recipe: Hot & Sour Dipping Sauce | Nước mắm pha

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Nước mắm pha is the quintessential Vietnamese dipping sauce, used on spring rolls, rice noodles, salads, and more. It's sweet, salty, and heavily spiced. A basic recipe includes freshly squeeze lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and water. The real flavor comes from garlic and fresh red chilies. I learned on Food Safari (a great food/travel show - catch it if you can!) that if the cook can get the garlic and chili pieces to float in the nước mắm pha, they will get … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce

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When I ask my mother how I'm related to Cousin Alfred, the answer usually goes: "Well..." and then there's a  contemplative silence. I can see her running through all our different relations, high up on the family tree, doing mental gymnastics to connect one branch to another. Eventually, she comes out with "I think he's my mothers, mother's cousin's"... and then, either she trails off, or my attention span wanes because, really, all that matters is that he is family, one way or … [Read more...]

Recipe: Watermelon Jam

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Imagine living in a place that has a National Holiday called "Melon Day."  You could be surrounded by more than 400 kinds of melon, including some 50 varieties of watermelon.* The cool, sweet flesh would fill your belly and spirit. Eating it would definitely make you smile. And spreading it on bread? Even better. If any of this appeals to you, you might want to consider moving to Turkmenistan. These lovely people have celebrated Melon Day since 1994, and they don't … [Read more...]

Recipe: Baharat

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I'm craving a little excitement. A little spice. In my younger years, I might have stayed out all night clubbing, I might have found a new crush,  or I might have packed my bags and drove off into the sunset without checking a map. Even worse, I might have done all three. Today, I think, I'll settle for something simpler. Something more manageable. Baharat is a popular Middle Eastern spice blend which often makes its way into kebabs and other meat preparations. There are countless … [Read more...]

Recipe: Syrian Lentils

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There's a whole head of garlic up in these cyber pages. By now you should be able to smell it through the screen. I know. You have boys to kiss. Important business meetings and no Altoids. You don't have time to smell like garlic. But indulge me for a moment, please. We've eaten a whole head of garlic on this Adventure before, as with our Lebanese garlic sauce Toum, but this time our garlic is making friends with lentils and Swiss chard. They bubble and steam up together, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Swiss Fondue (& Giveaway)

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If I had to face life or death, I'd choose Swiss Fondue. Every. Single. Time. This decision is purely based on personal experience. A) I know that life gets better whenever I dunk hunks of rustic bread into ooey-gooey cheese. To support my case, I must call attention to a fictional character: Heidi (does this help me or hurt me?). She knows all things are better with melted cheese because, apparently, this is the only thing she eats at her grandfather's house, on the flower dotted … [Read more...]

Recipe: Singapore Chilli Sauce

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The act of "saucing" food in Singapore is not as simple as I expected it to be. From what I can tell, there's two schools of thought on the matter. First: the 'dip & dunk' variety, a.k.a. those who keep a bowl of incendiary hot sauce next to their plates for regular food baths. Second: the 'drizzle & bedazzle' variety, a.k.a. those who let the sauce rain down over their food, free-form. While I wouldn't normally expect this to be a big deal, the foodies of Singapore are so … [Read more...]

Recipe: Coconut Curd | Kaya

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Singapore is a true melting pot. In every kitchen, you'll find time honored traditions from around the world, especially India, China, Malaysia, and Europe. Today's recipe, Kaya, belies the British influence on the islands. Think tea time and crumpets. But Asian-style. Here's the skinny: Kaya is Coconut Curd. Curd is a spread that's thickened with egg yolks... In this sense, Kaya is just like Britain's much adored lemon curd, but with the hauntingly addictive flavor of rich, velvety … [Read more...]