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: Massalé Spice Blend

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The spice drawer is the most sensual part of any kitchen. On the inside seemingly innocuous  dry, brittle seeds rattle around, each with the power to take our minds from continent to content, country to country. All we need is a little warmth to coax their magic out and something like a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Today's daydream takes us the Seychelles where they enjoy this haunting spice blend called "massalé" (a variation on Indian garam masala)  in coconut fish curries. The … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tandoori marinade for fish or chicken

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"It smells good in here." That's what Keith said as he wandered by. I was leaning in, photographing spoonfuls of spices that I'd later mix with yogurt for beautiful tandoori marinade. There was sweet, grassy coriander and bright lemon juice. Tangy yogurt and earthy garam masala. The ingredients slid together into intoxicating deliciousness - not without a bit of sass thanks to the fresh ginger and spicy garlic. Tandoori is enjoyed from Pakistan to India ... even, as we learned this week, as … [Read more...]

Recipe: Mango & Ginger Chutney

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Sometimes life throws us some pretty major "boulders" - huge, overwhelming problems we can't seem to solve, let alone nudge out of the way. In Namibia, you can find a lot of these boulders, literally. Strangely out of proportion, these massive stones perch atop bald, widswept vistas. I like to think of these formiddable boulders as mangoes. Yes, mangoes. Something that, if given enough time, will soften and sweeten and delight you. Why can't all problems be this way? Today's recipe … [Read more...]

Recipe: Lemon & Garlic Piri Piri (with poll)

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Welcome to golden, fire-breathing sunshine. This is piri piri, a famous hot sauce in Africa which has hundreds (thousands!) of variations. Today's rendition comes from Mozambique, where bright lemon juice meets smooth olive oil, tiny hot peppers, and a healthy scoop of red pepper flakes. Piri Piri has her roots in Portuguese culture, whose influence is still felt today in Mozambique. Keep in mind that you can make piri piri by mincing a mountain of hot peppers, if you're brave. In that … [Read more...]

Recipe: Moldovan Preserved Peppers

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Logistically speaking, peppers make for really great dinners. They're healthy. They're big on sweet, juicy flavor. The don't go bad quickly. And they go with nearly anything. But when you have a veggie garden, figuring out how to use up all your peppers can be a nightmare. Heck, even if you don't garden it can be a challenge to take advantage of the fresh produce at the market (hello, sale prices!). Today, thanks to Moldova, we're going to solve that. We've already had several great … [Read more...]

Recipe: Toasted Coconut Paste for Curries (Kerisik) (w/ poll)

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If you want to feel totally epic, trying making kerisik, a toasted, ground coconut paste that looks a great deal like natural peanut butter. Kerisik is used in Malaysia to thicken and flavor curries, like Beef Rendang. There's something incredibly rewarding about making your own, whether you do it the traditional way (in a mortar and pestle) or the modern way (in a food processor). In just ten minutes your entire home fills with the warm smell of toasted coconut. For my kerisik, I used 14 … [Read more...]

Recipe: Roast Beet Slaw with Spicy Horseradish

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It may have happened when you were five. Or maybe, just maybe, not until today. Either way, this much I know for sure: there comes a time in every person's life when they come face to face with the mighty beet. Some will cower or run away, while others - like the Lithuanians, will chow down with enthusiasm. In this traditional slaw, roasted beets blend with tear-inducing horseradish and vinegar...creating a spicy, sour accompaniment that goes particularly well with beef and fish. P.S. Start … [Read more...]