A potato and pea curry from Pakistan. All photos courtesy of Clara Wiggins.
It was the summer of 2008, and we had just moved to Islamabad, caught in an intense heat that trapped us indoors, where the air-conditioning made life bearable. I had a toddler and a baby, my husband was at work all day, and most of the other families on the compound of the British High Commission where we lived were away for the holidays. Until our container of goods turned up, we didn’t even have more than a handful of toys.
Into this miserable situation came Ansa—like a savior in her beautiful flowing shalwar kameeze, helping me with child care, taking on the cleaning, being someone for me to talk to,...Read More
Photos courtesy Neha Khullar
Neha Khullar's new cookbook, Palate Passport, has a mission we can relate to: “Travel the world using food as a compass.” We asked her a few questions about how the book came to be.
Please tell us a little about your background as a writer, traveler and cook.
Traveling is something that I’ve had the privilege to do since I was a child. I come from a globally spread-out family, which meant we traveled to see each other! Each phase of my life has consisted of travel and a love for eating local food. I’ve consistently returned from trips with a desire to cook that food once I was back home. Writing and telling stories came to me in my 20s when I...
A recipe for Romania's most essential, homiest, heartiest dish, straight out of the countryside: mamaliga.
All photos by Alex Chirita
My boyfriend and I had just arrived in Băcani, a small rural village in northeast Romania, about five hours from Bucharest by train. Before we could even hang up our coats and put down our bags, a pot of bright yellow mamaliga was being stirred in the kitchen. It was well after 10 p.m., but there was no question we’d be having a home-cooked Romanian meal before heading to bed.
And I’m so happy we did.
Made of corn flour, water, and salt, polenta-like mamaliga is as common as bread in Romania. In fact, it used to be known as “poor man’s...Read More
Spam fried rice, Hawaiian meatballs, coconut chicken, pani popo—we’ve got you covered with recipes fit for Moana. Or just your next Polynesian party.
Recently we agreed to host a Moana viewing party for some friends in our building, ranging in age from 1.5 to early 50s. Providing the couch and the TV was easy enough, and tropical cocktails seemed essential, but what where we going to eat? The answer, of course, was Polynesian food. And what was that, exactly?
In the film, Moana and her people are presented as generic Polynesian, displaying traits from several cultures in that part of the world: Hawaiian, Samoan, Maori, Tahitian, Fijian, and more. The story incorporates...Read More
In this special guest post, we hear from Laurie Vaquer, founder of soon-to-be-launched Take Me Cooking, a platform that will enable local cooks to share their cooking with travelers around the world. Her inspiration comes from a particularly special trip to Zanzibar. (Bonus: She shares some of her favorite Zanzibari recipes.)
Ingredients for a Zanzibari feast. All photos by Laurie Vaquer.
In the past few years, I’ve gone to Zanzibar three times, and I’d return in a heartbeat. My second visit was in December 2015; I was staying with friends in the capital city, Stone Town. As I wandered the narrow streets and admired some beautiful typical Zanzibari wooden doors, I thought of...Read More
A quick recipe for burek, aka pita, from a cooking class in the mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
All photos by Gigi Griffis
Ask anyone who has been to Bosnia and Herzegovina—the lush, mountainous Balkan country where Europe’s most recent war was waged just 20 years ago—about the food and you’ll get the same answers every time.
They’ll tell you about pita bread stuffed with cevapi, the local minced-meat sausage made from lamb, pork, or beef. They’ll tell you about ajvar—thick, tart red pepper sauce served with pretty much every meat dish in the country. And, undoubtedly, they’ll tell you about burek, the king of Bosnian dishes: an extremely thin pastry filled with meat and...Read More
Our writer details how to make healthy, delicious congee two ways: one traditional, one modern.
"American Girl Porridge," courtesy of Kimberly Nichols
My obsession with Asian porridges started years ago, when I found the cheaply made and nutritious bowl of ancient Chinese food called congee listed as one of the most nutritious foods in the world, according to my global herbalism textbook. It was noted that many a spry monk in the Himalayas considered three plain bowls of soupy rice a day the key to vibrant health and longevity. To that end, my herbal course suggested mixing up the plain, lovingly long-cooked rice and water recipe with a myriad of fun additions like herbs,...Read More
An easy recipe for limoncello, your new favorite DIY tipple.
All photos courtesy of Stephanie Andrews
Limoncello: It’s a tummy tamer, an after-dinner delight. Italy’s liquid courage. Behold the power of lemons and their ability to quickly turn your evening into a whirling dervish if you aren’t careful. This isn’t something you knock back like a pint, lest you be knocked right on your butt.
When I touched down in Florence, after weeks of weary travel, I had no idea that this city and its love for this neon libation would leave such a lasting impact—and, fortunately, no headache. After every evening meal, once our plates had been whisked away, a small cocktail glass appeared in...Read More
Pesto is big in our house. Huge. Pesto with pine nuts, pesto with walnuts. Traditional basil pesto, kale pesto, radish leaf pesto. We love it; our kids love it. It’s probably the best way I know to serve fistfuls of raw greens to unsuspecting toddlers.
But then I was introduced to a new kind of pesto: Peruvian pesto. Well, technically it’s called tallarines verdes, or green noodles, a nod to the spaghetti that’s typically a vehicle for the stuff. There are major differences between this and real Italian pesto, but it is a tangible product of Italian immigrants in Peru, adapted to fit local ingredients and taste. We ordered it one night at a local Peruvian restaurant for my...Read More
Gnocchi alla Romana with slow-cooker beef shank
We had planned a relaxing day at the beach. Well, as relaxing as one might get with a 1- and 3-year-old. My husband was home from work that day, so I figured it’d be a good night to cook something semi-ambitious. He’d be around to help watch kids while I mixed and cut gnocchi alla Romana, or Roman-style gnocchi—a semolina-based gnocchi that predates the Northern potato-dumpling gnocchi we all know, and a recipe I’ve had my eye on for a while.
Ah, plans. What’s that saying about the best-laid ones?? First, we left late because I needed to prep the other half of the meal—slow-cooked beef shanks—and while I was searing the meat...Read More
A few months ago in Louisville, Kentucky, we went hunting for beer cheese. Much in the vein of England's Welsh rarebit, this state specialty combines cheese with beer and spices in a dip of sorts and serves it, traditionally, with crackers. It turned out beer cheese wasn't terribly hard to find in Louisville; brewpubs served it with pretzels and even the farmers market had a stand selling the stuff. But it wasn't until we went to Eiderdown, a restaurant in Germantown, late one afternoon, that we really got the appeal of the stuff.
A local guy—whose apartment we were renting via Airbnb—told us Eiderdown had "perfected the perfect...
We are the first to admit these cookies don’t qualify as “regional food”—unless, of course, you were to look at American holiday cuisine as a whole, but that’s a stretch, isn’t it? The thing is, we don’t bake much in the way of sweets, but these have become something of a Halloween tradition for us, delicious and adorable and simple to make, and therefore worth sharing with our food-loving readers. The “artistic” part of making those spiders is a bit labor-intensive, truth be told, but overall this is a pretty easy way to impress your friends/kids/coworkers. (And you get to eat the ones you mess up.)
This recipe from Jen’s Favorite Cookies has never let us down, although we add a...Read More
The Dutch stroopwafel, or syrup waffle, is a cookie unique to the Netherlands; it’s been eaten there for centuries. The history of this delicacy dates back to 1784, when a baker from the town of Gouda baked a waffle using old crumbs and spices, and filled it with syrup. Because it was made with leftovers, the stroopwafel was, at the time, a popular pastry among the poor, known only in Gouda. Today, every bakery in Gouda has its own particular recipe for these delicious sweet, sticky waffles, and they’re found across the country (including, of course, in Amsterdam).
Stroopwafels are made with two thin crispy waffles, filled and glued together with a special caramel-like syrup....Read More
It was our first night in Chiang Mai. After a 24-hour journey of buses, overnight trains, and general mishap, all my friend Noele and I wanted were long showers and a great meal. Before this trip, we’d had dreams of Thailand’s notorious midnight raves, but even then, our real draw to the “country of smiles” was the food. We wanted authentic pad Thai, exotic fruits, robust coffee—all of it.
We found our addiction early on. We were seated at the night market, surrounded by one of everything—heaping plates of fried rice, stir-fried seafood with sprigs of leafy basil—but our forks couldn’t stop dipping into the som tam. The spicy green-papaya salad has long been a favorite in many...Read More
Contrary to what you might gather from your neighborhood Chinese eatery, there isn’t really a fixed recipe for fried rice. It evolved from throwing leftovers in the wok to stir-fry—one of the sustainable ways the older generation ensured every scrape of food was eaten, not wasted—and voilà, you get a really tasty variety of dishes.
Fried rice tastes best, therefore, with leftover, day-old rice: The grains lose moisture overnight, giving them a harder, crunchier texture—perfect for this dish—and they’re less likely to clump when you stir-fry them with everything else. Cook the rice the night (or at least several hours) before, leave it out to cool for an hour or so, then put it in...Read More
Photo courtesy of Chris Davis
Crawfish boils are a springtime rite of passage in southern Louisiana, whether you’re in a bar, at a festival, or in a friend’s backyard. I’ll never forget the boil we went to, at New Orleans’ Maple Leaf Bar, where a small door fee covered both music and food (the Uptown bar holds crawfish boils on Sunday nights during the season). In an alley outside the bar, we glimpsed the giant pot of critters, and all the delicious stuff going in along with them—mushrooms, corn, potatoes, quail, andouille and boudin sausages—and knew we were in for a treat.
Backyard boils are, of course, more the local way, the equivalent of having friends over for beers and a...Read More
I woke up to a loud pitter-patter on my tin roof—another cold, gray morning in central Cambodia. The rainy season had stretched on for weeks and left me with a perpetual sniffle and a cough I couldn’t shake. I needed to eat something to warm my belly.
I ventured into my village’s winding market for breakfast, the dirt ground muddy and wet. Older ladies and schoolchildren grabbing a meal before class hunched below the market’s makeshift sheet-metal rooftops, slurping up porridge from mismatched sets of porcelain bowls. I settled in at my favorite vendor’s stall, a little stand with nothing more than a rice cooker, a portable burner, a sagging wooden bench, and a young girl with a...Read More
It was a rainy morning, as usual, in Galicia. At the weekly mercado de abastos, bustling with shoppers from nearby villages, a huge tent with communal wood tables and an enormous pile of wooden plates waited for customers to arrive, myself included. Outside, in the entrance, a line of cauldrons bubbled while the pulpeiras dipped pieces of octopus in and out—one, two, three times—before releasing them to the boiling depths. Nearby, a woman sliced up the cooked tentacles, laying them upon the wooden plates; a man next to her finished the dish—called polbo á feira—with a sprinkle of salt and Spanish hot paprika, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. It proved an efficient...Read More
Photo by Naomi Bishop.
While most American families got up early on Easter morning to hunt about their lawns for eggs, my friend (and partner-in-foraging) Leslie, trusty canine companion Roger, and I were combing Grayland beach, on the southwest Washington coast, for razor clams (OK, Roger mostly just ran in circles). There were no bunnies or pastel plastic eggs to be found on this shoreline, just a rainbow of gray, with little definition between the muted-steel sky and the faint slate of the ocean. My eyes were trained on the muddy taupe of the sand most of the day, scanning for “tells,” the tiny, dime-size indents that indicate a clam lurking just below the surface.
It was late...Read More
We’re a little obsessed with Georgian food lately. In Brooklyn, we nearly split our pants eating the simple, rich cuisine, in meals bookmarked by addictive soupy meat dumplings (khinkali) and buttery cheese-stuffed bread (khachapuri). While cruising Turkey’s Black Sea coastline last fall for hazelnuts and pide, we were tempted to just keep on driving to Tbilisi, to conduct our own taste tests of the two countries’ various dolmas (stuffed vegetables), one of several dishes reflecting the countries’ shared Ottoman heritage. So when Anna, a Georgian friend in New Jersey, offered to cook us a homemade Georgian feast last month, we naturally accepted without hesitation.
The spread...Read More
For this guest post, Tim and Nat Harris of food and travel blog A Cook Not Mad share with us the recipe for caillette (“ky-YET”), a pork-and-greens meatball dish from south-central France that dates to the 16th century.
The first time we visited Les Vans, a small town in the Ardèche department of France, we fell in love with it. It was quaint, and because it was 15 years ago and during the off-season, we shared the village with only its 2,660 inhabitants. We had rented an apartment from a family friend for a month and spent our time exploring the nearby mountains and villages extensively, foraging for wild mushrooms and chestnuts, making soups and confiture.
The couple who...Read More
Every summer, Cape Cod is among our favorite go-to escapes, a long weekend with local friends for which we’re always in for lots of boating, clamming, lobstering, swimming, and, of course, eating. (As we’ve previously admitted, however, we are pretty bad about working when we’re in this area.) New Year’s weekend marked our first winter trip to the Cape, and it proved a long-overdue visit with its snowy conservation lands and starkly beautiful shores, transformed by snowdrifts and the absence of tourists. Of course, we spent a lot of time indoors, and when we weren’t in front of the fireplace, we were in the kitchen.
Wintry Wellfleet, Cape Cod
Hiking the woods in East...
It’s so simple, yet so easy to screw up: Making rice is at the heart of Japanese cuisine, and our friend Megumi recently shared with us exactly how it should be done, as well as instructions for making vinegared sushi rice and temaki, or hand-rolled sushi. All photos by Trix Rosen, copyright 2012.
A basic salmon temaki
The Japanese are rice eaters. Traditionally we eat cooked, short-grain rice almost every day. So we are very fussy about rice: its freshness, texture, firmness, softness, flavor, moisture, size, and shininess. Good rice is grown in the areas where the water is fresh and clean. Of course, the fresher, the better! The new crop that arrives in the market every fall...Read More
My introduction to Portuguese cataplana stew couldn’t have been in a more traditional and idyllic setting. Facing the coast on the Algarve, in southern Portugal, in great company and the light of a beautiful sunset, I sat awaiting a dish I’d seen on almost every blackboard menu during my time in this region. Having been assured of the freshest, tastiest ingredients by the enthusiastic waiters, my expectations were high for this local dish. My group of four opted to share two large cataplanas so we could try both the meat and seafood variations.
The Algarve, where cataplana is most popular. Photo: Alexandra Jackson
While we sipped red wine and picked at a basket of bread and warm...Read More
In this guest post, Sukanya of the food and travel blog Saffronstreaks shares with us the recipe for a favorite Bengali milk-based sweet from Kolkata (Calcutta): aam sandesh, or Indian fudge infused with mango. Of course, this “fudge” is not made with chocolate but with cottage-cheese-like chhana (also spelled chenna); the translation stems more from the dish’s texture. For more on milk-based treats from India, check out our Delhi sweets section.
Bengalis’ love for sweets is a well-known affair, and sandesh (“fudge”) is one they particularly adore. The great Bengali luncheon always ends on a sweet note,
and it doesn’t stop there; it continues with late-afternoon tea and dinner as...
A few months ago, we published a Q&A with a saunier, or sea salt harvester, from Île de Ré, a small island off the west coast of France. In it, our subject mentions two can’t-miss dishes from the island, both of which make good use of its famous salt: sea bass baked in a salt crust and fava beans à la croque en sel. EYW contributor Cristina Sciarra, who’s just returned from the area—see our new Charente-Maritime food section—notes that these dishes are not as commonly offered in restaurants as prepared at home. Here she tells us how to make them.
Sea bass baked in a salt crust
Buying (and cooking) whole fish is not only more economical than buying filets, but it’s also a lot...Read More
We recently had the pleasure of cooking one evening with our friend Megumi, who shared with us these favorite warm-weather recipes from Japan. Both are very simple and fresh-tasting, perfect for the dog days of summer. Below she describes each in her own words.
Hiyayakko (Cold Tofu)
Tofu was one of the foods we ate almost every day when I was a child. Back then it was not mass-produced, and there were many local tofu makers. My mother bought fresh tofu every morning from a neighborhood grocery store, often using it for miso soup. But on a hot summer day, we had hiyayakko as a side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This remains one of the most popular tofu side dishes enjoyed...Read More
Before I met my French boyfriend and his family, my culinary repertoire was sadly devoid of small sea creatures. Sure, I might occasionally have ordered mussels when out to dinner, but let’s face it—those mussels tasted only of what they were sauced with. I had never tried a clam or oyster, nor did I particularly care to. Scallops made me cringe. I was also fairly certain that sardines and anchovies were probably the
But my shellfish ignorance was not to last. When I moved to Paris three years ago, my boyfriend and I started making regular excursions to his familial home in Angoulins sur Mer, a fishing village nestled into the western coast of France, famous for its...Read More
A few summers ago, I conducted my graduate-school research at a health clinic in a batey, or rural community, about an hour north of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana’s high-end resorts and all-you-can-eat buffets are a stark contrast to the impoverished former sugarcane plantations that make up the bateys in the island’s interior. Electricity is rare and subject to apagaones (blackouts) that can last an entire day, which has serious consequences for rural health clinics trying to operate blood labs and store vaccines—and severely limits the menu dished up for clinic staff.
During my 10-week stay, I slept on the floor of an empty clinic room with a handful of...Read More
If you’re still hungry for North Indian food after our post on papri chaat and butter paneer masala, check out this post on Foodists.ca, in which we expound on our discovery of, and love for, chole bhature (curried chickpeas with fried bread). Recipe included, of course.Read More
A half-year after returning home from a few weeks in North India, I thought it would be a good idea to cook some Indian dishes for friends. Twelve friends, to be exact.
It wasn’t long after I emailed said friends that I began questioning the wisdom of this decision.
Indian food is notoriously difficult for a non-Indian to pull off. Sure, having access to the right spices is half the battle, but in past experiments with an Indian cookbook, I’ve found that the spice ratio often seems off. For all the toasting and grinding of seeds called for, there’s never anywhere near the amount of flavor one expects, certainly nothing like the richness radiating from most Indian-restaurant dishes....Read More
In this new EYW Blog series, our writers will feature recipes of dishes they’ve encountered while away and re-created at home.
A few gluttonous days in New Orleans are hard to beat, but while you can’t bring home the city’s soulful live music or lighthearted survivor spirit, you can at least attempt to make some of its classic foods in the daiquiri-free confines of your own kitchen. After my last trip to NOLA, I spent a week back in New York dreaming about beignets and BBQ shrimp before my husband and I got our acts together, invited some friends over, and set up a Sazerac bar. We were having a NOLA dinner party, damn it!
My mind wandered to what’s quick and delicious, and...Read More