Meet Traveling Spoon host Nayna. As a freelance food and travel writer, Nayna knows a lot about good food. While Nayna lives in Manila, she is also an avid traveler and adventurous eater, having grown up surrounded by the tastes and aromas of her grandmother’s kitchen. She loves experimenting with family recipes and adding new dishes to her repertoire, always ensuring that everything she prepares is made from scratch. Read on for her recipe on how to make a delicious dish of tofu & kangkong adobo, Filipino-style.
Our Chennai host, Sundari is bringing you the recipe for a delicious and popular South Indian tea-time snack, dal fritters. Made with chickpeas and deep-fried to crispy perfection, dal fritters provide the health benefits of chickpeas along with the renowned tastiness of fried foods. Keep reading for a taste of traditional South Indian cuisine enjoyed straight from your own kitchen. Thank you Sundari!
Pepes ikan, or fish steamed in banana leaves, is one of Indonesia’s best dishes. Here’s how you can re-create this deliciously flavorful version of tuna pepes, thanks to our host Putu. Read on for more.
A salad featuring fresh coconut? Count us in! Sayur Urab, translated to mean “mixed vegetables”, is a classic Balinese dish that is perfect for anyone looking to spice up their salads in a flavorful and exciting way. Follow host Wayan’s recipe below for a delicious, healthy dish that will give you a glimpse into authentic Balinese cooking without having to leave your kitchen.
The lotus, or bua, is an important symbol in Thai culture as a sacred flower in Buddhist tradition. Within Thai cuisine, various parts of the lotus are eaten. With its abundance of minerals and vitamins, the lotus has several health benefits, such as increased bone density, healthier heart function, improved digestion, and better blood circulation. Ever wondered how you could cook lotus and make a delicious meal? Our host Pink in Bangkok shared with us her recipe for this deliciously savory traditional Thai dish, stir-fried lotus runners with shrimp. Read on for more.
Spanakotiropita, a cheesy version of the renowned Greek spinach pie, spanakopita, is a must-try dish when you visit Greece. Essential to creating that perfect flaky texture is setting the pie with layers of phyllo dough. Phyllo dough pies have a rich history rich built around tradition, practicality, and deliciousness. Back in the day, it was a farmer’s go-to lunch meal because the spinach, cheese, and flaky dough packed just the right amount of punch, in its own self-contained package, to last a day’s worth of strenuous labor. In this recipe, our host, Christina, perfects centuries of tradition, as inspired by her own grandmother’s pies, to make a delicious spinach pie that you can re-create in your own kitchen.
Gulai kepala ikanor, or fish head curry, is a popular dish in Malaysia, and it is widely served during family get togethers and occasions such as birthdays and during breaking of the fast. During Ramadan, the Muslim holy month currently being observed (June 5 – July 5), many Muslims fast from dawn until sunset and then enjoy a meal to break the fast. When we reached out to our hosts to collect recipes they use during the Ramadan holiday, we heard from host Halim in Kuala Lumpur, “[this is a] favorite family dish that is served during family get togethers such as birthdays and during breaking of the fast. It is one of my family favorites. I cook this when all my children gather at my house…I know a lot of Americans are not used to see a fish head being serving as a main dish, that is why I chose this dish for you to feature!” It’s true, while fish head is not a popular ingredient in many western dishes, the fish head is full of tender meat and flavor that creates incredible stews and curries. We love getting to feature some of the authentic favorite family dishes of our hosts around the world.
Read on to re-create this authentic fish head curry recipe yourself!
Malaysian Fish Head Curry (gulai kepala ikanor)
1 fish head (grouper or snapper), about 1 kg or 2.5 lb
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp or 1 oz of fish curry, mixed in 3 tbsp of water to make a paste
1/4 cup of tamarind soaked in 1 cup of water
3 cups coconut milk
3 tomatoes, cut in half
5 fresh red chilies
5 fresh green chilies
1.5 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
Ingredients for spice paste
15 dried chilies, soaked in hot water (use more or less for desired spice preference)
4-5 bulbs of shallots
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
1 tbsp of galangal
2 tsp of shrimp paste
Clean the fish head. If you prefer cut them into smaller pieces. (The fish monger can do this for you). Mix in the salt. Set aside.
Blend the ingredients for the spice paste (you can use a large mortar and pestle or a Cuisinart). Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or a pot over medium-high heat. Add the spice paste mixture and fry for about 3 minutes or until fragrant and the oil separates.
Then add in the tamarind water (removing the tamarind) and coconut milk. Bring it to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add in the okra, then the tomatoes. Next add in the red and green chilies. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Finally, add in the fish head. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Pour into a large serving bowl and serve with white rice.
One of the most traditional sauces of Puebla cuisine is adobo, a rich, chili-based sauce that is different from its global adobo cousins in that it does not include any vinegar. In this recipe, our host Rocio in Puebla creates an authentic, homemade version of Mexican Chicken Adobo Poblano. Poblano cuisine is that which comes from the region of Puebla in central Mexico, and is characterized by meats often poached and braised in chili, nut and tomato-based sauces. This dish poaches chicken in aromatics and then simmers the succulent chicken in a rich sauce of chilis and tomatoes. Read on to re-create this authentic home cooked recipe yourself!
Authentic Mexican Adobo Poblano Recipe
For the adobo sauce
3 dried guajillo chiles
3 dried puya chiles
6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cinnamon stick (Mexican canela, if available)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 clove garlic
vegetable oil as necessary
salt to taste
For the chicken
4 pieces skinless, bone-in chicken (if using large pieces cut them in half or in quarters so they cook more quickly and are easier to serve. The amount of chicken can easily be adjusted since it is poached separately from the sauce)
1 tomato, cut in half
1 whole clove garlic
Few sprigs of cilantro, tied together in a bundle if desired
1 whole carrot
1 small stalk celery (optional)
Corn tortillas, to serve
To make the adobo sauce, first prepare the chiles: Heat a dry cast iron skillet or another heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat and carefully toast the chilies (if you have a comal from your travels to Mexico now is the time to use it!). Do not rinse the chiles prior to toasting them. As they toast, they will darken and may blister. Watch them carefully, turning often to ensure that they do not burn. Once they are toasted, cool the chiles so they can be handled and remove the seeds and stems. Quickly rinse the chiles (if necessary) to remove any dust and then soak them in a bowl of hot water until they have softened.
In a blender or food processor, combine the soaked chiles, tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, garlic and salt to taste. Blend until it liquifies to make a smooth paste.
In a medium pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce darkens in color and the tomatoes lose their raw taste. The sauce might thicken, in which case you can thin it to the desired consistency with chicken stock or water.
Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Put a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the chicken, carrot, onion, cilantro, garlic, celery, and salt. Cover with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Poach the chicken until it is just cooked through.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the poaching liquid and add it to the adobo sauce. Cook together for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Once the chicken has absorbed some of the flavor it is ready to eat.
Serve the chicken with some of the sauce and eat with warmed corn tortillas.
View our host Rocio and book a meal with her to experience authentic home cooked Mexican cuisine on your next travels!
One of our youngest hosts, Sama is a talented cook with an immense knowledge of food and cooking techniques. She lives with her parents, sister, grandmother, two cats and a dog in Versova, a lovely residential neighborhood in the Andheri area of western Mumbai. Sama’s mother is Bohri and her father is a Muslim from the Koli region, and her cooking reflects this fusion. She learned to cook authentic Muslim food from her dad, who himself is a passionate food lover and who inspires Sama to prepare all of her spice pastes and masalas using a traditional grinding stone (a key technique of the recipe below!).
Vindaloo – meat marinated in vinegar and garlic – has traveled from Portugal to India’s coastal regions. It is a hot and spicy dish, and definitely not for the faint hearted. Sama’s love for this dish comes from her coastal ancestral roots. What entices her most is how beautifully the meat cooks simply from the care and attention given to its marinade. This dish lasts for days on end and can be enjoyed as a full meal, or even bottled up as a pickle and enjoyed as an accompaniment to a simple dal (lentil) and chawal (rice).
Chicken Vindaloo Recipe from Mumbai
2 lbs chicken (or goat)
2 large onions, finely chopped
4-24 Indian red chilies*
1 2″ piece ginger, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4-6 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons oil
5 potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional)
Clean, wash and the cut meat into 1-2″ chunks. Grind the masalas (the chilies, ginger, garlic, cumin and mustard) in vinegar with the sugar and salt until it is a fine paste. Mix the marinade with the meat and marinate overnight.
Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onions until soft and caramel in color. Add in the meat pieces slowly and fry well. Add a small amount of water, just enough to cook the meat. Add potatoes (optional). Cook until the meat (and potatoes, if using) are cooked through.
When done, remove from the fire and serve with hot rice or pav (soft rolls).
*Note: Our host’s original recipe called for 20-24 chilies! For an authentic taste of how spicy vindaloo is meant to be, feel free to use the entire chili amount. For a more mild taste (still with a kick!), we recommend using 4-6 chilies.
This dish not only tastes good but also smells heavenly. When served hot, the room fills up with its aroma. Its burst of strong, spicy flavors hits you with every bite! Sama can whip up some delectable seafood dishes from the coastal region of her family, so book a meal with her in Mumbai and get lost in these flavors!