Ifisashi (Spinach-Peanut Cury)

Z for Zambia. The culmination of our world tour is here in this southern African, land locked  country, Zambia!! I hope this world tour offered a glimpse into the various cuisines of the world. 

After cris-crossing the world, lets settle down with a homey kind of a curry which is a staple in Zambia. Apparently, this curry is usually accompanied by a dish called Nshima. It is a corn flour, cooked in water and shaped like torpedos (oval shape) and they form a very important part of their meal. Since I was not sure we could appreciate it, I went ahead and served it with rice and roti!

Stay tuned for a round up of the tour in the next post!

Ifisashi (Spinach-Peanut Cury)

Recipe Source here
Ingredients - 

Onions, chopped 1/2 cup
Spinach, chopped 2 cups
Peanuts, roasted 1/4 cup
Pumpkin, chopped about 1 cup
Tomato 1 nos or Tomato paste 1 Tbsp
Salt and Pepper (I used Red Chilli Powder instead of pepper) as needed
Peanut Oil 2 tsp (I used Olive Oil)

Ifisashi (Spinach-Peanut Cury)

Method Of Preparation -

In a heated pan, add oil and saute the onions until they are golden brown.

Add the chopped tomato or tomato paste with some water. Let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes.

Add in the peanuts, spinach and pumpkin. Cover and let it cook for about 6-7 minutes.

Check for the done-ness of the pumpkin and add salt and pepper as needed.

Let the mixture simmer for a few more minutes until there is no moisture left.

Remove and serve it hot/warm with rice or roti.

Preparation Time 15 min
Serves 3

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Rose Water Lemonade

Y for Yemen. It is an Arab country in the south western area of the Arabian peninsula. 

Regarding their cuisine, it is distinctly different from the typical Middle Eastern Cuisines. Rose water lemonade is one of the popular beverages there.

Recipe Source here
Ingredients - 

Water 2 cups
Rose Water 1/2 tsp
Roohafza (Rose flavored Sugar Syrup) 2 tsp
Sugar 3 tsp (or as needed)
Lemon/Lime Juice 1 Tbsp or as needed

Method Of Preparation -

Mix all the ingredients in a container and adjust the flavors as needed.

Serve with ice and a lime/lemon slice on a hot day.

Preparation Time  5 min
Serves 2

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Posted by Harini R on Monday, September 29, 2014

Nokot (Chichpea Salad)

X for Xinjiang. Since there is no country which starts with X, we built in an exception to pick out an area/city/territory starting with X, which is famous for its cuisine. So I zeroed in on Xinjiang province, China.

Xinjiang is primarily a Muslim dominated region and their cuisine is influenced by the Central Asian and Turkish Cuisines. The natives there are mostly from the Uighur group. And this particular salad is a street food very popular in the streets of Kashgar. The food of the Uighurs happens to be a tasty and diverse introduction to Chinese Cuisine!

This salad was a tasty success with my husband who is fond of Chinese cuisine. I had only a cup of soaked, boiled chickpeas and he wanted a repeat of the same salad. So I made it with steamed sprouted mung beans which he loved just as much. The key is the sauce/dressing used.

Recipe adapted from here and here
Ingredients - 

Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans, soaked and boiled 1 cup (Canned Chickpeas is a great and quick alternative)
Salt as needed
Carrots, grated 3-4 Tbsp (or as needed)
Coriander leaves, finely chopped 2 Tbp
For Ginger-Vinegar Dressing - 
Ginger, grated 1/4 tsp
Garlic, grated 1/4 tsp
Olive Oil 1 tsp
Rice Wine Vinegar (I used Apple Cider Vinegar) 1 tsp
Honey 1 tsp
Water 1 tsp

Nokot (Chichpea Salad)

Method Of Preparation -
To Prepare the dressing - 
Mix all the ingredients of the dressing in a glass bowl and microwave it for a few seconds so the honey can blend in.

Whisk the dressing well and serve immediately.

To fix the salad - 
Drain the boiled chickpeas and arrange them in a serving plate. 

Sprinkle the grated carrots and chopped coriander leaves.

Drizzle the dressing as needed and serve.

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Simsimeyeh (Sesame Brittle)

W for West Bank. It is a land locked territory wedged between Israel, Jordan and the Dead sea. It has been a conflict ridden area for more than 50 years now.

But it is very interesting to note that in spite of the conflict, development and education have not taken a back seat.

Regarding this addictive Brittle, it is supposed be a favorite snack for kids and adults alike and our family totally agrees. I found it tastes better with honey instead of the traditional jaggery/sugar syrup which we make back home.

Simsimeyeh (Sesame Brittle)

Recipe Source here
Ingredients - 

Sesame Seeds 1/2 cup
Honey 2 tsp

Simsimeyeh (Sesame Brittle)

Method Of Preparation -

Dry roast the sesame seeds on medium heat until they turn a shade of brown and start to crackle. 

Reduce the heat to low and drizzle the honey.

Remove from heat and mix well so all the seeds are coated with honey.

Transfer onto a greased plate or parchment lined cookie tray. The mixture will be sticky, so don't attempt to smooth it.

Set aside for 2-3 minutes. Pat into a thin layer pushing in the stray seeds with your fingers. Smooth the top and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Slice into required shapes with a strong knife and enjoy.

Simsimeyeh (Sesame Brittle)

Preparation Time 20 min
Makes 12 - 1 inch squares

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V for Venezuela. Venezuela is one of the most urbanized countries in Latin America. The population is very diverse and the majority of the population is of a mixed heritage.

Coming to today's recipe, Cachapas, it is a traditional Venezuelan breakfast. It is a very popular street food as well. There are very many variations to it. But this version was closer to our palates and was also popular at home.

Adapted from many sources on the web
Ingredients - 

Corn Kernels (I used frozen corn and thawed) 2 cups
Corn Starch 1 Tbsp
Salt as needed
Milk 1/4 cup
Cheese 1/4 cup or more as needed
Butter / Cream Cheese as accompaniment


Method Of Preparation -

Blend the thawed corn along with cornstarch, salt and milk to make a coarse batter. It should be slightly thicker than pancake batter consistency.

Heat a griddle/tawa. Pour a ladle full batter and spread like an Uthappam.

Cook on a low flame until the underside is cooked.

Gently flip onto the other side and cook for a couple minutes.

Flip again and sprinkle cheese, fold and remove onto a serving plate.

Continue with the rest of the batter.

Serve these Cachapas warm with butter or cream cheese for a filling breakfast.

Preparation Time 20 min
Makes 5

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Posted by Harini R on Thursday, September 25, 2014

Eggless Bread And Butter Pudding

U for United Kingdom. I don't think UK needs any introduction. 

Once upon a time, I had a dream to go on the time machine and visit London during the 1800s. Subsequently, I used to read some Historical fiction set during that time period. I used to read up on any historical fiction/non fiction books which depicted the lifestyle of Britishers during that era, be it in India or in England. I used to watch movies set in that time period as well.

In those narratives, there used to be a reference to Bread and Butter Pudding and since then I wondered how it would taste but never did I imagine that I would be a food blogger and that I would try this out!! I made this twice (back to back in two days) to satisfy the cravings of my older one and mine too!!

Eggless Bread And Butter Pudding

Ingredients - 

Bread Slices 6 
Butter as needed to butter the slices on one side
Milk 2 cups + 2 Tbsp
Custard Powder 2 Tbsp
Sugar 5-6 Tbsp
Cinnamon Powder 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg Powder (or grated nutmeg) 1/4 tsp
Dried Cranberries, Raisins, Tutti Frutti as needed

Eggless Bread And Butter Pudding
My older one was restless while I was clicking so she was sneaking in a bite or two while I was rearranging my camera angle :)

Method Of Preparation -

Remove the crusts of the bread slices and butter them on one side.

Cut the slices into 2 triangles each and layer them in a rectangular baking dish which has been greased well.

Sprinkle the raisins, and other dried fruits and arrange the bread slices evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.

To prepare the custard, heat milk and add sugar. Separately mix 2 tablespoons of milk with custard powder and gently pour into the boiling milk.

Pour the prepared custard mixture onto the layered bread slices. Set aside for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

Bake the bread slices for about 40-45 minutes until the custard sets properly and the tops brown.

Serve warm or cold as per your preference.

Preparation Time 1 hr
Serves 4

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Spinach Tortilla Borek

T for Turkey. Turkey has a unique distinction of belonging to two continents, Asia and Europe. "Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines" says wiki.

These spinach tortilla rolls fall into the fusion category of their cooking. Borek is a family of salty pastries made using a thicker form of phyllo dough. Here a spinach filling along with cheese is rolled into a tortilla, sliced and baked until crisp to make a fantastic snack.

It is a very addictive, healthy and filling meal. My family has hooked onto this snack and so it ranks very high in the list of after school snacks!!

Spinach Tortilla Borek

Recipe Source - here
Ingredients - 

Tortillas 4 (I used the flour tortillas)
Spinach, chopped 5 oz (I used frozen and thawed)
Tomato paste 1 Tbsp
Onions, chopped 1/2 cup
Salt and Pakrika (Red chilli powder) as needed
Shredded Cheese (I used a blend of Cheddar and Mozzarella) about 1/4 cup or as needed
Olive Oil 1 Tbsp

Spinach Tortilla Borek

Method Of Preparation -
To Prepare the Filling - 
Cook the thawed spinach separately and set aside.

In a heated pan, add oil and saute the onions until golden brown. 

Add tomato paste and a few drops of water so they blend well.

Add paprika or red chilli powder as needed. 

Mix in the cooked spinach and sprinkle salt as needed.

Mix well and remove from heat.

To Assemble the Rolls - 
Preheat the oven to 425 °F.

Spread the filling evenly all over the tortilla, sprinkle cheese as needed. 

Roll the tortilla like a carpet. Slice 1 inch pieces and arrange on a parchment lined baking tray.

Bake for 10 min until the cheese melts and the tortillas crisp up.

Remove and serve them immediately.

Preparation Time 10 min + Baking time 10 min 
Makes 24 bites

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Ajo Blanco

S for Spain. In our last leg of this tour around the world, we land in Spain. It is supposed to be a very beautiful country and this according Wiki.."The climate of Spain, its geographic location, popular coastlines, diverse landscapes, historical legacy, vibrant culture and excellent infrastructure, has made Spain's international tourist industry among the largest in the world."

Ajo Blonco is a very popular cold soup in Spain. For a creamier version, milk can be added instead of water. 

We felt it had the taste of buttermilk. I guess that is because of the addition of vinegar. It is a good choice for a hot summer day. Unfortunately I had to make this on a cold, windy and rainy day ! 

Recipe Source here
Ingredients - 

Almonds, blanched 1/4 cup
Bread, 2 slices
Garlic 1 clove (I didn't use)
Water 1 cup
Salt as needed
Olive Oil 1 tsp
Apple cider Vinegar 1 tsp
*For Garnish - Toasted almond slivers, parsley, grapes and watermelon.

*I used toasted almonds, cilantro and chopped apple

Ajo Blanco

Method Of Preparation -

Trim the crust off of the bread slices. Soak the trimmed bread slices in water for a few minutes.

Add in the blanched almonds, soaked bread slices, garlic, water, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt into a blender.

Blend until smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed by adding in more water.

Serve it in bowls with toasted almonds and other garnishes as available.

Preparation Time 10 min
Serves 2

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Posted by Harini R on Monday, September 22, 2014

Vegetable Borscht

R for Russia. This soup is the first in this series which was prepared.
Russia is the largest nation in the world. It has a great culinary diversity owing to various ethnic groups.
Check out this soup or Borcht as it is known as, and enjoy the goodness of various vegetables!

Recipe Source here
Ingredients - 

Beetroot medium size 1 nos
Carrot, chopped 1/2 cup
Cabbage, chopped 1/2 cup
Onion, chopped 1/2 cup
Potato, chopped 1/2 cup

Garlic 2 cloves
Vegetable Stock 3 cups
Olive oil 1 tsp
Apple Cider Vinegar 1 Tbsp
Salt and Pepper as needed
Sour cream for garnish

Vegetable Borscht

Method Of Preparation -

In a stock pot, heat oil and saute the onions, add the rest of the vegetables, garlic and vegetable stock. Cover and let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked well.

Blend well (using an immersion blender) and mix in the apple cider vinegar.

Adjust the taste by adding salt and pepper.

Serve it hot with sour cream as a garnish and we enjoyed with a side of croutons!

Preparation Time 20 min
Serves 3-4

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Posted by Harini R on Saturday, September 20, 2014


Q for Qatar. Qatar is an Arab nation which is the world's richest nation per capita. 

Since Qatar has a long coastline with the Persian Gulf, majority of their food is sea food. But the desserts from the typical Arabian cuisine are so delectable and addictive. Khabees is one such very popular dessert (If I am not wrong, they consume this for the early morning meal during Ramadan) with the Qataris and is consumed during the holy month of Ramadan. 

An interesting tidbit about khabees is that there is a mention of this dessert in the story series of The Arabian Nights. My husband who is an avid story teller found this very amusing!! Our kids look forward to the dinner time stories narrated by my husband and he relies on the so many story books and series we have read in our childhood (and still read)!!

I have found various versions of Khabees using flour, sugar and nuts but there is a mention of the ingredients for the Qatari version here and found a video in Arabic as well. 

I thought I should have shaped them like laddu but it was gone before I could do that!! So check out this addictive dessert.

Ingredients - 

Semolina / Sooji 1/2 cup
Honey 3 Tbsp
Assorted nuts, coarsely crushed 3 Tbsp
Dates, Finely chopped 1 Tbsp
Cardamom Powder 1/2 tsp
Clarified Butter/Ghee 2 tsp


Method Of Preparation -

In a pan, heat ghee, fry the coarsely chopped nuts and dates.

Add in the semolina and fry until it turns light brown.

Sprinkle cardamom powder and mix well. Remove from heat and pour in the honey. Mix well until the mixture is not powdery.

Shape them as preferred, garnish with chopped nuts and serve warm.

Keep in mind that the mixture would harden upon cooling and so it is a better idea to shape them while it is still warm.

Preparation Time 10 min
Makes 1/2 cup

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Potato Pierogi

P for Poland. After lot of searching I zeroed in on these filling pierogis and kicked myself as to why I couldn't get to it sooner.

It so happens that one of my friends and neighbor is half Polish and she had sent over some frozen pierogis for Christmas last year. Unfortunately, it was lying in the far recesses of the freezer and was not used up in time. So when I came upon pierogis I thought I should at least try them and see if we like it.

Though the process was time consuming, I think it was worth the time and effort as the kids loved these.

Recipe Source here
Ingredients - 

For the dough -
Canola Oil 1 Tbsp
Warm Water 3/4 cup
All Purpose Flour  1 1/2 cups  + more for dusting
Salt 1/2 tsp
For the filling - 
Potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and cubed 1 cup
Onions, finely chopped 1/4 cup
Garlic paste 1 tsp (Optional - I didn't use)
Canola Oil 2 tsp
Salt and pepper as needed

Potato Pierogi

Method Of Preparation -

To prepare the dough - 
Mix the flour, salt, oil and warm water and knead to get a soft and pliable dough. Cover and set aside.

To prepare the filling - 
Boil / steam the potatoes. Mash and set aside.

In a pan, heat oil and saute onions until they are golden brown in color.

Reduce the heat, add in the mashed potato, sprinkle salt and pepper and mix well.

Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

To make the pierogis -
Divide the dough into manageable size portions. Roll out each portion on a well floured surface into a thin sheet. 

Using a cookie cutter or a sharp top glass to make 3 inch circles of the wrappers.

On each of the small rolled out wrappers, place a teaspoon of the filling, apply water to the edges and seal it into a semi circular shape. Continue until the dough is done.

Boil about 8 glasses of water in a wide stockpot. After it comes to a rolling boil, add the prepared pierogis and let them boil for about 4 minutes. If they float in water, then 
they are done. I had to do this in two batches. But it depends on the  size of the stockpot.

Using a slotted spoon remove onto a wire rack. Make sure they don't overlap as they tend to stick to each other upon cooling. (Learnt it the harder way!)

Some love their pierogis just boiled. But if you are like me, please go ahead and shallow fry them until they are lightly crisp.

Serve it with any spicy/tangy dip for a filling snack! I served with a spicy yogurt based dip (Raita).

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O for Oman. Oman is an Arab nation which holds a strategic position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. 

Here is a delightful dessert/snack from Oman which will win your heart. It is not overly sweet but addictive for sure.

Recipe Source here
Ingredients - 

All Purpose Flour / Maida 2 cups
Baking Powder 1 tsp
Cardamom Powder
Condensed Milk 1 can (396g)
Warm Water 1/4 cup
Oil for deep frying


Method Of Preparation -

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and cardamom powder and mix well.

Add the condensed milk and warm water and mix well to make a sticky dough.

Cling wrap it and set aside for 2 hours.

Flour your hands and pinch apple sized dough and roll into a 2-3 cm inch rectangle.

Using a pizza cutter or a knife, make small triangles or any other shape of your preference.

Heat oil and on medium heat , gently slide these dough pieces and let them evenly brown.

Remove onto paper towels to drain excess oil.

Sprinkle Pistachio powder or powdered sugar as a garnish and serve them warm. 

Preparation Time 45 min
Serves 20 (approx)

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