To some, food is home, however for an avid traveler, food is memories. If you seek to fulfill your sense of travel adventure, get in the kitchen and challenge yourself to make one of these traditional recipes. According to Cleveland Clinic, cooking a meal is good for brain stimulation and encourages social interaction (with your quaranteam that is!). When we travel our brain is forced to make sense of the new stimuli. In the end, it makes us better people.
For those of us in insolation consumed by wanderlust, cooking with various cultures in mind, is not only stimulating, but rewarding. The scent of an aroma, or taste of memorable flavor, can whisk us away to foreign lands without leaving home.
Even if you are not a frequent traveler, but find yourself looking for authentic recipes from around the world, we present you with accessible recommendations.
Traveling Spoon Zoom Classes
Traveling Spoon, featured in our “Gifts for the Person Who Has it All” guide, decided to launch online cooking with their hosts across the globe. This unique travel company takes you on a culinary escape, where you learn to not only cook like a local, but shop like one as well. Their travel know-how knows no bounds and these personal classes prove just that. Learn how to make pasta from a chef in Italy (as seen in the photo at the top of this post), chicken satay from a Balinese native, a traditional Totoro bento box from a host in Japan or beautiful empanadas (seen in photo above). Classes are offered online for an introductory price of $25, for any class, and up to four guests in the household. Classes are conducted over Zoom. These are classes you just can’t miss.
Cookbooks Featuring Traditional Recipes
Here’s a couple of books that teach you how to make traditional recipes from spots around the globe.
MADE IN MEXICO: THE COOKBOOK Classic and Contemporary Recipes from Mexico City By Danny Mena with Nils Bernstein
This is the first book by Mexico City-born chef Danny Mena, who you may know from his restaurant Hecho en Dumbo, in NYC’s East Village. Made In Mexico features recipes from the best restaurants, fondas, loncherías, and taco stands that have made Mexico City the exciting food destination it is. This is authentic regional cuisine, both rooted in tradition and bursting with creativity and innovation.
Photos by by Aaron Adler and Brent Herrig will not only get your mouth watering, but will allow you to travel through the city and feast your eyes as well. Above, Tacos De Pescado Capeado, i.e. fish tacos, come with a beautiful topping of cabbage slaw for extra eye candy.
There are over one hundred recipes complete with explanations for proper technique and suggestions for ingredient variations. You could spend a few weeks just on the tacos and tostadas chapter alone! Once that is tackled, move on to heartier time-consuming dishes like a Mole Rojo de Semilla, or Pozole Blanco, which the author describes as “impossible to fully understand Mexican cuisine without tasting—or, ideally, cooking—a proper pozole. Pork, herbs, corn, chile, lime . . . it’s Mexico in a bowl.” Author Danny Mena, seen above, worked as a chef in New York City landmarks Blue Hill and The Modern before opening Hecho en Dumbo in 2010. In 2017, Mena launched La Loncheria in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, and has partnered in a mezcal distillery, Mezcales de Leyenda. $40.00 US
© Made in Mexico: The Cookbook by Danny Mena with Nils Bernstein, Rizzoli New York, 2019. Photography: ©Brent Herrigor ©Aaron Adler
SPOONFULS OF HONEY Recipes from Around the World by Hattie Ellis
Aaaahhhh, what a sweet idea. Author Hattie Ellis takes nature’s sweetest ingredient, and features honey in a variety of cuisines. These are not only desserts, but special dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You’ll discover honey in a wide variety of unusual dishes, such as a chicken liver parfait, or ricotta pancakes, even in mayonnaise. The marinades for jerk chicken or sticky ribs could be become part of your summer bbq repertoire.
Left, Baked Cheese with Honey Walnut Toasts would make an extravagant offering on your cheese board. Right, Ambrosial Apricots with Thyme looks like a nice, light summer dessert.
In addition to the recipes, you will learn all about the different varieties of honey and how to choose the best honey for a dish, a slew of flavor pairings, and the details on tasting honey. Photos feature tranquil scenes of bees and flowers in addition to the beautiful recipes. It’s definitely a pleasant diversion.
Spoonfuls of Honey by Hattie Ellis is published by Pavilion
Masters of curated journeys, Naya Traveler, decided to re-visit and compile their treasured recipes that were obtained from voyages to places like Argentina and Morocco. Until now, the recipes lived in the founders journals, only to resurface while in quarantine. The Naya Recipe Book proves that this pause in travel can’t stop the world from celebrating each other’s culture. Our personal favorites are the Cambodian Khmer Chicken Mango Salad and India’s Masala Chai recipe.
Cambodian Khmer Chicken Mango Salad
Naya Traveler’s co-founder Marta Tucci lived in Cambodia, and for her, the Chicken Mango Salad this represents everything Cambodia is: colourful, busy, a little hectic, green and tangy. (seen in photo above)
START THE SALAD
2 cloves garlic
Heat a small pan over high heat. Place garlic and shallots to cook until charred. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Once cooled, peel (discard skins) and chop shallots and garlic. Set aside.
MAKE THE CHICKEN MIX
1 green mango, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 CUPS cooked chicken breast, shredded (substitute chicken with tofu for a veggie version)
1/2 CUP carrots, shredded
1/2 CUP roasted peanuts, chopped
3 1/2 TB basil, roughly chopped
3 1/2 TB mint, roughly chopped
2 TB brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 TB fish sauce
Green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
In a large bowl, mix together the mango, chicken, carrots and peanuts. Add shallots, garlic, chopped basil and mint. Mix well. Add juice from the lime to taste, brown sugar, salt and fish sauce. Move to serving dish, garnish with a bit of basil and peanuts. Sprinkle chilies, if using.
Masala Chai, which translates to “spiced tea”, personifies the scent and taste that India wakes up to every morning. Its fragrant aroma transports you to the eclectic streets of India.
START THE TEA WITH SPICES
2 CUPS water
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
10 green cardamom pods, cracked
4 black pepper pods
3 TB loose black tea, or 6 black tea bags
In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Add ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and pepper. Simmer about 15 min, stirring occasionally, until water reduces slightly. Remove pot from the heat, and add black tea. Steep for several minutes.
FINISH THE TEA
2 CUPS whole milk
Packed brown sugar, to taste
Return pot to medium heat and add milk. Stir occasionally, making sure the mixture doesn’t boil. Stir in sugar to taste. Once the top becomes frothy, remove from heat and steep for a minute. Strain tea into a cup or mug.