Rice and Pasta

94. Iran: Jeweled Rice

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Iran has been negatively in the news, which is so sad especially because the country is sooo beautiful, and the people are incredibly generous and friendly. And if you think Iran is a country made up entirely of dry desert plains, think again. Not only does it have plenty of mountains (and half a dozen volcanoes), head for the peaks of the Alborz Mountains – only a few hours from Tehran – and you’ll discover several ski resorts! Dizin is the largest and, at 8,700 ft, it’s higher than Europe’s highest resort. I would have never associated Iran with skiing! But apparently anything is possible

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Things you didn’t know about Iran:

  • If you get in a cab anywhere in Iran, chances are when you try to pay, your driver will refuse to take your money. Walk into a shop to buy something, the same happens. Baffled? The cultural practice of Taarof is Iran’s own personal brand of etiquette. You’re not really being given a freebie, it’s a form of civility and all you have to do is play along. It’s all about denying your will to please the other person – and it extends to pretty much every social situation.
  • You should accept all offers of food and drink (but be sure to decline once or twice first!) and it is polite to try a bit of everything that is served.
  • Believe it or not, Iran has the highest rate of nose surgery in the world per capita. The pursuit of the perfect nose certainly has a lot to do with the restrictions of the hijab dress code leading to a larger focus on the face but it’s about more than physical beauty.  For Persian women (and some men), it’s also an indicator of wealth and social status.
  • Iran is the largest exporter of the most expensive caviar in the world
  • According to an old Persian proverb, “A Persian rug is perfectly imperfect, and precisely imprecise”. Why? It’s simple, really. A fine Persian rug will almost always include intentional imperfections to symbolize how only God can create perfection.

Jeweled Rice is mostly served at weddings and other joyful occasions. The fruitiness of the cranberries and raisins makes it special! A yummy side dish!

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88. Honduras: Horchata de Arroz

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Honduras, for thousands of years the Mayans created a briljant civilization, while the Roman Empire crumbled into little pieces the Mayans were only just reaching their peak. They probably were the most sophisticated civilization of the America’s in many aspects. Their remarkable advancement in science and astronomy was completely revolutionary for their time. In the meanwhile Europe was entering their Middle Ages. Copan a city in Honduras was one of the main centers of the Mayans.

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Things you didn’t know about Honduras:

  • “Come back tomorrow/next week/next month” doesn’t really mean that.
    It means, “I don’t know”, “I don’t feel like doing that today”, “I don’t know who to ask but it definitely isn’t me” or “I’m eating lunch right now
  • Christopher Columbus discovered Honduras. And when he set foot on ground his first words were: “Thank God we got out these great depths!” Honduras’ literal meaning is: Great Depths.
  • It’s completely normal to find blonde haired, blue eyed Hondurans on the bay islands. They are direct descendents of the British Pirates that came here over 500 years ago
  •  Hondurans are called Catrachos/Catrachas in Central America and within their own country. It is not a negative nickname.

Ingredients: 2 cups of rice, 6 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Soak the rice overnight in 3 cups of the water. Add the rice, soaking water and cinnamon to a blender and puree until smooth, 2 or 3 minutes.
  2. Strain into a pitcher through a fine-mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth. There should be no grit or large particles in the liquid.
  3. Stir in the remaining 3 cups water, sugar and vanilla. Adjust sugar to taste and serve well chilled.

85. Guinea Bissau: Jollof Rice

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Guinea Bissau is one of Africa’s secret most breathtaking little corners. Rich with wildlife, rainforests and decaying towns from the colonial era. So Guinea and Guinea Bissau might be very close to one another but the difference is immense! Guinea Bissau is slowly transforming into a stable country with a stable government. While in Guinea there are still a lot of problems. In Guinea Bissau there has been peace and prosperity since the independence from Portugal in 1980. Guinea Bissau doesn’t just consist of mainland there is also an archipelago that is part of Guinea Bissau, with beautiful, peaceful islands.

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Things you didn’t know about Guinea Bissau

  • Contrary to what you might expect, residents here are called ‘Bissau-Guineans’, not ‘Guinea-Bissauans’!
  • Guinea-Bissau’s flag draws its inspiration from the flag of the Republic of Ghana. It was the struggle of the Ghanaians for freedom that inspired the people of Guinea-Bissau to put up a fight for their very own.
  • Former President Vieira and his rival Military Chief Wai were both assassinated in January 2009, though a stable interim government is currently in place.
  • In 2003, there were an estimated 8 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there was 1 mobile phone in use for every 1,000 people. In 2003, 15 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet.
  • Western-style clothing is typical attire for work and daily activities because it is inexpensive and readily available, shipped secondhand from Europe and North America. Adults value cleanliness and modesty. Locally made traditional clothing is more expensive and is reserved for special occasions.

Traditional Jollof Rice from Guinea Bissau

Ingredients: 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs (cut into large pieces), 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, 1 large onion (halved and sliced), 3 tbsp tomato purée, 1 chicken stock cube, 400g basmati rice, 1 red bell pepper (deseeded and thickly sliced), 1 yellow bellpepper (deseeded and thickly sliced), 100g okra (halved), bunch coriander, (roughly chopped to serve

For ginger chili base: 2 garlic cloves, 2 x 400g cans plum tomatoes, thumb-size piece fresh root ginger, 1 scotch bonnet chilli (deseeded)

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large deep frying pan over a high heat then add the meat and fry for about 5 mins till golden all over. Lift out of the pan onto a plate.
  2. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onions until soft but not golden, about 5 mins. While the onions cook, make the ginger and chilli base. Put the garlic, tomatoes, ginger and chilli into a food processor or blender and whizz till smooth.
  3. Add the tomato purée to the onions, fry for another 2 mins then add the ginger and chilli mix. Crumble in the stock cube, stir then pour in 600ml boiling water. Add the chicken, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 mins.
  4. Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with cold water and use your hands to wash the grains. Tip the water out then repeat twice until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the pan, turn the heat down to a simmer then cover with foil and a lid (so no steam can escape) and cook for 20 mins.
  5. Take the lid off (the rice won’t be cooked yet) then scatter the peppers and okra over the rice. Re-cover and cook for 10 mins until the veg is softened and the rice tender. Just before serving, mix the veg through and scatter over coriander.

75. Georgia: Kharcho

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I am soo sorry, I have been incredibly busy with work in the restaurant, my social life, school! Really it’s been crazy these past few months, but I promise i’m going to try to work more on this project folks.

Is Georgia part of Europe or Asia. Honestly no one knows, so strange. We all know it’s close to Russia and that it used be part of the communist Sovjet Union. But what do we really know about Georgia. (for the people who haven’t realized I’m talking about Georgia the Country not the state.) There is actually quite a lot of debate over exactly what continent Georgia is on, and exactly where Europe is located.  Most people have think that there is a geographic place where Europe ends and Asia begins, but where exactly that is is open to debate.The general consensus seems to be that the divider between Europe and Asia is the Urals–but they don’t reach far enough South to be helpful with determining Georgia’s location.  Geographically, the Caucasus mountains are the Southern border of Europe–in fact, the highest point in Europe is Mt. Elbrus which is right next to Georgia.  This division very helpfully puts PART of Georgia in Europe.  Georgia is not a very big country, so dividing it between two continents seems very silly! As you can see I really made a study of it and tried to find a correct answer, but there is none! So WHERE does Europe END and where begins Asia???? Of there is anyone who knows this please let me know in the comments because I am very confused!

Things you didn’t know about Georgia:

  • Abkhazia. This former province declared itself independent after a bloody war. Since the war the are trying to re-establish the country’s former reputation of being a holiday destination. The rest of the world still considers Abkhazia as part of Georgia not as an independent state.
  • Russian dictator Josef Stalin was born in the tiny village of Gori in Georgia. He is still considered a hero in Gori. There is a Stalin museum and on their website it says. Stalin the greatest politician of the 20th century.
  • Security guards in clubs have guns. So please don’t pick a fight with them
  •  Spoken Georgian is like no other language you are likely to hear. It belongs to its own ancient linguistic group unlike any other language spoken outside the region. It includes rare sounds that many visitors may never have heard before. Georgian has its own 33-letter alphabet thought to be based on the sort of Aramaic spoken in the time of Jesus.
  • A guest is a gift from God, goes the saying in Georgia. So foreign visitors are plied with food and drink – an enjoyable experience, if not always good for the waistline.

You say this Georgian delicacy is the Balkan version of a risotto. It’s a little more rustic, and the spices are completely different but the rice is cooked the same way.

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This recipe serves 6-8 people

Ingredients: 1 1⁄2lbs boneless lean beef, 8 cups beef stock, 3 tablespoons  butter, 2 onions, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon  flour, 3 tablespoons  tomato paste, 1 can tomatoes, seeded and chopped,  1⁄4cup  rice, 1⁄2teaspoon  dried tarragon, 1⁄4teaspoon  dried mint, 1 1⁄2teaspoons  sweet Hungarian paprika, 1⁄2teaspoon hot pepper flakes, 1⁄2teaspoon  ground coriander, 1⁄4teaspoon  ground fenugreek, 2 teaspoons  tamarind paste, diluted in hot stock (can substitute 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice), 3 cloves  garlic, pressed or minced, 1⁄4cup  walnut pieces, crushed, salt, 1⁄4cup chopped fresh herb (any mixture of tarragon, cilantro, basil, parsley, mint, or dill)

  1. Bring the meat, in one big piece, to a boil in the stock.
  2. Skim off the foam as necessary.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 1½ hours.
  4. Remove and reserve the meat.
  5. When the meat has been cooking for an hour or so, melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat, and stir in the onions.
  6. Fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and colored.
  7. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about a minute.
  8. Add 1/2 cup stock and stir until smooth.
  9. Stir in the tomato paste and the tomatoes.
  10. Whisk in the rest of the stock, add the rice, and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.
  11. Add all the rest of the ingredients, except for the fresh herbs, and simmer them until the rice is tender–another 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. At this point, you can cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  13. When ready to serve, remove the soup from the heat, stir in the meat pieces and the 1/4 cup of fresh chopped herbs, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  14. Stir in the remaining herbs and ladle into bowls.
  15. Serve with hearty bread and butter

 

 

74. The Gambia: Domoda

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The Gambia, tiny English speaking country surrounded by French speaking countries. It was the first British colony in Africa. For many, The Gambia is a country with beaches that invite visitors to laze and linger on package tours. But there’s more than sun and surf. Small fishing villages, nature reserves and historic slaving stations are all within easy reach of the clamorous Atlantic resorts. Star-studded eco-lodges and small wildlife parks dot the inland like a green belt around the coast and The Gambia is a bird lovers’ utopia: on a leisurely river cruise, you’ll easily spot more than 100 species.Schermafbeelding 2015-12-16 om 19.18.15

Things you didn’t know about Gambia:

  • Punctuality is not often observed in The Gambia and the business concept of ‘time is money’ is approached in a very relaxed and flexible manner. People can arrive for a meeting up to four hours later than originally scheduled.
  • Gambia was the first nation conquered by the British in West Africa. It was 300 years before independence would be granted on Feb. 18, 1965. When it became independent, The Gambia became the 37th sovereign African state.
  • Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa and is slightly smaller than Yorkshire.
  •  The official title of The Gambian president is Sheikh Professor Doctor President.
  • People cast their votes in elections in The Gambia by dropping stones in holes.This vegan stew is a delicious healthy weeknight meal. I can guarantee kids will love it (peanut butter duh)domodoIngredients: 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 onion chopped, 1 garlic clove minced, 1 chili finely diced (seeds in for an extra kick!), pinch of kaloniji black onion seeds (optional), 250ml Maggi vegetable stock, ⅓ jar peanut butter (about 110g), 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g), ½ small butternut squash diced into 1cm cubes, 4 medium mushrooms quartered, 1 red or green pepper deseeded and chopped, 2 small carrots peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes, 150g rice, to serve, 1 star anise
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and soften. Add the chilli and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter until creamy. Add the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Add all the vegetables and simmer for 25-35 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has reduced to a thicker consistency. Some of the peanut butter oil may rise to the surface; this can be skimmed off if desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. While the stew is cooking, boil the rice according to pack instructions. When the rice is al dente, drain the rice with a sieve, saving the water into a separate bowl. Pour the water back into the pan the rice was cooked in (this saves you re-heating more water) and place the sieve over the top. Add the star anise to the sieve of rice and place a lid over the top. Steam for 5 minutes.
  6. When cooked, spoon the rice into a small, round bowl and tip onto the serving plate to form a ‘rice dome.’ Serve with the cooked peanut stew.

56. Dominican Republic: Asopao de Mariscos

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Dominican Republic, we know it’s in the Caribbean somewhere and they speak Spanish right? Sharing an island with Haïti, the Dominican Republic has seen it’s fair share of good times and bad times. Most vacationers know the Dominican Republic simply as an island of pristine white beaches, all-inclusive resorts, tropical cocktails and ice cold beers. The capital Santo Domingo is the oldest European style city in the America’, with grand cathedrals and old fort walls. But know T-shirt shops or fast food restaurants in sight. No, the Dominicans know what’s good for them, they have their own food.

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Things you don’t know about Dominican Republic:

  • Dominicans love baseball, it’s their number 1 sport! Almost 40% of US baseball players are actually Dominican.
  • The Dominican Republic is the only place in the world where the blue, semi-precious stone called larimar is found. It most closely resembles turquoise.
  • The capital city, Santo Domingo, has a rich history. Founded in 1496, it’s the oldest European settlement in the Americas.
  • The Dominican Republic is the only country in the world to have a bible simble on it’s flag
  • The only place where 5000 humpback whales travel each year to mate

This dish is so delicious, it’s a little bit like a caribbean style paella. And I love paella! Definitely one I will make again to impress someone :D. It’s so easy and has just the right amount of spice! And the fact that you can eat it out of bowl makes me happy. I don’t know what it is with food in bowl but somehow it always gives me a very warm feeling when I eat food out of a bowl.

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Asopao De Mariscos

Ingredients: 2 lbs of shrimp, 1 1/2 cups of rice, 500 ml of fish stock,  2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons tomato paste,  1/2 green bell pepper, 1 red chili pepper, pinch oregano, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 pinch black pepper, 1/4 cup chopped seedless black olives,  1/4 cup chopped celery,  1 spoon finely chopped parsley, 1 spoon finely chopped coriander,  1/2 spoon of thyme leaves, salt

  1. In an iron pot heat the oil (reserve 2 spoons of oil).
  2. Add the herbs, olives, spices, tomato paste, peppers, garlic and salt.
  3. Add the shrimps and stir (be careful with hot oil splattering)
  4. Cover and wait two minutes, then stir again.
  5. Add the fishstock and bring to a boil.
  6. Add all remaining ingredients (including the rice)
  7. Stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking. Let 3/4 of the water evaporate, by then a grain of rice should be about 3 times its original size.
  8. Adjust salt to taste. Serve while hot, with a slice of lemon.

45. Comoros Islands: Pilaou

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Scattered across the ocean the Comoros Islands a place you go when you want to escape reality for a little while or if you are fugitive it would also be the perfect place to hide out, since most people haven’t even heard about this mysterious little dot in the ocean. So what kind of people live in the Comoros Islands? The charming inhabitants of Comoros are mixture of Arab traders, Persian sultans, African slaves and Portuguese pirates. Islam, and all its traditions, is recognizable everywhere. Women are expected to show modesty and cover up, and alcohol is an absolute no-go. But if your idea of the perfect holiday is less about drinking rum punch in a bikini at a resort, and more about long, lazy days sipping tea and talking politics with the locals, then a safari in the exotic Comoros will probably be the kind of unpredictable adventure you’ve been craving for.

Yes this is what heaven should look like!
Yes this is what heaven should look like!

Things you didn’t know about Comoros:

  • The Comoros Islands have the nickname ‘Cloud Coup-Coup’ land because of their crazy politics, the three independent islands have experienced almost 20 coups since gaining independence in 1975! In fact, a Comorian president is lucky if there’s time for his official portrait to be taken before armed men are once again knocking on the door.
  • Comoros is the second-largest producer of vanilla in the world! Madgascar is the first.
  • Each island has its own dialect.

This rice tasted so comfy and heartwarming! Yummy for a weeknight meal! Strangely it reminded me a lot of the Afghan dish I did (that was my first recipe!), strange since they are so far away from each other! I mean Comoros is a tiny island in the ocean and Afghanistan is a freaking desert!

Pilaou

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