Discover a world of flavour with World Atlas of Food when you armchair travel into the kitchen of six continents. Take a journey of the senses with Jenny Morris with her quality recipes which uniquely capture the aromas and flavours of each specific country.
Here is some extracts from World Atlas of Food, so let your culinary adventure begin …
AFRICA – Zanzibar
Zanzibari cusine is a fusion of mainly African, Arab and Indian influences. Dried beans originating in Africa, sweet potatoes and cassava from the Americas, yams and plantains introduced by slave ships – all became firm African staples. And the fragrant spices brought by Arab traders aside, the Arabs also introduced rice, coconut, mango and citrus from Asian and China. Dishes such as halwa, pilau, and bokoboko, a shredded meat and cracked-what ‘porridge’, reflect Middle Eastern influences, while Indian cuisine left its mark in Zanzibar’s chapatti and samosas, as well as the masala curries, biryani and chutneys. That said, Zanzibar today is equated with the aromatic scents of peppercorns, cloves, cardamon and cinnamon, much of it grown on Unguja, Pemba and Mafia.
Find the recipe Zanzibar honey chicken on page 41
ASIA – Malaysia
Malaysian cooking embodies the concept of fusion food. The country’s population is a mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultural groups, all of
which have contributed flavours and styles of cooking to the national cuisine. Chinese noodles and Indian curries were reinvented, neighbouring Thailand influenced stir-fries, Indonesia introduced coconut milk, bird’s-eye chillies and the use of beef. And all the fragrant and aromatic spices that were traded along the Strait of Malacca separating Malaysia and Indonesia inject their culinary magic today. The Indian labourers introduced by the British to
work on rubber estates brought okra, eggplant, mustard, fenugreek and curry leaves. In all, Malaysian food is a play on the salty, the sweet and the sour.
Find the recipe Spicy wok-fried fish on page 59
CARIBBEAN ISLANDS – Grenada
Lying across the Atlantic directly west of Africa, much of Grenada’s population is descended from African slaves who worked on the sugar and spice plantations. Starches such as plantains, sweet potatoes, corn and cassava, although they originated in Central and South America, have for centuries been a part of the African diet. Slaves embraced these wholesome foods and today they are integrated with Grenadian culture. The same is true for pineapples, bananas and coconuts, Scotch bonnet chillies, native to the Caribbean, are used prolifically in hot sauces, curries and stews. Curry-spiced rotis found their way here from Malaysia and India, and nutmeg – Grenada’s prime export – together with other fragrant spices traded by European explorers, flavour most dishes. Find the recipe Nutmeg ice cream on page 89
CENTRAL AMERICA – Nicaragua
Three separate aboriginal Amerindian groups lived in Nicaragua before colonisation by the Europeans. Their diet focused on corn, yuca, quequique (another starchy tuber), beans, pear squash (chayote) and sweet green peppers. they also enjoyed cacao, papaya and achiote, from which annatto seeds were used for food colouring. All these ingredients are crucial to the Nicaraguan diet today. Most of the population is mixed Amerindian and white (mestizo) while the rest have Creole, Spanish and English roots. The Spanish language is a major colonial legacy, and the dish vigoron is a good example of Mediterranean influences on Nicaraguan food – yuca, salty chicharron (crisp pork skin), and vinegared cabbage, tomato, onion and chilli served on a plantation leaf.
Find the recipe Whole fish with tipitapa-style sauce on page 107
EUROPE – Portugal
Portugal, along the southwest edge of the Iberian Peninsula, has a long Atlantic coastline which has had the greatest influence on the country’s cuisine. Many dishes focus on fresh fish, sardines, clams, octopus and the famous bacalhau, salted cod. In terms of flavourings, though, the Romans were responsible for introducing garlic, onions and olives. Sweet treats of egg yolks, figs and ground almonds (e.g. doce fino, marzipan moulded into fruit and animal shapes) were brought to Portugal’s shores by the 18th century Moors invading from North Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar. Cataplana, a seafood stew with potatoes, peppers and peri-peri, is also a Moorish dish. And, naturally, with the seafaring Portuguese came rice and exotic spices from the Far East.
Find the recipe Chicken with chorizo and clams on page 149
MIDDLE EAST – Oman
Oman’s extensive Arabian Sea coastline, which lay wide open to the trade paths of the Indian Ocean seafarers plying their routes between the Far East,
Indonesian spice islands, India and eastern Africa, benefited greatly from the exposure. Indian food influences are many, from cardamon, coconut and turmeric to rukhal (similar to unleavened chapatti) and tandoori-style sunken clay pits for cooking. Picked lemon, a popular side dish, and limes are yet another Indian influence, while ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves drifted in from Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Sesame feeds from the East Indies joined almonds and pisachios from the Middle East to become today’s crucial ingredients.Find the receipe Sako on page 173
NORTH AMERICA – Canada
As the second largest country in the world after Russia, Canada naturally has a multitude of different cooking styles. However, the lifestyle of the native Inuit cultures in the frozen north have had a strong influence on traditions. Wild berries – blueberries, saskatoon berries, chokecherries (wild black cherries) – appear in waffles, pancakes and tarts today, while maple syrup, first collected by the aboriginal people, is Canada’s most reconisable flavouring, Bannock, a traditional Scottish flatbread adopted by the Inuit, is popular today in griddled focaccia-style sandwiches. Pemmican, a dried jerky-like meat from bison and moose, is a reminder of the past need to preserve food, as is the country’s obsession with cured bacon and Montreal’s famous smoked beef-brisket sandwich on rye.
Find the recipe Canadian maple pecan pie on page 187
OCEANIA – Fiji
Fiji’s early indigenous groups migrated from nearby Melanesia and Polynesia, but after the British colonised the island and brought in Indian labourers for the sugar-cane plantations, there was a fusion of cultures. Indians make up roughly 40% of the population today, and the Fijian-Indio cuisine is the result. Indigenous foods of cassava, taro (dalo), sweet potato, coconut and goat have been supplemented with roti, dal, curries and chutneys, while hot chilli, ginger, cumin, turmeric and mustard seed have found a subtle-way into Fijian dishes (witness the ceviche-style kokoda). Fresh fish, octopus, shelfish, sea cucumber, sea urchin and even turtle are widely eaten, and nama, or sea grape – a seaweed with tiny green beads that pop on the tongue – is popular.
Find the recipe Spicy honey cake on page 197
SOUTH AMERICA – Suriname
Suriname, a longtime Dutch colony, is strongly multicultural today. During Dutch rule, salves were shipped from Central Africa, thereafter planation workers were imported from Java, North India and southern China. Suriname’s modern-day cuisine is a fusion of all those cultures. Foods eaten by native Amerindian groups before them, such as cassava, sweet pototo, plantains and peanuts, are also important ingredients today. Slave influences include plantain dumplings (tom-tom) hot-chilli fish soup (pepre watra) and cassava balls with codfish (bakkeljauwballetjes) the Chinese introduced prawn rolls, roast pork and salted eggs, while chicken masala, roti and mango chutney reflect North Indian flavours. From Java came lemongrass and trassi (pungent shrimp paste), noodles (bami) with chicken, and fried plantains with peanut sauce (pisang goreng).
Find the receipe Surinaamse sate met pindasaus page 221
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