Thali, meaning ‘plate’, could be described as India’s answer to ‘fast food’. Found just about everywhere, from restaurants to roadside dhabas, these delicious dish-of-the-day selections are a fantastic way to enjoy the local specialities.
Originating in southern India, a thali is a round silver plate that is divided into sections, or alternatively contains a set of smaller dishes within. Into each of these compartments you would normally expect to be served dahl (lentils), one dry subji (vegetable) dish, one gravy subji, dahi (yoghurt), sometimes rice and unlimited chapatis (a type of bread). There’s no need to decide on your selection, because order a thali and you’ll receive whatever has been prepared that day. And don’t expect to be given a fork, this is the time to learn to master the art of eating with your hand – right hand only of course!
To enjoy the fun of thali dining at home, here are recipes for three common inclusions, but of course you can add in small serves of your other favourite Indian dishes. And if you don’t have a thali tray, then go traditional and serve on a banana leaf…
There are few festivals in Italy that don’t feature delicious local cuisine in their celebrations, and where there is food alongside fun, you can expect to find Intrepid’s Tamara Palinkas…
“I was really lucky, when in the small town of Maiori on the Amalfi Coast I got to celebrate Ferragosto with an Italian family. This is one of the most important Italian holidays, when on 15 August the country shuts down for a mid-summer feast celebrated with music and fireworks.
Syria is renowned for its ancient ruins, impressive mosques and traditional handicrafts, but Intrepid’s Jess Lee has another treat on her Top 10 list in this amazing country…
“Bahar, the house manager, is laughing at me. Yet again I am begging for his hummus recipe. Of course I don’t have a chance. This is the same man who once declined to give King Carlos of Spain a recipe from his kitchen when he dined here, and was only convinced to do so after a quiet word from President Bashir Al-Assad.
Set in a grand old Damascene house, Al-Khawali Restaurant in the heart of Damascus’ Old City is a feast for the eye as well as the stomach, but it’s for the latter reason that my Intrepid group have followed me here. I’ve promised them the best hummus in the Middle East and in this region, where the revered chick pea dip originated from. That’s a pretty tall order!
Some of the richest real life experiences revolve around food, and where better than Cambodia to combine flavourful local experiences with exotic regional dishes.
Cambodian cuisine is often described as a mixture of Thai and Vietnamese – but don’t tell that to a Cambodian. They believe their cuisine is in a class of its own, and they’re right!
Highlighting the delicious delights of Cambodian cuisine is non-profit organisation Friends-International. We are thrilled to announce the launch of their second cookbook From Spiders To Water Lilies, now available on-line. It features over 160 pages of mouth-watering traditional recipes, (one of which we share with you here), plus exquisite photography and inspiring stories from one of Asia’s most fascinating countries.
Aside from Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dr Evil, the most famous things to come out of Belgium are definitely food and drink related. Everyone immediately envisages beer, waffles and chocolate when thinking of Belgium, but as Intrepid’s Hannah Cartmel explains, that’s not even the half of it…
“Did you know French Fries were actually invented in Belgium? Mussels, often cooked in beer, are another local favourite. The Dutch influence has made stoemp, braadworst and speculaas national dishes – these respectively being, a type of mashed potato, a bloody sausage and a spiced biscuit. French flavours include a local version of boeuf bourguignon and Salade Liegoise, which is a take on the famous Salade Nixoise. The endive (witlof or chicon) is often deliciously gratinated, and yes, the Brussels Sprout is commonly eaten in the country’s capital city, only it’s usually drowned in butter.
Intrepid travellers who have joined our Road to Budapest and Balkan Adventure trips have remarked that they should be named ‘Katie’s Fruit Dumpling Tour of Eastern Europe’, especially when belts need to be loosened by the end of their trip. But they’re not complaining and there’s no argument from Katie Olsson, as she explains why she developed this sweet obsession…
“It’s such a simple concept – boiled dough, fruit, topped with melted butter or cream – yet it’s such a delicious, tasty treat. Eastern Europe is the home of comfort food and fruit dumplings are a great way to top off a meal of potato perogies, cabbage rolls or goulash.
If you’ve travelled through Poland then we hope you got the chance to try delicious kolaczki. These sweet flaky pastry treats can also be enjoyed in other Central European countries, but much like Australia and New Zealand arguing over who invented the Pavlova, the debate of who first baked kolaczki rages on in Europe.
Kolaczki come in various shapes and sizes, round, square or diamond, and you can fill them with your favourites, such as raspberry, apricot, strawberry, blueberry and the famous sweet cheese.
With this being the season to celebrate with family and friends, Intrepid Express thought you might enjoy trying these less traditional recipes, that embrace the international flavours of the festive season. Happy holidays and seasons greetings!…
Malaysian roast turkey with lime and lemongrass stuffing
Italian-style roast pork
Spicy potato tagine with olives
Frozen pistachio nougat with praline and caramelised figs
It’s believed by many that the world’s first recipes date back to the time of the Pharoahs. In ancient Egypt the staple diet included bread, honey, peas, beans and tasty vegetables such as garlic and onions, with meat only consumed on special occasions.
Today many delicious vegetarian dishes can still be enjoyed in Egypt and here are two recipes that have definitely stood the test of time…
In the markets of Vietnam you will see mounds of fresh and delicious tofu – so many different kinds cooked in every way possible.
Here are a few recipes for you to enjoy at home, to keep your wonderful memories of Indochina on the tip of your tongue…
Tofu Soup (Canh Dau Hu)
3 large dried shiitake mushrooms
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
20 rau ram leaves, plus extra for garnish, or 10 sprigs cilantro, plus extra leaves for garnish
6 ounces baby bok choy, root ends trimmed, and leaves separated, or spinach
10 ounces medium-firm tofu, rinsed, drained, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
coarse sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally