136. Micronesia: Banana Curry with Cashew nuts

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Chances are you have never heard about Micronesia. Micronesia is made up of 607 islands and they take up over a 2.589.988 km² of oceanic territory however, in land surface area they only make up 702 km². These islands are divided into 4 states: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. The islands were formed from underwater volcanos.

Culturally the people of Micronesia come from a long line of clans mostly rooted in traditional stories passed down from generation to generation. For instance, there is the legend of a cursed city that the twin sorcerers created; Nan-Madol. Supposedly they had the help of a flying dragon and that’s how the first dynasty was started according to legend.

Nan-Madol is just as special as Easter Island or Machu Picchu just less accessible and therefore less well-known. To even be able to enter Nan-Madol you have to ask the Chief of the clan for protection and permission to enter the site. There are rumors of people who died who didn’t follow this protocol. You have to undergo a special sakau-ceremony to get the approval of the chief: drink a drink made out of sakau root which is mushed by hand to make sure the spirits of Nan-Madol accept you. Only a tiny fragment of the legendary Saudeleurs city can still be seen, mangroves hide what else is covered.

But who were these Saudeleurs? Pohnpeian legend recounts that the Saudeleur rulers were of foreign origin and that their appearance was quite different from native Pohnpeians. The Saudeleur centralized form of absolute rule is characterized in Pohnpeian legend as becoming increasingly oppressive over several generations. Arbitrary and impossible demands, as well as a reputation for offending Pohnpeian gods and religion. All of this naturally sowed resentment among Pohnpeians.

The Saudeleur Dynasty ended with the invasion of  Isokelekel, another semi-mythical foreigner, who replaced the Saudeleur rule with the more decentralized nahnmwarki system which is still in existence today.

Things you didn’t know about Micronesia

  • In Yap, one of the four states, you should never enter a village without anything in your hands. If you have nothing, then it is understood that you have nothing to do there and have ill intentions. Carrying a green leaf is a sign of having peaceful intentions and a good way to occupy your hands.
  • Chuuk is undoubtedly the wreck diving capital of the world. There are over 50 shipwrecks that sank in Chuuk Lagoon after Operation Hailstone in WWII destroyed the Japanese base. This is a diver’s paradise with wrecks for all levels and at all depths, including some that can be snorkeled. And there is not much else tod do Chuuk , so exploring the underwater life is a must.
  • Although the Micronesian states are made of 607 islands, most of them, especially the larger ones where most visitors stay, are volcanic outcrops surrounded by rocks and mangroves and without any beaches.

Ok so this recipe took me quite a while to come up with. Micronesia doesn’t have a lot of traditional recipes, and since i did’t want to do anything halfway or post a bad recipe. I had to come up with of concoction of my own that highlights a few of the ingredients they use a lot! This recipe is completely vegan and really tasty and also quick to make! So please go ahead and try it. Micronesian readers if you have any traditional recipes you would like to share with please do!

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135. Mexico, El Norte: Machaca con Huevos

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El Norte is sometimes referred to as “unknown Mexico” or “lost Mexico” because it is ignored by the vast majority of tourists. It’s a place of vaqueros, horses and small towns, mountains and sweeping deserts. But at the same time with some of the more modern cities in the country. Truly this is a very rich and virgin region. Visit Chihuahua or Coahuila and you will be far off the well worn gringo path. In many ways traveling to the north is like traveling through an old Western movie. Northern Mexico is one of the country’s most wealthy and modern regions.

Chihuahua, Mexico

Things you didn’t know about Mexico:

  • The colonization of the New World by the Spaniards introduced a lot of products to the rest of the world. Among those incredible contributions to global gastronomy are tomatoes, peanuts, avocados, corn, vanilla and hot peppers. Imagine many of our favorite dishes without these ingredients!
  • A Mexican inventor created the world’s first birth control. That’s right. Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cardenas, a 25 year old Mexican chemist came up with the chemical compound – that would become the first birth control pills – in 1951.
  • Mexican Spanish has more Arabic words than Spain’s Spanish. After the colonialization of Mexico by the Spaniards, Spanish in the Old Country underwent an evolution that involved ridding the language of Arabic influence, which the Spanish looked down upon at the time. But the Spanish spoken in Mexico retained this influence and can be seen today in their distinct use of worlds like alberca (pool), almohada (pillow) and Ojalá (which translates roughly to “I hope so” or “if god wills it”).

A bit of breakfast dish right in time for Easterbrunch! This is Machaca a tortilla with scrambled eggs and dried shredded beef! I love it! So damn good and easy to make

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of white onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup of dry beef meat finely shredded (could be substituted with shredded cooked beef)
  • 1 cup tomato finely chopped
  • 2 Serrano peppers chopped
  • 6 eggs lightly beaten
  • Salt to taste
  • Mayo
  • Chipotle sauce to taste
  • Creme fraice
  • Flour tortillas to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium heat skillet, add the onion and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add the dry meat. It will absorb the oil in the skillet. Let it brown a little at medium heat stirring frequently. About 5 minutes for this step.
  2. Add more oil if need. Place the chopped tomatoes and Serrano pepper into the skillet. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Lower the heat.
  3. Now the tomatoes have released their juice.
  4. Pour the eggs into the skillet and stir until they are done and to your liking. Taste to see if they need salt. Do not let them dry.
  5. Well, some people like to eat this dish very saucy.
  6. Serve with with jalapenos, creme fraiche, flour tortillas and cilantro. Mix the mayo with the chipotle sauce.

134. Mexico, Mexico City: Mole Poblano with Smoked Chicken breast

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Mexico City, this megacity is home to nearly 21 million people , which makes it the most populous city in North America. The city was built atop the ruins of the once flourishing Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Mexico city’s fascinating melting pot reveals itself through its architecture which includes pre-Columbian ruins alongside Mexican-style modernism, and the mix of cultures where tradition happily coexists with the modern culture.

Things you didn’t know about Mexico City:

  • Mexico’s capital is sinking every year. Mexico City was built atop a system of lake beds by its original tribes and expanded by the Aztecs when they took power of the Valley of Mexico. Unlike the Aztecs who created intricate systems of dikes and canals for flood control, the Spanish insisted on draining the lakebed once they got a taste of the work needed to maintain their watery existence. Most of the city’s water today is pumped from its aquifer below the surface and because of the soil’s sandy condition, the city and buildings continue to sink deeper into the muck.
  • North America’s first printing press was used in Mexico City. Mexican Juan Pablo used North America’s first printing press in 1539 and created 35 books with it from that year until the year of his death in 1560. His original workshop has been converted into a musuem and can still be visited in Mexico City’s Centro Historico. The press was brough by Spaniard Juan de Zumárraga in 1539, and originally printed materials for the colonial church and vice royalty.
  • The greener side: Despite its reputation for being super polluted, Mexico City is one of the greenest megacities in Latin America. Part of this distinction has to do with the fact that the Desierto de los Leones, a nearby natural reserve, is included within the city limits as well as the Parque de Chapultepec, which is almost double the size of Central Park.
  • Freshly released from jail by the Cuban Batista government and exiled in Mexico, Fidel and Raul Castro met Ernesto “Che” Guevara in a tiny apartment in Mexico City’s Tabacalera neighborhood for the first time. It was in this apartment and in the Cafe de la Habana in Colonia Sa Rafeal that the three planned their return to Cuba and a revolution that would turn out to be one of the most infamous in world history.

I have looking forward to making Mole for ages! The rich and tasty sauce combined with the smoked chicken! I know the chili’s seem a lot but it’s really not that spicy! I do however recommend lime juice as a topping since it cuts through richness of the sauce.

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133: Mexico, Yucatan: Pollos ala Naranja sanguina

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It has been a while I know, but I have been crazy crazy busy with work, and love and friends. But now I am stuck at home for a while there were no more excuses ofcourse and i have all the time in world.

I will split up Mexico in 4 parts, because it is simply impossible to simply choose 1 dish, and Mexican food is one of my favorites.

Soooo First up is the peninsula of Yucatan. The states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo are all found in the peninsula. Northern sections of neighbouring Belize and Guatemala (haven’t been to Mexico but I have been to Guatemala and Belize, best trip I ever made!) also form part of its expanse. Yucatan is a little different from other parts of Mexico, traditionally it’s a Mayan region, and the signs of that are still very visible, for example Chichén Itzá an incredibly well-preserved Mayan center that was once a major spiritual and economic hub, which is listed as one of the seven wonders of the world. Strangely the entire peninsula has no rivers that run above the ground, but there is a complex network of underground rivers which have formed beautiful caves and underwater sinkholes called cenotes. They are a popular place to swim, snorkle and dive.

Things you didn’t now about Yucatan:

  • The word “Yucatán” may be the result of a misunderstanding. The origins of the word Yucatán are the subject of debate. According to Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, the name arose from a confusion. Cortés wrote that a Spanish explorer had asked a native what the area was called. Apparently he responded “Uma’anaatik ka t’ann,” which in Mayan means “I do not understand you.” Misunderstanding his response, the Spanish named it Yucatán.
  • The Yucatán is famed for its troubadour music, or trova, which has roots in Cuban and Colombian rhythms. “La Peregrina” (The Pilgrim) is one of the most popular trovassongs. Written by Ricardo Palmerín in 1923, the haunting song was commissioned by the Governor of Yucatán, Felipe Carrillo, for his fiancée, the American journalist Alma Reed. Tragically, the romance was ill-fated. Carrillo was shot dead by a rebel army while Reed was in San Francisco preparing for their wedding.
  • The Yucatán Peninsula is the site of the Chicxulub crater, which was created by an asteroid about 6 to 9 miles (10 to 15 kilometers) in diameter. The impact, which struck around 65 million years ago, caused worldwide climate problems and may have triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs.
  • Yucatan is the worlds top producer of the super spicy habanero pepper

The food of the Yucatán peninsula is distinct from the rest of the country and is based on Mayan food with influences from Cuba and other Caribbean islands, Europe, Asia and Middle Eastern cultures. In this recipe you can most certainly taste the Mediterranean influences.

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132. Mauritania: Pudim d’Avocat

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Mauritania is located in the West African region. both a desert spring and coastal haven. Much of the country is left to its natural state, undisturbed by urban infrastructure. Mauritania has one of Africa’s grandest scenery. If you go to Mauritania as a tourist, keep in mind that a holiday here doesn’t mean big, fancy all inclusive resorts and touring busses ; it means enjoying what Mauritania was naturally blessed with. One of the sites to visit would be Parc National du Banc D’Arguin where millions of migratory birds winter along the coast.

Things you didn’t know about Mauritania:

  • It is not acceptable to eat with or in the presence of one’s in-laws, and eating with the left hand is forbidden.
  • People are expected to slaughter an animal according to the number of wives and the wealth of the husband. At the end of Ramadan and at the sacrificial feast that ends the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, a married man is expected to offer a lamb. The meat must be eaten up within three days or it is thrown away. It is customary to offer an animal in connection with name-giving, initiation, marriage, and funeral ceremonies and when people return from Mecca or other important places. Only circumcised adult men are allowed to slaughter animals.It is not acceptable to eat with or in the presence of one’s in-laws, and eating with the left hand is forbidden.
  • Mauritania is one of the top 10 least visited countries in the world.
  • The capitals name Nouakchott means “place of winds
  • Mauritania has the largest ship graveyard in the world left abandoned by various outsiders that bribed the local officials and nowadays over 300 of them are stranded at the beaches

This avocado pudding is surprisingly light and delicious. It is not overly sweet which i like! I think you can even eat for breakfast on the weekends, instead of an avocado toast :P.

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131. Martinique: Shrimp Acras

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Martinique, aaaah another holiday paradise! Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502 on his 4th voyage to the Americas. What else is there to say about this beautiful island in the Caribbean. Columbus must have been swept off his feet by the beauty of this stunning mountainous island with rainforests and magnificent beaches. Nowadays the capital Fort-de-France is a little overcrowded but the north and south of the island is still relatively untouched by tourists. Add this to the joie the vivre of the locals and you’ll understand why everyone loves Martinique.

Things you didn’t know about Martinique:

  • Before the island was named Martinique by Christopher Columbus in 15th June 1502, the island was known as Jouanacaëra-Matinino, a name that comes from the Tainos of Hispaniola to mean ‘mythical island’.
  • Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), the French artist, visited Martinique. Famous works painted on the island include Two Women of Martinique. The island clearly made an impact because in het later works the bright flowers and colours of the island stand out.
  • Martinique is famous for African-French music known as beguine. Beguine was immortalized by Cole Porter in his song Begin the Beguine.

These shrimp fritters are amazing! A perfect appetizer during the summer months with an ice cold beer or glass a rosé. Serve with a slice of lime and don’t forget to salt them afterwards (just like you do with french fries 😉 )

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130. Marshall Islands: Coconut Crème with Fresh Mango and Pineapple

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The Marshall Islands, another country I had never heard of before writing this. Which is not that strange since it has only been independent since 1986. Before that it was under American rule, but they kind of screwed up so when the inhabitants decided they were ready for independence they had to kindly agree to let the Marshallese fend for themselves. What happened you ask?… Well for starters they used Bikini island (Yes guys I know Spongebobs birthplace) as a site for testing atomic bombs. They told the inhabitants of Bikini that they had a calling from God to move away for the sake of worldpeace. For 12 years they regularly bombed the island with nuclear weapons. Nowadays you can take a trip to Bikini Islands (it’s called Nuclear Tourism, are there people who do this?).

The Marshall Islands’s economy is still very intertwined with the US economy, but that kind of makes sense being such a tiny place. The Marshallese call their own country “Jolet Jen Anij” which means “The Gifts from God” The county is made up of 29 coral atolls containing 1100 smaller islands and islets and then 5 solid isolated islands.

Things you did’t know about the Marshall Islands:

  • The Marshall Islands provides the world’s largest sanctuary for sharks, which virtually doubled the protected area for sharks worldwide.
  • The only indigenous land mammal in the Marshall Islands is the Polynesian rat.
  • The trade in copra has been important to the economy of the Marshall Islands. Copra is dried coconut meat. Once the meat of coconut has been dried to make copra, it can be ground or pressed to yield coconut oil. Copra is classed as “dangerous cargo” when in transit as it can spontaneously explode with great force when it is being transported in volume.
  • The society is matrilineal and, therefore, the land is passed down from generation to generation through the mother.
  • Before the missionaries came, all Marshallese people were tattooed. The ceremony was extending over a month, most painful and held to confer beauty and bring honor; it was a rite of passage to man or womanhood and was believed the only attribute to be carried beyond the grave; partaking of religion, it served as well to confirm ties of family and birth. Facial tattooing, intended to conceal the wrinkles of age, was reserved for chiefs – to whom was permitted the richest and most widespread adornment.

This coconut creme is an amazingly rich and delicious dessert. Perfect for a quick summer dessert!

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129. Malta: Mushroom Pastizzi

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Malta, With 3 times more tourists than inhabitants it is a great example of a mass tourism spot. Malta is the ultimate mediterranean holiday in Europe: sun, beaches and cheap liquor. Malta has a really rich history, and the reason for that is mainly due to it’s strategic placement in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. In the past 7000 years Malta has been a part of many empires and conquered a lot; The Romans, The Arabs, The Knights of St. John, The French, and The British. They all left their mark on the tiny island. The capital of Malta is Valetta a beautiful city that is on the Unesco list and for good reason. On less than 1 km² there are over 300 historical monuments. The most important one is st. Johns Co-Cathedral built by the Knights of St. John, they ruled the island in the 16th century. The Knights of St. John were extremely rich and lived their lives to serve God. The cathedral is covered in gold and it’s all real, none of it paint.

To discover the rest of the island you take the touristy bus ofcourse, but you can also go your own way and hop on one of the local busses. All the public transport busses on the island were imported from Great Britain in 1955.

Malta is also of the best diving spots in Europe. The water is so clear that in some places you can see 30 meters deep, the reefs are beautiful and there a few shipwrecks at the bottom of the see when on a diving tour.

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Things you didn’t know about Malta:

  • During World War I, Malta was also known as the Nurse of the Mediterranean because a large number of wounded soldiers were accommodated on the island.
  •  Malta is devoid of forests and rivers. Yes, you would not find any of these across its seven islands. Malta is mainly made up of limestone, and there are no hills in the country that are higher than 300 meters.
  • You might be surprised to learn that there are more Maltese people in Melbourne, Australia then there are in Malta.

A perfect little handpie to bring for a picknick (i took them to the beach the next day) . Of course you can also eat them immediately. Yummy and delicious, if you leave out the lardons you can make it a vegetarian dish. Please do add a little extra salt if you leave out the bacon.

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128. Mali: Chicken Peanut Stew

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It’s been a while guys I know! So sorry but i have been crazy busy, which is no excuse at all of course. But I hope this epic Chicken Peanut Stew makes it up little 😀

For centuries Mali was a big mighty and rich empire. They used to trade in gold and a lot of the trade routes that traveled through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert led through Mali. At the end of the 19th century, the French colonized Mali, but they barely left any western influences. Since their independence in 1960 is Mali one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. Going to Mali means going back in time, markets with latrines on the side of a road, happy little baby’s running around naked followed by their moms in colorful dresses and hats, potteries with hundreds of pots in different shapes and size for sale, fishermen waiting to make their catch in the Niger river.

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Things you didn’t know about Mali:

  • The bogolanfini cloth, which is made from handcrafted cloth dyed with mud, is produced only in this part of Africa.
  • When Mansa Musa, emperor of the Malian Empire in the early 1300s, made his Mecca pilgrimage, he made Mali famous by bringing with him 12,000 slaves, 60,000 men, 80 camels that each carried between 50 and 30 pounds of gold, and building a mosque every Friday during his journey.
  • Mansa Musa left so much gold to the people along his way, he inadvertently caused inflation in the regions he passed.
  • Historically a lively African intellectual center, Mali’s literary tradition is passed primarily by word of mouth. “Jalises” recite stories or histories of a community by heart.
  • Woman do all the work for the family but they are held in high regard. Women are always consulted, particularly in community decisions, because they symbolize harmony and peace.

This is a good one guys, full of veggies and a lovely rich peanut flavour!!! Plus bonus: a great way to use leftover roast chicken!

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127. Maldives: CuttleFish Curry

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The Maldives are a playground for divers, snorkelers and sun worshipers Some of the worlds most picture-perfect beaches can be found with the some of the most exclusive resorts on the planet. Away from the tourist hotspots, the Maldives is known for intriguing Islamic culture and is shaped by centuries of seafaring and trade. However once again there is a downside… The rising sea levels caused by climate change are endangering this paradise-like nation. Since the highest point in the nation is just 2,4 meters above sea level. See the problem if the sea levels continue to rise… they are making preparations though to move the entire population to a new homeland overseas.

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Things you didn’t know about the Maldives:

  • World’s first underwater cabinet meeting was held here. For an island country like the Maldives, drastic climate change and rising level of oceans is a major threat. A number of islands have already been cleared because of the rising waters in the ocean and their interference in freshwater resources. For drawing attention towards the same, Mohamed Nasheed, The President, transferred the cabinet meeting of October 2009 right to the ocean’s bottom.
  • It is an Island that was Formed by an Exiled Indian Prince. Though the exact date is not known, the tentative date was sometime before 269 BC. If legends are to be believed, at that time there was no government. Only a peaceful community who worshiped Sun and Water was living there. It is said that the first real kingdom here was founded by Sri Soorudasaruna Adeettiya, the son of a ruler of Kalinga, a kingdom in India. The king was extremely angry with his son and had sent him away to the Maldives, then called Dheeva Maari. The prince established Adeetta Dynasty in the Maldives.
  • While in most of the countries on the globe, the weekend means Saturday and Sunday, it is not so in the Maldives. Weekend here is Friday and Saturday.
  • Many people of the Maldives hold on to a strong belief in the supernatural, including black and white magic. In September 2013, a coconut was detained by police after being found loitering and acting suspiciously during the presidential elections. The questionable young coconut was found outside of a polling station and was accused of being placed there to rig the election. Coconuts are supposed to be a frequent ingredient in black magic spells and rituals; the police called in a white magician to examine the coconut for threats and curses. No such curses were found, and the magician deemed the coconut to be an innocent.
  • Every element in the Maldives flag is symbolic. The crescent moon stands for Islam, the green section represents palm trees, and the red background symbolizes the blood shed by Maldivian heroes

This curry is spicy, delicious and quick, the perfect weeknight meal

malediven
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