There are about 150 different kinds of Quinoa. Though the most common kinds you can buy everywhere are white, red and black. I am a big fan of quinoa (duh? I am peruvian) and I love them in every color and texture. The white quinoa is the fluffy one that is a bit closer in texture to couscous. The red and black are crunchier, so I find them better for a summer salad.
Quinoa has not only protein, but it is also a source of fiber and iron! For me is the complete package side dish and works perfectly to complement any salad. I made today a black quinoa salad with shrimps. But you can skip the "animal protein" and just eat the rest. This is one of my favorite summer recipes.
Ingredients for 2:
1 cup black quinoa (wash it first if it isnt pre-washed)
1 cup of broth
8 prawns or big shrimps
a handful of peas
a handful of granate apple
Salt & Pepper
How to prepare Quinoa? Wash it First! always wash it, otherwise it will become bitter. Now, the water quinoa ratio is: For each unit of Quinoa, add 2 units of water. I like to add broth to the mix to maximize the flavor. So lets say go for 1 part quinoa, 1 part water and 1 part broth. Let it boil and turn the heat to minimum, add the lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, Cut the zucchini in julienne (or use a spiralizer) Fry it in a hot wok with some oil for 2 minutes and take it of the heat. Do the same with the peas. Cut the avocado and scallion.
Once the quinoa is done, mix it with the rocket leaves, scallions and some lime, add salt if needed. Fry the shrimps until the are golden.
Place the quinoa mix first and add all the toppings over it. Sprinkle some more scallions, salt and pepper over it and dont forget the pomegranate seeds as well. Now lets wait for the sun to shine and let's eat some of this.
For the ones that dont know much about the Peruvian culinary tradition, we have loads of cultural influences. One of the best outcomes of it, is the Japanese influence. What brings us Nikkei, a combination of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine that has become new trend amongst Europe.
I mean, Sushi mixes perfectly with ceviche if you think about it. Combining Japanese dishes with Peruvian flavors and techniques has a remarkable effect. The minimalism and delicacy of Japanese food meets the rough freshness and spiciness of Peru. a deadly combination for every foodie around!
Both are so similar, yet so different. But what is Nikkei? or what does the word mean? Nikkei people are Japanese emigrants and their descendants who have created communities throughout the world. And Nikkei food, for me, is the evolution of Japanese food where these communities live.
I was in Peru this May, and I was dying to eat some Nikkei again after 14 years living in Europe. I had to Taste the trend. Sadly I couldnt go visit Micha, my childhood friend and owner of the number 13 of the 50 best restaurants in the world, but I got to take a little time to visit Osaka and get delighted with all the flavours this cuisine has to offer.
I went there with my family. And we started with some delicious Nikkei Cocktails made with japanese and peruvian fruits. Each of them tastier than the other. I got the Pisco Punch Osaka as i loved the one I tried at the Super Foods Event from last december.
We started with 2 Tiraditos. Tiradito is a Peruvian dish of raw fish, cut in the shape of sashimi, and of aspect similar to crudo, and carpaccio, in a spicy sauce.
Carpassion: Salmon, passion fruit honey, watercress and crunchy dough and Osaka Tataki, a grilled seared tuna, oriental citrus sauce, togarashi and negi.
After the tiraditos, we ordered a nigiri platter. A dream of Foie Gras, Shrimps and truffles. It was mouth-watering.
- Hotate Truffle: Fan shells, white truffle butter and lemon
- Tuna Foie: Tuna, foie gras, teriyaki sauce and Maldon salt.
- Evil Ebi: Prawn, BBQ Osk and chalaquita.
We followed the Nigiris with Nikkei Makis that included Antiku, Prawns tempura, negi and seared loin with Nikkei anticucho sauce. And Spicy Crunchy, a maki made out Prawns batayaki, crab pulp, crunchy quinoa and togarashi.
And before we decided on the main dishes, we had to try at least one Peruvian Izakaya. This was a great name for it as it means Japanese Tapas. We went for the beautiful Mariscos al Fuego, or Seafood on Fire! it just melted in your mouth and left you yearning for more! An amazingly made mix of seafood sautéed in butter, togarashi and lemon.
The main dishes arrived! As a huge fan of Yuzu, I ordered the Niku Kabayaki, a Wagyu slices, kabayaki and yuzu butter. I loved the fact that you could grill your own meat and the sides. OH MY! an onion marmalade and fried peruvian cassava.
The rest of the family ordered these amazing dishes:
- Salmon Tentsuyu, a salmon confit in lime oil, negi and avocado tempura.
- Pato Mochero, Crispy duck leg over wok rice, cecina and shiitake with honey of tumbo
- Shiromi a la Brasa, White fish marinated in shoyu with crispy garlic sauce, almonds and Peruvian peppers.
- OSK Wok, Wok rice with vegetables and shrimps.
We had a great night, everything was highly pleasant to the taste. For me, this culinary fusion is the best I have ever tried. And IMHO, everyone should try this beautiful love child between Peru and Japan.
I tested the trend, And I got even more hungry for it as I was before this meal. Damn, I will even try to make some Nikkei recipes for the blog!! If you are in Lima and you want to try some Nikkei besides Osaka
- My friend Micha's Maido
- Costanera 700 a restaurant I had the honor to work with years ago
- Mesa18 from the Legend Toshiro Konishi
I am doing some major work in my kitchens wood. So I can't use much of it. The Sink, countertop, etc. And to add to it, it is summer in Berlin. Hot Hot Hot (when it isn't raining) And as a girl has to eat, I made this super easy pasta recipe with fresh avocados. I am having a bit of "camera problems" as well so please bare with it, at least just for this post ;)
I got some Nero di Seppia pasta (squid ink pasta) from a friend of mine (he got it at L'Epicerie), And normally I use it with a creamy sauce and prawns. But as this pasta is vegan, I decided to go vegan all the way.
Ingredients per person:
90 gr Pasta
1 small tomato
1 spoon olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Cut the tomatoes in 8 pieces. Heat oven to 160C. Put the tomatoes on a baking sheet with salt, drizzle over oil, roast for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
In the meantime, crush the walnuts and roast them a bit in a pan. Boil the pasta. Peel and mash the avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir olive oil, lime or lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. If you want to go a bit crazy, add some chili to it.
Mix the tomatoes, avocado mash and pasta together and drizzle the roasted walnuts, and ENJOY!
Me and my daughter went backpacking through Vietnam last March. We went around, stopping in places like Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Hoi An, Da Nang, Ha Noi, Halong Bay and Phu Quoc. We explored these amazing places, making new friends and tasting loads of different foods.
In Vietnam, It is impossible to really go wrong when it comes to food. Vietnamese people know their stuff, and their food is for sure amazing. Here I made a list of things IMHO are a MUST TRY when you are in in this culinary destination.
1. Bun Cha Ha Noi
Or as the locals call it "Obama Bun Cha". I had to laugh so hard when I heard they call it Obama. The story is that during a 3-day-visit to the vietnamese capitol, Ex-President Obama and Anthony Bourdain had a cheap meal in tiny plastic chairs. It was everywhere on Social Media, Everywhere! They both said it was delicious while drinking some local beer and having a great time.
I decided to try this fatty grilled pork, served with noodles at the same place he did. But the locals told me the best place to eat them was at Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim.
Bun Cha Ha Noi is served in different bowls and you have to mix it all in your plate. Rice Noodles, Braised pork slices, Pork meatballs in a delicious sauce, fresh herbs, Chili, garlic and the best: Spring Rolls.
You are supposed to add the chili and garlic to the sauce and dip the noodles and herbs before you munch them. It was mouth-watering! Dont be afraid to sit in a plastic chair in the middle of the street, it is totally worth it.
Restaurant: "Bun Cha Nem Cua Be Dac Kim" - 1 Hàng Mành - Ha Noi
2. Pho or Soup at the Lunch Lady
The Lunch Lady is almost a Landmark in Saigon. Or at least she should! I heard from several foodies, bloggers and travel eaters (like my pal Nick from Eatacity) that I should get there and try the soup of the day. What I mean with this, is that she has a rotating menu, a different dish every day of the week.
Thi Thanh aka. The Lunch Lady, Warmly welcomed us (after a sweaty 2-hour-walk with a baby on a carrier) and we were the last customers of the day. We almost didn't make it... damn heat! But we were there and we got our table served in 2 seconds. Spring rolls, sweet potato and shrimps fritters (Bahn Tom) and my soup: Bun Bo Hue!
Bun Bo Hue is a Spicy beef and Pork soup with vermicelli noodles. Full body and loads of taste. The pork sausages reminds me of a bratwurst somehow, and the beef meat was as soft as is gets. It was an explosion of umami in my mouth.
Thi Thanh surprised me with her knowledge of german. She was in Germany many years ago and she can have a fluent conversation. The ladies closed the stand and we kept talking about food and Germany (i eat very slow) What a great afternoon.
Street Food: "Lunch Lady" Saigon 23 Hoang Sa St., District 1 - Ho Chi Mihn
3. Cao Lau
We were staying at a Homestay next to the beach, And the lovely hostess told me to try the restaurant Sen at the beach. I took Pepa and my towel and went for a swim and after some hours enjoying the sun and some local beer, we were ready for food. And after reading a bit online, Cao Lau was the one to try.
I was really amazed by this regional dish from the town of Hoi An. It reminded me on "Tallarin Saltado" from Peru. Pork sauteed with chili and onions, served on special chewy rice noodles and some fresh mint and coriander with it. I am a sucker for Tallarin Saltado, so this one became instantly my favorite dish of the trip.
This special noodles can only be made in Hoi An, they are like Soba noodles, but they are not made out of buckwheat but reis. The rice has to be stone ground and mixed with ash and water. The ash is made with firewood from the Cham Islands. The noodles are cut and then cooked three times with firewood. The water to cook the noodles is also very special because it only comes from specific wells in Hội An. This is why Cao Lau is a dish that can only be prepared in Hội An.
Restaurant: "Nha Hang Sen" - 12 Lạc Long Quân, Cửa Đại - Hoi An
4. Vietnamese BBQ
To cover more areas in the island of Phu Quoc, I rented a scooter. Everytime I passed next to the BBQs on the streets of the island I got soooo hungry. I asked the people working at the resort we were staying where was the best place to eat this. They told me that they go all together to celebrate birthdays or special occasions at the "No Name" BBQ place. So I had to try it, What a great name!
You could choose the ingredients next to the grill and make your own mix. I chose a whole squid, okra, pork ribs and some other small things. After a short while, All came to the table and it was amazing! the taste and freshness of the ingredients left you licking your fingers. I had to order more food as Pepa was eating it all.
The warmth, music and atmosphere was like eating in a backyard with friends while listening people having fun and watching the dogs wander around. I wish I was more hungry to try more things, but the heat was killing me those days.
Restaurant: "No Name BBQ" - Ông Lang, Cửa Dương - Phu Quoc
6. Hot Pot
Hot Pot has been a favorite of mine for a long time. There was this tiny restaurant in Oslo I used to go all the time. While walking through the night markets I saw some fishtanks with live seafood, and I thought it was just for buying, for an aquarium maybe? But I was so wrong!
I met a great family at the resort and we took our scooters to the night market. We were starving and found a place at the market that was filled with locals. Hot Pot was a great choice for 3 adults and 3 kids. You choose the living fish and seafood and they bring it to the table with a hot pot filled with broth. You add the food and 5 minutes later is ready to eat.
The kids wanted shrimps, so we got this gigantic ones and they were in heaven! The hot pot was great and it was more than us could eat. I really like eating very hot dishes when is hot outside, it cools me down in a way. I totally recommend trying a hot pot when you are in Vietnam!
Night Market: "Night Market Phu Quoc" - Khu 1, Dương Đông - Phu Quoc
7. Sugar Cane Juice
Sugar cane juice or Nuoc Mia or just Mia is served EVERYWHERE in Vietnam. It is a yellow semi-sweet, tropical refreshing drink that is perfect for the HOT HOT days and nights. The sugarcane produces a really musty, tropical flavor. The froth is irresistible.
Stands selling Mia are everywhere They have a machine to grind the sugar cane. The sugar cane gets pressed through a few times until there is no liquid left. The sugar cane carcasses are left in a pile in front of the machine.
Stand: "Nouc Mia", Everywhere in Vietnam
8. Market Food
I know sometimes Asian markets don't look like a place to eat food. They look dark and dirty and probably the best place to get food poisoning. But you HAVE TO eat at a market in Vietnam!
There is a few tricks to it:
- Eat food that has been fried or boiled
- See if the ice was made by a machine (cold beverages) do not drink anything containing self made ice.
- Clean your chopsticks and spoons with desinfectant
- See when they open your beer/drinks
- If you are still afraid, avoid fresh leaves of lettuce and soy sprouts
We both had food at the market and we were not sick at all. I had a delicious soup and spring rolls with a local beer, it was terrific, we went around to see what else to try. (OMG my hair was SHORT!)
I found a lotus seeds drink (AWESOMEEEEE!) very refreshing and it has Anti-aging properties. And on my way out of the Ben Thanh Market, I found a Lady selling Mang Cut or Purple Mangosteen, it is a bit pricey (4 units for the price of a meal) but definitely a delicious fruit.
Market: "Ben Thanh" - Đường Lê Lợi, Bến Thành, District 1 - Hồ Chí Minh,
9. Vietnamese Contemporary Haute Cuisine
I was very curious about the "contemporary" Vietnamese Food. I was looking for a high end restaurant to try the most delicate version of their food fused with non-vietnamese ingredients. In the island of Phu Quoc, next to my Resort was the best restaurant on the island: Mango Bay. A beautiful restaurant by the beach where you can enjoy dinner while watching the sunset.
After a whole day at the beach with our new friends: Ina & Lisa from Germany, we headed to Mango Bay. We had seafood tempura, chicken wings, spicy watermelon Squid salad, bun cha, stuffed squid, vietnamese pancakes in between others.
The sunset was beautiful, the location and food was just dreamy and romantic. The price was higher than a regular meal, but the amount of food was incredible. I don't think any of us were able to finish the dishes.
Restaurant: "Mango Resort & Restaurant" - Cửa Dương - Phu Quoc
10. A place where just locals eat
Get out of your comfort zone! I walked through many places in Vietnam that didn't seem like it was a restaurant or a sanitary place to eat. Though all this places where PACKED with locals. Very close to my hotel was a street that is know for their great restaurants called "De Tham".
I walked many times through that street before I dared to get in a restaurant and eat the food. It was a restaurant where they repaired scooters, filled with old parts, oil cans, screws and more. Every night it was filled with locals eating in plastic chairs drinking beer and singing karaoke.
We went inside, And I ordered Banh pho xao bo, a Stir-fried rice noodles with beef made with Mì quảng Noodles (the rice cousin of a pappardelle), a side of Garlic Morning Glory and to go WAY out of my comfort zone: Hot Tamarind Chicken Feet.
The food was outstanding, as well as the service. It was by far the best Chicken feet I ever had. Dont get scared of trying a restaurant in Vietnam that doesnt look like a european restaurant, I am pretty sure you will have an amazing dinner and feel like a local sipping noodles while listening some vietnamese karaoke.
Restaurant: "Qua An 26" - 28 Đề Thám, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh
Extra Tip: Kem Cuon
And as a final tip, for those hot night walks through the streets, Try the Ice Cream rolls! Check for the stands that make them with real fruits instead of syrups. I ordered a Mango Chocolate one. And here is how they make them:
Stand: "Kem Cuon", Everywhere in Vietnam
Have you been to Vietnam? Have you try any of these? Any tips for my next trip there?
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...