Perhaps because of my diverse heritage, perhaps in reaction to the limited choices I grew up with (my brothers, for instance, didn't eat much more than hot dogs, pork chops, and macaroni & cheese), I am a culinary explorer: the more exotic, the better. Thai, Indian, and Mediterranean are my favorites whether eating out or cooking in. Highly recommended:

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic (crushed, peeled, chopped)
  • 4 whole dried red chili peppers
  • 1 pound of lean pork (loin or butt) cut 1/8" x ¼ " x 1½"
  • 1 cup of canned water chestnuts, sliced and drained
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 16 oz. coconut milk
  1. In a wok, over medium-low heat, heat the oil and fry the chili peppers and garlic, stirring, until the garlic becomes golden brown and the chilies darken.
  2. Increase the heat to high. Add the pork, a handful at a time, stir-frying and tossing the mixture until the pork is coated with the spices and is cooked through.
  3. The water chestnuts are now added and fried for about 30 seconds. Follow them immediately with the pepper. then stir in the green onions and fry them for about 30 seconds.
  4. Turn to low heat. Add the coconut milk, and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer to a dish and serve.
adapted from "The Cuisines of Asia," Jennifer Brennan
  • ½ cup lard or shortening
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into pieces
  • 2 flour tortillas, cut into pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. raisins
  • 2 T. almonds
  • 2 T. peanuts
  • 2 T. sesame seeds 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 Mexican chocolate (or 1 T. unsweetened cocoa)
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 chicken breasts, boned

Heat the lard in a large skillet until very hot. Stir in the chili powder and cook until brown.

Stir in the remaining ingredients except the second 2 cups of of chicken broth and chicken. Simmer for 1 hour. Let cool.

Pour some of the sauce into a blender. Puree until smooth. Continue with the remaining sauce.

Heat the sauce and remaining 2 cups chicken broth in a skillet. Place the chicken in the sauce and simmer for one hour or until the chicken is tender.

(from "Authentic Mexican Cooking," by Susan Vollmer

  • 2 lb. boned lamb
  • 4 chopped onions
  • 3 oz. clarified butter
  • ¼ pint each double cream and moisture-free yoghourt
  • 4 crush cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch saffron strands steeped overnight in 4 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon roasted ground poppy seed
  • 2 inches fresh ginger
  • 4 crushed cardamoms
  • 4 oz. blanched pounded almonds
  • Juice of 5 limes or 3 lemons
Parch or roast, pound, chop etc., all aromatics. Squeeze yoghourt and cream separately to expel all moisture. Reserve. Wipe the meat with a damp cloth, dry, and cut into almond-sized pieces. Heat half the butter and brown the chopped onions. Remove, drain, and reserve. Fry meat in remaining butter until dark gold. Mix garlic with ¼ cup water, strain into meat, and dry on brisk heat. Grate the fresh ginger, mix in ¼ cup water, strain over meat, and dry off on high heat. Stir well. Aromatize with black pepper and roasted poppy seed, ground finely. Moisten with the yoghourt and the salt and stir, cooking over medium heat until dry. Mix the chives with the almonds and add to the meat. Stir and cook for a scant minute. Enrich with cream, saffron, and crushed cardamom seeds. Stir and cook until reduced by half. Add the lime juice, stir, and cover well. Place in gentle oven for 20 minutes, shaking the casserole a few times during this period, then serve.

(from "Indian Cookery", Dharamjit Singh, p.57)