By Brack Johnson


Take a food trip to the four corners of the world with recipes from recent cookbooks that feature a selection of cuisines, including those of Cuba, Belize, Uganda and Mexico.


Whip up a delightful departure for your family at the holiday, bring something different to a potluck in your Triangle neighborhood or show off your skills at a March Madness gathering.


Any ingredient not found in your local supermarket should be available in gourmet and ethnic grocery stores.
Bon appetit!



The World in a Skillet
A Food Lover's Tour of the New American South

Published by The University of North Carolina Press










Arroz con Pollo
(Cuban-Style Chicken and Rice)

1 chicken, quartered
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup annatto oil or olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large Aji pepper, Cubanelle pepper or green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1-1/2 teaspoons)
1 small tomato, seeded and diced (about 2/3 cup)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 cups beer
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon saffron strands, crushed
1/2 teaspoon annatto seeds
1 pound Valencia or Alborio rice, rinsed
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas


Place the chicken in a large container with a lid. Pour over the orange and lime juices with the oregano, cumin and crushed garlic. (You can replace both the orange and lime juices with the juice of sour oranges if it is available.) Seal the container and allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add the chicken and fry for about 5 minutes per side or until brown. Remove the chicken from the skillet and reserve, draining all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet.


Add the onion, Aji, Cubanelle or green bell pepper and garlic to the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.


Add the tomato, salt and black pepper, and continue cooking for 2 minutes.


Carefully add the bay leaf, beer, chicken broth and saffron to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes.


Remove 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the chicken mixture. In a small saucepan, pour the 1/4 cup cooking liquid over the annatto seeds. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes before straining the liquid back into the chicken mixture.


Discard the annatto seeds.


Return the chicken mixture to a boil. Stir in the rice, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.


Remove the bay leaf and stir in the green peas. Allow the arroz con pollo to cook for another 5 minutes.


Makes 4 servings



Chicken Kebab
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground saffron
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 packages instant dry beef broth
or 1 tablespoon beef soup base concentrate
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless chicken thighs


In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, saffron, soy sauce, lemon juice, beef broth, cinnamon, salt and black pepper. Whisk until the mixture is thoroughly combined and smooth.


Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces large enough to be cooked on skewers.


Transfer the chicken to the mixing bowl with the seasoning mixture and stir, making sure to coat each piece with the seasoning mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.


Heat a griddle or grill pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a light layer of oil.


Carefully push the chicken onto the skewers. Leave at least a finger's width of space between each piece of chicken to ensure even cooking.


Lay the skewers of chicken on the griddle or grill pan. Allow the meat to cook without turning for 5 to 7 minutes or until the meat will pull away from the pan without sticking.


Turn the skewer over and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.


Serve with a green salad, rice and cooked vegetables.


Makes 6 servings



Flavors of Belize

The Cookbook

Published by McNab Publishing









Pan-Fried Snapper Filet
2 pounds fresh red snapper filet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cut filet into medallions and pat dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper then dust with flour. Saute in olive oil on high heat for about 3 minutes on each side.


Serve snapper on a bed of cilantro rice, drizzle with Mango Sauce and pair with a fresh garden salad.


Mango Sauce
1 large ripe mango
8 ounces fresh mango juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Peel the mango and cut into chunks. Place the mango, garlic, rum and Thai fish sauce in a saucepot and cook for about 10 minutes. Add more water if the sauce gets to thick. Puree and season with salt and pepper.


Makes 4 to 6 servings


Shrimp in Black Bean Sauce
2 pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons garlic, crushed
3/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup green bell peppers, deseeded, diced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce, to taste
6 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce
1 teaspoon habanero or cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup water, as needed

Salt and pepper shrimp. Saute garlic in olive oil until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until shrimp is half cooked. Remove shrimp from saute pan and set aside. Saute onions and green bell peppers. Add sugar and black bean garlic sauce, continue to saute for 2 to 3 minutes adding a little water if necessary to keep the sauce liquid. Return shrimp to pan, saute 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over white rice or noodles.


Makes 6 servings





Fusion Cuisine Goes Global

Published by Create Space Independent Publishing Platform









Beef Ribs in Chilli Tomato Sauce
2-1/2 pounds short beef ribs, on bone, trimmed of excess fat
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded and cut into strips
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
Salt, to taste


Over medium heat, in a heavy ovenproof pot with a lid, brown the ribs, 5 minutes each side. Do this in batches. Remove the meat and reserve on a plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the oil residue, and discard the rest. Add the onion to the reserved oil residue, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chilli and pepper strips. Stir in the marjoram, and season with salt.


Put the ribs back in the pot, and mix well. Cover the pot and place in an oven preheated to 350. Cook for 2 hours.


After 2 hours, check the meat. If not fork tender, return to the oven and cook for a further 15 to 30 minutes.


Makes 4 servings



Roast Rack of Lamb With Sweet Corn Sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
8 cloves
3 cardamom pods
2 dried bay leaves
2 onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
2 tablespoons natural yogurt
1-1/2 cups sweet corn
3/4 cup lamb or chicken stock/broth
2 ounces fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 racks of lamb, excess fat trimmed off


For the sauce
Over medium heat, in a heavy pan, heat a little olive oil and the butter. Add the cloves, cardamom pods and bay leaves. When the seeds start to crackle, add the onions and cook until golden.


Add the turmeric and salt and saute for 1-2 minutes. Stir in half the ginger and garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the yogurt and half the sweet corn, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, until the corn gets very soft. Mash the corn with a fork.


Add the stock/broth, and bring to a boil. Add the coriander/cilantro and the remaining sweet corn. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add a little lemon juice and check the seasoning.


Remove from heat and reserve hot.


For the lamb rack
Mix well the ginger and garlic paste, chilli powder, the remaining olive oil and a little salt. Rub the mixture over the lamb and marinate for 30 to 40 minutes.


Place in an oven preheated to 350, and cook for 45 minutes to medium rare. A few minutes before serving, sear the lamb in a little oil, 3 minutes each side.


Serve hot with the sweet corn sauce.


Makes 4 servings



Mexican Made Easy
Everyday Ingredients, Extraordinary Flavor

Clarkson Potter Publishers










Spiced Turkey Breast with Chocolate Pasilla Sauce
One (3 1/2 - to - 4 pound) bone-in chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-1/2 cups chopped white onions
2 garlic cloves
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1-1/2 cups chicken broth, preferably organic
5 dried pasilla chiles, soaked
One (3.1-ounce) disk Mexican chocolate
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds for garnish


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Set a rack in a large roasting pan. Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry. Put the turkey on the rack and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. In a small bowl, mix the oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the turkey, rubbing some of it underneath the skin.


Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the turkey registers 165 degrees and the juices run clear when the turkey is pierced with a fork, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth, and cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes for the flavors to incorporate. Let cool slightly.


Drain the pasillas and transfer them to a blender. Add the onion mixture and puree until smooth. Return to same saucepan and add the chocolate, stirring over medium heat until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.


Remove the turkey breast from the bone. Slice into 1/2-inch-thick slices and transfer to a platter. Top with the chocolate pasilla sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.


Makes 4 servings




Corn and Poblano Lasagne
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears) or thawed frozen
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 poblano chiles, charred and peeled, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
Twelve (7- x 3-inch) no-boil lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese or mozzarella


Preheat oven to 350.


Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add two-thirds of the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Mix in the corn and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and thyme. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the zucchini and poblano strips, and cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.


Spread about one-fourth of the corn mixture over the bottom of an 11- x 8-inch baking dish. Cover with a layer of 3 lasagna sheets. Spread one-fourth of the poblano mixture and one-fourth of the cheese over the pasta. Repeat the layering three more times. Bake until browned and the pasta is cooked, 50 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.


Makes 6 to 8 servings



India: A Culinary Journey

Hippocrene Books


Note: Check Indian grocery stores if you can't find
an ingredient in your local supermarket.








Aloo Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower Fry)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal
1 teaspoon chana dal
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt to taste


Heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, cumin seeds and ground ginger. Stir and fry until mustard seeds begin to pop. Add turmeric and chili powder.


Add the potatoes and cauliflower to the pan and stir well to coat with the spices. Cook until potatoes are cooked through, stirring to prevent burning and sprinkling with a little water if it becomes too dry. Add salt to taste.


Makes 4 servings



Baingan Bartha (Eggplant Chutney)
2 large eggplants
4 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons ghee
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro


Coat eggplants with oil and grill over open flame until they are roasted and interior is soft. Remove from heat and scrape off outer peel. Mash eggplants.


Heat ghee in pan and fry onions and ginger for 1 minute. Add cumin seeds, amchur, garam masala, turmeric, peppercorns and salt. Add tomato and cook until mixture is soft.


Add mashed eggplant and cook for 10 minutes while stirring. Stir in cilantro.


Makes 6 servings