When we recently checked in on the welfare of our friends, colleagues and partners around the world to see how they were dealing with the chaos caused by COVID-19, many had mentioned that they had been taking the time to enjoy cooking their favourite recipes to help pass the time.
From sub-continental recipes that will spice up your meals to simple baking delights that will impress your mother-in-law, here's what's cooking in our team's kitchen.
Jump to a recipe:
1. Traditional Chilean Ceviche
2. Spicy Indian Chicken Curry
3. Make your own Sourdough Bread
4. Vietnamese Edge-fried Bacon
5. Bolivian Quinoa Croquettes
6. Bobotie – The South African National Dish
7. Spanish Churros
8. British Cola Chicken
9. Burmese Street Food Shan Noodles
10. Bonus: Peter Kuruvita's Sri Lankan Ridged Gourd Curry
Traditional Chilean Ceviche
Adventure outfitter Claudia from Santiago, Chile has been busy in her home office while organising her two young children's online classes, but she has still managed to bring out the fun in the home by cooking together as a family.
"Our once-upon-a-time dining room is now a family co-working space (even if my husband who works in finances takes most of the place with his screens!). As a family, we quickly established a daily routine which allows us to work independently while sharing moments that we usually wouldn’t in normal times. We cook together – new and challenging recipes – and then enjoy our al-fresco lunches and dinners."
"Chile has a wonderful coastline, so I will share one of my favourite recipes for spring and summer: ceviche, good for 4-6 people."
1 kg of Chilean seabass, pomfret or any other white meat fish cut into cubes
1-2 medium-sized red onion(s) finely chopped
1 yellow pepper chopped into small cubes
½ green pepper chopped into small cubes
½ cup of finely chopped cilantro
½ cup of lemon juice (you can also mix lemon and lime) the juice of 1 or 2 oranges
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 tablespoon of chilli paste (Peruvian ají Amarillo works great!) or a little less if you are not a fan of spicy meals
Salt & pepper
Optional: 1 garlic clove (pressed)
1. Put the fish in a bowl and add all ingredients.
2. Mix and taste for seasoning. Add more orange or lemon juice if necessary. Cover and let the ceviche cool for 30 minutes or more before serving.
3. Serve with crackers, bruschetta style bread or toast. Enjoy with a Chilean Sauvignon blanc or any other fine white wine of the new world!
Paviter's Spicy Indian Chicken Curry
While many of you are sure to have your favourite places to secure a beef vindaloo or lamb rogan josh, here's your chance to master your own Indian curry using chicken, which right now is a much more affordable alternative to red meats.
Paviter from our team in India has been using his time in lockdown to spend more time with his family, and they are loving his cooking. He shared a simple family favourite that his kids love – and he thought you may enjoy too. Many of the ingredients are available at the supermarket.
1 kilogram of chicken (sliced in bite-sized pieces)
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 lemon, juiced (optional)
1 cup cashews
2 ½ cup water
3 red chillies (reduce if you don't like too spicy!)
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
½ cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon garam masala powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon kasoori methi powder (fenugreek leaves)
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
1. Wash the chicken under running water and keep it aside. Take a non-stick pan and pour a little oil in it. Then add whole spices – cumin seeds, cinnamon seeds and a bay leaf. Let them cook until the seeds start to crackle.
2. Marinate the chicken with salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice (optional) and keep it aside for 20-30 minutes.
3. Using a grinder, grind the onion with 1 cup of water to make a puree of thick consistency and put aside until required. Wash the grinder and put cashews in it and add 1 cup of water. Make a paste of cashews of smooth consistency. Again, wash the grinder and grind red chillies with ½ cup of water to form a paste of thick consistency.
4. Take a saucepan and add onion puree with ginger and garlic paste into it and cook it for 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Meanwhile, add salt to taste and red chilli paste, and cover the pan with a lid.
5. Add the marinated chicken pieces in the gravy and let it cook for more 15-20 minutes with the lid on the pan. After 15-20 minutes check if the chicken pieces are cooked properly. Now, add cashews and red chilli paste into the mixture and cook for another 2 minutes.
6. Add garam masala, coriander powder, cashew nut paste and kasuri methi and mix them all well. Let the chicken curry cook for another 5 minutes and then turn off the flame. Garnish the curry with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or paratha.
Make your own Sourdough Bread
Is there anything more satisfying for a cook than actually making your own bread?
Isolated on a remote part of Vancouver Island, veteran Canadian outdoorsman Mark has been turning up the heat in the kitchen by trying his hand at homemade breads.
"I’ve been on a real ‘sourdough bread’ kick the last little while, though I’m cheating a bit by using yeast but... I’ve been using a recipe that sees the bread done in a day (no overnight rising) and the trick is to use warm/almost hot water when mixing with the flour."
Find the recipe Mark's been using here.
Ba chi rang chay canh (Vietnamese Edge-fried Bacon)
One of the splendid responses we received was from Ms Thuan in Hanoi, Vietnam. Not only has she been spending more time cooking herself, she's sharing her culinary knowledge with her children.
"For me personally, working at home gives me a chance to spend more time for my children, a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old. They are currently staying home for online courses instead of going to school. Now I have more time to cook for my family, which I usually can’t afford during weekdays. I even teach my children to prepare their favourite dishes, and they’re enjoying it very much. I also find myself in our garden every day, watering the crops and feeding the chickens during my breaks. At the corner of my garden, I have created a lovely working space that I’d like to share with you. I hope it can give you unique ideas for your space, and make you enjoy working at home as much as mine made me."
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon seasoning seeds
1. Pour some oil to smooth out the pan and add the bacon. Flip the meat quickly to produce fat until edges of the meat turn reddish-brown.
2. Add sliced shallots, 2 tbsp of fish sauce and 1 tbsp of seasoning seeds to the meat. Lower the heat and stir for a few minutes in order for the meat to absorb.
3. Add some green onions, stir for several seconds and finish.
"Delicious and easy to cook, isn’t it? Here is a picture of my son cooking it yesterday"
Bolivian Quinoa Croquettes
Our colleague Genoveva in La Paz, Bolivia has been dusting off her mother’s old book of recipes and enjoying cooking with friends online.
“I love the magic of seeing each other live on screens. You may like a typical Bolivian meal I’d like to share with you.”
1 cup quinoa
3 cups water
½ cup white rice
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped peppermint
2 teaspoons cumin
½ cup minced bread
1. Cook quinoa in a bowl with 2 cups of water and salt.
2. Separately cook rice with 1 cup of water and salt, then mix the remainder of the ingredients together.
3. Mould the mixture with your hands to form compact croquettes.
3. Fry them up and serve with a side of salad and cooked potatoes and with whichever spicy sauce you like – in Bolivia we enjoy it with Llajua salsa. Enjoy!
Bobotie – The South African National Dish
Craig from South Africa is enjoying spending more time with his young children – and cooking his favourite dish, which he assures us that anyone can try at home.
Pronounced ba-boor-tea, bobotie is a unique South African dish which could be described as a curried meat pie with sultanas It's hearty and wholesome and a great alternative if shepherds pie is a favourite in your household.
Get Craig's preferred Bobotie recipe here.
Angela from our marketing team in Australia is a bit of a dessert enthusiast. She shared a super easy churro recipe that only requires the most basic ingredients: flour, water and salt.
Pair your churros with a chocolate a la taza (rich hot chocolate) and it'll take you back to the streets of Madrid sitting outside a cafetería.
250g of plain wheat flour
250ml of boiling water
2 pinches of salt
For the dipping sauce: chocolate of your choice to be melted with double cream and full-fat milk (optional)
Equipment needed: A churrera. If you don't have one, use a piping bag with a large star nozzle.
1. Sift flour in a mixing bowl while bringing the salted water to the boil. Pour the boiling water over the flour, mixing lightly with a spatula to create a compact dough – not soft or fluid.
2. Heat up enough oil in a pan or pot to cover the churros and bring it to a boil.
3. Using your churrera (or your piping bag), add your dough mix, taking care not to allow air pockets to form.
4. Squeeze out the dough into a ribbon or cut your churro to your desired length and cook in the oil. Cook until golden and crisp.
5. Place cooked churros in a bowl of caster sugar and cinnamon powder mix. Serve hot. Dip in a chocolate sauce by melting 1 part chocolate with 1 part warm liquid (so ½ part cream and ½ part milk), mixing it in a heatproof bowl over boiling water. ¡Buen provecho!
British Cola Chicken
While working on her bucket list of things to do once out of lockdown, Laura from our Sherpa Van division in the UK is also busily getting on her Hesthon Blumenthal in the kitchen.
While Cola Chicken might raise the eyebrows, be assured it's Diet Cola, and Laura assures us that while it may sound unusual, it tastes delicious. There's never been a better time to try something different!
4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
330ml can diet cola
200ml hot chicken stock
8 tablespoons passata with onions and garlic
4 tablespoons tomato purée
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce/tamari
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
200g sugar snap peas
1. Spray a large non-stick pan with cooking spray and place over a high heat. Add the chicken, peppers and onion and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned.
2. Add the diet cola, stock, passata, tomato purée, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and herbs and stir well. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 12-15 minutes.
3. Add the sugar snap peas, stir and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the veg is tender.
Burmese Street Food Shan Noodles
Melissa and Tun from our Myanmar team have been keeping busy during self-isolation. Tun, who works in operations, has been creating a new online social project: "Our project helps villages and small communities that create hand-made souvenir or sustainable packaging for the souvenirs, such as bamboo woven boxes and gifts. That way local products will be available to international tourists, and the locals can get some income creating products at home and not having to travel out of their villages."
Whilst Mel, the general manager in Yangon, has been picking up some new skills: "I’m working on cross-stitching a map of Myanmar, each state a different colour, as a keepsake from my time here (in lockdown). I’ve started trying to learn to make local dishes since the ingredients for these are the most readily available at this stage. I’ve also signed up for both photography and French online courses."
A recipe Mel and Tun recommends anyone can try at home? Burmese Shan noodles – a fairly uncomplicated recipe with simple items most Asian supermarkets would carry. It's a dish that you would find in the east of Myanmar, a staple street food in the Shan state.
Try your hand at the recipe here.
Peter Kuruvita's Sri Lankan Ridged Gourd Curry (Watakolu vanjanaya)
This curry takes TV celebrity chef Peter Kuruvita back to his gramdmother's kitchen in Sri Lanka. Ridged gourd is a tropical, deep green coloured vegetable with taut skin. If you can't find this vegetable in your Asian grocery store, you can switch it out for any member of the gourd family to work with this curry.
The recipe serves 6 people and just takes 20 minutes to cook. Find the full recipe here.