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World Supper Adventure

Inviting myself to dinner, around the world, to bring recipes and tales of great hospitality home to you.

Wow, 100 days to go.  I feel like I should make one of those charts where you rip a number off every day.  I’ve always wanted an excuse to make one of those.  I actually can’t believe it took me 30 years to have a reason to make one, but better late than never!

Really now, go HERE from now on.  I’m not going to write here anymore.

Peace out!


P.S.- I still need you to get people to Kickstarter!  Help!

The Kickstarter campaign is doing pretty well so far, we even got on the “Staff Recommendations” page!  But if you could take a few minutes today to make an affordable donation, and pass on the information to your friends, it would be doing much better.  It doesn’t have to be much, just the price of a movie ticket will do!  And don’t forget, certain donation amounts get fun rewards like a book, t-shirt, fun ingredient sent to you from abroad, and much more!

Thanks everyone! Just click here and you’re on your way to doing a very nice thing.

Hey guys, it’s time for a fundraiser!  I’m very excited to announce that World Supper Adventure is now on Kickstarter.

If you can afford it (no amount is too small…or too big 🙂 ),  a donation will be greatly appreciated.  You’ll get a fun reward and will be helping this project flourish.  But please, whether you give or not, spread the word.  Forward that link to every friend, family member, and co-worker you know and encourage them to give to this awesome, amazing, fun, and wonderful project.

I will love you forever. Thank you!

Breaking news!  I have a pretty neat website now where I’ll post my blog and where other fun things will happen.  So please come HERE from now on.

Go ahead, do some exploring, work can wait.

It’s time for a recipe, I know it and I have not forgotten.

I’m not going to lie to you, I really wanted to buy hammour during my visit, it’s a fish native to the region that happens to be very delicious. But as you know, if you paid attention in part 1, it’s on the over-fished list, so no hammour for me. What do you do if you can’t have your first choice? You remember how much you love the classic french dish Skate Meunière and you buy a skate wing!

First things first, of course. Skate are cartilaginous fish (they have skeletons made of cartilage, not bone). They’re related to rays, which is obvious just by looking at them, and sharks, which is obvious when you touch their skin. They’re kite-shaped flat fish with large wings; these wings are the edible part. Saltwater anglers catch tons of skate when they’ve intended to catch other fish and are often, unfortunately, referred to as “garbage fish”. But they’re VERY tasty.

Skate is a delicious, mild, slightly sweet fish that isn’t at all fishy (when it’s fresh, of course). Not to mention it has a very unique muscle structure that looks very pretty on your plate; kind of like corduroy.

If you do find skate already filleted, lucky you. Lazy you, but lucky you non-the-less. Dealing with countless pieces of cartilage in non-filleted pieces of skate can be a real pain. But, challenges are fun, aren’t they?

Skate Belly!

Slicing off my Wing

My skate wing filleting experience (well, the gentlemen who filleted the skate wing for me’s experience) was gruesome, bloody, and awkward.  It was a first time for all,  so I’m going to spare you my own personal photos.  This guy‘s the one to follow for this step, he seems to know what he’s doing.  Do what he does.  Be careful, though, they don’t have the fish skin you’re used to, it’s tough like a shark.

I wanted to prepare the skate fillets in a classic french style, but it turns out Dubai hates capers, I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I chopped up some nice salty green olives into caper-sized pieces.  It was just as, if not more, delicious, so you pick what you’d like to do.  If you’ve had this dish before, maybe you should try it with olives.  If this is your first time, though, stick with the classic I suppose? You definitely won’t be disappointed either way, so don’t stress out over the decision, that would be ridiculous.

Skate Meunière (Skate with Browned Butter and Capers)
(Serves 4)

Preheat your oven to 200ºFCut your (filleted) skate into 4 equal 1/2 pound piecesSeason 1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper and dredge* both sides of each fillet, shaking off the excess.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium flame.  Add 1 TB each of olive oil and butter, swirling to mix as the butter melts. Place 2 skate fillets in your pan (all four if they fit, but please don’t crowd them. To say the least, that would just be inconsiderate…and make for difficult flipping) and sauté for about 3 minutes.  Turn carefully  (here’s where you’ll be glad you didn’t crowd your pan) with a wide spatula and cook on the second side until just cooked through.  About 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer fillets to an oven-safe plate and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining two fillets.  Add more oil and butter to the skillet, if necessary. Transfer your second batch of fillets to the oven also.

Wipe (don’t wash) your skillet clean and return to the flame.  Melt 4 TB of butter (unsalted is best here, you’ll get your salt from the capers) in the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter browns, 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, plate your skate fillets. Add the juice and zest* of  1 lemon, 3 TB capers (or chopped olives), and 1 (generous) TB parsley to the skillet and keep stirring. Brace yourself! The lemon juice will make the pan spatter like crazy. That’s supposed to happen, just be careful.  Only keep this on the heat for a few seconds.

You’re finished!  Turn off the heat and spoon the sauce over the plated fillets. Serve immediately.  I think you’ll like this so much.  It might just be my mood today, but this dish would be great with a side of roasted potatoes and asparagus.  You’ve probably earned the right to make that decision for yourself, I’m sure.

Thanks for sticking by my side through that trilogy!  I think it made for a fun ride.


I’m so glad you’ve decided to do some shopping at the fish market!  Now, whether you know exactly what you want, or you’d rather shop around, you’re going to want to make sure what you’re buying is fresh.  Although, yes, you’ll find your freshest options here,  but of course there are exceptions.  Be on your toes, here’s what to look for when you want to eat…

Actually, before I start with the tips, I’m going to give you a list of fish not to buy.  Not until I say it’s okay, anyway.  Not because they aren’t delicious or nutritious, they’re both of those thing.  Because they’re being over-fished and need some time to rest and re-populate.

  • Bluefin Tuna (albacore troll- or poll-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia is fine)
  • Chilean Sea Bass
  • Grouper
  • Monkfish
  • Orange Roughy
  • Farmed Salmon (wild-caught Alaskan is fine)
  • Hammour

Ok, here you go:

Whole Fish

  • Bright & clear eyes:

    Clear Eyes

    This is the first sign of a truly fresh fish.  The eyes start fading into murkiness when they’ve been sitting around.  They could still be safe to eat, but you could do better.

  • Shiny Skin:

    Shiny Skin

    Does the skin glisten with clean, metallic beauty?  Be ware of dull skin with discolored patches.

  • Fresh Smell:

    See, no stink lines.

    A fresh fish should smell like clean water.  A bit briny if it came from the ocean, or even (bear with me here) a bit like cucumbers. Never buy a fish that smells gross, cooking it won’t improve anything no matter how you season it.

  • Red Gills:

    Red Gills

    They should be bright, rich red. An old fish’s gills will fade and resemble a dull brickish color.

Fish Fillets

  • Bright Flesh: All fish fade as they age. If the fillet still has skin, that skin should look as pristine as the skin on an equally good whole fish – shiny and metallic.
  • Fresh Smell: Same as with a whole fish…nothing stinky, you get it.
  • Clear Liquid: If the fillet is sitting in liquid, it should be clear. Milky liquid on a fillet is the first stage of rot.
  • Springy: Press the meet with your finger if you’re allowed. Your indentation should spring back,  if your fingerprint lingers, keep looking.


Make sure they’re alive:

Not just alive, but alive and kickin’.  Is your crab or lobster scampering around like a school child, or skulking in the corner like a creep?  Shellfish are sold alive, so they should react to you.  Oysters are a little tough to tell, but your clam or mussel should react to you.  They should have a tight shell to begin with, but put them on the countertop and back away for a moment. Then tap the shell: It should close tighter than it was. You can also tell a dead shellfish after you’ve cooked them all. Dead ones do not open after being cooked. Do not eat them.


Scallops are special, you’ll almost always find them shucked already.  If they’re bathing in milky yuckiness, don’t buy them.


If you’re lucky enough to be near a good shrimping area or have access to truly fresh shrimp, go ahead and buy them. Head on if possible, they’ll stay more moist that way.

If you’re not near good fresh shrimp, buy them whole and frozen. Whole means the shell protected them while being frozen and they didn’t lose as much moisture.  If they’re frozen they haven’t had a chance to start rotting…shrimp rot quickly.

Rules for Crawfish are the same as shrimp if frozen.  Same as  lobsters and crabs if fresh.

Squid or Octopus

Again, if you can buy squid and octopus fresh, do it! They are rare to find, even at great markets, so take advantage. Like finned fish, look at their eyes first, which should be clean and bright.

Now you’re good, no one will call you a fool at the fish market, go get ’em!  And if you happen to have chosen skate at your market then you’re in luck!  But you’ll have to wait.  To be continued…

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Oh! What a day you have when you start your day at a fish market!

I lived in NYC for nearly 8 years before moving to Dubai and never took the opportunity to go to the Fulton Fish Market…this became a mega-obvious mistake after visiting the Dubai Fish Market.

A lot happens around you and there’s a lot to take in.  Yelling, thousands of beautiful fish, pinchy claws, shiny shells, horrible smells, gutters flowing from stall to stall full of guts and blood, Arabic-speakers trying to talk to you in Russian for some reason, wheelbarrow dodging, amazing photo ops…this could be a very long sentence if I let it be.  Moment to moment, it’s hard to decide what to let your senses focus on, but there was one little thing about this day that I’m going to call my favorite. “Take my picture!”  A tap on the shoulder and you turn to find a man holding up his fish, ready for his shot.  I love those mongers and their fish pride…

I think I’ll go ahead and just jump right into some tips, I’ve no concern for segues today.

Now, admittedly, some of these stem from mistakes I made on this trip, but I’m glad to save you from them.  I think these suggestions will probably apply to any fish market you decide to visit:

  1. Don’t sleep late, like I did,  and stroll in at 5am.  I thought this would be early enough to catch the auction between the fishermen and the mongers, but sadly it wasn’t.  I was excited about seeing that and I missed it.  Be an early bird.  If I have the chance to go again, I’m getting there at 3am.
  2. Wear something you don’t mind getting blood and guts on.  There is blood and guts EVERYWHERE!  My pretty little romper still kinda smells, and I’ve washed it a bunch.
  3. On a similar note, don’t wear sandals.  There is blood and guts EVERYWHERE!
  4. Be prepared to buy.  Why wouldn’t you buy?  It’s a fun thing to just see, but if you want to buy fish anywhere, you want to buy it here, fresh off the boat.  It’ll be the best you’ll be able to find around town,  wherever you are.
  5. Don’t be afraid to talk your monger down.  It’s not rude to try and get a cheaper price, it’s customary.  The basic rule for this game (it does start feeling like a game after you get over the discomfort) is to decide what you want to pay and say you’ll pay half your secret price.  You’ll be laughed at in a “you’ve got to be kidding” kind of way, but then you’ll compromise until everyone’s happy.

To be continued…


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So here we go! My first home cooked meal to share and, let me tell you, it’s a doozy. Butter Chicken!, or Murgh Makhani, is so very very delicious and thanks to my enthusiastic host in Mumbai,  Shivam and his cook Ravi, I’ve learned to prepare it like an expert and and so will you!  Geez Louise, I’m kind of upset that I’m not eating it right this second, so don’t skip this one, it’s a must.  No excuses that it’s summer and hot out!  The Indians don’t get a break from the heat and it doesn’t stop them.

Unfortunately, this time, I didn’t get to accompany my host on his market trip, which I was bummed about.   He snuck off while I was “napping” (like I really do that). But next time, hopefully, I won’t be left behind.

Butter Chicken, where to begin? The origins of Butter Chicken can be traced back to Delhi, during the period of Mughal Empire. The most common story of origin goes like this: An Englishman in Delhi complained to his Indian cook that his Tandoori chicken was too dry so, instead of starting all over, he made a tomato gravy and dunked the Englishman’s Tandoori chicken in it.  Tada!  Once again we have an amazing chicken dish born of complaint…just like the legend of Buffalo wings.

Butter Chicken is among the best known Indian foods all over the world, so it’s certainly about time we were all able to make it at home. And don’t worry, I do include a vegetarian option somewhere in this post….

Butter Chicken (or Murgh Makhani)


Now, since the story is that Butter Chicken started with Tandoori chicken, you can certainly start with that, but Shivam started by marinating raw chicken. Get a whole chicken chopped into parts and give it a little massage with 1/2 cup yogurt and 3 TB chicken masala*. Shivam had a box of prepared masala, but you can make your own with equal parts powdered clove, cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom. Also salt to taste. VEGETARIANS!!! Cube 2 pounds of paneer* and set aside.

While the chicken is marinating, get the gravy started. First sautee 7 cardamom pods, 1 blade mace, 1 bay leaf, and 2 TB chopped garlic in 5 TB ghee* and 2 TB olive oil. I’ve also seen a lot of recipes that just use whole butter, so that seems fine if you’d like to just do that, but I’m sticking to my host’s recipe. When that’s been cooking for 2 minutes add 3 cups chopped and seeded tomato (the most ripe and beautiful that you can find).

Let the tomatoes sit and get soft while you chop finely 1 TB ginger, and 3 or 4 seeded and deveined green chilies. Sautee these in a separate pan with 1 TB ghee for 5 minutes Add to the tomatoes and let everything sautee for about 10 more minutes and stir every once in a while so the bottom doesn’t burn.

When your tomatoes are thoroughly mushy, take your pan off the heat and let your mixture cool for about 10 minutes so it doesn’t explode in the blender and give you an embarrassing scar…it won’t even be one you could brag about since you weren’t rescuing a baby or anything, so it’s not worth it. Anywho, once it’s cooled for 10 minutes blend or process very well until nice and smooth.

Add 3 TB more ghee to your pan (it’s called butter chicken for a reason, folks) and add 2 TB cashew paste. It takes about 15 nuts to make this amount of cashew paste, which are easy to pulverize in a mortar and pestle, but if you’re using a food processor it might be difficult with only this much, so you might as well make more than that… you’ll need it for your inevitable Butter Chicken addiction anyhow. Cook for about 2 minutes, don’t let the paste burn, and add back the puree through a strainer. When you strain you just want to get out the unpalatable bits of whole spices. You don’t want to lose too much gravy, so push it through with a rubber spatula so you have only the spice chunks and tomato skin left behind.

Add 2 TB Kashmiri (or the best you can find) chili powder, salt to taste, and 1 TB turmeric.  Let this sit and cook again over low heat for another 10 minutes. You can tell it’s ready when the oil separates and floats to the top, says Shivam.

Now you can add your marinated or tandoori chicken, cover and simmer over medium heat (again, stirring along the way) and cook until tender.  This should be about 20 minutes for the raw chicken and 7 for the tandoori. Below is a recipe for chapatis*, which you can prepare while you’re waiting.

VEGETARIANS!!! Let your gravy cook for about 20 minutes before adding the paneer since it doesn’t need to cook, just heat up.  Your paneer shouldn’t need to be in the pan for more than 5 minutes before it’s heated through.

2 minutes before your dish is ready to take off the heat add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 TB honey. Once you’re serving, garnish with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro (coriander).  Now you just need to make your bread and you’re ready!


In a large bowl stir together (with your hand) 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 1 ts salt. Slowly add, while mixing, 2 TB olive oil, and about 3/4 cups warm water. You’ll have to be your own judge with the water, you want it to end up elastic, but not sticky. Bread is always a little tricky until you’ve made a particular recipe bunch of times, so if you need to add more flour, so be it.

Knead your dough on a floured surface until smooth and divide into 10 equal portions. Roll these portions into balls and let rest for a few minutes.


Heat a skillet over medium heat and once it’s hot grease lightly with ghee. Roll out each ball of dough on a floured surface until very thin and, once your pan starts smoking, toss it in. Each side should only need about 30 seconds, but you do want brown, slightly burnt bubbles. Repeat with the rest of your balls until you’re finished.

Good luck with your new addiction, y’all!


These guys have a lot of names: Loomi, dried or black lemons (though they’re actually limes), leimoon basra, leimoon aswad, leimoon omani…lots of names.

I saw them everywhere as soon as I got to Dubai.  Spice markets, grocery stores, little convenience shops. So they’re obviously a staple in middle eastern cooking.  Mostly in Iraqi,  Iranian, and Kuwaiti cuisine,  but really everywhere. Egypt, Lebanon, and Persia can’t live without them either and India, which only uses them a bit,  produces and exports a lot of the loomi you’ll buy outside of the middle east.

So, what do you do with these bad boys?  So many things, and they’re used both whole (with a thumb poke) or powdered, depending on the recipe. When whole they’re tossed into soups and stews, boiled with meats, or used to sour chutney.  Ground up it’s a flavor for rice, rubbed on meat, and baked into breads.

If you look for loomi, they can range in color from a light tan (like in my photo) to black and you’ll find them in the spice area. But unless you’re in this particular sandy part of the world,  have an incredibly fantastic international market near you, or are willing to order them online, you’re likely to have trouble,  so here’s how you make them:

Start with ripe limes.   Boil them in rolling salt water for at least 5 minutes, but 10 is plenty.  Your salt to water ratio needs to be  about 1 cup/1 gallon and you can use whatever salt you prefer…as long as you don’t prefer iodized.  When they’ve cooled off you string them up……and let them dry COMPLETELY in the sunshine.  There’s no straight answer about how long the drying takes, my answers ranged from 1-4 weeks.  I suppose it really just depends on your climate.  So there you go!  Homemade loomi!  You’re now ready to blast a sour tang into your Middle Eastern and Persian dishes.  Now, I guess if you have lazy bones and don’t want to go through this routine you can just replace the loomi with lime zest, but the flavor you get won’t be anywhere even close to correct,  and if you even thought about it you really ought to be ashamed of yourself.

With so many things to do with loomi, it was hard to narrow down dishes to share, but here are two recipes for you.  They’re both delicious but one is veg and one non-veg.

1. Chicken Machboos

First recipe: Chicken Machboos. A traditional Kuwaiti dish.  If you’d like, feel free to substitute the chicken with two pounds of goat, lamb, camel, fish, or shrimp.

To get started rinse one whole fryer chicken inside and out.  Kuwaiti chickens are a bit smaller than they are in places where chicken is pumped with hormones, so if you want to be more authentic either get two small Cornish hens or a fancy organic fryer.  Put your chicken in a stockpot with enough water to cover. Add 1 cinnamon stick, 5 cardamom pods, 6 cloves, and 7 black peppercorns. Bring to a boil and continue to boil uncovered over medium heat until chicken is fully cooked.  This should take about 45 minutes. Poultry is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees ferenheit…in case you care to know things like that. Remove and drain the chicken, and set aside the broth for later.

Skim the fat off the top of the broth and strain to get out the whole spices. Prepare 3 cups of basmati rice (or another short grain rice) according to its package directions, but use your broth instead of water. Add salt if you like.

While rice is cooking, sautee 2 diced yellow onions in a skillet with 2 TB olive oil over medium heat, stirring often, until caramelized. Stir in 1/4 cup of raisins that you’ve soaked in hot water and drained, 1 ts ground loomi, 1/2 ts ground cardamom, 1/2 ts ground black pepper, and 1 TB of honey. Cook for one minute, scrape the mixture from skillet, and set aside.

Lightly coat the drained chicken with flour. In another skillet, over medium-high heat, brown the chicken, turning often, until the outside is brown and crispy.

For the tomato sauce, add 1/4 cup water, 2 seeded/chopped tomatoes, 4 cloves crushed garlic, and 1 TB tomato paste in a saucepan. Simmer until tomatoes are soft and stir until it’s well blended.

When the rice is ready, spread it on a serving platter. Sprinkle the onion over the rice and place the chicken on top. Smother the chicken in the tomato sauce while it’s on the platter and gobble it up!

2. Bahraini Stew

Next we have a veggie Bahraini Stew.

Warm up a saucepan with 2 TB olive oil.  Crush 2 cloves garlic with 1 TB salt and 1 green chili.  Toss that in the pan with 1 cup chopped onion, 1 ts cinnamon, 6 whole black peppercorns, 1 ts ground clove, 1 ts ground cardamom, 1 ts turmeric, 1 ts baharat spice*, 1 ts dried coriander, and 1 ts cumin.

When onions have been cooking for about 7 minutes add 1 large eggplant cut into cubes, 1 tiny pumpkin cut into cubes,  and 1 large potato cut into cubes.  Stir until they are well coated with the spices.

Add 2 large chopped tomatoes, stir and let simmer with a cover for 5 minutes.  Dissolve 3 TB tomato paste with 1 cup water and pour into the pan.  Add 2 whole loomi that you’ve poked a hole in with your thumb, stir, and let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.  Lower heat and let cook covered for another 10 minutes.

Add salt to taste and let simmer uncovered until sauce is nice and thick.  You can eat this over rice or with some nice warm flat bread…I would choose the flat bread.

So there you have it.  Loomi.  Neat, huh?  Please let me know if you try drying them yourself.  I’d like to know how long it takes where you are.  Have fun!

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