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Sadly, COVID-19 has caused many of our favourite restaurants to temporarily close. Most are still offering a reduced delivery service but for the time being, the hospitality industry as we know it has come to a standstill. Travel is also temporarily on hold, leaving us desperate for our favourite exotic dishes. Longing for your Laksa? Yearning for pounded yam? Pining after pasta puttanesca? These times are going to be challenging there’s no doubt about that, but for some it is an opportunity to hone our culinary skills. We’ve compiled a list of exotic food blogs to get you cooking and satisfy your takeaway cravings.
Mallika Basu grew up in Kolkata, India, and arrived at university in England not knowing how to boil an egg. After finishing a master’s degree, she began replicating the delicious dishes she grew up on, starting a food blog, appearing on various TV shows and YouTube channels and publishing two cookbooks.
Creating unintimidating Indian recipes like one-pot vegetable dal and sizzling masala lamb chops, which only use eight ingredients, Mallika takes the mystery out of Indian cooking so you can recreate your favourite dishes and flavours at home. She also has her own range of spices to get you going, try the Indian Starter Kit to kick start your foray in to Indian food!
Omnivore’s Cookbook is another accessible food blog celebrating the diversity and excitement of Chinese cooking. Maggie Zhou is on a mission to “help more people get to know real Chinese food and expose less-known regional cuisines such as Northern and Xinjiang food to a broader audience”.
Learn to cook hearty and delicious recipes such as Hong Shao Rou (Red Braised Pork) and American- Chinese dishes such as Orange Chicken. Maggie’s recipes are well written and easy to follow, categorising her recipes in to useful groups like ’30 Minutes or Less’ and ‘5 Ingredients or Less’. This is about Chinese cooking with almost anything you already have in the kitchen, and if you’re unsure about ingredients, Maggie has a comprehensive guide on how to build a useful Chinese pantry.
Malaysia has some of the most exciting food in the world with the Malay, Indian and Chinese populations all offering something different and delicious. Native Malaysian food blogger Bee Yinn Low shows us how to cook easy and authentic Malaysian recipes like Sesame Chicken, Chicken Satay and the Malay classic Nasi Lemak; the de facto national dish of Malaysia of coconut milk rice served with sambal, fried crispy anchovies, toasted peanuts and cucumber.
There are many useful recipes on how to cook individual elements of dishes like fish balls and sambal, both staples of Malaysian cooking. Bee’s recipes occasionally use interesting and exotic ingredients you may be without so check the full recipe before you start and see if there’s anything you can substitute.
Proper Italian food is something we are all going to miss going out for. Most people cook and eat pasta, but it’s much simpler than you think to get those authentic Italian flavours at home. When Paola Maggiulli’s father sold his Italian Deli in Battersea, despite her vague indifference to the food and her Italian heritage, she realised there would be a void in her life. She decided to hone her culinary skills at Leith’s Cooking School and travel all over Italy to learn about the regional recipes and culture. She now offers private cooking services, consults with Italian food and drink brands and has her own food column.
Paola has Italian food pretty much covered from Garlic Mushroom and Lemon Pasta to Italian Fishcakes with Parsley Sauce. She has discovered how the health benefits of Mediterranean food combined with its simple delicious ingredients make it perfect to recreate at home and adapt to your tastes. She also has features like ‘Top 5 Tips to Cook the Perfect Tomato Sauce’ which is perfect for making in large batches and freezing.
Everyone wishes they had the time to make their own bread, well now due to circumstances beyond our control, most of us do. It’s easy, versatile and delicious. The Perfect Loaf was started by Italian born software engineer Maurizio in 2013, inspired to get in to bread after making his own sourdough at home. Maurizio combines his analytical side with his Italian roots to create methodical baking guides written with passion and a nod to his Italian upbringing.
His blog is a comprehensive bread bible with guides on all sorts of breads and styles; Shaping a Baguette, Creating a Sourdough Starter, as well as Weekend Baking Schedules to help make baking an easy part of your life. Classic bread recipes like Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread and A Simple Focaccia feature, as well as more exotic loaves like Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough and Sour Cherry, Toasted Pecan and Buckwheat Levain.
Oh brunch. Fluffy pancakes, aromatic coffee, a buzzing restaurant, free flowing prosecco. All are on hold for the moment but that doesn’t mean you can’t recreate a decadent brunch in your own home. So, order the prosecco in and take inspiration from I Am A Food Blog, a food and travel blog written by husband and wife Mike and Steff in its 7th year of existence.
The husband and wife duo cover everything from mini beef wellingtons to driving through Iceland’s ring road, but most importantly, they have a comprehensive brunch section with over 125 recipes. Classics include Sticky Cinnamon Buns and Baked Eggs, as well as Irish classic Four Ingredient Boxty and Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes. The informative and relaxed writing makes for a great read when looking for weekend inspiration.
If you’re looking for exotic flavours but favour a one pot method of cooking, then Moroccan might be for you. My Moroccan Food was created by Moroccan Londoner Nargisse Benkabbou, another passionate foodie whose interest in food led her to a course at Leith’s and from there a career in food.
Meat, fish and vegetable tagine feature heavily on Nargisse’s blog including an Orange and Fennel Tagine with Chicken, a Sardine Tagine and the Aubergine and Pumpkin Tagine with Caramelised Onions. However, the aim of My Moroccan Food is to highlight the diversity of Moroccan food. Soups like the quick and hearty Chicken Chorba, a versatile recipe passed down from Nargisse’s grandmother, feature heavily on the blog as well as fresh and delicious salads to make you feel like you’re a million miles from home.
Greek food is all about fresh flavours, delicious flat breads and dips, and simple dishes that are full of flavour and taste like summer. Perfect for parties in the garden, Eugenia from Eat Yourself Greek provides recipes that are all measured to within an ounce of their lives, so if you follow her instructions you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
Eugenia is also a freelance photographer, so her dishes are all accompanied by beautiful photography as well as well written snippets of prose. Greek food makes us thing of warm evenings sat outside, and her Aubergine, Red Pepper Pita Wraps with Tahini Yoghurt Sauce are no exception. Other more substantial recipes feature like Greek Roast Lamb and summery salads like Eugenia’s Cucumber and Pomegranate concoction.
Mexican food is arguably one of the most popular cuisines in the world but for many, a pretty disappointing fajita is all we know. Mely Martinez is a former Mexican schoolteacher who moved to the US about 10 years ago. Inspired to create a blog filled with traditional home-style recipes from across Mexico to pass down the recipes to her son, Mely’s food is simple, traditional and made with easy to find ingredients.
Videos, well-written recipes and step by step images make these dishes pretty easy to make and delicious to eat. Whip up heaty mains to transport you to Mexico like Steak Ranchero or start your day with Breakfast Tacos or Tacos Mañaneros o Cachetadas, a popular breakfast street food in Mexico made with beef and carrots. This is the type of classic Mexican cooking that we long for in London and it transports you to warmer climes.
Just to warn you, Mely’s recipes feature offal quite a lot which is delicious but difficult to find for some, but if you love the recipe just substitute it for something else!
Shihoko and Elizabeth are a food obsessed mother and daughter duo from Japan but currently living in Australia and the creators of Chop Stick Chronicles. This comprehensive encyclopedia of Japanese cuisine is accompanied by beautiful photographs taken by Shihoko and features recipes for everything Japanese from drinks to desserts.
As well as delicious ramens and sushi recipes, Shihoko and Elizabeth teach you how to pickle and preserve and have a recipe for a quick and easy and nutritious chicken broth.
Make masses of sushi for very little money and recreate your favourite ramen at home.