Cookaloca's Grilled Chicken Tikka
Question: What happens when a Chinese-Indonesian foodie/ world traveller/ publishing house founder who has, at various times, found herself at home in the United States, Belgium, Spain and now the Netherlands, decides to share her travel and culinary experiences with the rest of us?
Answer: Cookaloca is born.
This extraordinary blog is the brainchild of Sari Tjio, who writes about food, culture and travel in between ushering academic and literary manuscripts to publication through [Papiroz.], the publishing house she established in Rijswijk, The Netherlands. Since her first post in late 2007, Sari has offered an intriguing mix of vivid travelogue, splendid photography, tantalizing recipes and astute commentaries on food issues that range from assessing her personal practice of local and seasonal eating to the way her definition of 'home' continues to evolve as the food she cooks and consumes is influenced by her many journeys.
Deliciously reflecting these experiences are the recipes that Sari shares, which span cultures from the Americas to Europe to Asia. While I've salivated over many of them, one in particular prompted such an immediate craving that I resolved to make it soon after it was posted: Chicken Tikka.
Grilled Chicken Tikka with Steamed Rice
In her original post featuring the recipe, Sari expressed concern that her rendition of this traditional tandoori fare would not be regarded as 'authentic' by some. While that may be so, I consider it a wonderful reflection of the adaptive and global nature of food - that an Indonesian epicure can interpret a classic Indian dish to suit a surprising obsession among the Dutch with summer barbecue grilling! Authentic or not, there is no denying that Sari's Chicken Tikka is simply delectable.
While I could certainly list many of Cookaloca's amazing recipes and fascinating posts here - Indonesian cakes baked on heated sand, anyone? - a visit to Sari's blog is an experience you shouldn't miss. Head over there right now and be sure to have your bags packed or your stove fired up: after just one post, you may just find yourself with an urge to start a gastronomic travel adventure of your own!
Cookaloca Chicken Tikka on the Grill
Except for reducing this recipe by half, I closely adhered to Sari's original recipe, which called for deboned chicken thighs to be marinated in Greek yogurt spiced with garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric (curcuma), paprika, chili powder and lemon juice. I did, however, liberally add more of the spices for the simple reason that I love their flavors! Cooked either on a stovetop grill pan or over a flame, the chicken was incredibly succulent and flavorful - a fantastic alternative to your run-of-the-mill barbecue sauce.
. . . And Time to Say Thank You to Other Generous Friends
By now, many of you know that I am an incorrigible procrastinator - so much so that I should really consider changing my blog name to Tardy Noodle. I've been in particularly fine form recently as I have put off acknowledging properly and publicly the sweet friends who have shared their blog awards with me in the past months. As poor as my time management skills are, my gratitude and appreciation for their thoughtfulness are abundant and sincere.
I hope you'll visit these blogs and see for yourself why they deserve all recognition!
Top, from left: Friend, One Lovely Blog, Premio Meme
Bottom, from left: Premiul de creativitate, SuperDuper Chef, Kreativ Blogger
The Friend award comes from Rebecca at Chow and Chatter, a British transplant and registered dietician who cooks up delicious American, English, Indian and other international fare for her family in their Winston-Salem, NC home. Visit her blog for great recipes, the latest news in nutrition and other features, such as guides on shopping in her favorite Indian store and other ethnic markets.
Miranda of My Food and Life Encounters is the mother of two adorable little girls and her dedication to cooking tasty, healthy and fun food for them comes through in her wonderful recipes. Her joy in blogging is equally obvious - read her post on becoming more adventurous in the kitchen, then try out her Fish Tacos with Green Tomato Salsa. Thank you, Miranda, for sharing your first blog award, One Lovely Blog!
It was rather fitting when Ricardo of Rico: Tried and Tested Recipes shared his double awards - SuperDuper Chef and Premiul de Creativitate - in a post featuring a scrumptious Almond-Filled Sponge Cake he made for his twins' 16th birthday in May (my birth-month, too!) Whether it's a vegetable dish, a seafood pasta or a lamb fillet, Rico promises that his many original recipes are wholesome food that he serves his own family - truly tried and tested!
"I'm into food and I like to travel a lot." So says the appropriately named Taste Traveller of The Good Sandwich, who extended her Premio Meme to me and six other bloggers. I had previously received this meme and wrote about my 7 personality traits, but couldn't come up with another seven worthy enough to mention. So be sure to read Taste's very honest self-assessment and then check out her Bulgogi Burgers with Sweet Potato and Zucchini Fries. Given the name of her blog, how could you possibly resist?
Speaking of not being able to resist, imagine yourself seated in a lovely little restaurant for dinner with 14 of your closest friends and the food starts parading in - all thirty-five (35!) courses. Could you resist taking a bite from each plate? How long would you last? Find out how Australian blogger Trina, a.k.a. Forager of Foraging Otaku, fared with all this fare in her post, Gluttony Redefined at Perama. Then, explore her blog further, with its spectacular food photography and great restaurant reviews, to see why she deserved the Kreativ Blogger award.
Finally, I still giggle over the funniest award I've seen yet - The Bra Award, courtesy of Chef E of Food~Wine~Fun, whom many of you already know for her way of combining a love of cooking with community service, such as teaching culinary classes for underprivileged kids. Check out the posts on her recent visit to Texas, where she got together with old friends and cooked - or baked, in this case - my personal favorite, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies!
Chef E/Elizabeth shared this award with six bloggers, including me, Rico and Sam at My Carolina Kitchen, who then turned around and shared it with me again! Sam writes and cooks from her home in Western North Carolina but she also travels extensively. I've enjoyed her stories of time spent in France's Provence region as well her tales of island life on Abaco in the Bahamas (the subject of her memoir-in-progress). I may not be able to hop on a plane to retrace her journeys but I can walk into the kitchen and recreate her recipes. Try Asparagus Goldenrod, which is now the only way Mr. Noodle will eat this vegetable!
My sincerest thanks go to these generous friends for sharing their awards. In keeping with my past practice, I would like to invite everyone to share in these awards and encourage you to visit the aforementioned blogs as well as the sites on my adjacent blogroll. I have no doubt that you'll enjoy reading them as much as I do!