Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Pad Thai – The snow peas version

Hello my foodie friends! I am so sorry for the long hiatus, life just got in the middle, but we still cook and eat delicious home-made dishes (well, most of the time we do) and I still desire to share them with anyone in the world’s foodie community that’d like to cook with me!

I’m afraid posts will keep appearing irregularly or less frequently as the used to, but neither me nor my blog are going anywhere, so I hope you be patient with me and pop into “Around the bowl” once in while… By the way, I always share pictures of my recipes in my instagram account, so follow me if you’d like to see what I’m cooking (and some other random things that I enjoy) and please let me know if you are particularly interested in any recipe you see there that can potentially become an interesting post!

We have just finished enjoying today’s recipe, it’s easy, it’s quick, it’s healthy and most importantly: utterly delicious! Other than that, I don’t think Pad Thai needs any further introduction, doesn’t it?

Just as the tittle indicates, I’ve made some adjustments to the traditional recipe: I replaced bean sprouts by snow peas, mainly because we had loads at home that needed to be used and because I love them! and I replace peanuts with cashews because I don’t like peanuts, but I do enjoy the rest of the ingredients of a good Pad Thai, so I thought: why not?

Do you fancy trying it?

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Simplified Dak-kalguksu – Korean Chicken Noodle Soup

Hello my foodie friends! Here I am again with another Korean comforting soup. Who doesn’t like a good chicken noodle soup during the cold months? Ideal both for lunch and supper, and of course, it makes a great left over if you want to cook some extra to take to work or freeze.

Dak means chicken and kalguksu stands for knife-cut noodles. Making Dak-kalguksu from scratch is quite time-consuming and being this a simplified version I used bought fresh noodles. As part of this simpler approach, I also choose to incorporate the seasoning, which is  usually served separately, to the stock directly. However, I did make the stock, but for an even easier version you could use bought or pre-prepared chicken stock and chicken roast left overs. Generally the vegetables used to cook the stock are discarded afterwards, but I like to cut them and include them in the soup.

Let’s cook?

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Ten months, ten posts: Reader’s Top Ten Recipes

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Hello foodies of the world! Sorry for my absence the last few weeks. I’ve been pretty busy with no time for new recipes worth posting. Although I always cook, in busy days I tend to repeat old favourites or cook easy and quick things like omelettes and salads.

The truth is, I’ve never been good at extreme multitasking, I know, is shocking to acknowledge such a thing these days, but I’ve been like this since I can remember and I’ve made my peace with it. But, as I’m also a perfectionist, I rather do one thing at the time and do it right than to do everything just like that. To me, is like my father says: sometimes is not that I don’t have the physical time,  is that I have no “mental” time. Of course I keep challenging myself to find the balance, but I won’t fight my nature either.

I’ve thought of this post a while ago and since is less time-consuming than posting a new recipe is a good way for me to show up and say hi! I reckon that after 10 month blogging, it would be a good time to make a top ten of Around the Bowl’s reader’s favourites and give these recipes a second chance to be discovered and hopefully inspire someone new!

The top ten is based on the blog statistics for all ten months and the posts are rated upon visits and sharing figures. I hope you like the recipes if you haven’t tried them before or that they inspire you once again if you did! I’ll be back soon with new soup recipes to share!

Top Ten Recipes from Around the Bowl (so far)

  1. Soup à l’ognion gratinée – French Grilled Onion Soup

  2. Indian Minced Beef Curry

  3. Mercimek Çorba – Turkish Lentil Soup

  4. Thai Prawn and Lemongrass Soup – Ken Hom recipe

  5. Ciorba de Perisoare – Romanian Meatball Sour Soup

  6. Vegetarian Risottos – Aubergine and Mushroom + Spinach, Courgette and Mushroom

  7. Parihuela – Peruvian Seafood and Fish Soup 

  8. Dal Shorba (Indian Lentil Soup) with Summer Veggies

  9. Avgolemono Chicken Soup – A Greek Egg and Lemon Chicken Soup

  10. Thai Chicken and Aubergine Yellow Curry – The Basic Recipe


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Chilli con Carne – The Autumn Kick-off

Hello foodies of the world!

Equinox are here, spring in the southern half  of the globe and autumn in the northern one, both suitable seasons for nice strolls at sunset, new clothing and make-up and comforting soup among others… What do you enjoy the most about season changing?

It is autumn in my current half of the world and I couldn’t be happier about it!  It has always been my favourite time of the year, and to celebrate it, today I prepared a Chilli con carne that was so yummy I wish you could smell it through your screens.

Restaurant Tex-Mex food has always disappointed me, honestly is not very well mastered in Spain in general. So, as I always do when I can´t  find it elsewhere, after a some research, I make my own!

The good thing about this dish is that its ingredients are simple and easy to find in any regular grocery store and although slightly time-consuming is easy to prepare. I have at least a couple of recipes I made before the chilli that I also want to share, but this one was so delicious that I felt the urge to post it right away. I used dried beans, but a quicker version can be prepared with pre-cooked or tinned beans, in which case you won’t need to use the pressure cooker.

Let’s dig in?

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Dal Shorba (Indian Lentil Soup) with Summer Veggies

Every now and then I find myself craving for a specific type of food and I always think it is my body speaking to me, telling me I’m in need of some kind of nutrient. Apparently, there’s no scientific support for this theory, since our cravings are totally tied to our eating patterns that are in turn more related to psychological mechanisms and cultural baggage than to actual physiological needs. In spite of it all, although I’m a science believer, I usually follow my impulses when it comes to food cravings. Particularly a couple of weeks ago, when I was strongly fancying lentils, and couldn’t think of a single bad thing about lentils nutritionally speaking.

I had had a dal dish pending in my “to try” list for ever so I went for a refreshing vegetarian one and totally loved it. *In case you’re wondering, dal means lentils, but for Indians the term is generic to lentils, dried beans, chickpeas, split peas both skinned and unskinned and split peas flours. Dal is an everyday source of protein for most Indians and it can be as soupy or as thick as desired. (*Source: Madhur Jaffrey. 2010. “Curry Easy” Ebury Press. pp. 178-179.)

Would you like to give it a try? It’s a great one pot complete meal!

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Thai Chicken and Aubergine Yellow Curry – The Basic Recipe

It’s time for a good old Thai curry! I was just revising the Thai recipes I’ve already posted and was amazed to discovered that I haven’t posted a Thai curry yet! Specially considering that I cook one at least every two weeks if not once a week. Thai curries are so a part of our weekly menu that I guess I didn’t consider making  a post about them until today, when I realised that they are totally worth sharing; not only because their deliciousness but also because they can become  a staple of any household menu : they’re easy and quick to put together, and you can use virtually any protein and vegetable available to turn an ordinary week-day supper in a special one, even cooking it for guests. All you need is to always have coconut milk, a good quality curry paste and Jasmine or Basmati rice in your pantry and let your imagination do the rest of the work!

Of course, you can always make your own curry paste from scratch if you have a good Asian market nearby where to get the right ingredients. This would make the preparation a little more time-consuming, but you can make big quantities in advance to store. However, in terms of practicality, I find that there are really good bought curry pastes that use no artificial additives and preservatives.

Today’s recipe is the basic method I always use to cook Thai curries, feel free to change the curry paste (red, green), the vegetables and the protein source. They can be easily turned into a vegan dish by replacing the fish sauce with soy sauce and the meat with tofu.

Thai curries entered my life almost ten years ago, when I was living in Australia for some months (such a good and dear memory to me!) and my Aussie housemate and good friend used to cook them regularly for supper. I had never tried a Thai curry before at that time, and it was “love at first bite” Besides, Thai restaurants and take away in Australia are sooo good that I also enjoyed  a lot of South-East Asian food when eating out.

Back at home, I made sure to find the ingredients to keep cooking them, a little bit harder to find in Spain, but possible if you look eagerly. In Australia you can find everything in a regular supermarket. The UK is a good place to stock up if you have the chance and of course, it is possible to buy online as well!

Let’s cook now, I hope you like it as much as I do!

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Tagine Series II -Tajine d’agneau aux légumes (Lamb and Vegetable Tagine)

Today I spent almost the whole day in the kitchen cooking for a celebration and I was totally inspired! so once everything is ready, I have taken some pictures and my guests and have tried and approved the dishes I will share some of the recipes with you!

But before that, I’m sharing another recipe to the tagine series (see the first one in here). This one is probably one of the most characteristic Moroccan tagines recipes you can find since is made of lamb (a staple of Moroccan cuisine) and a mixed of vegetables. The typical vegetables used for this kind of dish are onion, tomato, carrot, aubergine and courgette, but I customised it with some different ones I had available and ready to use for a quick week day supper. And the result, as with everything cooked in a tagine, was superb!

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Nyonya Kari Ayam (Chicken Curry) and some good reading

A new curry recipe! Today I’m sharing a Chinese/Malaysian fusion chicken curry from Nyonya cuisine. Doing my research for the recipe; I became really intrigued by Nyonya cultural background and found some wonderful reading about it that I would like to briefly share with you in order to fully understand and appreciate this curry we are making today (*).

I’ve always thought that a country’s cuisine is a very holistic approach to discover its history, culture and idiosyncrasies; cooking something exotic (to us) is such a wonderful way of travelling without leaving your home, analogous to reading one of those great books that transport you to a different place. I can get so inspired by world’s cuisines that I get to experience a little obsession with the subject, searching, reading and going into expeditions to find ingredients and cook!

(*)The Peranakan or the Baba Nyonya community (also known as the Straits Chinese), evolved in the fifteenth century when the Chinese arrived in Malacca and intermarriage with local women took place. The Peranakan culture is a unique blend of two cultures – Malay and Chinese – intermixed into a fascinating synthesis with elements of Javanese, Batak, Thai and British cultures. Today, they are found throughout Malaysia and Singapore with strongholds in Malacca, Singapore and Penang.

The word Peranakan is derived from the Malay word ‘anak’ which means ‘child’. The term refers to the local-born as well as the offspring of foreigner-native union. Baba is the term for the male and Nyonya for the female.

Peranakan food is a wonderful combination of Malay and Chinese cuisine with influences from Indonesia, Thailand, India, Holland, Portugal and England. Nyonya food is clearly unique and Malaysian/Singaporean in identity. Using ingredients such as galangal, serai, chillies, tumeric, ginger, tau cheow, tamarind, lime juice, belachan, buah keras, gula Melaka; spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and leaves such as daun kesum, daun kaduk, daun cekok, daun limau perut and pandan.

(*)Extracted from: Lee, Su Kim, 2008. The Peranakan Culture: Resurgence or Dissapearance? SARI, Vol. 26, 161-170

I hope that after knowing a little more about this wonderful culture you feel like tasting it with the following unique curry recipe. Trust me, the flavour will surprise you, is neither Indian nor Thai, is just Nyonya, and it’s delicious!

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Parihuela – Peruvian Seafood and Fish Soup (and a Great Peruvian Restaurant in Madrid)

My first contact with Peruvian food was many years ago,as a teenager, in a multicultural festival held in my hometown and I have loved it since; its spiciness and perfume surprised and captivated me for ever. Years later I broaden my Peruvian food spectrum in some very good restaurants I found along my way; however, I have not cooked it at home very often. That was until last week, when we were visiting some good friends in Madrid and they invited us to a wonderful Peruvian restaurant we enjoyed so much that I later decided it was about time to try some Peruvian cuisine at home.

But first, let’s talk about this great restaurant in Madrid: is called Tampu Restaurante, not to be missed if you happen to live in or visit Madrid! The place has a great quiet atmosphere with soft lights, music and is nicely decorated. The staff is very kind, they recommended options and explained every dish they brought to the table. The menu is very varied including classic dishes from Peruvian cuisine, like  ceviche or ají and also some chef creations customizing Peruvian flavours and textures and mixing them with other cuisines with a fantastic result. Here’s what we had, everything was delicious, but the duck was definitely my favourite!

Back at home, I decided to start with a soup, of course: Parihuela, a very appreciated seafood and fish soup cooked in a fish broth perfumed with a variety of Peruvian chilli peppers (ajíes). My main concern was to get these sort of chillies, because as I read, trying to replace them with other chillies won’t work. Fortunately, the Arabic grocery store where I usually get some supplies (mainly spices) also has a Latin American section where I found everything I needed. I stocked up, as usual, with everything Peruvian I could find for this and future recipes. I bought:

  • Ají Amarillo paste: made of an orange chilli pepper (Capsicum baccatum var. pendulum), quite pungent. One of the most relevant ingredients to Peruvian cuisine since Inca times, used on a daily basis as a sauce or dish ingredient. Cultivated all around the country*
  • Ají Panca paste: made of a deep red chilli pepper (Capsicum chinense), very mild, also widely used in Peru in sauces and as a spice. Cultivated in the coast*
  • Ají Rocoto paste: made of a yellow or red chilli pepper (Capsicum pubescens), with high pungency. Is the key ingredient in the cevivhe, the Peruvian national dish. Grown in the Andes region, is typical from Arequipa cuisine*
  • Achiote paste: made of the seeds of a subtropical shrub (Bixa orellana) used as a flavour and colour additive in Latin American cuisine. Also known as anatto
  • Culantro paste: made of a herb native to South America. It belongs to the same botanical family (Apiaceae) as cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) but is a different species (Eryngium foetidum)

*Source: The Chile Pepper Institute Newsletter, Volume VI, Number 3, Fall 1997. http://www.nmsu.edu/-hotchile/index.htmIE-mail: hotchile@nmsu.edu

I think you should be able to find these ingredients in any Latin Store, or sometimes big supermarkets have international food sections with Latin products as well.

And now, let’s cook!

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Indian Squid Curry – Madhur Jaffrey Recipe

I’ve already introduced my favourite Thai recipe book and today is the turn of my favourite Indian cuisine author.  I’m sharing a recipe from “Curry Easy” a fantastic recipe book from Madhur Jaffery. Her approach to Indian cooking is both simple and authentic at the same time. Her recipes turn out so good that we had drastically reduced our visits to Indian restaurants, because we found ourselves saying: what for? let’s cook it at home, that it tastes as good or sometimes even better than the restaurant food!

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Living in the coast, in a fisher’s town, the other day an indecent amount of fresh squid came to may hands (it was already clean fortunately). I didn’t know what to do with it! Although there are endless Spanish recipes to cook it, I’m not very experienced in preparing seafood, I find it quite difficult actually, that’s why I usually order it at restaurants instead of cooking it home. But this time  I remembered this Indian recipe that I never tried before and decided to face the challenge! I added my touch by including some fresh mushrooms and used stock instead of water for the sauce.

It is really easy and the result is amazing! Squid flavour is very strong, so make sure you like it or replace it by any other seafood or fish of your choice. The good thing is that I got to cook all the squid and this curry makes a great left-over or it can be freeze for future use.

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