They say that the best way into anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Food is, after all, that universal element, which brings the world together. With as many cuisines as there are places on the map, it is fascinating to see how global flavours mix and match to give us exotic recipes. From the irresistible quesadilla that’s so Mexican to the delectable grilled food, from the elaborate Uramaki to the simple bowl of soup, there’s plenty for the connoisseur to satiate the soul. We at Yo! Vizag bring you six delectable exotic recipes from the countries of Myanmar, Vietnam, Mongolia, Mexico, Japan and Thailand. And for all those in Visakhapatnam who’ve been craving for these cuisines within the city, we bring you the places to try them at and the ways to dish these exotic recipes out at home.
6 exotic recipes to try in Visakhapatnam:
#1 Vietnamese Pho @The ParkKnown for its simplicity, Vietnamese cuisine comprises of food that can be cooked and served quickly. With its flavours obtained from coriander, star anise, cloves, cinnamon etc., Indians tend to relate to it owing to the similarity. With no elaborate menus, the Pho is an integral part of the food here, and if you visit the region, you can see many stands by the road selling Pho. While the broth is traditionally made from beef, the chicken and vegetarian versions are more popular in India. Chef Neeraj Balasubramanian shares this popular recipe from The Park Hotel, in Visakhapatnam, and recommends the addition of herbs and sautéed shiitake mushrooms to create this easy and fun soup.
• 2 large onions halved
• 150g Ginger, sliced down the centre
• 50g Dried rice sticks (or 120g fresh) per bowl
• 10 Star anise
• 4 Cinnamon quills
• 4 Cardamom pods
• 3 Cloves
• 1.5tbsp Coriander seeds
• 2tbsp White sugar
• 1tbsp Salt
• Soy Sauce/ Tamari
• Beansprouts, handful
• 3 – 5 sprigs Thai basil
• 3 – 5 sprigs Cilantro
• Finely sliced red chilli*
• Lime wedges
• Hoisin sauce*
• Sriracha* (for spiciness)
• Mung bean sprouts
• Sprigs of fresh basil (preferably, use Thai basil) or cilantro
• Sprigs of fresh mint
• Thinly sliced green onions
• Very thinly sliced fresh jalapeño (omit if sensitive to spice)
• Small wedges of lime
1. Heat a heavy-based skillet over high heat (no oil) until smoking.
2. Place onion and ginger in a pan, with its cut side facing down. Cook for a few minutes until it’s charred, and then turn. Remove and set aside.
3. Toast spices lightly in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
4. To prepare the broth, wipe the pot clean, and bring 3.5 litres water to boil.
5. Add onion, ginger, toasted spices, sugar and salt, such that the water barely covers everything.
6. Cover with a lid, and simmer for 3 hours.
7. Simmer the remaining soup uncovered for 40 minutes.
8. Strain broth into another pot, and discard spices. This should be about 2.5 litres (10 cups), if more, then reduce.
9. Adjust salt and sugar if needed. The broth should be fragrant with spices, savoury and barely sweet.
10. Add the toppings.
Those looking to relish spice in exotic recipes can add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the broth as it cooks, and/or add extra sliced jalapeño to your bowls. Make it gluten-free by using gluten-free tamari or soy sauce.
Flavours can be enhanced by charring onions and ginger before adding them to the pot. If doing so, slice the onion in half (instead of quarters), and don’t peel the ginger. You can also char them with metal tongs over a gas flame, broil them, cut sides down, on a baking sheet, or roast them, cut sides down, on a baking sheet, on the upper rack in a 500 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
#2 Khow suey @Hotel NovotelShowing the influence of cuisine from Thailand, India and China; Burmese cuisine is a mix of the three styles. While the food in Myanmar is mildly spicy, it can be adjusted as per liking. Another remarkable feature of the exotic recipes here is the predominant usage of coconut milk. The Khow Suey soup is one of the popular elements of this cuisine and has gained popularity across India. Chef Krishna Kishore of Hotel Novotel, Visakhapatnam, shares that this curry soup is quite filling, and its versions can include the addition of noodles and vegetables. Available at the buffet served at Square, and at the Vue and Infinity bars, this dish though not present on the à la carte menu, is definitely made for those who ask for it. However, it is preferred for parties, banquets and executive dinners, for its visual appeal and taste. The Khow Suey goes wonderfully with noodles and is definitely recommended for those who like the mild taste of coconut milk.
• 80g Boiled chicken breast OR 100g boiled vegetables (Broccoli, Zucchini, Beans, Pok Choi, Carrots – 20g each)
• 10g Ginger
• 20g Onion
• 5g Turmeric
• 10g Garlic
• 5g Spring onion
• 5g Coriander
• 10g Lemongrass
• 20g Rice noodles
• 100g Coconut milk powder
• 1tsp Chilli oil
• 10ml Oil
• 1tsp Sugar
• 1 Lemon
• 200ml chicken/ vegetable stock
• 1tbsp Salt
• 3g Red chilli
• Crushed peppercorns
1. Heat sufficient water in a deep non-stick pan. Add noodles and boil for 2-3 minutes.
2. Drain and transfer into a bowl.
3. Grind together onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and turmeric powder into a fine paste.
4. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add the ground paste and sauté well.
5. Add 150ml chicken/ vegetable stock, mix and cook further. Whisk well. Add coconut milk and whisk.
6. Add chicken breast dices/ boiled vegetables, salt, sugar and crushed peppercorns and mix well. Bring to a boil.
7. Place boiled noodles in a serving bowl.
8. Sprinkle chilli oil and drizzle lemon juice on top.
9. Add coarsely crushed peanuts and mix gently.
10. Top with cooked vegetables and pour the soup over.
11. In a separate pan, deep fry onions till they turn brown. Remove the onions and fry the garlic in the oil.
12. Garnish with fried garlic and browned onions. Drizzle some chilli oil and finish with fresh coriander leaves.
#3 Quesadilla @Fairfield MarriottThe list of exotic recipes, in Visakhapatnam, would be left incomplete without the vibrant Mexican cuisine, which is known for its delicious offerings of nachos, tacos, chimichanga, tortilla, tacos, and the quesadilla is a quintessential part of this cuisine. The highlights of this cuisine are the accompaniments of Guacamole, Salsa Cruda and sour cream. The limelight for this food, however, shines on the spicy Chipotle, which is made of Mexican chillies, that is extremely spicy. Chef Rupeswara Rao, of Fairfield Marriott, Visakhapatnam, shares that in Mexico, the chillies for Chipotle come from the island city of Cossumal, a place where he had the opportunity to work and learn with the best. The Mexican food that he dishes out at Fairfield Marriott, is therefore as close to the country, as one can get.
• 80g Tortilla wrap
• 40g Chicken/ Mexican bean mash
• 5g Chipotle sauce
• 25g Salsa
• 25g Sour cream
• 25g Guacamole
• 30g Mixed colour peppers
• 20g Red onion
• 5g Jalapeno
• 5g Butter
• 20g Cheddar cheese
1. Prepare the guacamole by mixing together roughly-mashed avocado with olive oil and salt. Keep it aside.
2. Prepare sour cream by mixing hung curd, cream, a little salt and lemon juice. Keep it aside.
3. Now prepare Salsa Cruda with green tomatoes (deseeded and deskinned), chopped red onions, jalapenos, olive oil and salt.
4. To prepare the chicken, sauté tender parts of the chicken with Chipotle sauce along with red onion and pepper juliennes. Vegetarians can replace the chicken with Mexican bean mash.
5. Prepare a bed of the tortilla sheet, arrange the Chipotle chicken mixed peppers and grated or sliced cheddar cheese. Fold the tortilla into half.
6. Now put it on a hot plate, roasting both sides for two minutes with butter. Let the cheese melt.
#4 Mongolian rice @The Gateway HotelMaking an entry to our list of exotic recipes is the simple yet hearty meal of the Mongolian cuisine. With the climate of Mongolia being extreme continental, the cuisine showcases a predominant usage of meats and animal fats. Also, while Fried rice originated in China, the geographic proximity and deep historic ties between the two nations, influence the cuisine of Mongolia too. Shared by Chef Sebastian Mondal, of the Gateway Hotel, Visakhapatnam, this flavourful recipe uses exotic vegetables, which can be replaced by prawn, chicken or meat of one’s choice for authentic taste.
• 5g Dried red pepper flakes
• 10ml Soy sauce
• 120ml Water
• 20ml Asian sesame oil
• 20g Brown sugar
Stir fry and other ingredients
• 50ml (sunflower)
• 10g fresh ginger chopped
• 10g Garlic cloves chopped
• 50g Fresh carrots cut into slices
• 50g Fresh green onions
• 50g Zucchini
• 80g Broccoli small pieces
• 150g Pok Choi
• 50g Bell pepper dices
• 10g Five spices powder
• 20g Red chilli paste
• 200g Rice (basmati) cooked
1. Mix all the sauce ingredients and keep it aside.
2. Heat a wok and pour some oil. Add ginger and garlic, stir nicely till it is golden brown in colour.
3. Add some chilli paste and mix it in. Add all others ingredient (except rice), with five spices powder and cook it well.
4. Now take the stir-fried vegetable and mix it with the sauce.
5. Add rice and stir fry for 2 minutes.
6. Arrange in a bowl or oval platter with garnish.
Note:- Non-vegetarian versions can be made with the addition of chicken, prawn or any meat with the rice.
#5 Grilled lamb with basil peanut sauce @Four Points by SheratonLightly prepared dishes with strong aromas and a balance of bold flavours, is what makes Thailand cuisine special. With lovers of this cuisine as common in Visakhapatnam as any other city, Chef Manjesh from Four Points by Sheraton, Visakhapatnam, brings this unique recipe. Vegetarians can enjoy the dish too, by replacing the meat with their favourite vegetables.
• 400g Lamb chops (for non-vegetarians) OR 100g Green zucchini, 100g Yellow zucchini and 100g Carrot (For vegetarians)
• 100g Broccoli
• 100g Yellow pepper
• 100g Red pepper
• 100g Red Thai curry paste
• 100g Chilli paste
• 100g Coconut milk
• 500g Lemon juice
• 100g Galangal
• 100g Lemongrass
• 50g Garlic
• 50g Basil
• 150g Oil
• 100g Peanut
• 50g Salt
• 20g Black peppercorn
1. Marinate Lamb Chops with Thai red curry paste, chilli paste, coconut milk, lemon juice, galangal, lemongrass, basil and oil. For the vegetarian option, marinate the exotic vegetables after blanching them.
2. To make the peanut sauce, first, heat the oil in a wok and add Thai red curry paste, chopped lemongrass and galangal to it. Next add coconut milk, basil and enough water to give the consistency of a sauce. Finally, add chilli paste and crushed roasted peanuts and adjust the seasoning.
3. Make skewers of the marinated vegetables and the lamb/ exotic vegetables, and grill them.
4. Arrange in a plate and pour the peanut sauce over it.
5. Serve hot.
#6 Tempura Uramaki @Mekong Green ParkThe last on our list of exotic recipes in Visakhapatnam is a hugely popular one. Japanese cuisine is often defined by raw and grilled food with the flavour of Wakame, an edible seaweed. With Ebi meaning shrimp and ‘tempura’ meaning ‘to season’, the Japanese dish of Ebi Tempura Uramaki is Instagram worthy with its colour and presentation. Chef Prakash Basnet, of Green Park, Visakhapatnam, shares that vegetarians can always replace meat with their choice of veggies, making for the Vegetable Tempura Uramaki. An impressive texture brought with the soft, sticky jasmine rice, crisp tempura and veggies, this dish goes well with the accompaniments of Kikkoman Soya, Galangal and Wasabi.
• 1 Cup cooked and seasoned
• 2 Large shrimps
• 5g Iceberg lettuce
• 1 Sheet of Nori
• Sesame seeds
For Tempura batter
• 3.5tbsp All-purpose flour
• 3-4 oz Icy cold soda water or water
• Bamboo rolling mat
• A small saucepan for frying
Prepare Shrimp tempura
1. Peel and devein all the shrimps, leave the tails on and let sit to air dry a bit.
2. In a wide enough container, mix 3.5tbsp of all-purpose flour. Sprinkle on some salt, sift and mix evenly.
3. Dredge all the shrimp in this dry mixture so that all are coated evenly, and dust off excess powder. Keep them aside
4. Pour 3 to 4 oz of icy cold (as in crushed ice + liquid) of carbonated water or plain water into the batter mix, and whisk to smoothen it.
5. Dip all the powder-coated shrimps into the batter.
6. Deep fry all the battered shrimps until golden crispy.
7. Remove tempura shrimp and transfer on to a parchment paper/towel to allow excess oil to drip off.
Making the roll
1. Open and place the bamboo rolling mat.
2. Place the Nori’s smooth side down over the rolling mat.
3. Wet your hand with some vinegar as you knead and pan sushi rice all over the surface of the Nori.
4. Sprinkle some roasted sesame over the rice.
5. Now turn the Nori upside down, so that the black Nori is now facing up.
6. Arrange 2 shrimps and iceberg lettuce along the Nori.
7. Roll the bamboo mat while gently applying some pressure.
8. Once the rolling is finished, gently tap and hold the mat over it for 10-20 seconds to keep the shape in place.
9. Wrap the roll in a plastic sheet and set aside.
10. Repeat with the other rolls.
11. Take a clean knife and wet it with some vinegar/water solution. Now cut across each roll while its plastic wrapper is still intact.
12. Once everything is cut, gently remove the plastic wrapper from each piece and transfer to a serving plate.
13. The dish is now ready to serve.