Recipe | Uta Tabha ft. Nusa Tenggara Timur (Bajawa)

I have a plea.

Taste new things when you travel.

I am not asking you to channel television host Andrew Zimmern in his shock-factor hungry show, “Bizarre Foods,” and chow down on bull testicles or fermented whale meat.

But is there anything off-putting about corn, beans and pumpkin stewed in coconut milk with ginger and lemongrass, and eating a bowl of it to warm you up while in the chilly highlands of Pulau Flores?

If that sounds unappealing to you, then you are missing out.

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Recipe | Rujak ft. Nusa Tenggara Timur (Sumba)

I had my list ready.

Manu pata’u ni, Nga’a watary patau kabbe, Ka’pu pantunnu, Manggulu, Kadapet watara, Bokosawu nyale, Bokosawu karagge.

These were just a few regional dishes I had researched before flying to Sumba and was eager to find.

But then I found myself in a situation where this was not possible. It was, however, how I discovered the real Sumba.

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Recipe | Sprouted Sorghum Cake ft. Nusa Tenggara Timur

The first time I brought life into this world?

I was 10 years old.

For children in classrooms across America, it was a rite of passage to sprout a dried lima bean. Each child was provided a plastic ziplock bag, paper towel, lima bean and water. We were taught to “wake up” the bean by re-hydrating it in water, keep it moist with a damp paper towel, and “feed” it with sunlight. Once the foot of a root peeked out, I was a proud momma.

Taking an otherwise forgotten dried bean and coaxing it to life was my first realization that nature’s power was a gift to cherish.

20 years later, I was raising an army of sorghum seeds in the kitchen.

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Recipe | Chia Seed Crackers ft. Sumatra & Nusa Tenggara Timur

Disclaimer: Chia seeds are not native to Indonesia.

Just as people migrate, so have plants and their seeds. With Mother Earth’s magic, many of these plants become naturalized—acclimate to their new environment—and transform into new species themselves.

Some of these “new” plants have been in Indonesia for centuries—for as long as traders have sailed in and around the seas of Indonesia.

As we enter into a new year in the 21st century, this migration continues, but this time with more purpose than a stowaway seed.

Continue reading “Recipe | Chia Seed Crackers ft. Sumatra & Nusa Tenggara Timur”