Monday, April 20, 2009

Around Gondwana in Seventy Two Hours

My pilot Joe was just topping off the fuel tanks as the orders came in over the wire.

“Where to, Boss?”
“Gondwana” I said.
“Where’s that?” he asked.
“Head south. We’ll pick up OJ in Florida, then head to Mexico.”
“OJ? Is this a jail-break?”
“No, just a grocery run.”

This wasn’t the first time my baby sister had sent me circling the planet for food. One time she had me deliver corn chips to her in Japan, by way of Bahrain. But this was for a greater cause: To reunite Gondwanaland.

For the next two days, Joe flew Miwa and I non-stop around Gondwanaland. We crisscrossed the scattered fragments of the ancient land mass scouring the docks and markets in search of Gondwanan foods and recipes. We brought back a plane-load of goodies and prepared a Gondwanan feast.


Ceviche prepared with fresh local ingredients is popular throughout modern Latin America. For this version, we imagined what it would be like with access to ingredients from all of Gondwana:
  • 8 Shrimp –boiled until pink and peeled (Australia)
  • ¼ lb. Tilapia – cut into 1”x1” pieces (Africa)
  • ¼ lb. Chilean Sea Bass – cut in ½” x 1” x 1” pieces (Chile)
  • 3 Lemons (Peru)
  • 3 Limes (Mexico)
  • ¼ c. Orange Juice (Florida)
  • 1 small Red Onion – finely diced (Mexico)
  • 1 Tbs. Fish Sauce (Thailand)
  • 1 Tbs. Sambal Oelek (Indonesia)
  • ¼ tsp. Murray River Salt (Australia)
  • 2 Tbs. Cilantro - chopped (Mexico)
  • 1 Kiwi (Thailand)

Toss and macerate the fish in a small bowl with the juice of two lemons. Marinate for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Drain and rinse.

Add the juice from the remaining lemon and two limes and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and allow to marinate overnight. Arrange with Kiwi slices and serve with Moroccan Rolls (see below)


"Still like that old time Moroccan Roll
The kind of bread that just soothes the soul"

Yes, this is the legendary bread immortalized in Kyliomenolithic era song. A simple semolina sourdough, flavored with toasted sesame and anise.

"I know, it’s only a Moroccan Roll, but I like it, like it, yes I do."
  • ½ cup Sourdough Starter
  • 2 ½ cups Semolina (Morocco)
  • 1 Tbs. Sesame (Yemen)
  • 1/2 tsp. Anise seed (Thailand)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (Mexico)

Mix the starter with 1 ½ cups of the dough and about ¾ cup of lukewarm water. Cover and put in a warm place to rise for several hours.

When bubbly, mix in the remainder of the flour, the sesame, anise and salt. Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes – adding more flour or water as necessary to make a smooth elastic dough.

Cover and allow it to rise until double in bulk. Form into rolls and allow these to rise again until double in bulk. Bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes.


This is what Satay would have looked like back in the good-old-days – before the continent got split up and you could still find all the ingredients at the local Gondwana-Mart. As the Aztecs knew, chocolate and hot peppers are natural companions.
  • 6 oz. Australian Sirloin – cut into ¾” cubes (Australia)


  • 3 Tbs. olive oil (Sicily)
  • 5 cloves Garlic – finely chopped (Mexico)
  • 3 Thai Chili peppers – chopped (Thailand)
  • 2 Tbs Ginger – chopped (Sumatra)
  • 5 Macadamia nuts – finely chopped (Australia)
  • 4 Brazil Nuts – finely chopped (Brazil)
  • 1 Tbs. Garam Masala (see below)
  • 1 Tbs. roasted Moka Coffee Beans – very finely ground (Ethiopia)
  • 4 oz. Coconut Milk (Sumatra)
  • Pan-Fried Peruvian Purple Potatoes – see below
  • Mustard Greens (Uganda)
  • ¼ tsp. Fenugreek seed (Turkey)
  • Sesame Oil (Yemen)
  • 1 Oz. 85% coca solids Chocolate (Ecuador)

Gently fry the garlic, peppers, ginger nuts and Garam Masala in the oil until the garlic is golden. Stir in the coconut milk and ground coffee. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is blended.

Add the cubed meat to the marinade and let marinate for at least three hours. Overnight if possible.Thread the meat onto bamboo skewers and grill.

Sauté the mustard greens in a little sesame oil and fenugreek until wilted.
Serve with Pan-Friend Purple Peruvian Potatoes (see below) and wilted mustard greens.


Garam Masala is the classic Indian spice mixture. There are as many variations as there are cooks in India. Similar spice mixtures are used as a flavoring base for curries across East Africa and much of southeast Asia.
  • 1 Tbs. toasted cumin (Iran)
  • 5 Green Cardamom pods (India)
  • 1 Tbs. black peppercorns (India)
  • 3-4 toasted Bay Leaves (Greece)
  • 1” piece of cinnamon stick – crushed (Indonesia)
  • ½ tsp. whole cloves (Madagascar)

Grind all ingredients to a powder. Store in a tightly capped jar.

  • 2 medium Purple Potatoes (Peru)
  • 1 Tbs. Peanut Oil (Brazil)
  • ½ tsp. Cumin (Iran)
  • Mediterranean Sea Salt (Spain)
Cut the potatoes into matchsticks. Heat the oil and fry the cumin for a few seconds, then add the potatoes. Stir fry until just tender. Do not brown.


To wash it down, we brewed some refreshing iced coffee (This time, from Guatamala), flavored with cardamom (India) and vanilla (Madagascar). We chilled the coffee with 100% organic Ice we harvested from a free-range Antarctic glacier. Gondwana was united at last.

I asked Joe to join us in the feast.
“No thanks” he said.
“What I really need right now is a Pan-Gondwanan Gargle Blaster”.


bobbyc said...

You win!

Bill said...

I cheated. I went West to East over the International Date-Line and ended up with a whole extra day to work on it.

For anyone that wants to try the Satay, the marinade recipe makes more than enough for 6 oz of meat. It is probably enough for about 1 1/2 pounds. You can freeze the extra. Wouldn't want to waste any of that chocolatey goodness.

Matt said...

I am so screwed.