Cultural, Food

Pagoda Recipe Challenge

We have collected a few of our favourite recipes from some of our destinations around the world for you to enjoy.
Whether you are cooking to earn points for the leaderboard, for fun, or just because you are hungry, we are sure you’re going to love these recipes!

VIETNAMESE

BAN XEO

CRISPY VIETNAMESE PANCAKE

Bánh xèo – also known as crispy Vietnamese pancake, crepe or sizzling cake – is a famous street food which is widely believed to originate from France during its occupation of Vietnam. The word xèo depicts the sizzling sound when pouring the rice batter into the hot skillet

Where to try this food? Banh Xeo Nga (251 Nguyễn Thiện Thuật, Phường 1, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh)

INGREDIENTS

  • Rice flour
  • Salt
  • Ground turmeric
  • Water
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Chopped scallions
  • Tiny shrimp
  • Pork chop
  • Coconut oil

DESCRIPTION / PREPARATION

  1. Mix rice flour, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and turmeric together in a large bowl. Beat in coconut milk to make a thick batter. Slowly beat in water until batter is the consistency of a thin crepe batter.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic; cook and stir until fragrant but not browning, 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp; saute until cooked through and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with fish sauce/soy sauce and salt. Transfer filling to a bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
  4. Wipe out skillet and reheat over medium heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon oil. Stir crepe batter and pour 1/2 cup into the hot skillet, swirling to coat the bottom. Lay 3 or 4 of the cooked shrimp on the bottom half of the crepe. Top with a small handful of bean sprouts.
  5. Cook until batter looks set and edges start to brown, about 1 minute. Fold crepe over and slide onto an oven-safe plate.

FRESH SPRING ROLLS

A VIETNAMESE CLASSIC

These spring rolls are a refreshing change from the usual fried variety and have become a family favourite. They are great as a cool summertime appetizer, and are delicious dipped in one or both of the sauces.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ounces rice vermicelli
  • 8 rice wrappers (8.5-inch diameter)
  • 8 large cooked shrimp – peeled, deveined and cut in half < Could replace with thinly sliced pork, beef or chicken if you don’t like shrimp
  • 1 ⅓ tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 leaves lettuce, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic chilli sauce
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts

DESCRIPTION / PREPARATION

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Boil rice vermicelli for 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.
  2. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the centre, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of vermicelli, basil, mint, cilantro and lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chilli sauce.
  4. In another small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce and peanuts.
  5. Serve rolled spring rolls with the fish sauce and hoisin sauce mixtures.

CHINESE

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN

CLASSIC CHINESE TAKEAWAY DISH

Try an authentic version of this classic Chinese takeaway dish, with natural sweetness and a warm chilli flavour to spice things up!

INGREDIENTS

  • Sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 100ml soda water, chilled
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • Spring onions, finely shredded, to serve

For the sauce:

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 3 red chillies, 1 cut into chunks, 2 halved and deseeded
  • 425g can pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved
  • 4 star anise
  • 50g tamarind paste
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar or Chinese vinegar

DESCRIPTION / PREPARATION

  1. For the sauce, put the red pepper, chunks of chilli and pineapple juice in a pan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 10 mins, then purée in a food processor. Return to the pan with the pineapple chunks, chilli halves, star anise, tamarind, sugar and vinegar. Gently simmer for 20-30 mins until reduced and sticky. Keep warm, or reheat to serve.
  2. Fill a large pan 1cm deep with oil and heat until shimmering. Whisk the soda water and 100ml cold water into the self-raising flour with a little salt. Tip the cornflour onto a plate, line a tray with kitchen paper and turn on the oven to low.
  3. Stir the batter well. Dust the chicken with cornflour, then dip into the batter. One at a time, lower into the hot oil (about 5-6 every batch). Turn up the heat to keep the chicken frying, if needed, and cook for 5-6 mins, turning once. When cooked, drain on the tray, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Stack onto a plate with the warm sauce on the side, and scatter with shredded spring onions.

SALT & PEPPER TOFU

AN AUTHENTIC SICHUAN SIDE DISH

Use both types of peppercorns for our salt & pepper tofu if you can, for a tongue-tingling kick and a spicy warmth. The dish is great for a Chinese banquet!

INGREDIENTS

  • 396g pack firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp Sichuan or black peppercorns (or a mixture of the two), ground to a powder
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • ¼ broccoli head, cut into very small florets
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 2 tsp low-salt soy sauce
  • Sesame oil, for drizzling
  • A handful of coriander leaves picked

DESCRIPTION / PREPARATION

  1. Drain the tofu, wrap loosely in kitchen paper and put on a plate. Rest a chopping board on top. If you’re using a light chopping board, weigh it down with a couple of cans – a heavier chopping board will be sufficient on its own. Leave for 10-20 mins until the cloth feels wet from the excess liquid. Pressing the tofu like this helps to give it a firmer texture once cooked.
  2. Cut the tofu in half down the centre like a book. Cut each piece into four triangles, as you would a piece of toast, then in half again to give you 16 pieces in total. Mix the cornflour, ground pepper and 1 tsp flaky sea salt on a plate. Gently turn each piece of tofu in the cornflour mix to coat.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Stir-fry the peppers and broccoli for a few minutes, to soften a little. Add the bean sprouts and soy sauce. Cook for another 1-2 mins, making sure the veg still has a nice crunch. Drizzle with a little sesame oil.
  4. Heat the remaining sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the coated tofu for 5 mins on each side until crisp. Serve on top of the vegetables, scattered with the coriander.

MEXICAN

ENCHILADAS

CLASSIC MEXICAN DISH

Enchiladas originated in Mexico. Even back in Mayan times, the people of that time would roll other foods into tortillas. It’s been a practice in that part of the world for many centuries. The first types of enchiladas ever created were most likely corn tortillas with fish inside them. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, they kept detailed records of everything the locals were eating. They talked a lot about enchiladas, and how it was made almost everywhere. Enchiladas were featured in one of the first-ever Mexican cookbooks in the early 1800s.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 serrano peppers
  • 2 ¼ pounds small green tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 9 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • ½ store-bought rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded
  • ¼ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 (8 ounces) container sour cream
  • 1 cup grated cotija cheese, or any other cheese

DESCRIPTION / PREPARATION

  1. Cover a large griddle with aluminium foil and preheat to medium-high.
  2. Cook the garlic, serrano peppers, and tomatillos on the hot griddle until toasted and blackened, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes for the garlic, 10 minutes for the peppers, and 15 minutes for the tomatillos. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Heat oil in a small, deep skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Using kitchen tongs, fry the tortillas individually, turning them once. They shouldn’t be in the hot oil for more than 5 seconds per side. Remove excess oil with paper towels and keep warm. Remember that the hotter the oil, the less that the tortillas will absorb.
  4. Place the toasted garlic, serrano peppers, tomatillos, and the water in a blender and blend until smooth; pour into a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Dissolve the chicken bouillon into the mixture, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook at a simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. The sauce shouldn’t be too thick.
  5. Soak three tortillas in the sauce, one at a time, for a few seconds, fill them with shredded chicken, sprinkle the meat with some of the sauce, roll them and place them seam side down on a pasta bowl. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over them and top them with lettuce, cilantro, crema, and cotija cheese. Pour a little more sauce over the whole thing if desired. Repeat the procedure twice more. Serve immediately.

HORCHATA

SWEET RICE DRINK

It is a delicious, white, creamy, sweet drink that can be drunk chilled at any meal in Mexico!

It’s fresh, refreshing and very thirst-quenching! You can drink this drink simply to quench your thirst, to start the day on the right foot, or to accompany a spicy Mexican meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 1 cup sugar adjust depending on how sweet you want – 2/3 cup of sugar if you want it less sweet.
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 Can 12-ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cup of milk or almond milk
  • 1 Liter of water
  • Ice

DESCRIPTION / PREPARATION

  1. Start by soaking the rice, cinnamon, and almonds in a bowl of water all night, or at least for 5 hours so that the rice softens slightly.
  2. Strain the water from the cinnamon, rice, and almond mixture that were soaking, disposing of water.
  3. Blend the cinnamon, rice, and almond mixture with evaporated milk until a smoother mix is formed and the grains of rice are completely ground.
  4. Strain the resulting liquid into a pitcher, and add the sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mix well until everything is well combined. Add a litre of water, and serve with ice. Enjoy!

BRITISH

VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE

BRITISH TWO-LAYER SPONGE CAKE

This quintessential British sweet is named after Queen Victoria! It is a simple two-layer sponge cake that is filled with a layer of jam and whipped cream and often served at teatime. The cake was named after the Queen because it was one of her favourite tea party treats. So be sure to enjoy it with some tea!

INGREDIENTS

  • 160g softened unsalted butter
  • 160g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100ml double cream
  • 125g strawberry jam
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting

DESCRIPTION / PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two 8-inch springform cake tins with nonstick baking paper.
  2. With a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Slowly add the beaten egg while mixing, until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Fold the flour into the mixture using a large spoon, and transfer evenly into the two cake tins.
  4. Bake for 25-30 mins until the texture is springy, and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Then, remove the cake tins from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing them from the tins and peeling away the paper.
  5. As the cakes cool, whip the cream to soft peaks. Then, evenly spread the bottom half of the cake with the cream. Next, spread the strawberry jam evenly on top of the cream layer. Place the other half of the cake on top and dust with the icing sugar.

ENGLISH SAUSAGE ROLLS

FLAKY PASTRY FILLED WITH SAUSAGE

These savoury pork sausage rolls wrapped in flaky puff pastry are a staple of British and Irish cuisine. They’re buttery, crisp, flaky, and baked to golden perfection with a hearty filling of sausage and egg. English Sausage Rolls make an excellent light meal or snack that can be enjoyed hot or cold!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds pork sausage meat
  • 3 eggs
  • 25 oz puff pastry, or shortcrust pastry
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp flour, for rolling dough

DESCRIPTION / PREPARATION

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add chopped onion. Cook until lightly browned.
  2. In a large bowl, add the sausage, cooked onion, 2 eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly flour a clean surface to roll out the pastry into two 8×10 inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle into two long strips and cool in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, place pastry on 2 greased baking sheets. Place the sausage mixture along the centre of each pastry strip. Beat the last egg in a small bowl and brush along the outer edges of the pastry.
  5. Fold the pastry over the meat to form long rolls. Turn the roll over so the seam is on the bottom, and lightly brush the top with the egg. Cut the rolls into small pieces.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.