From octopus eggs to boiled rat, Andrew Zimmern has tasted more unique foods from around the globe than anyone.
He is the creator, executive producer and host of Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern," "Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World" and the latest, "Bizarre Foods America," and now, the ultimate culinary anthropologist is showing fans at home how to make a few of his signature dishes.
Here are the recipes for black bean spareribs, spicy Thai shrimp salad, sticky rice, frozen passion fruit mousse and cucumber mint lemonade.
They might not be as bizarre as the foods on his shows, but these recipes certainly capture Zimmern's adventurous spirit.
Black bean spareribs with green onion
5 baby back ribs, cut into two-rib pieces
4t peanut oil
7t chinese salted black beans (not the seasoned variety)
4t oyster sauce
8 whole smashed and peeled garlic cloves
4t soy sauce
10t brown sugar
1 cup hot water
Half cup rice wine (or sake)
8 dried red chiles, tsin tsin or arbols work well
Half cup minced scallion
Combine the beans, garlic, soy, sugar, hoisin, oyster sauce and water.
Place a large cast iron wok, pot or heavy enameled casserole on high heat.
Add oil and swirl. Add the scallions and chilies
Swirl and add the ribs.
Toss for 4 to 5 minutes.
Do not scorch.
Give the seasoning a stir and add to the pot. Bring to a boil. Stir. Lower to a bare simmer. Cover.
Cook for 1 hour stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat.
Skim fat if needed.
Simmer uncovered for a few minutes.
Sauce should reduce to a rich consistency.
Serve, garnishing with a little minced scallion
Golden coin chicken and shrimp with peanut sauce
2t toasted rice powder
1 peeled and de-veined u-15 count shrimp
1 ground chicken
6 garlic cloves
6 ounces block of raw pork fat
3t fish sauce
2 each 1 foot sections of fresh sugar cane from an ethnic market
Vegetable oil for frying and shaping shrimp paste
Julienne mixed carrot, cucumber, mint and cilantro for rolling
4 heads bibb or boston lettuce
2t toasted ground peanuts
Salt and drain the shrimp to remove excess moisture.
Squeeze dry and place in a food processor along with the garlic, shallots and sugar.
Boil the pork fat for 10 minutes.
Drain and dice fine.
Pulse again adding the fat, fish sauce, rice powder and black pepper to taste.
Stir in the ground chicken.
Cut you sugar cane into 5 inch skewers, dipping your hands into the oil, shaping the paste around the cane in 2t portions, leaving one end of the cane exposed to use as a handle. Repeat.
Grill over medium heat until cooked through.
Serve with the lettuce as cups, garnishing with the carrot, cuke, mint and cilantro...and pass the sauce at the table
Spicy thai shrimp salad
2 u-12 sized whole wild caught shrimp
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small red onion, halved and sliced thin
1 english cucumber, halved, seeded and sliced thin
3t toasted rice powder
1t black sesame seeds
3t fish sauce
2t lime juice, or more to taste
3t brown sugar, or more to taste
2 stems of lemon grass, trimmed, cleaned and sliced very thin
6 thai red chiles, sliced thin
Half cup fresh mint leaves,
Half cup thai basil leaves
Half cup cilantro leaves
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and julienned
Butter lettuce leaves for garnish
If you can find them at your local Asian market, small Thai eggplant make a superb addition to this salad.
Rinse shrimp and plunge in boiling salted water for a few minutes, do not overcook. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking process. Peel shrimp leaving head attached, remove central vein. Reserve.
Combine the liquid seasonings, chiles, garlic and sugar.
Lay the romaine lettuce leaves on an oversize platter.
Toss remaining ingredients together, combine with liquid seasoning in a large bowl.
Mound salad over the lettuce and dip the shrimp in liquids at bottom of the bowl. Lay shrimp on top of salad and pour liquids over the top.
Serve with the rice below.
Makes enough for 4-6 persons
2 cups Thai sticky rice (sweet rice)
Soak rice overnight in enough of a volume of water to cover the rice by 4 inches.
Drain well and place in a conical straw steaming basket for sticky rice, or in a damp muslin lined sieve set over a pot of boiling water. Cover the rice with a damp cloth, and do not let the bottom of the sieve touch the water.
Steam for 25 minutes and let rice rest for 10 minutes.
Turn rice out into a bowl and immediately cover with a warm, damp cloth.
Makes about 2 cups
¼ cup dry-roasted peanuts (unsalted)
1/3 cup tamarind puree
1t tomato paste
2 teaspoons peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons minced dry cured ham, fatty pieces work best. Hunan ham is ideal but any smoked cured ham will do
3 tablespoons miso (fermented soy bean paste)
1 cup water
1t brown sugar
1-2 thai chiles, minced
Lime juice to taste
Crush the peanuts in a mortar and pestle (or food processor) to a coarse powder; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat.
Add the garlic and stir-fry until beginning to brown, about 15 seconds.
Add ham, and cook for about 1 minute.
Add miso, tomato paste and tamarind puree, and stir to blend.
Add ½ cup water and most of the ground peanuts, reserving a few tablespoons for garnish.
Stir in the chiles and sugar.
Add up to ½ cup more water until you have a thick but pourable liquid (not watery).
Serve in several small containers for dipping rice balls.
Frozen passion fruit mousse
Makes 6 servings or 8 small servings
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 and 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 ounces alize passion fruit liqueur
2t orange zest
3t passion fruit puree, goya makes a nice one that's available in most markets. Don't use juice!
Lichee fruit, canned are fine
Toasted unsweetened shaved coconut
Pulp of 3 ripe fresh passion fruit
Tangerine or orange supremes free of connective tissue
Whip the egg yolks and sugar until stiff in a food mixer with a whisk attachment. Reserve.
Whip the cream until stiff.
Fold cream into eggs.
Fold in the alize, puree and orange zest
Spatula the mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a conventional large spout tip.
Divide into 6 wine glasses or small galss bowls
Freeze for 4 hours and serve.
May be made a day in advance to this point.
Garnish with some lychee, fresh passion fruit and toasted coconut
Cucumber mint lemonade
Yields 3-4 quarts:
Half gallon water
14 ounces sugar (to taste)
1 and 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice...i like to use meyer lemons when i can
Combine all ingredients whisking until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cucumber mint juice and refrigerate. Serve over ice with sliced lemon and sticks of cucumbers.
Juice 1 and one half pounds of european hydro cukes or other unwaxed cucumbers.
Place in a vita mix blender with
1/2 cup mint leaves and one cup ice
Puree until homogenous. I like to strain unless the mint is well incorporated.