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Beef and Walnut Rendang, Alyssa Style

This one is a little different.

If the foodways of the coastal tropics have a unifying feature, it is the coconut. Spread by its own maritime machinations as well as human effort, Cocos nucifera is a large, flavorful, energy-dense addition to numerous cuisines and if there is anything about my people’s cooking that frustrates me, it is that it does not use enough coconut. Coconut has been my gateway into so many other delights and into so many different cultures’ recipes, and today, it serves that role again.

Enter beef rendang, or rendang daging in Bahasa Indonesia.

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Beef and Walnut Rendang, Alyssa Style

Cacerola Bayamo, Alyssa Style

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and with that size comes more regional variety than outsiders realize. In particular, the Oriente region of Cuba, facing Haiti and closer to the equator than the rest of this already-tropical island, are known for spicier fare than parts farther north. Bayamo, one of the oldest cities in Cuba, is at the heart of this region, and gives its name to this curious casserole.

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Cacerola Bayamo, Alyssa Style