Carroll’s Recipes

One of the great things about spending time on Tropica was eating Carroll’s food and talking with him about food, sharing stories from Manado, Indonesia and around the world. During the expedition, from the tiniest of galley kitchens, in sweltering heat with wave action adding to the challenge, Carroll cooked Indonesian and Manadonese dishes that kept us healthy and happy. Chili definitely makes me happy, as does ginger, garlic, lime, leek, tomato, fish, chicken and rice. As you can see from the recipes below, these are the foundations of most of the meals we ate on Tropica, and whilst there are a few ingredients that you might have to hunt around for, everything can be made with the kind of stocks many of us already have in our cupboards. I am pretty sure that Carroll toned down the chili for us, so you may need to experiment with different kinds and amounts of the little red and green darlings until you find the right level for you. I know for sure that when I got back to London, my tolerance was way higher than when I left – and I’ve been craving chili ever since.

Healthy and happy!


p.s. these are just the first two that I tried out at home; plenty more to come!

Sambal Goreng (condiment) 

Bahan (ingredients):

  • Chili, 5 small green ones (give or take 3 or 4)
  • Tomato, 5
  • Ginger, fresh, 1 inch piece
  • Leek, 1 small
  • Shallots, 2 cloves
  • Garlic, 3 cloves
  • Salt, ¼ tspn
  • Sugar, ¾ tspn
  • Oil, 50ml

Cara (method):

  1. Blend the chili, shallot & garlic (Carroll used a large mortar between his feet with a 5 foot long, smooth stick as a pestle; at home, we found that our spice-grinding M&P wasn’t big enough, so we used a blender).
  2. Cut leek into 1cm pieces or smaller.
  3. Heat oil over a medium heat, add the chopped leek and fry “until it smells good!”
  4. Add the blended paste and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Chop the tomato and add that to the pan, frying for another 20 minutes over a medium heat.
  6. Add sugar, salt and serve.

Once made, Carroll reckoned that you could store it in the fried for a week; back home, we put covered ours in oil and finished eating it 3 weeks later.

Carroll’s preferred modification:  if you can get Pandan Leaf (pandanus), take one shoot, chop it in half and add to the pan before the leek.  Remove it before serving.   The pandan adds a noticeable depth to the flavour.

Ikan Garam Goreng (dried salty fish)

If you can get dried fish, especially whole dried fish (or pieces thereof), this dish is a revelation of crunchy, chewy, salty deliciousness.  I’ve been experimenting with the dried fish given to us by Josep on Selanka (in case you’re wondering, yes, you are allowed to bring a dozen dried tropical flying fish and flatfish wrapped in newspaper into the UK – pongy, but so worthy it to have a little bit of Hugging the Coast in my fridge).


  • Dried fish, 1 large fish (we found that a minimum of a 5”x1” piece, ¼” thick, was good for one person – but two was better because it’s addictive)
  • Lime juice (2 limes)
  • Oil, 100ml
  • Hot water, 300ml


  1. Pour boiling water over the fish, in a wok/pan, letting it soak for 5 minutes whilst on a high heat.
  2. Then, remove the water and repeat twice more (i.e. soak/cook 3 times in total).
  3. Remove the fish from the pan and add the lime juice to it (discard the last of the water).
  4. Fry the fish on a high heat until crunchy (depending on the fish, this might take 10 minutes, but we found ours were golden-brown and ready to eat after just 5 – you’ll know if you’ve overdone it, since the fish starts to look too brown as the oil starts to burn).

Serve with rice and sambal goreng.

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