What’s the best way to get transported to a place without leaving your house? Apart from watching a great TV show or reading a captivating book, you can always cook a nice international meal for your family. With that in mind, I come to your help with a roundup of some of the mouthwatering recipes from around the world you will want to try today!
I’ll take you from Italy to Peru, Vietnam, or even Spain.
Get your aprons out and start dreaming about faraway places, at the dining table!
Recipes from around the world you will want to try today!
Italy is well known for its pasta, pizza, gelato, and desserts. Of which, I enjoyed regularly on my trip to Italy in 2010.
Of all the desserts that I tried Tiramisu was my favorite, by far. Tiramisu was something that I would always order following a meal no matter how full I was when vacationing in Italy.
If you don’t know, Tiramisu is a traditional dessert originating from Italy, the country of romance and love.
Tiramisu is made with ladyfingers (no not actual human fingers, they are cookies), mascarpone cheese, coffee, liquor, and egg.
You start by making cream is from the mascarpone, eggs, and liquor. You then dunk the ladyfinger cookies into coffee and begin to layer cookies and cream. The dessert is topped with a sprinkle of cocoa.
Tiramisu is truly a rich and creamy dessert that can be made right in the comfort of your own home. It’s very easy to make.
When I returned to Canada, I knew I had to try making it. When researching what goes into a Tiramisu, I was really surprised to find out that it is a fairly easy dessert to make with very few ingredients.
What makes Tiramisu the ultimate dessert to make at home is that no baking is required. That’s a win-win in my books.
Making Tiramisu at home brings back fond memories of my travel, romance, and love while staying in Italy. For the recipe details on this Easy Tiramisu Recipe visit Girlwithaspatula Recipe Blog.
Get an Italian cookbook for more inspiration!
Ceviche, Peru by Silvia from Mums Delivery
When most people think of traveling to Peru, probably the first thing that comes up to their minds is the highlands and the ancient Inca civilization sites.
Whilst all of that is definitely worth a visit, another aspect of Peru blew my mind as much as the ruins: its cuisine. Like a lot of countries in South America, Peruvian cuisine is a blend of indigenous traditions, native ingredients, and influences that come from Spanish colonizers and other migrants.
My favorite Peruvian dishes included Papas a La Huancaina (potatoes in spicy cheesy sauce), Lomo Saltado (beef stir-fry), and the ever-popular Ceviche.
For a couple of years after returning from Peru, I couldn’t stop telling my partner – who did not join me on that trip – how great Peruvian food was and how I wanted to try cooking it at home. As a big fan of fish and seafood, Ceviche was the obvious choice.
Eventually, I got some courage and decided to give it a go. I watched many videos and read many recipes for ceviche. Whilst the basics were the same, there were some variations in terms of how long to marinate the fish, which citrus to use (just lime juice or a mix of lime and other citrus juices), what you could use to replace native ingredients such as ‘aji’ (Peruvian chilies).
After buying some sashimi grade firm white fish, I marinated my fish in lime juice for about half an hour and added chopped red onions, chilies, and cilantro. I seasoned everything with extra lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I also roasted sweet potatoes and corn to serve with it.
I am not sure my ceviche is authentic – probably not! But it was a hit and, more importantly, it took me back to Peru’s amazing ‘cevicherias’.
Get a Peruvian cookbook for more inspiration!
Hummus, Israel by Claudia at My Adventures Across The World
Hummus is one of the most popular Israeli food – in fact, it is found all over the Middle East and it is a well-known fact in Israel that Palestinians are the real custodians of the recipe.
It’s a simple dish that is originally meant as a breakfast food, but which is now enjoyed at any time of the day, as long as it is freshly made. Real hummus is eaten immediately and never really stored in the fridge, where it loses its flavor and texture.
It is a very simple dish made with just a handful of ingredients, but it is packed with flavor and nutrients – and calories too, but it is oh so worth having!
It is honestly addictive, especially when you consider you can have many kinds, with different toppings – they the one with pine nuts for something really unique. Add to this the fact that it is vegan, and it’s easy to see why everyone loves it!
Serve with more olive oil. Most of the world eats hummus with pita bread, but real experts have it plain or with vegetables such as raw tomatoes, pickles, raw onions, or green hot peppers.
Get an Israeli cookbook for more inspiration!
Cacio e Pepe, Italy by Chelsea at Euro Travel Coach
There are four main kinds of pasta that you’ll see on nearly every restaurant menu in Rome.
The first, and probably most famous, is pasta carbonara which features a sauce of egg yolk (or whole egg depending on who you’re talking to), Pecorino Romano cheese, and guanciale (cured pig jowl, or as I like to call it, cheek bacon).
Second is cacio e pepe – Translating to “cheese and pepper” from the local dialect, it’s basically like grown-up macaroni and cheese, and it only requires 3 ingredients: pasta, Pecorino Romano, and pepper (though I’ve been known to add butter…don’t tell the Romans).
Next up is gricia, which is essentially cacio e pepe with guanciale, and finally, there is Amatriciana, which is made with tomatoes, guanciale, and Pecorino Romano.
All four pasta dishes are absolutely delicious when executed well and I would not turn down a plate of any of them…but cacio e pepe has a special place in my heart. It’s simple, it comes together in mere minutes, and is exactly the type of comfort food you want to eat after a long day (or long night – it’s an ideal midnight snack!).
Though it took me a few times to get it right, cacio e pepe is now a staple dish in our household. It’s a dish that transports me to Rome – and it only takes a few minutes and a handful of ingredients.
Recipe for Cacio e Pepe
12 ounces of high quality dried long pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, linguini, etc.)
3.5 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil. As your waiting on the water, finely grate the Pecorino Romano, preferably with a Microplane or similar grater.
- When your water is boiling, season generously with salt and add your pasta. Cook for four minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add in your pepper. Cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- When your pasta has been cooking for 4 minutes, scoop out 3-4 ladles (about 1.5 cups) of pasta water and add to the skillet with the butter and pepper. Bring the butter, pepper, and pasta water mixture up to a boil to emulsify, then, using tongs, remove the pasta from the pot and add to the skillet. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente, about 3-5 more minutes. If the skillet begins to look dry, add another ladle of pasta water.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add in your cheese, little by little, tossing constantly with tongs until the cheese is fully melted. Add a bit more pasta water if the sauce seems dry.
- Enjoy straight out of the pan (or transfer to a warm bowl if you’re more civilized than me) and imagine you’re in a lovely Osteria in beautiful Roma.
Chicken majboos, Oman by Daisy at Oman Travel Guides
Chicken majboos is a meal that consists of rice, vegetables, and protein. It is a delicious Omani dish that can be found at any dinner table. Better yet, majboos is really easy to make, and can usually be cooked with a single pot.
I first tried chicken majboos during a camping trip in Oman. My friend and I decided to embark on a Jebel Shams day trip that ended with us camping out by a cliff. When lunchtime came, he pulled out a handful of vegetables and a packet of rice. I was skeptical at first. I didn’t think he’d be able to cook an elaborate meal in the middle of nowhere.
Nonetheless, he wiped out a cutting board, some oil, a pot, and put himself to work. Within an hour, we had dinner in front of us! The chicken was tender, the vegetable mouth-watering. The rice was full of flavor and on that day, majboos became my favorite dish in the country.
I’ve been craving Omani cuisine after returning to Canada and decided to give chicken majboos a try. Following the recipe given to me by my friend, I prepared an entire Middle Eastern-inspired dinner for my family.
Other than chicken majboos, I threw together a few other appetizers, including lentil soup (which is also incredibly easy to make), and cheese-stuffed dates. Although my majboos wasn’t as top-notch as the ones I’ve tried in Oman, I’d say that for a first-timer, the meal was a success.
Get an Omani or Middle Eastern cookbook for more inspiration!
Pho, Vietnam by Rose at Where goes Roes
It’s no secret that Hanoi street food is some of the best in the world.
Vietnamese food generally is a must-try, known for its contrasting flavors, such as smoky pork, sharp lime, and spicy chili. It’s no surprise pho is famous as far away as London and Melbourne because this rich and moreish noodle soup is unlike any other.
In Vietnam, you’ll find it made with chicken (‘ga’) or beef (‘bo’) but when you make it at home, you can amend the recipe to be vegetarian or even vegan.
The secret to pho is all the broth. A bad pho can be flavorless soup but a good one can be hearty and moreish.
To make pho at home, you’ll need to thinly slice beef, chicken, shrimp, or veggies before charring onion and ginger and toasting spices of your choice such as star anise, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and coriander.
Prepare a batch of beef or veggie stock with hot water and a stock cube, then add a touch of fish sauce. Combine the spices and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook flat noodles until tender, drain, and place in a bowl. Add the meat and pour over the broth. Finally, top your pho with mint, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and chili. Perfection!
Get a Vietnamese cookbook for more inspiration!
Gazpacho, Spain by Paulina at Paulina on the road
One of my favorite Spanish foods out there is definitely Gazpacho. This cold soup is not only very refreshing during the hot summer days, but it’s also very healthy. On top, it’s extremely easy to prepare!
100g slightly stale crusty white bread, soaked in cold water for 20 mins
1kg very ripe tomatoes, diced
1 ripe red pepper and 1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
150ml extra virgin olive oil
2tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt, to taste
Put everything in the blender and put it in the fridge for several hours.
Get a Spanish cookbook for more inspiration!
Gambas pil pil, South of Spain by Joanna at The World in My Pocket
One of the most popular tapas in the South of Spain is the prawns pil pil, very popular all over Andalucia’s coast. The gambas pil pil recipe is very easy to recreate at home, using only 4 main ingredients: prawns, garlic, paprika and chili.
Some people might think of the name sounding funny, and they would not be wrong. Pil pil is a sauce invented in the North of Spain and named after the sizzling sound the oil makes when it reaches a high temperature in the pan. The pil pil sauce is a simple but flavorsome combination of olive oil, garlic, and chilies.
To make gambas pil pil all you have to do is fry the garlic, chili, and paprika, and then add the raw prawns to the pan for around 1 minute each side. Serve with parsley sprinkled on top.
Prawns pil pil is one of those recipes that remind you of the holiday time. Because it is so easy to make, it will always taste authentic. It’s a delicious recipe that will make your mind fly away to the beaches of Andalucia.
Prawns pil pil are always present on the menus of a proper tapas bar in the South of Spain. They are usually served sizzling, in small individual ramekins, covered in chopped garlic, with parsley sprinkled on top.
When you visit Andalucia you must order gambas pil pil in a tapas bar. They are a perfect accompaniment to a cold beer. It is very common to burn your tongue when you taste the prawns pil pil for the first time.
They are served very hot, but the aroma will make you ignore the sizzling sound of the oil and take a bite as soon as possible.
Empanadas, Argentina by Laura at Laura no esta
Empanadas are a typical dish from Argentina, you can find different versions of it in every region of the country. This dish appeared in Latin American cuisine after colonization and, nowadays, is way more popular in Argentina than in Europe. As an Argentinian, I remember eating empanadas almost every week, usually made by my mom.
A few years ago I moved abroad and empanadas are not easy to get. So, during these quarantine days, I tried, for the first time ever since I left my country, to do empanadas at home. I followed my mom’s recipe from start to finish and it went better than expected, although my version is less photogenic.
The typical empanada is filled with meat but you can use tuna or only ham and cheese. And, of course, you can just buy pastry dough.
For the dough:
4 ounces of butter
1 ½ teaspoons salt
750 grams flour
Mix the softened butter with the salt. While you stir, gradually add the flour. When the dough comes together knead for a minute or two on a floured board until it’s firm and smooth. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the filling:
1 pound minced meat
Salt and pepper
1 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
Beef or chicken broth as necessary (or water)
½ cup chopped red pepper
½ cup chopped tomato
¼ cup chopped pitted green olives
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
Add olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When it’s hot add the garlic and the onion, stir until the onion is soft and kind of transparent. Then add the red pepper, stir for 5 minutes. Add a cup of broth. After that, add the mince and cook it until it is well done.
Then add the tomato, tomato paste, paprika, thyme, and salt and pepper. Cook it for another 5 minutes.
Leave the pan and put the filling in a bowl, add the eggs and the olives and mix it.
Now take the dough out of the refrigerator and divide it into several tiny balls of around 2-inch diameter. Roll each piece into a circle. Lay the circles on a baking sheet.
Moisten the outer edge of each round with water. Put about 2 tablespoons filling in the center of each round. Wrap dough around filling to form the empanada, pressing edges together. Fold the edge back and finish by pinching little pleats or, if it’s your first time, you can use a fork.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place empanadas on a baking sheet. Bake until the dough is golden, from 10 to 20 minutes.
Get an Argentinan cookbook for more inspiration!
Fish fry, the Himalayas by Tanayesh at Shoestring travel
Fish in any sort is a must-have in their meal for people in the Eastern part of India. Once I traveled to Darjeeling with my family and while ordering my lunch I happened to see fish fry in the restaurant’s menu, I ordered crispy fish fry for myself.
While eating I could feel the soft succulent fish inside with a crispy brown color coating on above which is just out of this world. It’s so delicious and tastes so unique that I have tried this dish wherever I could see on the menu. You can add this dish with rice for lunch, dinner, and snacks also.
I became a total fan of this dish and to enhance my culinary skills too tried it at home with a few of my own modifications.
Well, the cooking time is half an hour. Firstly the fish (basa or bhetki fillets) needs to be marinated for ten minutes in a bowl with appropriate measurement of ginger garlic and onion paste.
Then add lemon juice, salt to taste, red chili powder, coriander paste. In another bowl prepare a batter of besan and cornflour with normal consistency. Now heat a pan or tawa with two teaspoons of oil and put it in a low flame, now take the fish fillets from the bowl and put it in the besan and cornflour batter, just dip and rub it and place it in the pan or Tawa. Then deep fry it till its crispy and golden brown in color. Serve it with ketchup and salad. You can also have it with rice.
Get an Indian cookbook for more inspiration!
Kung Pao Chicken, China by Kay at The Awkward Traveller
When I was in Chengdu, China for a week, I absolutely fell in love with the cuisine. It changed my life, and even now when I think about my time there, my mouth automatically starts watering.
Literally, the city is named a UNESCO heritage site for gastronomy, one of thirty-two in the WORLD. I visited the Chuancais Cooking Museum, the world’s first regional cuisine museum, and cooking school!
There, visitors are invited to learn the history of Sichuan cuisine through the ancient preparation methods that are still used to this day.
Along with sampling tons of traditional snacks and sauces, visitors are exposed to how regional delicacies like Sichuan soy sauce and chili paste (yes, they taste different!!) are made and packaged, as well as a visit to the Kitchen God shrine.
And, a bonus, visitors can participate in a cooking class led by a Sichuan master chef and study three traditional Sichuan recipes! Including a crowd favorite: Kung Pao Chicken.
Surprisingly, Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken doesn’t burn your face off. Different from mainstream Kung Pao Chicken, from other parts of China, this recipe is a delicate blend of sweet, savory, and – okay a little bit of spice – and pairs well basically everything!
Recipe for Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken
Marinated chicken leg (boneless, cut into cubes)
Cooking Oil (sesame preferred)
Add the chicken leg to the wok in hot oil, until chicken starts to turn white. Then one by one, add in Sichuan pepper, dried chili, garlic, green onion, and ginger. Stir fry until the meat is cooked through.
Add a sprinkle of rice wine over food, then add sauce (salt, sugar, soybean sauce, cooking wine, vinegar, sesame oil, water) and allow to thicken. Turn off the stove, add peanuts, then plate and enjoy!
Get a Chinese cookbook for more inspiration!
Irish Leek and Potato Soup, Ireland by By Brianna of Curious Travel Bug
While Ireland is a great travel destination full of beautiful scenery, friendly people, and historic castles, it’s also one that doesn’t always have the best weather. While visiting Ireland, I had plenty of nice sunny days but also some days that were cloudy and rainy.
On a rainy day, there’s nothing better than having a bowl of soup. And Ireland knows how to do soup. It seemed like every restaurant and pub has several soups on the menu.
One particular soup that I had after a day of rainy sightseeing around Connemara National Park near Galway was leek and potato soup.
There was something so comforting about getting in out of the rain and having the perfect bowl of warm soup to get rid of the dampness. It also sounds like such a simple dish but it is something I had never had before.
After getting home from Ireland, I thought about that soup a lot. I know there are plenty of other Irish specialties like their fantastic brown bread, and Irish breakfasts, but it was the soup that I was really craving. I came across a recipe for an Irish leek and potato soup and knew I had to make it.
It’s a bit fancier than the one I had in Ireland even, this one has red ale in it and cheddar cheese which elevates this dish from a side to a main. If you have it, it goes well with Irish soda bread as aside.
Irish Red Ale Leek and Potato Soup with Cheddar
2 tbsp butter
3 leeks white and green parts only, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
3 small white potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 ½ cups Irish red ale (Rickard’s Red Irish Style Ale or Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
In a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Saute leeks, garlic, and thyme, stirring occasionally until softened, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in potatoes, broth, and ale. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat and puree soup either in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth.
Return soup to low heat. Gradually stir in cheddar, a handful at a time, until melted. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes if using. Goes well with Irish soda bread.
Get an Irish cookbook for more inspiration!
Yorkshire Puddings, North England by Sally at www.sallyflint.com
I have lived overseas for the last twenty-plus years, but I am married to a Yorkshireman. Consequently, I have listened many times to him explaining, what constitutes a good Yorkshire pudding and when they should be eaten.
It seems it is a modern invention to eat Yorkshire pudding alongside meat, gravy, and vegetables. The traditional way to enjoy Yorkshire pudding is served either as a starter or a dessert. If eaten as a starter they will be served with gravy before the main course. As Yorkshire puddings are relatively cheap to make, in days of old when money was scarce, they served as a way to fill up the family so that they were satisfied with a smaller quantity of meat. If a desert they are eaten with jam or some other sweetener.
Yorkshire pudding recipes use the same ingredients as pancakes. Various recipes exist and they all seem to work, but this is the most thrifty one that I use.
Yorkshire Pud Fool-Proof Recipe
Add about a dessert spoon of regular cooking oil into muffin tins.
Put in the over at about 220 degrees and heat up for approximately twenty minutes. The oil should be piping hot.
In the meantime …
Add flour into a pyrex jug up to the 7 oz line.
Add a pinch of salt.
Crack an egg into the mix and whisk into a stiff dough.
Add milk until the consistency is that which coats the back of a spoon.
Whisk vigorously and chill for half an hour.
Put in the preheated tins in the upper half of the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Yorkshire puddings are easy to make if you follow the one secret rule: you must ensure that the cooking oil is very hot before adding the mixture to the tin. Enjoy this feast from the north of England.
Get a British cookbook for more inspiration!
Lao chicken noodle soup, Laos by Marie at A life without borders
Khao piak senis the Lao take on a homemade chicken noodle soup. Literally translated as wetrice strands, this soup consists of a simple chicken broth, elevated with the addition of udon-like, chewy noodles. This aromatic dish is pretty much eaten daily by Lao people, for either breakfast or lunch – or at any time for that matter! The incredibly comforting Khao piak sen is perfect on a chilly morning or when you are feeling slightly under-the-weather.
When I began living in the Lao capital of Vientiane, I decided to do like the locals and join them in devouring their beloved khao piak sen for breakfast. On my way to work each morning, it became a ritual to stop off at one of the simple roadside stalls (keep a lookout for the huge steel pots bubbling away over an open fire) and pull up a small stool in order to slurp up some of the delicious just-made noodles in the broth.
Usually made with either chicken or pork, what makes this dish special, however, is the handmade tapioca noodles – soft, yet with a delightfully chewy, elastic texture, the noodles also serve to thicken the soup, giving it a distinctive consistency.
I also love that the noodle soup is customized to taste at the table. A huge basket is usually placed alongside the soup containing a variety of toppings such as fried garlic and shallots, fresh chili, wedges of lime, a mountain of fresh herbs and salad leaves, together with a super funky shrimp paste.
Incredibly soothing, you can easily recreate Lao khao piak sen at home too. The dish is naturally gluten-free as the noodles are made from a combination of rice flour, tapioca flour, and hot water – and that’s it!
Khao Piak Sen
1 whole chicken, cut into quarters
Water (enough to cover the chicken)
1 onion (skin removed)
1 stalk lemongrass, outer layer discarded
1 2-inch piece galangal
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger
3 kaffir lime leaves (tear slightly to release the flavor)
Fish sauce to taste
- Place the chicken in a large soup pot and cover with water.
- Add the lemongrass, onion, galangal, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, and fish sauce. Simmer for around one hour, occasionally skimming the residue which rises to the surface.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot and allow it to cool slightly before shredding with a fork. Set aside.
1 cup tapioca flour plus more for dusting
2/3 cup rice flour
1 cup boiling water
- Place the tapioca and rice flours in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water and knead until the dough becomes smooth and non-sticky. (Tip: Use a spoon until the dough becomes cool enough to knead by hand). If the dough is too wet, add a bit more tapioca flour, if it is too dry, add a touch more hot water.
- Lightly dust your working surface with tapioca flour. Roll the dough until it is around ¼ inch thick. Using a knife, cut the dough into ¼ inch strips.
To assemble the dish:
Add the tapioca noodles to the hot soup stock and cook until the noodles become slightly translucent and rise to the surface (around two minutes). The noodles will easily break so try not to stir too much.
Skim off the noodles and add to serving bowls, together with ladlefuls of the soup broth. Top with the shredded chicken and some ground white pepper. Serve with cilantro leaves, fried garlic, sliced green onions, and a wedge of lime.
Get a Lao cookbook for more inspiration!
Goulash, Hungary by Eric at Penguin and Pia
If you find yourself in Budapest, the Hungarian capital city, it’s almost a rite of passage to try one of the most popular dishes – goulash. Goulash – or gulyás – is a simple soup made from meat (usually beef), potatoes, carrots, and onions. It is eaten in other countries in the region but its history is more closely linked to Hungarian culture.
The broth varies in color from red to brown depending on how much paprika spice is put in the recipe. Paprika – that classic red spice made from the ground up capsicum – is also a big part of Hungarian culture and cuisine! You can also find goulash served as a thicker stew with potatoes or egg dumplings – but the traditional version is more like a soup.
Being part Canadian and part Hungarian, I grew up eating goulash at home but I was eager to travel to Budapest where I could put my goulash-tasting knowledge to the test.
Sure enough, led by a local connection, I ended up at a cafe/bar that served up “some of the best Goulash in the neighborhood”. Turns out, the bowl of soup in front of me was almost identical to the goulash my grandmother made!
Years later, my partner and I have our own Hungarian goulash recipe and make it from time to time.
Simply brown up chopped onions and cubed beef in a pot, add stock and paprika to simmer, then add the cut potatoes and sliced carrots until cooked through! It’s a hearty soup that goes well with cold weather – so it’s perfect for the winter months.
Get a Hungarian cookbook for more inspiration!
Pilaf, Uzbekistan by Jiayi at The Diary of a Nomad
One of my favorite dishes that I discovered during my travels is pilaf (‘plov’), a staple of Uzbekistan’s cuisine. Pilaf is a rice dish that’s usually cooked in stock or broth, with lots of spices, veggies, and meat.
During our 10 days in Uzbekistan, we saw this dish on the menu of pretty much every restaurant we came across, so we knew we had to try it. While I’ve had lots of rice dishes before, I’ve never quite tasted rice as flavorful as pilaf.
This dish is the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and unlike most other meals we had in Uzbekistan — it wasn’t oily!
After getting back from Uzbekistan, I grew nostalgic about all the delicious food I had there and decided to make some homemade pilaf myself!
This dish was quite easy and straightforward to cook. The main ingredients you need are: basmati rice (2 cups), garlic (4 heads), lamb or beef (2 lbs), 2 onions, 5 carrots, cumin seeds (2 tbsp), coriander seeds (2 tbsp), fresh barberries (1/2 cup), and black peppercorns (1 tbsp).
The instructions are simple: You’d want to cook the meat first, for about 10 minutes until it’s browned. Then, add onions and stir for another 10 minutes until those are brown too.
Afterward, do the same thing with carrots — stir for 10 minutes until they’ve softened. Once that’s done, add in garlic heads, barberries, cumin, peppercorns, and coriander. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 30 minutes while covered. The last step is to wash the basmati rice and pour it over the mix of veggies and meat.
Add boiling water, season with salt, and let it cook on medium-low for about 20 minutes (until the rice is nice and soft). When the rice is done, your dish is ready! If you’re looking for a simple yet flavorful rice dish, you should definitely give pilaf a try!
Cevapi or Cevapcici, Serbia by Mark at VogaTech
Did you travel to Serbia? If so, I hope you didn’t miss the opportunity to try their specialty cevap at one of the Serbian restaurants!
Cevap is a true gourmet specialty and an indispensable part of the menu at almost every restaurant in Serbia.
They are made from minced meat, which is then molded into 10 cm rolls and grilled on BBQ. There are multiple recipes for making cevapi, and each chef makes his own recipe a secret. As we said before, cevapi are made from minced meat, in which more than 50% must be beef.
You can add pork or mutton to the remaining 50%. Spices such as salt, pepper, and grounded pepper are added to the minced meat, and you can add finely chopped garlic. After mixing the meat and spices thoroughly, it should be at least 12 hours away, after which the mixture should be rolled into 10 cm rolls.
One of the cooking secrets in making cevapi is baking soda, where you add some baking soda when adding spices.
You can grill the cevaps on the BBQ, or in the pan, and the most important thing is to do it over medium heat in order to be roasted inside and out.
The finely chopped onion is the perfect accompaniment to the cevapi. An obligatory side dish to cevaps is a type of cheese called Kajmak, which is very popular in Serbia and you can find it in better-equipped markets. And finally, to enjoy the fullness of the cevapi, it is best served with flatbread.
As you can see this very tasty traditional Serbian dish is easy to make and all the ingredients are available. So don’t hesitate, prepare your cevaps, light your barbecue and surprise your friends with this specialty.
Get a Serbian cookbook for more inspiration!
Tapenade, France by Kylie at Our Overseas Adventure
Tapenade is a delicious spread made from olives and capers that you can find in most regions of France. During my many visits to France, I have been lucky enough to visit some amazing markets and try the delicious tapenade on offer.
The downside is the salespeople are very persuasive, and it can quickly get expensive because they sell it by weight. It’s not uncommon to come home with 20 euros worth, wondering how that happened…
During a visit in 2016, I attended a cooking school and learned how easy it is to whip up a delicious batch of tapenade. It’s super simple, takes 5 minutes and sometimes the taste is even better than what you will buy at a market.
The tapenade is perfect to serve as an appetizer, with crackers and cheese. A nice touch is to sit the tapenade dish in a bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with some thinly sliced bread for dunking. We also enjoy stirring it through pasta for a quick and easy dinner. My daughter even eats it for breakfast on toast!
Ingredients (serves 4)
250g pitted green olives
100g freshly ground almonds
40g capers, rinsed or drained
10 anchovy fillets with oil
1 garlic clove, peeled & chopped
50 ml olive oil
2. Stop the machine and add the almond powder. Start the machine and blend this into the olive
mixture until you have a smooth paste.
3. Blend in the olive oil, then season with pepper to taste.
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Goan Xacuti, India by Pooja at Fairytale Studios
Due to Portuguese, Hindu and Arab rule in Goa, India for over 400 years, Goan cuisine is highly influenced by all these cultures.
Xacuti, pronounced as Shakuti or Shakooti, is a Portuguese influenced classic Goan dish. The word Xacuti is derived from the word ‘Chachuti’ which is Portuguese.
Goan Xacuti is a perfect blend of rich aromatic Indian spices and coconut in a gravy. It can be prepared using chicken, prawns, mutton, crabs, or just the vegan way by using vegetables. Xacuti is best served with cooked white rice or with Goan bread called Pao or Bun.
We were in Panjim, the capital town in Goa when we decided to try some Goan cuisine. The chef at Café Venite recommended us try their signature Goan dish Xacuti which was served with rice. Since then we fell in love with its taste and flavors and have tried making it at home several times.
Recipe for Xacuti:
- In a pan, heat oil and roast the whole spices (cinnamon stick, black pepper, coriander seeds, red chilies, cloves, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom)
- Add chopped onions to it and let them caramelize. Also, add grated fresh coconut.
- Grind the above mixture with green chili, ginger, and garlic to a thin paste.
- In a separate pan, heat oil and sauté all the vegetables of your choice (Add marinated chicken or mutton as per your choice).
- After the vegetables are cooked and are tender, add the paste prepared in step 3 along with turmeric powder, coriander powder, and salt to taste and cook on a low flame till the ingredients are well cooked.
- Serve hot with cooked white rice or Indian bread or Goan pao/ bun.
If you have any leftover Xacuti gravy, just refrigerate it. It is said that it tastes much better the next day.
Spanish Chickpeas And Spinach From Andalusia, Spain by Amber at The Bean Bites
Espinacas con garbanzos, or spinach with chickpeas, is a humble dish found in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia. While the dish can be enjoyed throughout the year, the popularity of espinacas con garbanzos grew during the Catholic season of Lent.
Spain’s Catholic population is prohibited from eating meat during Lent. Like many traditional Spanish dishes, Spanish chickpeas and spinach is a dish steeped in outside influences. Persian traders introduced spinach to most of the Mediterranean region including Spain.
By the 12th century, spinach was a staple of Spanish cooking. Beginning in the 8th Century, the Moors began to introduce many ingredients from Africa. Chickpeas were one of those ingredients and were quickly adapted into the local cuisine. Packed full of nutrients, and loaded with protein, espinacas con garbanzos provided the energy and nutrition the working class, especially farmers, needed.
Today, espinacas con garbanzos still offers these but is mainly enjoyed by locals and tourists as a tapa in the many tapas bars around Andalusia. In the city of Sevilla, one tapas bar stands out as the home of espinacas con garbanzos. El Rinconcillo has been feeding Sevilla for over 100 years.
Their signature version of espinacas con garbanzos is renowned throughout Sevilla and Spain. But don’t bother asking how they make, it’s a closely guarded secret. Using basic ingredients such as day-old bread, garlic, cumin and tomatoes, espinacas con garbanzos can easily be prepared at home, bringing a taste of Spain’s history to the table.
Lomo saltado, Peru by Clotilde at A princess traveling with twins
Peru is an amazing, wonderful country filled with lovely people, cool cities, and beautiful nature. You really must visit to experience the Majesty of Machu Pichu, the curious Uros Islands, and to feel the culture of the Incas, but whilst you are there you must try the typical dish Lomo Saltado!
The brave among you may wish to nibble on a Guinea Pig, but Lomo Saltado is perhaps a more accessible local dish.
When we visited Peru we enjoyed this dish so much that, while spending 5 days in the sacred valley, we booked a cookery lesson in the town of Urubamba in the vegetable garden of the beautifully rustic Posada Pakakuna.
When we first encountered Lomo Saltado I was confused as the dish strongly resembles an Asian Stir Fry, happily, our Chef and instructor, Dieg, was able to explain.
After the abolition of slavery in Peru c1850, large numbers of Chinese immigrants entered Peru to work, bringing their own food culture with them, and over time the dish of Stir-fried marinated beef became so popular with native Peruvians that it crossed into the food traditions of the Country.
You can easily make this very tasty dish at home
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 180g sirloin steak strips,
- 60g red onion, sliced
- 50g tomato sliced
- 20g aji Amarillo in thin strips (yellow Peruvian pepper)
- 2g garlic powder
- 80ml soy sauce
- 20ml red vinegar
- 5ml Oyster sauce
- 2g oregano
- 2g fresh cilantro, chopped
- 100g French fries
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the steak, (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano), and cook until browned, 5-6 minutes.
- Add the red onion, the tomato, the garlic, and Aji Amarillo and cook for another 5-7 minutes, add the vinegar and let evaporate.
- Add the soy sauce and the oyster sauce and stir to combine, let cook for 1 minute.
- Add fries and cilantro. Toss gently to coat the fries in the sauce.
- Serve also with rice, if desired.
Coxinha, Brazil by Bruna at I Heart Brazil
Crunchy crust and hearty filling, coxinha tastes like more.
Put simply, Brazilian coxinha is a deep-fried croquette made of shredded chicken and cheese covered in a soft dough, which after breaded and deep-fried, becomes a crunchy crust.
Did I convince you yet?
This chicken croquette is a typical street food snack from Brazil that can be found in many sizes, from tiny cocktail bites to meal-sized snacks.
Also, the coxinha recipe used throughout this country of continental proportions is slightly different in each region. Some states serve coxinha only with shredded chicken, others with a spicy touch, and so on.
Still, it is not a secret that Brazilian food is hearty and yummy, and thankfully, this croquette lives up to this fame.
Beyond being a delicious street food snack, coxinha is also one of Brazilian’s favorite party and bar bites.
And if you want a few recommendations, know that coxinha tastes excellent with hot chili sauce – even better when an ice-cold beer accompanies it!
Oh, what a perfect combination!
So next time you visit Brazil, be sure to order some for yourself to get in our tropical vibes and get to know Brazilian culture a bit better.
Alternatively, you can always make it at home and serve as a delicious snack for holiday parties or barbecues with friends.
Speaking from experience, it certainly adds a tropical touch to any celebration, and more often than not, the crowds love this Brazilian coxinha.
I’m sure you (and your guests) will love it.
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Cheese Pastry (Peynirli Pogaca), Turkey by Anca from Dream, Book, and Travel
It was a windy winter in Istanbul the year Sinan and I first visited the city on the Bosphorus together.
Among fogs and gushes of rain, I was discovering another facet of the amazing country that is Turkey, my third home away from home.
We are a Romanian/Turkish couple living in Vienna, so basically everything I know about Turkey comes from the first-hand experience of discovering my husband’s country and heritage. It was during one of those rainy days in Istanbul that I tried peynirli pogaca for the first time.
Like any respectable Turk, Sinan always recommended having a simit alongside the Turkish tea. It was simply because the pastry shop was out of simit that I went for this fluffy cheese pastry that we now bake routinely in our home! it is easy to make, ideal for breakfast or a snack, and incredibly delicious!
If you dig deeper into its history, you’ll discover it is widespread in the Balkans under different names, so I found it quite funny I had not made the connection to something similar my grandma used to bake until later on! Enjoy!
250 g feta cheese
First, mix the milk with water and warm it up a little. Then add sugar and put this mixture in the bowl where you will knead the dough, add the dry yeast, and cover it with a clean cloth. Keep for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Add the remaining ingredients into the mixture and prepare the dough.
Let the dough stand for 45 minutes. Afterward, the dough should have doubled its size.
Take small pieces from the dough and flatten them by hand. Put the cheese in and mold it in a round shape. Smear them with egg yolk. With the help of a fork, draw the dough on it in a cross. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
Bake in a 200 degree Celsius oven until it becomes golden brown.
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