Wouldn’t it be ideal to be able to jump around from one continent to the other on a college budget, while still having enough time to study for midterms? Even though most of us cannot make that work, you can be a world traveler through Pinterest and acquire numerous traditional international cuisines! A friend and I coordinate so that one day a week we dedicate a meal to an international cuisine we have never made. We agreed to alternate who picks the recipe, and while one of us gathers the ingredients, the other one guesses which country the variety of ingredients comes from. I am going to share where we have traveled so far.
Week 1: Our adventure actually started in our backyard with Canadian Baked Beans, thanks to my friend picking our first destination. This hearty meal consisted of beans, sausage, and maple syrup (of course), as well as other ingredients. Although Canada may seem close to home, it was fun to bring the land of the maple leaf to our own kitchen.
Week 2: This was the first week that I chose the meal, and I was feeling adventurous. I chose to make an Egyptian street food called Koshari. This dish has a pasta base, layers of lentils and rice, a sweet tomato sauce topped with cooked chickpeas, and crisp, fried onion. The process required us to utilize almost every pot and pan available, but it was worth it! This dish originated in Egypt as a filling and cheap meal option, and uses a selection of spices to blend the layers colorfully. Fair warning: this meal is fibrous.
Week 3: Next Stop: Hungary! We made a dish called Chicken Paprikash, which is a creamy, paprika, chicken stew-like meal. The slight kick from the paprika is soaked in by the potatoes, chicken, zucchini, onion, and tomato. Some sour cream is added in, which I am usually not a fan of, but it adds a creamy texture that compliments the paprika. This is supposed to be made on pasta, but we exchanged the pasta for a couple of biscuits, which is also an authentic option. The warm biscuits soaked in the flavor of the sauce so well; I would especially recommend using a freshly baked biscuit.
Week 4: It was my turn to choose, and I decided to continue with street foods. This time we jumped over to Turkey by attempting to make a Doner. I knew this would be a challenge, but it was harder than I thought. The chicken, which was marinated in Greek yogurt, curry powder, and other spices, was baked in-between two apple slices. This was the best part of the meal. Unfortunately, the pita bread was not up to par for this recipe and ended up overpowering a lot of the flavor. We added some cabbage, hummus, avocados, and yogurt sauce into the mix. The Greek yogurt-based sauce could have been handled with more pizzazz, and I wish we had included peppers for some crunch instead of avocados. The chicken was something worth taking away from this, but there is potential to making a more flavorful and well-rounded Doner. The Doner will be revisited and improved.
Week 5: This week was the first time I had ever cooked with eggplant; we were in Fiji for the night. This curry was tomato based, and not too creamy. The eggplant softened and blended well with the coconut milk, ginger, chili powder, turmeric, and the rest of the spices tossed into the pot. I was initially confused as to how this was considered a Fijian recipe, but there is less chili heat in this dish than in other curries, and originated when Indian laborers arrived in Fiji and found that they had less spices to work with. This twist on the Indian curry did not disappoint!
Week 6: As I ventured out of my street food phase, I ventured over to Greece, where we made Greek meatballs (called Keftedakia), rosemary sweet potato fries, and a Greek salad. These meatballs had red onion, mint, parsley, an egg, garlic, and more. The meatballs were fried and managed to obtain a crispy outer layer, but remain soft inside. Of course, I couldn’t leave out a traditional Greek salad while we were here. This salad had shredded feta, an oil and lemon based dressing, cucumber, red peppers, and parsley. Yum. We also fried some sweet potatoes and topped them with some rosemary and honey. This colorful plate was just as enjoyable in my mouth as it was to look at!
The next time you’re looking for a new dish to try, take a trip around the world with Pinterest!
Images 3, 4, 5, and 6 are credited to the author