By Kashfia Kayes, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Traveling and trying new treats from around the world takes up a very special place in my heart. It is safe to say that I work to travel and eat. I am sure many of you are excited to try new things to eat from different parts of the world but time and budgets often do not comply. Well worry not! I want to share some recipes from treats I’ve tasted and “tested” myself that would help you travel to corners of the world with your taste buds. And best of all, you can have your little one act as a sous-chef for this cooking adventure.
Country of origin – Tunisia
Some may call it – EGG PIZZA (lol, maybe it’s just me)
Recommended for – EGG LOVERS!
This one’s very close to my heart; the first ever dish I made with my dad. I LOVE EGGS! As an adult, I literally have a photo of sunny-side up eggs framed on my wall and this is my FAVORITE egg dish. It’s easy to make and a party in your mouth.
1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
2. 2 teaspoons tomato paste
3. 2 large red peppers, cut into dice
4. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
6. 5 large, very ripe tomatoes, chopped
7. 4 eggs
8. A pinch of dried oregano
9. 1/2 cup thick yogurt
Put olive oil in a frying pan over medium to low heat. Start adding the peppers, garlic, cumin and tomato paste. Salt it according to taste. Stir to till the peppers soften. Put the tomatoes in and cook them till the mixture becomes starts to bind into a thick sauce.
Now comes the fun part. Make four pockets in the sauce. One by one, carefully crack the eggs, and one by one fill up the pockets and make sure they don’t break. The eggs need to be sunny-side up while the egg-whites cook with the thick sauce. Add a pinch of oregano (a secret my dad taught me). You can cover the pan if you like, but I like it simmered with the lid off. Voila! We’re all done. Serve the eggs with yoghurt and make sure not to break the yolk.
2. BEEF WITH BASIL:
Country of origin – Thailand
Some may call it – Beef stir fry
Recommended for – Rice lovers
1. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2. 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3. 2 red chilies, sliced
4. 1 pound ground beef
6. Ground pepper
7. 1/2 chicken broth/cube stock
8. 3 cups fresh basil leaves
9. 2 medium carrots grated
10. 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
11. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
12. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
13. 1 teaspoon sugar
14. Steamed rice and lime wedges (for serving)
Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. I prefer woks because it looks very cool, plus, it’s very easy to stir in. Add the chilli and garlic and cook it till it’s fragrant. Now put the beef in, add the salt and pepper, and let it juice out a little and wait for it to get a little crisp. It’ll take roughly about 8-10 minutes. When you’re sure it’s at that state, add the broth and the basil and cook for 2 minutes.
Slaw: Put the carrots, 1 tablespoon lime juice and the remaining chilli and basil leaves in a small bowl.
Soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and the 3 tablespoons of lime juice in another small bowl until sugar mixes properly.
Top rice with beef and slaw and drizzle with soy dressing. Serve lime wedges alongside for squeezing over.
3. MEAT PATTIES WITH PITA AND YOGURT
Country of origin – Lebanon
Some may call it – Meat Roll
Recommended for – Meat lovers and Snackers
1. 1 cup plain yogurt
2. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3. 2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs, such as mint, dill or cilantro, plus herb sprigs, for serving
4. Kosher salt
Patties and pita:
1. 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or beef
2. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
3. 1 tablespoon coriander
4. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
5. 1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
6. 11/2 teaspoons salt
7. 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8. 4 to 6 pita bread rounds (you can use parata or roti too, if easier)
For the sauce:
Whisk the yogurt with lemon juice in a small bowl. Add the herbs and seasonings and put the bowl in the fridge till you prepare the rest.
For the patties and pita:
Except for the pita (of course), mix all the other ingredients in a bowl with your hands. Use the mixture to make oval patties, like koftas. Refrigerate them on a plate for 30 minutes.
Preheat your grill for 10 minutes and put it on moderate high heat. Oil the grill and grill the patties till dark brown. You can also do this over a skillet if you’d like.
Warm the pitas up and assemble. 2 or 3 patties in each pita, some yogurt sauce and add more herbs if you like!
4. POMMES ALIGOT
Country of origin – France
Some may call it – Cheesy Potatoes
Recommended for – EVERYONE!
1. 4 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into pieces
3. 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4. 2 cups heavy cream
5. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
6. 3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
7. 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
8. 4 cups pound Gruyère (or a similar cheese), coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
9. 1.5 cups pound mozzarella, coarsely grated
Casserole dish; a pastry bag fitted with a star tip
Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F.
Boil potatoes with salt over high heat and make sure they fall apart when poked with a fork.
While that happens, put a saucepan over medium heat and cook the garlic, cream and butter in it. Whisk until butter melts. Put in the nutmeg, pepper and salt according to taste and then remove from the heat.
Take the potatoes out into a large bowl and mash it up. You can use a potato ricer if available. Mix in the cream mixture until smooth.
Separate the potato mixture into 2 halves; one in a wide pot and the other in a bowl. Add the Gruyere and mozzarella and cook the in the wide pot over low heat. Keep stirring until the cheese is melted and can be stretched with the spoon (I’m drooling just typing this). After you’ve got the right consistency, transfer to the casserole dish, smoothing the top.
The other half left in the bowl, put it in the pastry bag with the star tip and pipe rosettes on the mixture in the casserole dish. Bake until golden brown, for about 45 minutes. Now eat and go crazy in its cheesiness!
Wanted to end this on a sweet note and with a dessert hardly anyone can say no to. If you haven’t tried falooda yet, you’ve GOT TO! And you can even have your little one do all the work while you instruct because it’s really easy and a fun dessert to make.
Country of origin – The Indian subcontinent before the separation, so who knows!
Some may call it – FAALU-DAA
Recommended for – People with many sweet teeth, ice-cream lovers, jell-o lovers
1. 1/2 cup fine rice vermicelli
2. 1/2 cup almonds, thin slivered (blanched and skins removed_
3. 1/2 cup pistachios, thin slivered (shelled and skins removed)
4. 1 glass chilled milk (preferably tall; same glass used for serving)
5. 2 teaspoon sugar (ground to a fine powder)
6. 3 tablespoons basil seeds (soaked to look transparent with black dot inside)
7. 6 tablespoons rose syrup
8. 2 scoops ice cream of your choice
The vermicelli needs to be cooked like pasta in boiling water, and strained and set aside to be cooled.
Now it’s time to blend! The milk, powdered sugar, half of the pistachios and almonds are to be blended till smooth and then chilled in the refrigerator.
ASSEMBLY TIME! Put the vermicelli in two tall glasses. Then the pre-soaked basil seeds and then the blended milk poured. Next put the rose syrup in and stir. Add the ice-cream and drizzle some more rose syrup for finesse. Garnish with slivered nuts, and its ready to devour!
Tip: You can try add and subtract ingredients to your liking. Like chocolate syrup, jelly/jell-0, no vermicelli/more vermicelli. Experiment with flavors and toppings!