Food is a key part of learning about and connecting with other cultures. Even if you can’t travel right now, you can experience the world right at your dining table by cooking these iconic foods from other regions.
Biryani is a beloved rice dish from South Asia made with layers of meat — typically goat or chicken — and basmati rice mixed with spices. This recipe for Hyderabadi biryani, a regional variety from Hyderabad, India, is best eaten with some raita, or yogurt chutney, on the side.
Originally an innovative fast food option in Japan, sushi has become a global phenomenon, with acclaimed sushi restaurants across the United States and around the world. Make it yourself with this spicy tuna roll recipe.
Afternoon tea is a long-standing British tradition, and scones are a popular accompaniment to a nice cuppa. A simple baked pastry, scones are traditionally also served with clotted cream. Recreate high tea at home with these blueberry lemon scones.
Courtesy of Nestlé
Bibimbap is a quintessentially Korean dish. It features a bowl of rice with meat, cooked vegetables and sometimes fried egg. Regional variations exist, with different types of meats, vegetables and spices included, but this recipe calls for beef rib-eye, zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots and Japanese radish.
Although Sweden officially admitted its iconic recipe originated in Turkey, the Scandinavian country made it its own by adding pork and milk. Swedish meatballs, or köttbullar as they’re called at home, are typically served with potatoes and lingonberries, and this recipe includes a veal cream sauce made with a touch of lingonberry jam.
Named for the earthenware pot in which it is traditionally cooked, tagine is a stew that’s cooked at a slow simmer, typically with meat and sometimes with bits of fruit such as apricots, prunes or raisins. Native to the Maghreb region of Africa, it is found on tables in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. Add it to your table with this beef tagine recipe.
Courtesy of Bombay Mahal
Although a menu staple of many Indian restaurants, chicken tikka masala is actually a fusion dish with its origins in the United Kingdom. Many restaurants have added their own twists, such as using seafood or lamb instead; try this recipe using lobster meat for an added New England flavor.
Originating in the Hadramout province of Yemen, mandi is a dish made of meat, rice and Arab spices that is cooked in a mud oven. Make this chicken mandi recipe with some chopped onions and tomatoes, spicing it with cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, turmeric and cinnamon.
Possibly the most popular of Hanukkah foods, latkes are a very traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish. They are essentially fried potato pancakes, although variations such as those made with falafel or sweet potatoes exist. All you need for this recipe are potatoes, eggs, onion, flour, garlic pepper and salt.
Courtesy of Corrie Cooks
Chicken adobo is a popular dish in the Philippines. Adobo is also the technique used to make this food, roughly translating in the latter context to cooking food in vinegar and spices.
A beloved pastry of the Czech and Slovak peoples, kolaches also have a significant presence in traditional Texan cuisine. The kolach is a bun made out of a sweet, puffy dough that’s traditionally been filled with fruit pulp or jam, but this recipe uses a delicious cream cheese filling.
Originating among the peasantry of Russia, beef stroganoff is a classic Russian dish made with pieces of beef sautéed in a sour cream sauce and served over noodles or rice.
For the Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe, click here.
Chicken paprikash is a popular Hungarian dish made with chicken and rice, flavored with salt, onions and, of course, plenty of sweet paprika. This home recipe is an easy one-pot dish that can be made in less than an hour.
The common, crescent-shaped Chinese dumpling is called jiaozi. While dumplings commonly contain meat such as pork, chicken or shrimp, there are also vegetarian varieties such as these potstickers filled with onions and peas and served alongside mushrooms and a soy-lime ginger sauce.
Courtesy of Muy Bueno
A simple dish that’s a perfect way to use leftover chicken, arroz con pollo is a popular dish throughout Latin America and Spain. In Spanish, the self-explanatory term means “chicken with rice,” and it is typically flavored with saffron, but this recipe is seasoned with garlic, cilantro, brown sugar and lemon pepper.
Butter chicken is a North Indian curry dish made with chicken marinated in a tomato-based sauce that contains butter, yogurt, lemon juice and ginger-garlic paste. This recipe uses hung curd and traditional spices such as red chili powder, garam masala and cumin.
Courtesy of Pillsbury
Originating in Germany and made with sugar, flour and butter, streusel is a lovely addition to any cake. Its crumbly texture makes it the perfect topping for coffee cake, in particular, and nuts and spices can also be added. One streusel spice cake is even among the winning recipes of the annual Pillsbury Bake-Off.
A savory tart made with a filling of custard and cheese, vegetables, meat or seafood in a pastry crust, the quiche originated in France. Popular fillings include cooked ham, spinach, mushrooms and cheddar cheese; use whatever fillings you like with this easy quiche recipe that uses biscuit mix for a shortcut.
Served in all the best Italian restaurants, lasagna is a pasta dish made with alternating layers of a wide, flat pasta and fillings such as meat sauce, vegetables and cheese — typically Parmesan and ricotta. This recipe for a beef lasagna uses cottage cheese instead for a pantry-friendly twist.
One of the things you may not know about french fries is the snack is big in Belgian culture. You can make yourself some fresh fries in the oven with this recipe in less than an hour, topping them off with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
A popular appetizer at halal restaurants serving Middle Eastern food, hummus is a dish made with mashed chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice and tahini. It is typically used as a dip for bread, but it can also be eaten as a spread or side for vegetables, chicken and falafel.
Known as kifli in Hungarian and kipferl in Austrian German, this soft, crescent-shaped biscuit is a beloved Christmas treat and perfect for a bite at breakfast or alongside coffee. Try this family recipe that adds a walnut filling to a soft, cream cheese dough.
Creme brulee is a classic French dessert in which a baked custard is sprinkled with sugar that is then torched or broiled to caramelize it, forming a thin and hardened layer on top. The basic recipe is simple, but there are many variations that are far more difficult yet impressive desserts, such as this one perfect for chocolate chip cookie dough lovers.
Princess cake, or prinsesstårta as it’s called in Swedish, is an iconic dessert in Sweden. A layered, cream and marzipan sponge cake, it’s known for its characteristic green appearance, topped with a pink marzipan rose.
A traditional recipe for Easter, hot cross buns are eaten throughout Britain. The small buns are noted for being decorated with a white cross, and typically have dried fruits and spices in them, as well as sometimes nuts and chocolate. They’re served toasted with butter. Try this easy recipe that includes raisins and a cinnamon sugar icing.
When tortillas are rolled around a filling and covered in a savory or spicy sauce, they’re known as enchiladas. The Mexican dish can have many different types of fillings, including meat, beans, cheese, potatoes and other vegetables and is often topped with more cheese. Queso fresco is used for this recipe.
The magic of Ireland can also be found in its food, and enthusiastic bakers should try their hand baking some of the Emerald Isle’s classic soda bread. Baking soda is used for leavening the bread instead of yeast and the result is a warm, homemade bread everyone will love.
Another traditional dish spread throughout the world by the Ashkenazi Jewish diaspora is charoset, also spelled haroseth. Traditionally eaten during Passover Seder, it is made by mixing apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon into a paste, symbolizing the clay that the enslaved Israelites of Ancient Egypt used to make bricks.
Once you cook the perfect pasta, add some eggs, unsmoked bacon, Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper, and you’ve made yourself some classic Italian carbonara.
Ramen is an inexpensive, casual food popular in Japan that has spread to the United States and many other countries. Ramen’s ingredients change with regional varieties and three of the most common types are distinguished by the flavor of the soup: miso, shoyu (soy sauce) and shio (salt). This chicken ramen soup is made with chicken stock and soy sauce.
If you love all kinds of cheese, you’ll definitely love fondue. Native to Switzerland, the dish is made of white wine, garlic and melted cheeses which typically are one or more of different varieties of Emmentaler, Gruyère and vacherin cheese. Try this recipe which uses cream cheese and processed cheese, adding crab meat for a seafood twist.
Naan is a type of bread popular throughout South Asia and in Iran, typically used to scoop up and eat meat and curry. Naan can also be eaten by itself, such as with this recipe that tops it with tomatoes, onions and goat cheese.
You’ll find some form of French toast on breakfast tables around the world, and in Spain, it takes the form of torrijas. Make your own with this super sweet take that uses condensed milk, vanilla bean and rum.
Some of the best pasta dishes in America are ravioli dishes. Fresh, handmade ravioli is a Sunday lunch tradition and often seen at special Italian feasts, particularly in Tuscany, and this recipe with a cheesy butter and sage sauce is perfect for the dinner table.
Waffles with butter and maple syrup are an iconic part of the American breakfast, but they’re actually native to Belgium and France. Baked in a waffle iron, they’re typically leavened with baking powder in the U.S. and yeast in France and Belgium.
Kheer is a type of rice pudding eaten throughout South Asia and can easily be made with ingredients in your pantry. Popularly eaten for dessert, it is made by boiling milk, sugar and either rice, millet, vermicelli or tapioca and then often topped with pistachios, almonds, raisins or other dried fruits and nuts. Break out the Instant Pot, and you’ll be able to make yourself kheer in less than an hour.
The next time you’re going through and organizing your spice drawer, grab some allspice, thyme, ginger, garlic and maybe some nutmeg and cinnamon to make yourself a Jamaican jerk sauce you can throw on your chicken — or anything else.
One of the most popular brunch dishes, avocado toast is popularly believed (in America, at least) to have been invented in California. Australia also lays claim to having invented the millennial favorite, and either way, it’s a big part of both cuisines. No matter where you are, however, this elaborate avocado toast served with spice-poached eggs and arugula salsa verde is worth trying.
Made with African bird’s eye chili, also known as peri-peri, peri-peri sauce is the key ingredient to this South African classic. Add it to some chicken wings along with apricot preserves and serve it with some yogurt cilantro sauce for a more interesting grilled chicken recipe.
Historians disagree on whether or not eggs Benedict were invented by a hungover Wall Street broker ordering breakfast at The Waldorf Hotel in 1894 or at Delmonico’s in the 1860s. Either way, this brunch favorite served with Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce is a New York City classic and a great way to finish up that carton of eggs in your fridge.
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