Home-Cooked Meals From Around The World
Are there any home-cooked meals that you would miss if you were to leave your home country for some time? It could be curry chicken, ayam masak merah, keema biryani, etc. How about home-cooked meals from other countries? Perhaps you would even like to try them out at your own kitchen and surprise your friends and family!
French Lentil Soup
Starting off in France, we have French lentil soup. There are two ways of looking at this: a lentil soup that came from France, or a soup that is made of French lentils, which are actually different from other lentils in quite a few ways. Either way, this soup will leave your family happy, healthy and satisfied. Here’s a recipe for French lentil soup that is vegetarian and vegan-friendly:
- 3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped celery stalks plus chopped celery leaves for garnish
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
- 1 ¼ cups lentils, rinsed, drained
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
- Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
Transfer 2 cups soup (mostly solids) to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan; thin soup with more broth by ¼ cupfuls, if too thick. Season with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with celery leaves.
Non-vegans are free to add about four ounces of fatty meat to the bottom of the saucepan at the beginning to add more flavour to the already-delicious soup.
Greek Veggie Tartlets
Greek tarts are usually savoury and are more like appetisers than desserts. This one is no exception, and it is very simple to make. It’s also a delicious way to introduce more vegetables in your home-cooked meals to picky eaters.
- 3 packages (1.9 ounces each) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells
- ¾ cup finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber
- ¾ cup finely chopped red onion
- ¾ cup finely chopped seeded plum tomatoes
- ¾ cup finely chopped pitted Greek olives
- ½ cup Greek vinaigrette
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Place shells on two 15x10x1-in. pans. Bake until lightly browned, 7-10 minutes. Cool completely.
Toss vegetables and olives with vinaigrette. To serve, spoon about 1 tablespoon mixture into each tart shell. Sprinkle with cheese.
Done. If you don’t have phyllo tart shells, you can always substitute them with puff pastry. Of course, it wouldn’t be as authentic as before, but who’s judging?
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
This is a Levantine salad. In other words, it’s Middle Eastern in origin. Tabbouleh is popular throughout the Middle East and usually features a kind of cereal called bulgur, but this recipe exchanges the bulgur for quinoa, making it not just gluten-free, but also packed with protein.
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and minced (about 1 ½ cups minced)
- 2 bunches fresh mint, stemmed and minced (about 1 cup minced)
- 3 fresh tomatoes
- ¼ cup finely chopped scallions or onions
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ tablespoon salt, or more to taste
Rinse uncooked quinoa in cold water using a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Drain.
Spread quinoa in the bottom of a stainless steel skillet in an even layer. Turn heat to medium and let the quinoa heat up, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is gone.
Continue to cook the quinoa over medium heat, stirring frequently, for roughly 10 minutes until it begins to turn toasty and fragrant. The quinoa is ready when the seeds start to pop and turn golden brown. Remove from heat.
Pour quinoa into saucepan along with 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pan.
Cook quinoa for 10-12 minutes until tender, but not mushy. Stir and let cool to room temperature.
Place minced fresh parsley and mint in a medium salad bowl.
Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
Seed the tomatoes by quartering them, then use your fingers or a paring knife to remove the seeds.
Dice the tomatoes into small pieces.
Add the finely chopped tomatoes to the green herbs along with the chopped scallions, cooked quinoa, and olive oil lemon juice dressing. Stir gently to combine.
Season with additional salt or lemon juice to taste, if desired. Serve at room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator.
Some people like to add garlic to their tabbouleh. If you want a garlicky flavour, add a well-minced raw clove to the salad. Enjoy!
“Cacciatore” is the Italian word for “hunter,” so chicken cacciatore is “hunter-style chicken,” one of the home-cooked meals that goes a long way back in Italian history as a classic recipe.
- 6 skinless chicken thighs bone-in
- Salt and pepper to season
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (more if needed )
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (or 8 cloves)
- 1 small yellow bell pepper (capsicum), diced
- 1 small red bell pepper (capsicum), diced medium
- 1 large carrot peeled and sliced
- 10 oz (300g) mushrooms sliced
- ½ cup pitted black olives
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons each freshly chopped parsley and basil plus more to garnish
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 150 ml red wine
- 28 oz (820g) crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 7 oz (200g) Roma tomatoes halved
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a heavy cast iron skillet. Fry the onion until transparent (about 3-4 minutes) then add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add the peppers, carrot, mushrooms and herbs; sauté for 5 minutes until vegetables are beginning to soften.
Add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden (occasionally mix the vegetables around the chicken in the pan so they don’t stick).
Pour in the wine; allow to simmer and reduce down (about 5-6 minutes).
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Roma tomatoes and chill flakes. Season with salt and pepper to your tastes. Continue to cook over stove top OR in the oven following the instructions below.
FOR STOVE TOP:
Mix all of the ingredients together; cover with lid, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer (while stirring occasionally) for 30-40 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bone. Add in the olives, allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
FOR THE OVEN:
Transfer the covered skillet to a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) and cook for 50 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 20 minutes until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone, and the sauce has reduced down.
As a main dish, it can be paired with different sides, from mashed potatoes to cauliflower rice or steamed vegetables, it’s up to your personal preference.
Tres Leches Cake
Last but not least, there’s the Tres Leches cake. Tres Leches is Spanish for “three milks” and it is a sponge cake soaked in three different kinds of milk: evaporated, condensed, and heavy cream. It is widely popular throughout Latin America. Here’s a simple recipe for this popular Latin American dessert:
For the dough
- 5 eggs
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the cream
- 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ cup milk
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
For the topping
- 1½ cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Strawberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Add the baking powder into the flour previously sifted.
Separately, beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes.
Add eggs and vanilla extract and continue beating.
Gradually add flour/baking powder mixture and continue beating.
Pour into a large buttered gratin dish.
Bake for 30 minutes. Prick the cake with a fork. Cool for at least 20-30 minutes.
Mix the three milks and pour the mixture over the dough gradually. The dough should absorb all the liquid.
Beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer. When it begins to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating. Cover the cake with this cream.
You can garnish the tres leches cake with fresh strawberries.
And there you have it, five home-cooked meals from around the world that you can try preparing at home. Which one is your favourite recipe? Will you be trying them out yourself? Share with us the recipes for your favourite home-cooked meals in the comments section down below!
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