There’s no doubt that one of the best things about travelling, is exploring and sampling all the different foods each country has to offer. Although any kind of travel has been put on hold for the next couple of months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are ways to experience new types of exciting tastes and flavours from the comfort of your home. In fact, what better time could there be to undertake a cross-continental adventure trying different cuisines that you’ve lovingly cooked yourself?
We share five dishes from various countries- known for their mouthwatering cuisine, for you to master while on lockdown. Get ready for a trip to your pantry, stove and fridge. Dust off that apron and pasta machine and start cooking!
1. Italian cuisine- make your own pasta
As the story goes, pasta was brought to Italy from China by the explorer Marco Polo. And despite the origins, we can probably all agree that the Italians have perfected it. There are over 350 different types of pasta shapes, so the options are endless when it comes to making your own. You need minimal ingredients to make your own, yet it’s truly satisfying to be able to tuck into something exclusively handmade. Whether you have a pasta machine to use, or revert to the ol’ trusty wine bottle rolling pin- homemade pasta is something you have to try.
WATCH this video to guide you through the process:
2. Thai cuisine- Make a deliciously spicy Tom Yum soup
The flavour profile of Thai food is generally extremely complex, but when you break it down, it’s simpler than you think. Thai food aligns big flavours together, which offers a taste explosion with every bite. And while we aren’t able to travel to the beautiful “land of smiles” at the moment, it’s still possible to invite those bold flavours into your home.
There’s nothing like the warm, healing feeling of a spicy and flavourful broth. That’s why making your own version of the famous Tom Yum is the perfect idea for a cooler, autumn day.
Try this Tom Yum soup recipe from our friends at Amazing Thailand South Africa:
- 100g chicken/ prawn
- 40g lemongrass
- 40g galangal/ ginger
- 20g lime leaf
- 50g mushrooms
- 2 whole limes
- 15ml Fish sauce
- 10g coriander
- 10g spring onion
- 30g cherry tomatos
- 850ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp chilli paste
- 30g shallot/ red onion
- Bring stock to a boil and add lime leaves, galangal/ginger, coriander roots and bruised lemongrass. Let the broth simmer for 15 minutes, then add the shallot/ red onion.
- Add your chicken/prawns, mushrooms and chillies, and simmer for 3 minutes. Add fresh lime juice and fish sauce to taste.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Note: The soup should be spicy-sour.
3. French cuisine- Make your own coq au vin
Probably counted as one of Julia Child’s favourite meals, coq au vin, simply means “chicken casserole” and is one of the heartiest meals you can cook at home. Coq au vin is slowly cooked with almost a full bottle of wine. This results in heavenly smells wafting through your kitchen. Put it on the stove in the early afternoon and you’ll have an excellent meal waiting for you, come supper time.
WATCH How the Barefoot Contessa prepares it:
4. Indian cuisine- Make your own butter chicken
Legend has it that the same man who invented the smokily burnished Tandoori chicken is the man who invented butter chicken. So why not try your hand at making an authentic butter chicken? Yes, you could just get the paste from the grocery store, but there’s something special that happens when you take the time and let the chicken marinade for 4 – 24 hours.
The spices infuse into the chicken and intensify the flavour beautifully. Then, take it a step further by grilling the chicken which further enhances the flavour. The scientific term for this is called the Maillard Reaction. Simply put, the sugars in the meat’s chemical structure form, creating the crisp outer coating that we all love. The chicken is then submerged into the creamiest, buttery sauce that’s not too spicy and also a little sweet. It’s worth putting in the work…
WATCH how Jamie Oliver makes this recipe:
5. Mexican cuisine- Make your own Barbacoa
It’s a good idea to use the time during lockdown to learn more about cuisines and meals you may not be as familiar with. Traditionally, barbacoa is a preparation method of meat(usually sheep, goat, or beef) that’s steam cooked in an underground oven until very tender and succulent. But not to worry, it’s also possible to achieve a similar, and equally delicious dish on a stove top or in a slow cooker. The meat is cooked for between 8-12 hours and simply melts in the mouth. You then shred the cooked meat and enjoy it inside a soft taco shell with salsa, a squeeze of lime juice and fresh onion.
WATCH this video to get you started: