Cooking and eating at home can get boring. One of the main draws to eating out is the variety and choice of meals in a restaurant. When you’re eating at home a lot, which most of us have been forced to do for the past year or so, you can easily fall into a rut of making the same go-to dishes time and time again. If you’re bored with your weekly menu and want to experience some variety, tour the world from your kitchen with these seven regional dishes. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert home chef; all of these meals are easy enough for anyone to try.
Thai spring rolls
Spring rolls are a fun way to eat since all of the ingredients are wrapped up nicely in a rice paper pouch. This recipe has a lot of components, but don’t let that intimidate you. All of the ingredients are used in the various parts of this dish, making the labor worth it. This is not a difficult recipe, but there are a lot of steps. Follow the directions, and you’ll be successful in making your own wrapped meals in no time. The recipe is written for chicken, but you can substitute shrimp, tofu, beef, or whatever other protein you like. Also, the kids will love this hands-on recipe.
Pork carnitas tacos
Everyone loves taco night, but if you’re looking to mix up your usual taco fiesta and try something new, this pork carnitas recipe is for you. Carnitas means “little meat,” and that is what you’re going to create if you make this dish: Delicious, small pieces of meat to pile into a tortilla with some fresh cilantro and raw white onion. The best part about this dish is that the pork cooks in the crockpot, so you can prep and set it while you do other things. Feel free to use chicken if you don’t like pork.
Almond tea bread
This traditional Scottish almond tea bread is packed with red cherries and almond flavor. You can enjoy this bread warm with coffee for breakfast or at room temperature with tea for a sweet after-dinner snack. Be sure to grease your loaf pan generously so the bread doesn’t stick.
Pho, the national dish of Vietnam, consists of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat (usually beef). Traditionally, the broth alone takes hours to make, but this version is complete in around 30 minutes. You won’t get the extraordinary depth of flavor you would if you were eating authentic pho, but this recipe serves as a fantastic replacement. Keep in mind that the noodles are essential, too, so be sure to get a narrow rice noodle, and as usual, you can substitute chicken and chicken broth if you don’t want beef. You could also keep it vegetarian and use tofu and vegetable stock.
Charoset originated in Israel and is a dish traditionally eaten at the Passover Seder. This version tastes just like the original, though it is not the same texture. Traditionally, Charoset is a paste made out of different ingredients, but this recipe leaves them chunky. Don’t worry; it tastes just like the original with its use of apples, walnuts, and wine (or grape juice).
Don’t let the hard-to-pronounce name of this dish stop you from trying it out. This chunky vegetable stew is bright yet rich and surprisingly satisfying. The meal takes a bit of time to prepare, but the steps are simple enough for anyone to try. Ratatouille is an excellent make-ahead dish since, like all stew, the dish gets better after it sits for a night or two. You can also make a large batch and freeze the leftovers for up to three months.
Miso-glazed black cod
The words “miso” and “glazed” may have you thinking that this dish is too complicated for you to make at home, but the steps are so easy that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This is a great meal to prep ahead of time since the preferred length of time to marinate the fish is two to three days. You can use a different fish in this dish if you don’t have black cod (salmon or haddock will work). Black cod can be on the expensive side, and this meal tends to score high on the presentation scale, so if you’re trying to impress, this dish is the way to go.
There are always benefits to expanding your horizons, and finding new dishes to cook and share is a great way to do so. Whichever recipe you choose, enjoy the process of cooking and trying a new dish and take the time to learn a little more about the culture from which your recipe borrows.
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