Tag Archives: world cooking

World Cooking – Mexico

List Item:  Cook something from every countryCountry: Mexico
Progress:
2/193

Ah yes, Mexican cuisine. Much like Chinese and Indian food, the food of Mexico has been adapted very heavily by the rest of the world. Much like the rest of this list, my aim is to try and make something actually reminiscent of a dish made in Mexico. Not Tex-Mex (like in the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song ‘Group Hang’).

With a population of 127.5 million and about 7 recognised regional cuisines, there really is plenty of dishes to choose from when trying to cook something Mexican. The least I could do was try to find a dishes from two different regions – so I chose an Oaxacan main and a dessert with from Guadalajara.

For the main, I decided to make the first food that came to mind: mole. But which type of mole? There are so many different types of mole out there (mole poblano, mole negro, mole amarillo etc.) that it was hard to make a choice – so I just went for one where I would be able to source the proper chiles for the job (thank you Wholefoods).

Main: Mole Coloradito

There are so many mole recipes out there for mole coloradito, all of them with conflicting ingredients. Some have plantains, some use pork instead of chicken, some have different proportions of ancho chiles to guajillo chilles. I just opted for a recipe that seemed like a happy medium (which was this one from Genius Kitchen) and adapted it from there.

The main changes I made was to condense some of the frying steps and to boil a whole chicken for 100 minutes. Even with that, I was cooking for over three hours (where my weird blender didn’t help things) and needed a good sit down at the end of it. It also meant that I did not wait the full 15 minutes of cooling and just started eating it right away.

Never did I think just how important that cooling would be to the flavour. Before cooling it was nice enough, but a bit bitter. After the cooling process the flavours became more complex, the richness of the chocolate came through and most of the bitterness disappeared. It went from nice to incredibly morish – so I cannot wait to see what it’s like when I have the leftovers for dinner tomorrow.

Would I make this again? Yes, I know it took a while but since I better know what I am doing this should be easier next time. Also, I would like to try and make some of the other mole sauces to have with some flour tortillas.

Dessert: Bionico

Considering how long it takes to make mole sauce, I figured it would be a good idea to have a simpler dessert that would compliment the heat from the chiles. So when I found a recipe for Bionico on Mexico in My Kitchen it felt like the perfect match – especially since this is a dish that started life as Mexican street food whose name literally means ‘bionic’.

Being from the UK, I am very much used to the idea of fruit and cream as a dessert (I mean, what else are you meant to do when you watch the tennis at Wimbledon), but I was not quite prepared for the creme mixture here and how it would work with 4 different types of fruit and all those toppings.

Honestly I think the creme (a mixture of condensed milk, sour cream, natural yogurt and vanilla) really made this dish. I could probably just drink that until I got sick. I also like how this recipe can be so easily adapted depending on what fruit is available; today I used the four from the recipe, but I can see how banana, mango or peach would also work.

So that’s it from Mexico, I have decided that to start this list off I want to do one country per continent before just roaming around cuisines. Next time I will be cooking from an Asian country, not sure which yet but probably an East Asian one.

Until then, ¡Buen apetito!

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World Cooking – Russia

Here we are christening this new list and, despite being a Brit, I thought it would be cool to start off with Russia. There are two Russian things in the 1001 foods list that I have wanted to make for a while and I thought that this would provide me with the perfect opportunity.

List Item:  Cook something from every countryCountry: Russia
Progress:
1/193

Russian cuisine, like the country, is vast. If it was not for the 1001 foods list providing me some focus I would have had a lot of trouble narrowing it down to one or two dishes. I might have made some of things in GentleWhispering’s ASMR video on traditional Russian cuisine, although there is no way I could have made as pretty a block of gingerbread as Maria did.

This huge variation in dishes does bleed into a lot of the surrounding countries, which means I have somewhere to start from when I plan my meals for the likes of Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. For example, I know I am going to make plov at some point – it’s just that I need to assign a country.

So… what did I make?

Main Dish: Kulebiaka

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 723/751Food item: Kulebiaka

Kulebiaka (or coulibiac) is one of those things that I have wanted to make ever since I first saw the recipe for it in my copy of the Samarkand cookbook. On the surface of it, kulebiaka looks like it would be a difficult thing to make. However, once you decide to get premade puff pastry instead of making your own, it is deceptively easy to make.

What we essentially have here is two layers of a rice mix (containing mushrooms, rice, onion and various herbs and spices), one layer of sliced hard-boiled eggs and a layer of flaked salmon. All this is wrapped in puff pastry and then baked in the oven after giving it a good eggwash.

I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of this and it tasted so good. I did wonder about the inclusion of three hard-boiled eggs, but they really took on the flavours (and colours) of the turmeric, cardamom and cumin – so I shouldn’t have worried. The smell as we cut this open was something else as well.

This will not be the only thing I end up making from the Samarkand cookbook and it probably won’t be the last time I make a Kulebiaka. Now that I have the confidence to make it, I think I might start experimenting with flavours to see how I can pull it in different cultural directions.

Dessert: Pashka

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 724/751Food item: Pashka

As we were eating this for lunch on Easter Sunday (yup, I’m more than 6 months ahead now) I thought that this would be the perfect time to try and make pashka. This is a creation traditionally made for Easter to be served with kulich (a pannetone-style Russian loaf) and is made from curd cheese, dried fruit and cream.

Technically, this dessert is meant to be turned out of the dish and decorated with dried fruit, but I didn’t trust this enough to not completely collapse over the table. So, I took this picture and just went to town on it with a spoon and spread it on chunks of kulich that I had bought from a Russian bakery in Borough Market.

I got the recipe for this from Great British Chefs and, aside from my blender breaking halfway through, this was really simple to make and taste delicious. It’s incredibly rich and, the version I made, really reminded me of the filling of a rum-raisin cheesecake. Again, this is something that I would want to make again and, maybe, have the nerve to turn it out and decorate it in the traditional style before eating it.

Extras

Being the first country (and as we did this for Easter), we thought it would be cool to also have a Russian style appetiser and what’s more Russian than caviar and blini. This is my first time eating something labelled as caviar (please note that this is lumpfish caviar because I am not made of money) and I really liked it. Especially with the blini and creme fraiche.

List Item: Try caviar
Progress: Completed

The next country will probably not be as extravagant as this, but I had to start this list off with a bang. At the moment I have no plans for what the next country will be, so I guess I need to see where the recipe searches take me.

So, until next time, prijatnogo appetita!

New List Appeared: Cooking Around The World!

It’s been nearly two years since I added the last new project to this blog, so why not add another one? Well that’s pretty much what my husband must have been thinking when he suggested that I do this as we watched an old episode of The Great British Bake Off.

Sure, I laughed him off at first… and then I spent the next week thinking about it and getting excited at the prospect of finding recipes from every nations from China to Comoros. I started making spreadsheets and, as you can see, I have adopted this as one of my many long running goals.

So here we are at the start:

List Item:  Cook something from every countryProgress: 0/193

Now, I am nowhere near the first blogger to start on this idea. Just a simple Google search for some recipe ideas of the more far flung countries (like Vanuatu) unearthed a whole heap of them, most of them seemingly unfinished but there are a few who have already succeeded. That really gives me hope!

So, why 193 countries? Well, there’s no real comprehensive list out there so I made a choice to go with the members of the United Nations. It means that I won’t be doing Kosovo or Taiwan, but maybe they’ll join the U.N. by the time I finish off this list. Who knows, weirder things have happened since I started this blog (i.e. Brexit).

As an additional thing, I am going to be trying to make either a main dish or a dessert for each country. If the country has a vast amount of foods to choose from (e.g. France, Japan and U.S.A.), I am going to try and make a main and a dessert.

I will be starting this challenge tomorrow where I’m going to be marrying this new list with the other food list. So see you then.