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Top 9 Classic Spanish Foods and Drinks to Remind You of Summer

Top 9 Classic Spanish Foods and Drinks to Remind You of Summer

Summer is officially over and we already miss it 🙁

In this post, we’re taking a stroll down memory lane to honor our favorite season by remembering the most delicious Spanish foods.

Our love for Spanish food goes back to 2012 when we first visited Spain. The early encounters with Spanish food were modest – we went out for a beer and tapas. Soon, we discovered that this Mediterranean cuisine is so much more than tapas! Juicy empanadas on the way to the beach, light paellas for dinner by the sea, shopping for chorizo every single day, exploring seafood at the fish market… This summer we went back to Spain and discovered even more delicious foods & drinks we’d like to share with you.

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Note: The time we spent in Spain taught us that, when it comes to food, Spanish people like quick and easy meals (so that they have enough time for the afternoon siesta, we assume :)). No Spanish housewife will spend hours in the kitchen cooking heavy, meat-based meals, especially during the summer. They’re more into vegetables, rice, potatoes, pasta, and seafood. Most of the meals on the list reflect that ease and lightness.

Top Quick and Easy Spanish Foods

Paella

spanish food

If you are invited to a Spanish home, the chances are your hosts will treat you to a paella.

This rice-based dish is considered Spain’s national dish. It originated in Valencia, the city steel deemed to make the best paellas.

The traditional version is made in special pan (see pic), by combining rice (ideally the calasaparra or bomba varieties, known for absorbing flavors very well), chicken or rabbit meat (or both, usually sold as a ‘paella mix’ in the supermarkets), beans and other vegetables, as well as saffron. Seafood is also commonly used (mussels, calamari, clams, scampi, prawns, or even fish).

Less usual varieties are made with duck or eel. Arroz negro (black rice) uses black octopus ink to color the rice, whereas fiduea replaces rice with small pasta.

Easy Paella Recipe

Gazpacho

spanish food

This tangy, refreshing tomato soup is usually served as an appetizer and sometimes drunk straight from a cup or bowl! The authentic recipe is made the reddest, ripe, full-flavored tomatoes, combined with peppers, cucumber, olive oil, onions, garlic, and herbs, all blended until smooth, and chilled before serving. Gazpacho is served with bread, cheese, ham, or egg slices on top, depending on the region.

Garden Gazpacho

Empanadas

spanish food

Empanadas are edible dough envelopes filled with…well, whatever you like. In Mallorca, we found a great bakery that sold empanadas and bought three different types – two savory (tuna & onion, beef & potatoes; these two were quite flavored and required plenty of water afterward, just so you know J), and one sweet (banana & chocolate).

Zesty Empanadas

Spanish tortilla

spanish food

Most of you must have tried Mexican tortilla, a thin flatbread made from finely ground maize and wrapped around a filling to form a taco or burrito. Well, the Spanish version is something completely different. It is actually a potato omelet.

There are many flavors and preparation techniques but one thing is for sure – tortilla is one of the top Spanish foods. The basic recipe is made with onions and potato sautéed in olive oil, after which beaten eggs are added. The mixture rises into a thick cake-like meal.

Note: add ham, chorizo, spinach, or anything else you like to additionally enrich this quick meal. Or squeeze the omelet between two bread slices to obtain a bocadillo sandwich!

Spanish Tortilla (Spanish Omelet)

Tostas de tomate y jamón – Tomato and ham toasts

spanish food

This Spanish food is so simple and tasty you’ll probably think “Why didn’t I come up with this?” after you try it.

Jamón is one of the famous cured meats of Spain, together with chorizo. The popular Iberico version is made from black pigs fed with acorns to give the special marbled ham with nutty flavor.

To make the simple tostas, start by rubbing the toast pieces with tomato (garlic rub is optional, along with the tomato). Then, pour some olive oil, top with jamón and serve for breakfast or as a snack. You can also include jamón in various salad recipes like this one:

Fig, Melon, and Spinach Jamón Salad with Basil

Pan con tomate

spanish food

This is basically bread with tomato (or Pa amb tomàquet in Catalan). It is very simple but tastes amazing, just like the best pizza crust with a hint of tomato. In Catalonia, especially in Barcelona, you’ll often see it as a base for tapas. However, pan con tomate also pairs beautifully with other Spanish foods such as tortilla and jamón.

Pan Con Tomate

Amazing Spanish Desserts

Churros

spanish food

This is another Spanish food which has a familiar Mexican counterpart. Churros are donut-type pastries which appears in two main varieties in Spain – knotted & thin or long & thick (also known as porras).

The Spanish say you haven’t really been in Spain until you’ve had churros for breakfast (they do have a thing for sweet breakfasts). Dip them in hot chocolate or champurrado (chocolate-based atole). The porras pair beautifully with hot coffee, dulce de leche, or café con leche. Don’t forget to sprinkle with sugar on top and forget about counting calories!

Cinnamon Churros with Chocolate Dulce le Leche

Polvorones

spanish food

The name of these rich and crumbly cookie comes from the word ‘polvo’, which means ‘dust’. This is connected to their delicate structure; if you don’t handle them carefully, they may turn into dust! Polvorones are so soft, they literally melt in your mouth. They are especially popular during the Christmas period but we got lucky; our host made them for us in the middle of June!

Polvorones Recipe

Top Spanish Drinks

spanish food

The first time we went to Spain we stayed in Mallorca. The humidity and temperatures were impossible to bear. And while we were drinking gallons of water, our hosts opted for cerveza, a light, low-alcohol beer flavored with lemon. As you can imagine, it didn’t take us too long to get accustomed to sipping cold cerveza all day long!

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The Spanish have a habit of drinking at every meal, be it beer or wine. Those who don’t drink during meals, usually drink after meals, choosing coffee or brandy. Coffee is also a must in the morning (usually combined with churros or other sweet treats).

When it comes to wine-based drinks, there are two favorites – tinto de verano or ‘summer wine’ (red wine and lemon soda) and rebujito or white sangria (white wine with lemonade and fresh mint on top).

Super Sangria

I’m in love with food and everything about food! Blogging is my way of celebrating that love and MyGreatRecipes made it all happen. If you, too, are into great food and interesting reads, you will enjoy reading my posts!
Filipino Food, the Next Big Food Trend to Watch Out For

Filipino Food, the Next Big Food Trend to Watch Out For

Filipino food may not be as famous as the food of other Asian cuisines like Chinese and Thai, but according to top chef Anthony Bourdain, it is bound to be the next big food trend.

Bourdain believes Filipino food is “underrated” but that the Western countries are ready to embrace its flavors: “I think certain Filipino dishes are more likely to take root and take hold more quickly than others.” We’ve also been aware of this fact and wrote about it in our Summer 2017 Food Trend Report.

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The famous chef has even selected his favorite Filipino food – sisig, a dish made from crunchy parts of pig’s head and liver and seasoned with chili peppers or hot sauce. Sounds strange? Well, some Filipino foods are definitely not for the faint of heart but if you give them a chance, you’ll be surprised how delicious they are!

filipino food restaurant near me

The Basics of Filipino Food

Filipino food is a beautiful fusion of flavors influenced by the neighboring Asian countries, Spanish and American colonial rulers from the past, as well as different ethnic and religious groups like Buddhists and Hindus. On top of all these rich influences which make Filipino food unique, the cuisine has managed to retain some of its genuine features as well. Thus, besides paellas and tapas, you’ll find local gems like adobo, sisig, Kare-kare and more!

Filipino cuisine is certainly worth exploring. So, if you are up for recreating some of the most iconic Filipino dishes, here is something to inspire you.

The Most Popular Filipino Foods to Try

Adobo

filipino food restaurant near me

It is safe to say that Adobo is a Filipino national dish. The recipe is commonly made with chicken and pork. However, there are varieties made with beef, goat, lamb, and seafood as well. The signature marinade made of vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, salt, and pepper was developed in the pre-refrigeration era as a means to preserve the meat. Serve adobo with rice to balance the intensity of flavors.

Honey Glazed Crockpot Chicken Adobo

Lechon

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It seems like everyone in the Philippines loves pork (with the exception of Muslim communities in the south). This love is elieved to be reminiscent from Spanish and Chinese colonizers in the past. Lechon is actually a whole pig roasted on a charcoal until crispy, golden brown skin is obtained. This Filipino food is probably the most popular choice for parties and gatherings but if you’re not a resident or a very brave foodie, you might not have the stomach for it; namely, after roasting, the meat is usually served with liver sauce. In some regions, however, the pig’s stomach is stuffed with spring onions, anise, laurel leaves, and pepper and in that case, there’s no need for liver sauce.

Lechon Kawali (Filipino Crispy Fried Pork Belly)

Arroz Caldo

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Credit: http://ffemagazine.com/enjoy-the-warm-comfort-of-our-arroz-caldo/

This Filipino food corresponds to our chicken soup, i.e. it is the go-to dish when you’re feeling a little under the weather. Moreover, arroz caldo is also one of the most popular street foods. It is more of a thick chicken rice porridge than a soup, cooked with ginger and sometimes topped with green onions, garlic, or a hard-boiled egg.

Arroz Caldo (Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup)

Lumpia

Lumpia are Filipino spring rolls which can be served fresh or fried. The authentic version is made with lumpia crepes (water, rice, flour & eggs) cooked on gas hot plates. For those that don’t feel like flipping pancakes, there are also ready-made lumpia wrappers available in Asian markets. Alternatively, you can substitute lumpia wrappers with Vietnamese or Chinese spring roll wrappers.

The wrappers/crepes are filled with a veggie mixture and topped with a special garlicky-sweet sauce (shrimp heads, cornstarch, soy sauce, and sugar). Alternatively, the filling can contain shrimps and/or pork, onions, and ubod (the pith of the coconut tree).

Lumpia (Filipino Spring Rolls)

Pancit

filipino food

Credit: http://www.angsarap.net/2015/09/25/pancit-canton/

This Spanish food was Introduced by the Chinese colonizers in the past. The term pancit means ‘noodles’ and encompasses a number of varieties like the recipe made with black squid ink (pancit negra). It is believed that this variety was developed under the influence of Spanish Basque cuisine. It contains thin noodles covered with squid ink and combined with baby squid, red onions, cabbage, beans, coriander, chicharron (fried pork belly), and bilimbi (a tangy fruit) that balances the strong flavors in the dish.

Another popular (and less unusual) variety is pancit palabok, a very popular birthday party food. It is comprised of rice noodles and a rich sauce made of pork, chicharron, shrimps, shrimp broth, hard boiled eggs, and oysters or squid.

Pancit Bihon Recipe (Filipino Fried Rice Noodles)

Kare-kare

filipino food restaurant near me

Noodles covered in black squid ink aren’t the only unusual Filipino food. Kare-kare is another authentic example that requires a developed taste for stranger things. It is a traditional stew made of oxtail and a crushed-peanut sauce. Other commonly used meats are pork hocks, calves, feet, and sometimes tripe or offal. Grossed out yet?

There are also versions of the dish made with seafood, as well as ones that completely exclude meat or combine it with veggies like eggplant, green beans, Chinese cabbage, or asparagus beans. The sauce, besides peanuts, also contains peanut butter, garlic, and onions, toasted rice as a thickener, as well as annatto for coloring.

Filipino Kare Kare (Ox Tail and Peanut Stew)

The Tastiest Filipino Desserts

Ube Desserts

filipino food

In the recent years, the hipsters’ love for unusual & colorful foods has placed ube on almost every food trend list. Ube, also known as purple yam, is a tubular root originating in the Philippines. The sweet taste makes it perfect for desserts, as well as a flavoring for ice cream, milk, tarts, cookies, cakes. What makes it especially attractive to hipsters and millennials, though, it the intensely purple color, which makes it a perfect natural substitute for purple food coloring.

Halayung ube is a very popular sweet Filipino food made with purple yams, macapuno (coconut preserves), and coconut milk. It is often used as a base for other sweet treats like halo-halo, ice cream, and even ube bread!

Tropical Ice Creams

filipino food

Credit: http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/recipes/avocado-ice-cream

There are some seriously amazing Filipino ice creams you can’t find in US supermarkets – ube, avocado, mango, jackfruit, as well as different coconut varieties (macapuno, young coconut, sweetened coconut, flavored coconut). Real fireworks of colors and flavors!

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3-Ingredient Mango Coconut Ice Cream

Avocado Pistachio Ice Cream

This is just a small part of what Filipino cuisine has to offer. Do you have a favorite Filipino food that deserves to make the list?

 

I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!
Greek Food – 10 Authentic Greek Dishes You Need to Try

Greek Food – 10 Authentic Greek Dishes You Need to Try

There are two major reasons why we should all give Greek food a try. Firstly, Greek cuisine is a mother of all western cuisines. Its 4000 thousand years long culinary tradition and ingredients adopted from the East have influenced the cuisines of Europe and beyond in the best ways possible!

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Secondly, Greek cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine. We have already discussed the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and stressed the importance of using fresh ingredients like olive oil, vegetables, grains, seafood, and fish. Greek cuisine encompasses all of these, but also adds meat, both white and red (including poultry, lamb, pork, and rabbit). Other widely used foods include cheese, yogurt, bread, olives, zucchini, eggplant, herbs, and lemon juice. As far as sweets are concerned, there’s an abundance of fruits, nuts, and honey; however, that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

The good news is we don’t need to travel to Greece in order to enjoy delicious Greek food! Imagine days filled with tzatziki, gyros, baklava, and frappes. Ready to go to Greece? Brace yourselves, some seriously tasty food is coming your way!

#1 Gyros

greek food restaurant near me

Gyros are the first Greek food to try after setting foot in this country. There are gyro stands and restaurants at almost every corner throughout the country. Gyros are not only utterly tasty and authentic; they’re also very fulfilling and, on top of it all, ridiculously cheap!

Gyros are made of pita bread, a slightly leavened flatbread, wrapped around chicken or pork. The meat, which is roasted vertically and turning on the spit, is called ‘gyro’. The meat is sliced and then combined with tomatoes, onions, French fries, lettuce, tzatziki, and various condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.) Warning: Gyros are quite messy to eat, which makes them even more satisfying!

Dilly Grecian Gyros

#2 Greek Salad

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People in Greece serve Greek salad with almost every meal, as a starter or side dish. It contains tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese cubes. Onions, bell peppers, and lettuce can be added optionally. Dressings can vary depending on personal preferences but they usually include olive oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt, and pepper. Oregano is often added for an extra Mediterranean twist!

Sunshine Greek Salad

#3 Moussaka

greek food restaurant near me

When you and your big hungry family decide to have Greek food, enter the first taverna and order a moussaka. This juicy and creamy dish has a number of versions in the Balkan and Middle Eastern countries but in Greece, the traditional recipe is made with sautéed eggplant, minced meat (usually lamb), and tomato, all covered a white, savory sauce and baked until brown. Onion, garlic, and spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice) are also commonly added. When it comes to moussaka, the serving temperature is very important; it should be served warm in order to prevent it from falling apart.

Light and Easy Moussaka

#4 Tzatziki

greek food restaurant near me

To most people in the western countries, tzatziki is the first association for Greek food. This simple and yet spectacular sauce has many variations but it is essentially made of yogurt, garlic, olive oil, as well as fresh herbs like mint and dill. Cucumbers (finely chopped or grated) can also be added. Tzatziki tastes best when served chilled and makes beautiful combinations with freshly-fried foods like potato pancakes, breaded vegetables, fried chicken and more!

Creamy Tzatziki Sauce with Garlic and Dill

#5 Souvlaki

greek food restaurant near me

Souvlaki translates as ‘skewered meat’ and is one of the most beloved Greek foods. It is comprised of skewered & seasoned meat, complemented with tzatziki sauce. However, the fact that the word ‘souvlaki’ is also used to refer to any type of meat wrapped in a pita can be rather confusing to inexperienced Greek food enthusiasts, so beware when you order it!

Pork Souvlaki with Lemon Rice

#6 Saganaki

greek food restaurant near me

Saganaki is a term which encompasses a number of dishes prepared in a small pan. The most famous Greek food belonging to this category is the appetizer made of cheese, fried until bubbly, seasoned with lemon juice & pepper and served with bread. Other Greek foods cooked in a saganaki frying pan include mussels saganaki and shrimp saganaki, both of which include tomato sauce, spices, and feta cheese.

Shrimp Linguine in a Tomato and Feta Sauce a.k.a Shrimp Saganaki Linguine

#7 Pastitsio

greek food restaurant near me

Pastitsio, also known as Greek lasagna, is a baked pasta dish which includes ground meat and sauce. The typical Greek version is made with a bucatini layer on the bottom (or another kind of tubular pasta), followed by ground meat (beef is most commonly used, sometimes lamb and veal), tomatoes, as well as spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. Pastitsio is covered in a sauce which can be either Béchamel or egg-based custard. Finally, cheese is sprinkled on top. This Greek food is usually served as a main course, accompanied by a salad.

Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna) with Greens

#8 Baklava

greek food restaurant near me

If you’d been to Greece without tasting baklava, you’ll need to go back as soon as possible and remedy this wrongful doing! Baklava is a rich, very sweet dessert made of layers of crispy filo pastry and filled with chopped nuts.

After baking, this sweet Greek food is covered in a sticky sherbet (boiled water & sugar) or honey, which is then left to get absorbed into the pastry. Besides in Greece, baklava is also found in almost all Levant, Balkan, and Middle Eastern countries. What sets the Greek variety apart, though, is the fact that it is supposedly made of 33 layers of filo pastry, one for each year of Christ’s life.

Baklava Rolls

#9 Loukoumades

greek food restaurant near me

You’re relaxing on a beautiful Greek beach when suddenly you’re startled by a loud “Loukoumadeeeees!” Don’t worry, it’s only the vendors who sell tasty Greek donuts. Traditionally, loukoumades are small golden balls of fried dough sprinkled with sweet syrup, nuts, powdered sugar, and/or cinnamon. Modern varieties of this sweet Greek food can be filled with chocolate cream or fruit jams. Whichever variety you decide to try, you can expect a soft & fluffy inside and a crispy outside. Don’t forget to pair them with a frappe for a perfect summer satisfaction!

Loukoumades – Greek Donuts

#10 Greek Coffee

greek food restaurant near me

When it comes to coffee, there are two authentic Greek varieties to choose from. The first one is Ellinikos, a type of coffee regularly made in almost every Greek household and usually served in a traditional copper pot called ‘briki’. Ellinikos can be made with three different levels of sweetness – very sweet, medium, and no sugar.

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The other popular coffee variety is frappe. Frappe is an iced, foamy drink made of instant coffee granules and water. Besides refreshment, Greek frappe offers an instant wake-up at zero calories!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!
10 Must-Try Japanese Foods and Delicious Desserts

10 Must-Try Japanese Foods and Delicious Desserts

The Japanese cuisine (和食 washoku) is a delicious and highly unique cuisine which offers a wide variety of traditional and regional delights. Japanese food has been largely influenced by international cuisines but in the last few decades, it has also managed to make its own contributions to western countries, most popular of which is sushi.

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Japanese food is largely based on rice and noodles combined with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Dishes commonly consist of fish & seafood (raw or grilled) and vegetables (raw, cooked, or pickled). Both vegetables and seafood can also be fried in batter or added to broths. Meat dishes became popular with the modernization of the country, in the late 19th century.

Here is a list of 10 of the most beloved Japanese foods that will broaden your culinary knowledge and enrich your dinner menu.

#1 Sushi

japanese food restaurant near me

As mentioned before, sushi is the most popular Japanese food worldwide. The term ‘sushi’ refers to any recipe made with Japanese short-grain rice and seasoned with rice vinegar. Common varieties of sushi include shaped mounds of sushi rice with slices of raw fish on top, sushi rice and fillings rolled up in seaweed, and sushi rice stuffed inside fried tofu pockets. Westernized versions include sushi salads, bowls, pasta sushi, sushi nachos and much more!

Spicy California Roll Sushi Nachos

#2 Noodles

japanese food restaurant near me

There are two main noodle varieties in Japan – udon, thick wheat noodles, and soba, thin buckwheat noodles. Both varieties find their way in different recipes including stir fries, hot pots, and soups.

Peanut Sesame Slaw with Soba Noodles

Spicy Black Pepper Shrimp with Udon Noodles

#3 Ramen

japanese food restaurant near me

Ramen is basically a noodle dish, but due to its rise in popularity over the past few years, we’ve decided to list it separately. Millennials and hipsters all over the world seem to love this noodle soup and for that reason, you’ll find it on many food trend lists online. It consists of special ramen noodles made of wheat and salty broth made of four basic ingredients (miso, soy sauce, pork bone, and salt). Toppings may include other types of meat, tofu, and vegetables such as nori seaweed, bamboo shoots, and spring onions.

Homemade Spiced Ramen with Tofu

#4 Okonomiyaki Pancake

japanese food restaurant near me

Translated as ‘grilled as you like it’, this large, savory pancake truly lives up to its name. It is based on batter and sliced cabbage; the rest of the ingredients and condiments is up to you. In the States, this so-called ‘Japanese pizza’ is one of the most popular ways to use up leftover foods.

Okonomiyaki Japanese Pancake

#5 Sashimi

apanese food

Sashimi is composed of very thin raw fish or meat slices often served with daikon, wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce. Unlike sushi, sashimi is never served with rice. Some sashimi varieties are quite controversial due to the use of unusual meat types like dolphin and whale meat. Sashimi must be made with fresh fish in order to ensure better taste but also to avoid contamination. You can combine several types of sashimi-grade fish in a single recipe (for instance, salmon, yellowtail, and fresh ahi).

Sashimi Poke

#6 Tofu

apanese food

In Western countries, tofu is one of the most popular healthy foods due to the fact it is gluten-free and low in calories. It is also one of the favorite vegan and vegetarian protein sources. In Japan, tofu is a traditional ingredient consumed on regular basis by everyone. This Japanese food is made of coagulated soy milk, pressed into solid blocks. Tofu blocks come in different levels of firmness and can be cooked in different manners, including boiling, grilling, and frying. Tofu can also be consumed raw, combined with savory garnishes. You can even include it in dessert recipes!

Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Broccoli

Chocolate Tofu Pudding

#7 Miso Soup

apanese food

Miso (a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soy beans) is considered one of Japan’s staple foods. Miso soup, by analogy, is one of the most bellowed Japanese dishes! Miso soup recipes are based on miso paste and dashi broth, complemented with other ingredients of choice such as seaweed, onion, or tofu. The fact that miso soup enhances the flavor of the main dish makes it a favorite side dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Kale, Butternut Squash and Mushroom Miso Soup

#8 Edamame

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The green, immature soy beans are to people in Japan what peanuts and snacks are to us. They are served boiled or steamed, seasoned with a little salt, but are also a common salad ingredient. Edamame beans offer a significant nutrient punch – they’re rich in protein, dietary fiber, and micronutrients like vitamin K, folate, manganese, and phosphorus.

Edamame Summer Salad with Radishes

#9 Oden

Oden is Japan’s favorite winter dish! This hot pot is based on a light dashi broth complemented with soy sauce and ingredients like boiled eggs, mochi rice cakes, processed fish cakes, daikon, tofu, and konjac yam. However, ingredients can vary depending on the region. Oden is served in a large pot at the center of the table and often seasoned with karashi mustard.

Oden Recipe

#10 Yakitori apanese food

Yakitori translates as ‘burned chicken’ or ‘barbecued chicken’ and that’s just what it is – chicken pieces skewered on metal or bamboo sticks and grilled over a charcoal fire. The meat is seasoned with salt and tare sauce (soy sauce, rice wine, sake, and sugar). There are many different types of yakitori chicken including chicken meatballs and chicken thigh. Due to the ease of preparation, yakitori is a very popular street food in Japan and a go-to dish during sports nights.

Yakitori – Grilled Chicken Meat Balls

Bonus – Japanese Desserts

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‘Wagashi’ is a common term that encompasses all traditional Japanese sweet treats. The most commonly used traditional ingredients are mochi, rice cakes made of short-grain glutinous rice, and red bean paste. The latter is used as a filling for doriyaki pancakes, a delight especially popular among kids in Japan.

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Modern Japanese desserts can also contain green tea, which is especially popular as an ice cream ingredient. Speaking of ice cream, Japanese love their shaved frozen dessert called kakigōri. Here are two ideas to tackle your imagination:

Green Tea Ice Cream

Red Bean Mochi Bars

I’m in love with food and everything about food! Blogging is my way of celebrating that love and MyGreatRecipes made it all happen. If you, too, are into great food and interesting reads, you will enjoy reading my posts!
The Mediterranean Diet: Recipes, Food List, Meal Plans

The Mediterranean Diet: Recipes, Food List, Meal Plans

Are you looking for a heart-friendly meal plan? The Mediterranean diet might be just what you need!

The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional healthy ingredients, recipes, and cooking styles used in Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy. Studies have shown that people living in these countries are much healthier than Americans and have significantly lower risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet is a go-to diet if your goal is weight loss!

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Similar to other healthy eating plans, this diet is based on fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It limits the use of saturated fats, making olive oil one of the central ingredients and allows an occasional glass of good wine.

mediterranean food near me

A Mediterranean Diet Plan

While there is no strict eating plan to stick to, there are general guidelines that can be adjusted to personal preferences. In a nutshell, the Mediterranean diet recommends increasing the intake of plant-based ingredients and decreasing the intake of red meat and processed foods.

It should be noted that, besides the following lists of allowed and banned foods, attention should be paid to ingredient proportions and amounts. In addition, the Mediterranean lifestyle includes eating with friends and family, as well as regular physical activities. In other words, besides eating high-quality foods, you should take care of your overall happiness and well-being!

mediterranean food near me

The Mediterranean Diet Food List

List of allowed foods:

Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, herbs, spices, as well as fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil can be consumed on a daily basis.

Chicken and other poultry meat (turkey and duck), dairy (cheese and yogurt), and eggs should be consumed in moderation, whereas red meat is allowed only occasionally (few times a month).

List of forbidden foods:

All processed and refined foods such as added sugars, sweetened beverages, processed meat, refined grains, refined vegetable oils are strictly forbidden. Here is a more detailed list that will help you stay away from unhealthy foods:

  • Anything that bears the label ‘low-fat’ or ‘diet’ indicates highly processed foods.
  • Added sugar: table sugar, chocolate bars, candies, ice cream, soda, etc.
  • Unhealthy trans fats like those found in margarine.
  • Refined grain products including pasta and white bread.
  • Refined oils like regular vegetable oil (corn, sunflower oil) soybean, cottonseed, canola oil, etc.
  • Processed meats including sausages, hot dogs, burgers, etc. Bacon is considered too high in fats and should also be avoided.

mediterranean food near me

Summary

The good news is that fulfilling foods such as pasta (preferably whole grain), rice, and potatoes are acceptable in the Mediterranean diet.

People living in Mediterranean countries are known to avoid red meats but take as many as 7-9 servings of fruit daily!

Bread made of whole grains are also allowed. In fact, bread is considered one of the staple foods in the Mediterranean region and is eaten plain or drizzled with olive oil, like in Spain. However, bread is never smeared with margarine or butter!

Nuts are very healthy and highly recommended but bearing in mind they’re high in calories, their intake should be limited to a handful a day. This refers to raw nuts only; toasted, salted, or candied nuts are on the blacklist!

The Mediterranean diet substitutes refined vegetable oils and butter with healthier fats like olive and canola oil. These oils are rich in healthy fats that reduce bad cholesterol levels and keep the heart healthy. Make sure that your olive oil bottle reads “extra-virgin” on the label. Other ‘good’ fat sources are olives, avocados, and avocado oil.

Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and salmon are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. However, the method of preparation makes a big difference. Avoid fried fish and opt for grilling. It is not only healthier but also less messy.

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Spices and herbs like basil, rosemary, mint, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper, can be used in unlimited amounts. They will not only add flavor but also extra nutrients. Restrict the use of salt. If you must use it, opt for healthier options like Himalayan, Celtic, or sea salt.

When it comes to dairy products, opt for low-fat options such as fat-free yogurt, skim milk, and low-fat cheese (mozzarella is the safest option). Even better, try substituting dairy with plant-based milks like rice and almond milk.

And finally, avoid red meat whenever possible. When you do eat it, opt for lean varieties and restrict the amount to a fist-size per portion.

When it comes to drinks, water is recommended in high amounts. Plain, unsweetened coffee and tea are also acceptable. The Mediterranean diet also allows alcohol in moderate amounts. A glass of wine a day can help reduce the risk of heart attack. However, this is completely optional and can be disregarded if you are not a fan of alcohol or have health problems that could be worsened by alcohol intake.

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A Weekly Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan and Recipes

Monday

Breakfast: Flax and Apple raisin Oatmeal

Lunch: Oriental Tuna Salad

Dinner: Tasty Salmon Cakes

Tuesday

Breakfast: Maple Almond Granola Bowls with Greek Yogurt and Berries

Lunch: Veggie and Humus Sandwich

Dinner: Colorful Pasta Sala

Wednesday

Breakfast: Homemade Granola

Lunch: Broccoli Lasagna Roll-Ups

Dinner: Sunshine Greek Salad

Thursday

Breakfast: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Omelet

Lunch: Seafood Casserole

Dinner: Fresh Sweet Potato Salad

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Friday

Breakfast: Whole Grain Zucchini Bread with Honey and Walnuts

Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup

Dinner: Roasted Pepper Pizza

Saturday

Breakfast: Whole Grain Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Lunch: Cilantro-Lime Sardine Salad in Avocado Halves

Dinner: Lemon Grilled Chicken

Sunday

Breakfast: Spinach and Feta Omelet

Lunch: Easy Turkey Skillet

Dinner: Grilled Leg of Lamb

Healthy Mediterranean Diet Snacks

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The above mentioned meal plans include ideas for the three main meals. However, the point is not to allow to get hungry so, you’ll need to eat snacks between meals. Opt for a piece of your favorite fruit, handful of nuts, unsweetened Greek yogurt, granola with nut butter, carrots, etc.

The Mediterranean diet is more than a restrictive meal plan, it is a healthy lifestyle that will keep you satiated and healthy!

 

 

Korean Food – 10 Korean Recipes to Try Before You Die!

Korean Food – 10 Korean Recipes to Try Before You Die!

With vegetables taking center stage and the reduced use of oil, Korean food is one of the healthiest on the planet! Besides veggies, Korean cuisine is largely based on steamed rice and simply-cooked meats. And obsessed with kimchi, apparently! Are you up to for exploring this amazing Asian cuisine? Here is what to stock up on:

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  • Vegetables: napa cabbage, Korean radish, cucumber, spinach, potato, sweet potato, bean sprouts, garlic, scallions, chili peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, seaweed, lotus root, wild greens, as well as medicinal herbs like ginseng.
  • Meat: beef, chicken, pork, seafood, fish.
  • Grains and legumes: short-grain rice is the most widely used grain, whereas, when it comes to legumes, the use of soybeans and soybean products prevails, followed by mung beans and azuki beans.
  • Spices and condiments: fermented bean paste, fermented red chili paste, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, pepper flakes, ginger, and salt.

10 Essential Korean Food Recipes

#1 Kimchi

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The fact that there are over a hundred different types of kimchi speaks best about Korean love for this food. The term ‘kimchi’ refers to fermented vegetables & vegetable dishes usually made with napa cabbage, Korean radish, or cucumber, brined in a mixture made with garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and scallions. The variations and uses of kimchi are endless. It can be served as a side dish or be a part of rice recipes and soups. Besides great taste, kimchi also offers a plethora of nutrients such as vitamins A, thiamine, riboflavin, and B2, minerals like iron and calcium, as well as lactobacilli, good bacteria that aids digestion.

Kimchi, Bacon and Shitake Mushroom Omlete

This simple breakfast dish is a perfect combination of flavors covered in fluffy eggs and melty cheese!

Zucchini and Kimchi Quinoa Salad

The secret ingredient in this salad is the flavorful gochujang dressing, also known as Korean barbecue sauce. It combines sweet, salty, tangy, and hot flavors and will turn any salad into an exotic delight. Don’t forget to sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for crunchiness.

#2 Noodles

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Noodles have been an integral part of Korean cuisine since ancient times. They appear in a wide variety of dishes and can be combined with almost anything in soups, wraps, stir-fries, and more!

Jap Chae (Korean Stir-Fry Noodles)

Throwing a party or a potluck? Jap Chae is the perfect dish for you! Spicy, savory, flavorful and most importantly, simple to make. For a vegetarian variety, simply leave the meat out!

Korean-Style Teriyaki Beef Lettuce Wraps

Even though the recipe calls for a rather large number of ingredients, it is quite easy to make, considering you can prepare the meat & noodles in advance. The final result? Exotic, sweet, and spicy lettuce wraps, perfect for summer dinners.

#3 Soups and Stews

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Soups are an integral part of every Korean meal. In fact, they’re served as a part of the main course rather than as a starter. Korean soup recipes are generally divided into two broad categories:

  • Guk, made with meat, shellfish, and veggies.
  • Jjigae, thicker, more heavily seasoned soups and stews.

Unlike soups, jjigae stews are served as a shared side dish. Common ingredients include fish, tofu, and seasonal veggies.

Korean Miso Soup (Dengjang Chigae)

Korean miso soup is made with the Korean form of miso called dengjang, which contains uncrushed beans for extra texture. That’s the base; other than that, you can add anything –  chili paste, meat or tofu, onions, zucchini…

Korean Spicy Chicken Stew

Make sure to visit a Korean grocery store before you start preparing this recipe. Go to the marinated meats section and find special pre-marinated chicken under the label ‘chicken stew’. Combine it with some potatoes & carrots, and spice it up with Korean chili paste and chili powder.

#4 Banchan

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Banchan is a broad term that covers all side dishes in Korean cuisine (excluding soups and stews but including kimchi!). More precisely, banchan are small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in the center of the table to be shared. There are several banchan subcategories:

  • Jjim, dishes made by steaming or boiling marinated meat or fish and seon, which refers to steamed vegetables.
  • Gui, grilled dishes, usually comprised of meat or fish accompanied by fresh or grilled vegetables.
  • Hoe, raw dishes, especially raw fish dipped in a sauce and served with lettuce or other greens.
  • Namul, refers to a variety of edible leaves & grass or dishes made of them.
  • Jeon, savory pan-fried pancakes made of wheat flour, with an addition of seafood or kimchi. Jeon pancakes are usually dipped in a mixture of soy sauce, red pepper, and vinegar.

Kimchi Pancake (Kimchijeon)

Take ripe, crispy, juicy, and spicy kimchi and transform it into a crispy, savory, fulfilling snack that will make your kitchen smell divinely! Add some of the kimchi brine to get a vivid-colored pancake. The rest of the ingredients is at your discretion; think meat and all sorts of vegetables.

Korean Spinach Salad

Replace vegetable oil with sesame oil to give the spinach a deep, nutty, & earthy flavor. Serve this salad with grilled meat or individually as a main meal!

#5 Desserts

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In Korean cuisine, desserts are divided into two general categories:

  • Tteok, traditional rice cakes which are served as a snack or dessert. Rice cakes can be served filled or covered with sweetened red bean paste, mung bean paste, raisins, or mashed red beans. Other fillings can also include sweetened sesame seeds, black beans, jujubes, honey, chestnuts, or pine nuts.
  • Hangwa is a term that refers to all traditional confectionery which covers tea foods, fried-dough sweets, jelly-like sweets, fruits and roots boiled in honey or sugar, and much more.

Black Bean Dipping Sauce with Maple Syrup

Fermented black soy beans are salty and somewhat tangy. In this recipe, their strong taste is tamed with the addition of sweet maple syrup and creamy peanut butter. This tasty mixture can be used as a dipping sauce but also as an addition to meat dishes.

Bonus –Vegetarian Korean Food

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Vegetarian cooking developed under the influence of Buddhist traditions in the past. Today, there is a large number of vegetarian restaurants throughout the country. They usually serve cold buffets, with vegetarian kimchi and tofu-based dishes like Bibimbap. These Korean restaurants don’t serve alcoholic beverages; instead, they offer a wide range of teas.

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Vegetarian Korean Bibimbap Bowls

Bibimbap is a rich dish full of textures, flavors, and nutrients. There are varieties made with meat, but tofu is the best protein choice for vegans and vegetarians. Top it with vegetables, fried egg, and sauce.

 

 

I’m in love with food and everything about food! Blogging is my way of celebrating that love and MyGreatRecipes made it all happen. If you, too, are into great food and interesting reads, you will enjoy reading my posts!

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