Brazilians are not only excellent in soccer (why do I know this?) and dancing the samba; they’re also great in cooking and enjoying delicious foods.
Let’s go to sunny Brazil and pick out 10 dishes. It’s not going to be easy, I warn you, since Brazilian food, just like Brazilian people, is one of the best in the world.
Brazilian food is a patchwork of native traditions and influences from European, Asian, Arabic, and African cuisines, with great varieties from region to region.
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The cuisine has preserved some of the ingredients used by the native peoples like cassava, cumaru, guaraná, cashews, and açaí. European immigrants introduced their own favorites like wheat, leafy greens, dairy, and wine.
Besides all the delicious Brazilian foods mentioned below, we mustn’t forget the national beverage – coffee, as well as Brazil’s native liquor – cachaça.
Pão de queijo – Brazilian cheese bread
Two staples in Brazilian cuisine – cheese and bread – are combined an unexpectedly delicious delight. Soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, these gluten-free cheese puffs are enjoyed any time of the day. They are made with tapioca flour, eggs, and grated cow’s milk cheese. They are usually rolled into small balls (even though there are varieties as big as cakes) and stuffed with meat or cheese fillings.
Make your own: Pão de queijo
Espetinhos – Brazilian Kebabs
Espentihos are a Brazilian food found at almost every public event throughout the country. The word translates as “little skewers” and these kebabs can be made with many different things, including spiced chicken or beef, hot dogs, sausages, fish, shrimps, and even cheese. Espetinhos are usually served with hot sauce or manioc flour (an ingredient that accompanies many other Brazilian foods). In addition, icy beer is almost always at hand when eating these Brazilian kebabs.
Make your own: Espetinhos – Coconut Milk and Lime Shrimp Brazilian Skewers
Feijoada – Brazilian Black Bean Stew
Feijoada is the Brazilian food which ‘unites’ the so-different regions in the country for the simple reason it is eaten literally everywhere. It is a stew composed of sausages, chopped pork, and black beans. Traditionally, the recipe calls for less usual parts of the pig as well, like ears and feet! It is usually served with rice, toasted manioc flour, oranges, kale, and cachaça liquor on the side. Brazilians must really love this food, bearing in mind that its preparation takes 24 hours. Luckily, most of the restaurants in the country have Feijoada on their menu so you can skip the cooking and just enjoy.
Make your own: Feijoada
One of the most popular superfoods and the star of many Instagram accounts, açaí is a fruit native to the Amazon. Native peoples used to consume it for energy and prepared sauces to serve with fish dishes. Today, it finds its way to the omnipresent acai bowls, smoothies, breakfast granolas, frozen sorbets, and even beer!
Make your own: Autumn Acai Bowl with Vanilla Bean Cashew Butter
Brazilian Sticky Coconut Rice
One of the most common side dishes in the country is coconut rice. But what makes the Brazilian version different from all the other similar recipes out there? Brazilians have a special method of preparation – first, they toast the rice; then they add brown sugar. In addition, there is also canned coconut milk, and just a little bit of salt to balance the sweetness of the sugar, plus some more toasted coconut on top (if you wish).
This Brazilian food is very easy and simple to make. The final result is creamy and flavorful rice that pairs especially well with pork dishes.
Make your own: Brazilian Coconut Rice
Soup is the food of choice for the ceia, late-night supper, but also on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The recipe we’re offering here is a delicious tomato creamy soup with shrimp, coconut milk, and various seasonings. There’s nothing better for the cold, winter nights here up North!
Make your own: Brazilian Shrimp Soup
Top Brazilian Drinks
As mentioned before, cachaça is considered a national drink in Brazil. It has been around since the early 16th century and accompanies many Brazilian foods. It is made from fermented sugarcane juice and is the main ingredient in Brazil’s national cocktail – caipirinha, which is made with lime slices, brown sugar, ice, and uncolored, unaged cachaça. However, this is the basic version; we’re offering one made with strawberries! Other popular drinks are the Brazilians favorite soda – Guaraná, Caldo de Cana (pressed sugar cane juice), and água de coco (coconut water).
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Make your own: Strawberry Basil Caipirinha Cocktail
Limonada Suíça – Brazilian Lemonade
Have you ever had a creamy lemonade? Well, it’s high time you did. Actually, this is a limeade, since the original recipe is made with limes. However, if you are a lemon person, who’s to stop you from using them. Because the ingredient that makes it special, creamy, and sweet isn’t the fruits but the condensed milk. Another paradox about this popular drink is its name – Limonada Suíça means Swiss lemonade, which is completely weird. Nevertheless, make yourself a big glass of lemonade and bring summer to your home!
Make your own: Brazilian Lemonade
Ready to explore some new flavors? Today, we’re revealing the best Lebanese foods.
Lebanese food is bursting with fresh ingredients, delicious mezze appetizers, rich tastes, vivid colors, and spices. But the best feature of this Middle Eastern cuisine is its hospitality. Lebanese foods are meant to be shared with friends, family, and even strangers.
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Lamb is the most commonly used meat variety and it appears in many dishes like kafta, but chicken and beef are also found in many recipes. Additions like lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil are a must if you want to recreate the flavors that make Lebanese food so unique and special. Fresh vegetables also find their way into dishes like tabbouleh and fattoush, making Lebanese food one of the healthiest on the planet.
Sfeeha – Lebanese Meat Pies
Sfeeha or Sfiha is pie-like Lebanese food (a similar dish is Turkish pide). The traditional version was made with ground mutton, whereas modern versions usually call for beef or lamb. Other toppings include cheese, vegetables, and curd. Also, sfeehas used to be wrapped pies, whereas today they are round, open-face pies or folded into triangles.
Laban – Lebanese Yogurt Sauce
Laban is a cool and creamy yogurt sauce consisting of yogurt, mint, garlic, and lemon juice. It is a perfect addition to grilled meat dishes, fish like salmon, dolma, sfeeha pies, or tabbouleh. Absolutely refreshing!
Kafta is a meatloaf or meatball dish found in Middle Eastern, South Asian, Central Asian, and Balkan countries. The simplest form of kafta is made with ground or minced meat (chicken, beef, lamb, or pork) plus onions and spices. In Lebanon, it is usually made with ground beef onion, allspice, black pepper, parsley, and salt.
Kusa – Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini
Kusa are zucchini stuffed with a mixture of meat and rice, commonly seasoned with garlic and dried mint. Tip: The best zucchini type for this Lebanese food is the Lebanese zucchini which is smaller and light-green in color. The recipe is easy to be turned vegetarian by simply replacing the commonly used beef with chickpeas.
Lebanon and Israel are having a long-term quarrel about who invented this popular food. Currently, Lebanon holds the Guinness Record for the largest dish of hummus in the world. The dish was prepared by 300 cooks and weighed over 10,000 kg. It was made using the usual ingredients – boiled chickpeas, tahini butter, olive oil, and lemon juice.
Lebanese Potato Salad
Ordinary potato salad gets an exotic twist with the addition of tangy lemon vinaigrette and fresh mint. It is quick, easy, vegan, dairy-free, and perfect for hot summer nights. (The name ‘Leposa’ in this recipe is coined using the first two letters of each word in ‘Lebanese Potato Salad’!)
Hushwee is a staple Lebanese food, simple yet full of flavors. It is composed of ground meat cooked in ghee, complemented with toasted pine nuts and cinnamon. This mixture can be used for sfeeha pies, eggplant mousakas, or for stuffing veggies (dolma). It can be also combined with baked or mashed potatoes or pita bread. Bonus for all those following special diets – this Lebanese food is paleo and gluten-free!
Fattoush is a salad composed of pieces of toasted or fried flatbread and vegetables (mostly greens, tomatoes, and radishes), plus herbs to taste. One of the special features of this Lebanese food is that the veggies are cut in quite large pieces. However, the two ingredients that give fattoush its special, sour flavor are staghorn sumac and purslane. The former is red berries, usually sold ground, whereas the latter is a green with a tangy, lemony flavor.
Tabbouleh is a salad/dish consisting of bulgur and finely chopped veggies, most commonly tomatoes and onion, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, mint, and salt. In Lebanon, it is made with more parsley, sometimes replacing bulgur with quinoa, and served as mezze.
Mujaddara is a dish made with cooked brown lentils and rice, and garnished with caramelized onions. In Lebanon, there are two versions of this dish – mujaddara, which is a puréed version with a consistency similar to rice pudding, and mudardara, made with whole lentils and rice. Both versions are often served with Laban.
Also called ‘Shish taouk’, this Lebanese food is traditionally made with marinated chicken. It can be served in two different ways, depending on the country and region – on a platter, along with veggies, French fries, and/or rice, or as a sandwich in many Levantine countries. The former version in Lebanon is commonly accompanied by a garlic paste sauce called toum, tabbouleh, and/or hummus. The latter version comes in a flatbread and is combined with tomatoes, lettuce, and pickled turnips.
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Hummus is not the only amazing dip/spread coming from the Levantine countries. Toum (which translates as “garlic”) is a sauce composed of garlic, olive oil or vegetable oil, lemon juice, and salt, all traditionally crushed together in a wooden mortar with a pestle (one of the Lebanese versions also calls for mint). Toum is usually used as a dip, especially with chicken dishes and sandwiches.
You can’t go wrong with Turkish food! This Mediterranean cuisine has something for everyone – from spicy meat-based dishes to sinfully sweet delicacies like baklava. Foods are often combined with Turkish yogurt or ayran, a cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt, while Turkish coffee is an absolute must any time of the day!
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Though it was hard to select, here are the 10 Turkish foods you will absolutely adore.
Just when you thought that you’ve tried all possible ways to prepare eggs, you discover this Turkish food. Menemen is an unexpected combo of scrambled eggs and a veggie stew. To compose it, start by cooking tomatoes, peppers, and onions to a broth, then quickly whisk in the eggs, which are basically broiled by the heat of the veggie mixture. Optionally, you can add sausages or cheese. Serve menemen hot with bread on the side.
This traditional savory Turkish flatbread and pastry dish is made of hand-rolled leaves of simple, unleavened dough brushed with butter and eggs and then filled with various ingredients. The most common fillings include meats (minced beef, lamb, seafood, or sucuk sausage), veggies (spinach, potatoes, yams, eggplant, radish, zucchini, mushrooms, leek, onions, peppers, garlic), cheese, eggs, herbs, and spices. The dough pieces are sealed and cooked over a griddle, then served as a breakfast or snack.
Also known as Turkish meat pie or Turkish pizza, lahmacun is basically a crispy flatbread topped with minced meat (usually beef or lamb), combined with a salad (onions and cilantro are a must), lemon juice, and heavily seasoned. It can be wrapped, folded, or simply eaten by pulling it apart.
This Turkish food is not only delicious but also very easy to make! It is a puree made of red lentils and various spices, garnished with cilantro and complemented with lemon juice on the side. This fulfilling meal is rounded with slices of hot pita bread.
Dolma refers to all stuffed foods in Turkish cuisine. It uses a rice-based mixture with spices, nuts, and sometimes dried fruits to stuff vegetables like courgettes, bell peppers, cabbage leaves, or grape leaves. Istanbul and the bigger coastal towns offer more modern takes on this Turkish food, such as stuffed mussels, which are a street food staple in the country and favored by night owls.
This Turkish food is known as Şiş köfte or kebab. It is made of minced meat, usually lamb, mutton, beef, or veal combined with herbs, often mint and parsley, grilled on a skewer (şiş) Köfte dishes are usually served with ayran, salad, and/or pilav (read below).
Yogurt is one of the most beloved Turkish foods. Turks have been consuming it in large amounts (over 2 million tons a year) for over a millenum. It can be eaten plain, used to accompany many dishes like meats, salads, and soups, but also serve as a base for ayran.
Pilav is the Turkish version of roasted rice. If you are a fan of simple things, smother the buttery rice in yogurt or use it as a side dish for meaty dishes such as kofte. Probably the most popular pilav variety is Nohutlu Pilav, which means “rice with chickpeas”. This Turkish street food is composed of layers of rice and chickpeas topped with roasted chicken.
This dessert can be found in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. It is believed that it originated in Central Asia and spread throughout all Ottoman countries, all the way to Europe. The most delicious variety of this sweet Turkish food is made of fine filo pastry, soaked in honey, and covered in pistachio.
Turkish coffee and Turkish delight
The beautiful sweet cubes we know as Turkish delight are called ‘lokum’ in Turkey. They can be found in many flavors, shapes, sizes, and colors but probably the most authentic variety is the one flavored with rosewater, once a very popular ingredient in Ottoman desserts. Lokum is dusted with coconut flakes or icing sugar and sold in beautiful boxes to take home as a souvenir.
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Turkish delight is often served alongside Turkish coffee at the end of a meal. Kahve, as the Turks call it, first appeared in Istanbul in the 16th century, and ‘conquered’ many of the Balkan countries where it is still served on a daily basis.
As a part of New England, Boston shares many culinary features with the region. This is visible in the large emphasis on seafood and dairy. You can’t pass through Boston without having a lobster roll or clam chowder. Cream is one of the ingredient often added to dishes. Potatoes are the traditional starch in New England, favored over rice. The whole region uses spices restrictively, mostly black pepper and sometimes sage & parsley.
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When it comes to cooking techniques, baked foods like turkey, beans, and pies are far more favored than fried ones, which is a reflection of the early Puritan settlers’ eating habits. Steaming and stewing are often deployed as well.
Let’s take a deep dive into Boston’s eating habits and favorite dishes.
Boston’s Most Popular Dishes
The city’s most signature dishes are:
– New England clam chowder
– Fish and chips, usually with cod or scrod
– Lobsters, the most popular type being the lobster roll, “because all the work is done for you”.
– Steamed and fried clams (Bostonians like to eat clams outdoors at a picnic table, no matter how messy it might get)
– Oysters, often eaten after work for cheap, especially during happy hours
– Baked beans (Note: Boston baked beans are not really a thing anymore and are mostly served in more touristic restaurants downtown)
– Boston Cream Pie
– Ice Cream (Boston, and New England as a whole, are one of the top per-capita ice cream consuming regions).
– Coffee (particularly frappe and iced coffee, usually from Dunkin Donuts)
– Beer (New England has many local lagers and ales. Notable examples include Samuel Adams of the Boston Beer Company in Boston)
– Raspberry Lime Rickey
Bostonians seem to have a great love for sandwiches. Here are the most popular ones:
– Hot roast beef sandwiches served on an onion roll and with a sweet barbecue sauce are popular in Boston’s surrounding area.
– Sub (short for ‘submarine sandwich’), is a sandwich consisting of a long bread bun filled with meats, cheese, and veggies. It is also known as spukie in Boston. The term is derived from the local Italian word spucadella, which translates as a “long roll.”
– Sausage and pepper sandwich composed of a long soft roll and filled with an Italian-style pork sausage, grilled sweet peppers, sweet onion, and a bit of olive oil, introduced by Italian immigrants who settled in Boston a century ago. The sandwich is only served in the spring and summer and is a staple at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox team.
Boston Eating Habits in Numbers
The portion of an average Boston household’s budget spend on food is 11.7 percent, which is below the U.S. average of 12.8. An average household spends $4,883 (62.8 %), of their food budget on food prepared at home and $2,895 (37.2%) on food prepared away from home. In comparison, the average U.S. household spends 59.5% of its food dollars on food prepared at home and 40.5% on food prepared away from home.
People in Boston spend an average of $359 (25%) monthly on food at supermarkets or grocery stores. They spend about $81 (5%) on food at other stores.
66% of Boston households consume ice cream, frozen juice bars, or frozen yogurt, whereas
67% of the 21+ Bostonians enjoy wine twice a week.
77% of Bostonians prefer to cook at home; on average, they do so 4.6 nights a week.
Cooking at home costs $60-70 per week for basic ingredients like chicken, pasta, and vegetables.
Eating Out in Boston
When it comes to eating out, Boston is quite contradictory. On the one hand, research has shown that people in Boston don’t tend to eat out because the restaurants’ prices are quite high. When they do decide to eat out, Bostonians order pizza, fast food, or Chinese, less expensive but also less healthy options. On the other hand, the city remains no. 9 on the list of 10 most restaurant-dense cities in the States, with a total of 766 full-service restaurants.
In addition, Boston is the home of the oldest operating restaurant in the United States, the Union Oyster House. The venue offers mostly seafood items, like oysters straight from an oyster bar, and clam chowder.
The restaurant scene in the city has been undergoing a Renaissance since the 1980’s. This is mostly due to popular chefs like Jasper White and Todd English, but also Julia Child, a long-time Cambridge resident and a culinary TV star.
If you happen to be in Boston, there are certain areas popular for serving certain types of good food:
– Classic dining options are located throughout the South End and Back Bay.
– Quincy Market, part of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, has a variety of restaurants, including one of the popular tourist dining spots, Cheers.
– The North End is known as “Little Italy” because of the wide variety of Italian restaurants and pizzerias. Mike’s Pastry on Hanover Street is very popular among the tourists, mostly for its cannolis.
– Boston’s Chinatown and Alliston are the places to go for Asian food. There are Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Korean restaurants, groceries, bakeries, as well as spice shops in this areas.
– Ethnic street cafes are mostly located on Newbury Street, while Copley Place is the home of a large number of restaurants, including Legal Sea Foods, a New England institution that offers gourmet seafood.
– Blue Hill Avenue is home to African-American, Caribbean, and soul food restaurants.
Cost of Eating Out in Boston
Bostonians spend an average of $143 (7.9%) on eating out, including cafeterias at work/school or on vending machines. They also spend $27 (1%) a month on take-out or delivery. The top 3 most popular food delivery services in Boston are YELP Eat24, GrubHub, and Foodler
Boston is one of the more expensive US cities, especially in the tourist area. On average, eating out costs about $15-$20 for a meal & drinks. Luckily, since Boston is a college town, there are cheap food places all around the city that serve sandwiches and pizza for about $5-8. Less pricey options can be found in the ethnic neighborhoods as well.
What you should know about Boston’s restaurant scene
The best restaurants in the city are usually crowded at the weekends so if you have no reservation, prepare to wait for up to an hour.
In Boston, there’s something for everyone, from college students to business people. However, there is no ‘happy hour’. This rule exists thanks to the Puritans and neighborhood associations who value late-night peace and quiet and extends to the whole state of Massachusetts.
Most restaurants close by 10 or 11 pm, even in college neighborhoods. Bars close at around 2 am but only for drinking; their kitchens are open until midnight. Chinatown is an exception, where some food places serve food up to 2 am or even later, as well as the South End, where kitchens are open until midnight. Almost all venues are 21+. Even the public transport system closes before 1 is during the week and after 2 am on the weekends.
Still, there are discounts on food; oyster happy hours are common in the after-work period when people can enjoy them for only a dollar.
Food Trucks in Boston
You can buy some of the best foods in Boston from food trucks. There are hundreds of trucks offering a wide variety of foods and cuisines, from the standard pizza and meat choices to exotic cuisines like Jamaican and Vietnamese, as well as vegan and vegetarian options. Recently, besides lunch items, some food trucks have expanded their offer to breakfast and dinner.
Food trucks are all around Boston, but the largest concentration is along the Greenway downtown, Copley Square in the Back Bay, SoWa market in the South End and Lawn on D in Southie. Trucks rotate locations annually, so if you find the one close to your heart, be sure not to lose it!
Tip: If you happen to be in Boston but can’t decide which truck to eat from, see where is the longest waiting line!
Shopping for Food in Boston
There are 180 grocery stores and 290 convenience stores in Boston. In addition, the city has a strong local food scene, with more than 25 open-air farmers’ markets and a number of active winter markets. Boston has been hosting a two-day-a-week open-air market known as Haymarket for decades, where fruit, vegetables, and fish are sold.
The two oldest markets in the city are Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market in downtown. Quincy Market offers a wide variety of local prepared foods like pastries, popcorn, candy, coffee, sandwiches, sushi, lobster and lobster rolls, Italian, Chinese, etc. Moreover, there are great food places at relatively low prices.
Bostonians mostly fill their refrigerators with condiments, followed by meat and seafood, frozen items, produce, and deli items. Only about 10% believe they have everything needed to make a fancy meal. On the other hand, 35% of Bostonians admit to having expired food in the fridge.
In general, people in Boston don’t like shopping for groceries, due to long lines, crowded aisles and not-fresh-enough produce. More than 70% of Bostonians report such grocery shopping frustrations preventing them from filling the fridge properly. Despite this fact, almost 30% of Bostonians spend Friday night in the supermarket.
Bostonians and Healthy Food
Boston is considered one of the healthiest cities in the States, with a healthy diet rate of 48,7%.
Almost 50% of Bostonians have stated that their diet is generally healthy. 44% of Bostonians do some moderate-intensity sports, such as fitness, cycling, swimming or golf for at least 10 minutes daily.
However, the city has a large portion of the population that is obese or overweight – more than 30%.
Research has shown that in Boston, black and Latina women and high-school girls are the most vulnerable categories. There is a number of factors for this. One of the main reasons for the increased percentage of overweight people is the fact that processed foods are cheaper and more widely available.
The above-mentioned categories are financially unstable and have no money for healthy foods. In addition, more and more people are spending time in front of their TVs or computers (on average 6 hours a day) at the same time consuming more calories like take-out foods (mostly pizza and fast food), “ready to eat” foods like soups, salads, sandwiches, chicken, and cooked vegetables, as well as frozen meals or frozen pizzas.
What do School Kids Eat?
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a government program administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the USDA that provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to school kids across the States each day.
“Current regulations require schools to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Regulations also establish a standard for school meals to provide one-third of the Recommended Daily Allowances of Vitamin A and C, protein, iron, calcium, and calories.”
However, in Massachusetts, almost 50% of the school kids bring their own lunches, with more sandwiches, salty snacks, and sweet desserts at the expense of fruits, veggies, and proteins. This means that school lunches are much healthier than home-packed ones. When it comes to drinks, kids mostly bring water and sugar-sweetened beverages. Only a small percentage (3%) bring or buy milk.
What do Boston Millennials Eat?
Boston has the highest concentration of millennials in the States and is known as the “City of Millennials”. This is mostly due to a large number of college students that come to the city.
More than one-third (over 30%) of the population in Boston are millennials (between the ages of 18 and 34), with the highest concentration in the Fenway-Kenmore and Allston-Brighton areas.
Eating on campus
Students who live on campus have an opportunity to eat on campus. For instance, the offer on BU is quite diverse; they can choose from barbecued ribs, burritos, fettuccine Alfredo or chicken tikka masala. There are also health-conscious options approved by dieticians in the BU Sargent College nutrition program, as well as special culinary events.
There are dining rooms with traditional, eat-all-you-like food service, ten restaurants, and cafés, a kosher dining room, pizza delivery options, various food trucks, serving everything from falafel to fries.
A survey conducted in 2010 revealed a high rate of satisfaction with the food served on campus, with three out of four students said that Dining Services provided a “good to excellent dining experience.”
The most popular foods among students are Mexican, Italian, and BU Platter. Campus women like more bagels, whereas men favor Rhett’s burgers and Panda Express. Four times more women than men drink tea. Freshmen like Starbucks, while older students prefer Dunkin’ Donuts.
Nearly 9% of the students are vegetarian and 15% have some kind of food allergies (dairy allergies are most common).
Eating out of campus
Students who have decided to cook their own meals, name “university dining can get boring” and “meal plans at dining halls offer limited choice of food” as main reasons for doing so. There is also the question of cost. The average Boston-Newton-Cambridge student spends only $3,464 on food per year. That’s only $67 per week, or about 2.4 times less than the cheapest MIT freshman meal plan, which is making students cook more.
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There is a trend of cook-for-yourself communities that help students to connect and foster food-related traditions. The dorms’ kitchens have communal cooking appliances and utensils which makes the job even easier. Groceries are also available from the on-campus convenience stores.
Surveys have shown that millennials love to cook. Whether they actually do cook is another matter. Even though young foodies would like to make their own food, many don’t have or know what the basic kitchenware is. In addition, they don’t have enough time to do this on a daily basis.
One of the most delicious cuisines of the world, Moroccan food bursts with flavors, aromas, and spices paired in the most unexpected ways. Moroccan food is influenced by Arabic, Andalusian, and French cuisine which results in an incredible variety of exotic ingredients and combinations.
Staple Moroccan Foods
Morocco produces a great number of Mediterranean and tropical fruits & veggies. When it comes to meat, due to the predominant Muslim religion, pork is restricted (as is alcohol) but all other meats are used – beef, chicken, goat, mutton, and lamb, as well as seafood. Some traditional recipes also call for pigeon.
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Like all Mediterranean cuisines, Moroccan staples are wheat, which is used for making couscous and bread, olive oil, and grapes, which are eaten fresh, or in their dry form added to desserts and even to savory dishes.
The unique flavor combinations are made with the use of argan oil, olive oil, lemon pickle, and dried fruits, especially plums and raisins, as well as a wide array of fresh herbs and spices.
Spices are an indispensable feature of Moroccan food. Among those extensively used are saffron, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, cumin, pepper, paprika, sesame seeds, fennel, anise, oregano, cayenne pepper, etc. Furthermore, there is a wide selection of herbs such as mint, parsley, coriander, peppermint, marjoram, and sage.
A typical lunch in Marocco begins with salads, followed by a tagine. For special occasions, meat-based dishes are chosen, with lamb or chicken being favorite meat types, combined with vegetables and couscous. People in Morocco either eat with their hands or use standard utensils, depending on the dish.
Visiting this vibrant country is a great idea, but you don’t have to take a trip in order to enjoy amazing Moroccan foods. The recipes we’ve selected will allow you to indulge in the flavors of Morocco in the comfort of your own home!
Probably the most popular Moroccan food, couscous is prepared regularly throughout the country. Recently it has also conquered the States and Europe where it is often used as a rice substitute. Couscous is quite neutral in taste which allows you to combine it with virtually anything. Moroccan people usually cook it with seven vegetables and/or meat, usually lamb, chicken, or beef.
In our recipe, colorful bell peppers do double-duty in this fun dish—they are “baking cups” for a savory couscous blend as well as a sweet treat themselves.
Tagine is the clay pot with a conical lid that gives the name to a number of dishes. This Moroccan food is so popular, it is literally prepared everywhere, from roadside cafes to elegant restaurants.
When it comes to tagines, combinations are endless, but the most famous representative is probably the slow-cooked stew. When making this Moroccan food, the ingredients are arranged in a conical shape and left to cook until tender. When done, the tagine is served with Moroccan bread called khobz which is used for scooping directly from the pot.
Although it is not the easiest dish to make, Harira is the most beloved Moroccan soup. In fact, it is the first meal people in Morocco have to end the daily fasting during the month of Ramadan. This Moroccan food appears in a great number of variations, but the most common one is the tomato-based version which also includes beef or lamb stock, chickpeas and lentils. Noodles or rice can also be added. Serve it with chopped coriander and a drizzle of lemon juice.
Pastilla is a traditional Spanish Andalusian dish popularized in Marocco by Andalusian people who migrated to Fez. Nowadays, pastilla is said to be uniquely Moroccan. It is known for its intricate ingredient combinations and rich taste. The name of this Moroccan food comes from the Spanish word meaning ‘small pastry’. Pastilla is a pie traditionally made of squab (pigeons), whereas modern versions opt for chicken and sometimes fish or offal. It is often served as an entrée.
Chermoula is a traditional Moroccan marinade made of a mixture of herbs, lemon juice, oil, garlic, pickled lemons, cumin, and salt. Some versions also include onions, ground chili peppers, fresh coriander, or saffron. Chermoula is usually used to flavor seafood and fish, but it can also be used on other meats, as well as vegetables.
Shakshouka is a staple food in Arab and Israeli cuisines served in a tajine or a cast iron pan, with bread on the side. Its name translates as “mixture” and that is just what it is – a combination of eggs poached in a tomato sauce, onions, and chili peppers. The most commonly used spice is cumin.
- Chicken Bake
Chicken is one of the favorite meat choices in Morocco and it is found in a large variety of dishes. Our recipe, which is perfect for special occasion and family gatherings, reflects the contrasts of Moroccan cuisine. The chicken is baked with couscous, raisins, green olives, and spices. You can vary the amount of ground cumin to taste but don’t omit it; it gives this Moroccan food its authentic nutty taste.
The waters along Morocco’s coastline abound in sardines, which means that these small, delicious, and healthy fish are amply used in Moroccan cousine. For a quick fix, you can grill or bake them. However, the most popular version is stuffed and fried fillets, served with charmoula or pickled lemons. We offer a healthy, paleo salad that will satisfy your huger without compromising your well-being!
Moroccan style baklava is usually made with almonds, the nut ingenious to the country. They are used to prepare a nutty filling that is placed between layers of very thin pastry. The sweet-and-sticky syrup is flavored with orange flower water. Instead of the syrup used in the recipe above, try this one. Boil 1 cup granulated sugar in a cup of water until the sugar is melted. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ½ cup honey. Simmer for 20 minutes, then spoon over the baked baklava. Let it soak in, about 2 hours.
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- Mint Tea
Moroccan mint tea (also known as Moorish tea) is green tea mixed with spearmint leaves, sugar, and boiled water. It is traditional to a great part of the Maghreb region (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and Mauritania). Mint tea is an integral part of the social life in Morocco and is consumed throughout the day. Traditionally, when a guest arrives, the head male of the house prepares and serves it in a ceremonial form. Nowadays, as a result of cuisine globalization, mint tea appears in a number of refreshing beverages and cocktails like our sweet mint tea juleps.
Malaysian food is influenced by Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Indonesian cuisine. This is reflected in the way spices are combined, as well as in the use of wok pans.
Just like in other Asian cuisines, rice is the main staple food. The most common type is local or Thai rice, as well as Indian basmati rice. Noodles are another staple, as are breads originating in India such as idli, dosa, and puri, which are usually served for breakfast.
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Malaysian food is quite spicy, with chili being one of the main spices, followed by cumin, and cardamom. A hot spicy sauce called sambal is served with almost every dish in the country. In addition, there is a plethora of herbs like coriander, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and fenugreek, all of which make Malaysian food very fragrant.
Nasi lemak translates as ‘fatty rice’ or ‘rice in cream’. It is a dish of steamed rice combined with coconut milk and complemented with dried anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, peanuts, cucumber, dried shrimp, and spiced with sambal. Nasi lemak is considered Malaysia’s national dish and is eaten throughout the whole day. It is often served along with curries or rendang stew (beef cooked in coconut milk & spices).
The spicy noodle soup laksa has two main types – curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is the richer variety due to the usage of coconut, combined with a spice paste called rempah. This paste contains ginger, turmeric, chilis, lemongrass, and belacan (shrimp paste or shrimp sauce). Then, noodles are added and topped with shrimp, tofu, eggs, fish balls, and cucumber.
The other variety, asam laksa, is based on a tamarind broth and is cooked with white fish. Noodles are a must, accompanied by cucumber and pineapple, and spiced with ginger.
If you thought this dish was Thai, don’t be confused. Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia all have their own versions of satay. Malaysian satay characterizes with a sweet-and-spicy peanut sauce and meat marinated in local spices. Speaking of spices, turmeric is always used to add the signature yellow color. Serve it with onions, cucumber slices, and ketupat (rice cakes).
Popiah are fried spring rolls that are a popular snack with almost every ethnic group in Malaysia. The ingredients used in this crispy appetizer are quite versatile. They are often filled with shredded yams, shrimp or pork, and carrots. They can also have tofu, beans, or mushrooms. No matter what they’re stuffed with, the one thing that is constant for all popiah varieties is their side dish – chili sauce for dipping.
The Malaysian version of this popular dish is based on the spicy & aromatic paste rempah, and almost always includes the omnipresent coconut milk. Curry in Malaysian is served with a bowl of rice or, for dryer versions, on a banana leaf.
Roti jala are pancakes very unlike the American ones. In appearance, they are very thin and netlike, resembling French crepes. In terms of ingredients, they use coconut milk (of course!) and turmeric. In terms of cooking, the batter is rapidly drizzled in concentric circles to form a delicate shape.
This Malaysian food is almost always accompanied by a savory dish like curry but who’s stopping you from smearing them with Nutella or smothering them in maple syrup?
One of our favorite Malaysian foods, stir-fried noodles, which appear in a number of forms. The most common one is yellow noodles quickly cooked in a wok pan with garlic, soy, chilis, and shallots. Chicken, beef, shrimp, and various veggies can also be added. Mee Goreng is a very popular street food; street vendors often cook it over a charcoal fire that impairs a characteristic smoky flavor.
This Malaysian food is considered one of the most complicated to make. Like many Malay foods, it has many versions, all sharing one ingredient – noodles. Other than that, the ingredients are varying depending on the region. In the capital, Kuala Lumpur, the dish is drier, composed of stir-fried noodles combined with pork and squid, dark soy sauce, plus some pork lard.
In the northwest state of Penang, on the other hand, rice noodles form the base, along with hard-boiled eggs, shrimp stock, prawns, bean sprouts fried shallots, and sambal that build a very intense salty, acidic & fishy flavor.
Sweet Malaysian Foods
Sweet Malaysian foods are incredibly creative & colorful. During the colonial occupation by the British, teatime used to be a very important meal. The ritual was often accompanied by traditional British cookies, scones, and cakes but soon, Malaysian sweet foods were introduced. After the country became independent, the teatime tradition was kept.
Sweet Malaysian foods can be divided into two broad categories – fried desserts, which include pancakes and shaved ice, and kuihs, desserts made from glutinous rice.
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Here are some authentic Malaysian sweets you can serve with your tea.
Bahulu is a traditional sponge cake especially loved by kids. That is why it is often made in fun shapes, for instance, fish or buttons. Main ingredients are flour, sugar, and eggs. When the cake is baked, it becomes golden, soft, and crusty at the same time. It is often served along with coffee or tea.
These coconut cream cookies are the go-to choice during festive seasons like Hari Raya (literally ‘celebration day’, the day that marks the end of Ramadan). The main reason for their popularity is the sweet coconut flavor but also the fact that they literally crumble and melt in your mouth.
And in order to achieve that effect, the moisture from the flour has to be removed. The use of high-quality coconut cream is also very important in order to get that authentic taste. One more thing to take into consideration when making these cookies is they need to be white so be careful not to brown them while baking. Not only will they change the color, but they’ll also crack. We think these cookies will be perfect for Christmas!