Nowadays, ethnic cuisine is pretty standard fare in most parts of the country, whether it be at restaurants or at home. Dozens of cookbooks are available to educate the masses on ethnic cuisines such as Moroccan, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Thai–to name a few. As small kitchen inhabitants, it is easy to fall into a cooking rut with ordinary pasta or take-out for dinner every night of the week. Instead of reaching for the pasta or the menu, check out this list of the five best ethnic dishes to make at home. They are sure to spice up recipe repertoire!
***The 5 Best Ethnic Dishes to Make at Home***
1. Sweet and Savory Moroccan Stew. Moroccan Stew is the way to go if you’re a sucker for dishes that are both sweet and savory. A spin on traditional tagines, it incorporates all the classic ingredients and flavors into a crowd-pleasing, one-pot dish. The combination of spices, from cinnamon to turmeric to cumin, gives the dish the wonderful depth and earthiness that any good stew should have. Like all good small kitchen recipes, this dish can be adapted to fit the spices and ingredients you have in your pantry, and can easily be made for vegetarian friends by subbing in squash. Serve this at your next dinner party or make a pot to reheat for lunch for a week.
2. Banh Mi. This Vietnamese staple has taken the lunch crowd by storm and it’s just as easy to make at home as it is to buy (plus you get to skip the long lines!). Traditionally served on a crunchy baguette, this sandwich is filled with simple ingredients like grilled or roasted meat and carrots, spiced up with a chili sauce and cilantro. Each component of this sandwich can be made in advance and assembled later, making it a quick and delicious alternative to your average turkey club.
3. Paella. The ultimate surf and turf, paella is a rich and flavorful Spanish one-pot wonder that’s another great dinner party or potluck dish. In this dish, the proteins really shine, so balance the indulgence of seafood, sausage, and chicken with cheaper pantry staples like canned tomatoes, frozen peas and rice. Ignore those who insist that a special fancy pan is required to make this dish—just grab a cast iron skillet and you’re good to go! While paella is easy to make on the stove top, definitely give it a try on the grill in the warmer months.
4. Chana Bateta. Put that Indian take out menu away! No need for it, when you can make this warming Indian classic in the comfort of your own kitchen. This vegetarian dish is the perfect vehicle for those cans of chickpeas and tomatoes that sometimes gather dust in the pantry, and it’s beefed up with potatoes and some heat. To complete the take-out replacement meal, serve with homemade raita and chicken tikka masala. While the list of spices may seem a bit daunting, it is worth having them on hand for other ethnic or global inspired dishes, including but not limited to the ones on this list.
5. Stir-fried Beef with Honey Miso Sauce. Let’s be honest, you really cannot go wrong with stir fry. This particular recipe pairs beef and vegetables with a honey laced miso sauce that can gladly replace greasy Chinese take out. File this dish under delicious go-to Asian style dishes, along with recipes like Pad Thai, Ginger Scallion Noodles, Soba Noodles with Ginger Chicken Meatballs, and Pork and String Bean Stir Fry.
Juliana Barton is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, where she avoided the dining hall by playing lunch lady in her own kitchen, complete with plenty of Moroccan Stew. Read more…