10 destination-inspired recipes to make you feel like you’re on holiday
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
As we settle into the second lockdown of the year and prepare for winter, now is a good time to hone those cooking skills. Plus everyone’s travel plans for the immediate future are on hold. So tucking into a paella in the Basque country, finding the best pho in Ho Chi Minh City, savouring the spiciest curry in Delhi or drooling over the best steak in Buenos Aires may be a little while off yet.
So maybe it’s a good idea to bring the countries to you if you can’t go to them. Below you will find 10 of the best recipes that you can easily make in the comfort of your own home.
1. Boeuf bourguignon — France
Beef bourguignon, also called beef burgundy, is a beef stew in red wine with carrots, onion and garlic. It’s a hearty dish that can be made in a pot on the stove, slow cooker or pressure cooker. It can be adapted how you wish and you don’t need to be a whizz in the kitchen to put it together.
Tip: When slow cooking, you don’t need to use expensive cuts of meat, so use what meat fits your budget. Serve with mashed swede and carrot for some extra vitamins and minerals.
2. Lasagne al forno — Italy
This is a lovely recipe for the whole family. You can make a big dish and freeze leftover portions. You can’t cook this dish in a hurry — let it simmer away for at least two hours. The true Italian way is to use both pork and beef mince.
Tip: To make it healthier, use a layer of aubergine or courgettes so you have less pasta, fewer carbs and more vegetables.
3. Paella — Spain
This dish always looks like it’s an effort to make but in fact, it’s quite easy to do. The traditional dish calls for short-grain rice but you can use brown rice if you want more fibre. You can also add some leftover ingredients in your fridge and experiment with different vegetables.
Tip: Substitute the meat with seafood, which is not only delicious but a hit of zinc, which is great for your immune system.
4. Dhal — India
This is a really simple dish and uses ingredients that can be stored in the cupboard. There’s nothing unhealthy about this. It’s rich in fibre, folate and also spices that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Tip: Skip the potatoes if you’re watching your waistline. There is more than enough carbohydrate in the lentils.
5. Pho — Vietnam
Opting for pho is a great chance for a warming bowl of noodles and a lot of fresh vegetables. You can make pho plant-based with a vegan broth or a meat version with beef broth. Making broth at home is quite interactive so a good time to involve the family. According to ramen/pho experts, you should be slurping as you tuck in.
Tip: The more vegetables the better! This is your chance to get your daily intake with this dish.
6. Chicken katsu — Japan
This is a clear favourite when it comes to Japanese cuisine and there has been a surge of katsu-only restaurants recently. Also known as panko chicken, this schnitzel-like Japanese delicacy has a history going back to 1899. This dish is very versatile and can be used with pork, chicken, tofu or bean patty.
Tip: Just because the restaurant version doesn’t contain many vegetables doesn’t mean you should do the same at home. Keep the curry as a dipping sauce if you want to make the dish healthier.
7. Lamb tagine — Morocco
If you have been to Morocco then you probably have fallen in love with its cuisine. Spicy, fruity and very versatile so you can adapt it to using either meats or beans. It’s a very healthy, high-protein dish full of vitamins and minerals and good fats.
Tip: Swap the grains for cauliflower rice for a low-carb version of this dish.
8. Chicken satay — Thailand
Savour this dish while closing your eyes imagining you are at a bustling street market in Bangkok. The succulent chicken and peanut sauce just melts in your mouth. Some recipes even uses honey over sugar, which makes it a bit healthier than the refined sugar versions.
Tip: Serve with a bowl of crudites as the sauce is perfect for dipping.
9. Jerk chicken — Jamaica
For those that like a bit of spice will love jerk chicken. Jerk seasoning is based on two main ingredients — Scotch Bonnet chilli peppers (or habaneros) and Allspice. It’s usually served with rice and beans and finished on a BBQ but a griddle pan is just fine.
Tip: Have some yoghurt on standby if you find this dish too hot.
10. Hamburgers – USA
Everyone loves a good hamburger. There seems to be a fine art in perfecting the recipe though and making sure the burger is tender and juicy. Most recipes are a close-guarded secret but try one involving mashing bread crusts and milk in the initial stages.
Tip: Serve bun-less if you are looking to lower the carbs in the dish. Have with a side salad instead.
Don’t make cooking stressful — there are lots of simple recipes online. Some are quite quick but others take a bit of time as they need to be slow-cooked. Dare to try a recipe you haven’t tried before — and look forward to when you can eat it in its hometown.
Featured photo by from_my_point_of_view/Getty Images
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