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Borscht Recipe: the Quintessential Ukrainian Dish (Borsch / Борщ)

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We’ve all heard of borscht, or borsch, and it may be the first food that foreigners associate when thinking of Slavic or Eastern European cuisine, particularly Ukrainian cuisine.

Ukrainian borscht recipe with sour cream
Taken by Wikimedia Commons user L. West. [CC BY-SA 2.0].

Borsch is originally a Ukrainian concept, so here we will spell it also without the English ‘t’ at the end (it is spelled ‘borscht’ in English, after we borrowed it from Yiddish); it is considered also to be the national dish of Ukraine.

Borsch, a soup with a beet base, has been around for hundreds of years, dating back to Medieval times. It was a food for the working class and poor, since the starch and other components were cheap and accessible; you would never see this served at a royal dinner back then.

There are innumerable recipes for borscht throughout the world, and so I will add one more, though it is meant to be as close to the authentic and traditional recipe from years past as possible; some of the recipe is derived from an 1861 Russian cookbook, Classic Russian Cooking: Elena Molokhovets’ A Gift to Young Housewives, by the author named in the title, and the rest is a modern-day variation or adaptation. 

смачно́го!

Traditional Ukrainian Borscht

This is an adaptation of traditional Ukrainian borsch (borscht) taken from the 1861 book, Classic Russian Cooking: Elena Molokhovets' A Gift to Young Housewives. In it, this dish is referred to as "Ukrainian borshch" (Borshch malorossiyskiy / Борщ малороссийский, lit. "Little Russian Borscht").
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: Eastern European, Slavic, Ukrainian
Keyword: Historical
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 400kcal
Author: Elena Molokhovets
Cost: $25

Ingredients

  • 3 qts water
  • 3 lbs beef or pork (or combination)
  • 1 pc onion diced
  • 3 pcs beets grated (not pickled!)
  • 3 pcs potatoes, medium chopped
  • 3 pcs carrots grated
  • 1 head cabbage shredded
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 bunch parsley diced
  • 1 pc pork fat optional

Instructions

  • Make a meat broth with the water and beef and/or pork.
  • Add the vinegar and diced onions to meat broth.
  • Prepare the beets by boiling them whole in a separate pot for about an hour. After that, immerse in cold water, grate them, and set aside for later.
  • Cook whole potatoes, carrots, and head of cabbage for about half an hour or less.
  • Shred the cabbage, chop the carrots and potatoes.
  • Mix all together, with the grated beets from before, and add the diced parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top, and enjoy!

Notes

To save a lot of time, replace buying the head of cabbage with a bag of coleslaw mix; it is already pre-shredded into just the right consistency. Use 2 cups of this.
As Elena stated in her book over 150 years ago, “the borshch may also be served with fried buckwheat kasha, pancake pie with beef stuffing, or plain pancakes.”
For the most authentic version, you can sauté the beets, onion, and carrots in the pork fat before combining; this is the traditional way but adds quite a bit of calories.

Sate Ayam Recipe: Indonesian Chicken Satay, a Street Food Staple

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My mother is from Indonesia, and one of my all-time favorite foods that she used to make for us was sate (the Indonesian and Malaysian spelling for satay, pronounced the same way), whether it was beef (sapi), chicken (ayam), or something else.

Chicken sate ayam with peanut sauce
Chicken satay, or sate ayam, with peanut sauce. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Crisco 1492. [CC BY-SA 2.0].

The flavorful, tender meats would have me craving more and more after each bite, and I just couldn’t get enough. For this reason, I am glad that she doesn’t live near me now, because my metabolism ain’t what it used to be!

Sate is an Indonesian (and Malaysian) dish of marinated meat that has been skewered and grilled, usually served with a sauce, though the meat, if it is done right, is exquisite enough to excuse any extra condiments. It is similar to the Middle Eastern kebabs and Japanese yakitori, and though Malaysians and the Thai tend to claim sate is their creation, its southeast Asian origin is in the Indonesian island of Java.

Sate ayam is often served with a peanut sauce (bumbu kacang or sambal kacang), which is as popular as the dish itself. It is usually served as an appetizer or part of a larger meal, but in Indonesia it is common to see street vendors selling them as snacks.

Sate Ayam

Sate ayam, the Indonesian chicken satay, is just like a regular chicken kebab, but like half the size and triple the deliciousness.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indonesian, Southeast Asian
Keyword: Street Food
Servings: 50 skewers
Calories: 250kcal
Cost: $35

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 50 pcs bamboo skewers
  • 1 kg chicken, cubed preferably dark leg/thigh meat

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup kecap manis Indonesian sweet soy sauce, an Indonesian thick soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar.
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 pcs shallots, sliced make very thin slices
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce now the regular kind
  • 2 pcs red chilies, diced bird's eye chili / Thai chili, if possible
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper, ground
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 2 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Baste

  • 1/4 cup kecap manis
  • 1 pc lime juice (one lime's worth of juice)
  • 1 tsp terasi A shrimp paste, or any fish sauce/paste.
  • 1 pc shallot, sliced

Instructions

  • Cube the chicken into slightly smaller than 1" cubes (about 2 cm). Soak the bamboo skewers for about ½ hour in water prior to impaling the chicken cubes and putting on the grill, this way they won't burn!
  • Prepare both the basting mix and the marinades by mixing their ingredients in two different bowls.
  • Throw the cubed chicken into the bowl and let marinate, preferably overnight, but at least several hours. Take the marinated meat and stick 'em on the skewers, about 4 or 5 per stick.
  • Prepare the grill, charcoal if possible, but a large griddle/pan on the burner will work. When heat is even, place skewered meat on the grilling surface.
  • Baste the meat initially; turn over 2 or 3 times, basting the top after each flip.Meat should be done after 6-8 minutes of grilling.
  • Serve immediately, with Indonesian peanut sauce (sambal kacang or bumbu kacang), preferably. Selamat makan!

6 of the Best Places to Find Street Food Around the World

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Even mere images of street food are often enough to evoke scents and flavors rich enough to make our mouths water.

A litany of places around the world have roads lined with street food vendors advertising their fare. This subset of food culture is one that has been around for centuries, with dishes that have been passed through generations by word of mouth.

For anyone with an adventurous palate, we present a tour of the best places to find street food around the world.

noodles being fried in pan in Asia
© [callisto/Adobe Stock]

Here are the best places to find street food around the world:

1. Bangkok

Bangkok is touted by many as home to the world’s best street food, so it’s only natural that it tops our list. This food is convenient, affordable, and, most importantly, delicious. Some of the food stalls may seem unassuming, but don’t let appearances fool you. Bangkok has earned its crown for a reason, and it’s sure to keep it.

What to try: For a popular local dish, try some pad thai or rice porridge complete with pork balls and a raw egg.

2. Ho Chi Minh City

Many vendors here in Ho Chi Minh City focus their talents on one dish, meaning that their recipes have been refined to perfection. Some stalls will even cook the food in front of you, ensuring freshness and efficiency.

What to try: Anyone new to the area can’t go wrong with a hearty serving of pho. Pair it with some fresh spring rolls on the side.

3. Cairo

The authentic dishes on these streets of Cairo will make you envy the locals who get to partake in these meals daily. You may find a lot of food made with ingredients such as rice, chickpeas, lentil, and fava beans.

What to try: Ask locals where to find the best fuul (a type of Egyptian fava bean stew), and don’t forget to pick up a selection of kebabs. Cairo also has an abundant supply of tea you certainly won’t want to miss.

4. Mumbai

Mumbai is rich in savory foods and colorful desserts. Their dishes are a mixture of textures and flavors, and they’re as pretty as they are tasty. Here you’re likely to find irresistible combinations of fresh breads and vegetables.

What to try: You can’t go wrong with a generous helping of vada pav (a fried potato dumpling stuffed into a bun) or a cup of falooda (a smoothie of sorts) for dessert.

5. New Orleans

New Orleans is known for being the home of Mardi Gras. The city’s food is just as loud as its celebrations; Creole and Cajun are particularly well-known cuisines. Visitors eat, dance, and then eat some more.

What to try: Po’ boys, of course, cannot be passed up. You’ll want to indulge in crawfish and shrimp, of course, since New Orleans offers seafood at its finest. Eat your fill, but save a little room for a fresh beignet (deep-fried choux pastry similar to an English fritter).

6. Singapore

If your palate is diverse, you’ll love everything Singapore has to offer. Its streets are packed with a conglomeration of Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian classics. Chicken and rice are in ample supply here, serving as the base for many meals.

What to try: Laksa is a dish packed with ingredients such as bean sprouts, fish cakes, and coconut milk, among other things. Visitors may also want to sample some of the city’s many curry dishes.


So, what did you think? Do you have a craving to try any of these now? Have any more to add to this list? Let’s chat below here in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Swedish Gravlax Recipe: A Popular Scandinavian Dill-Cured Salmon

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Swedish gravlax, or gravad lax, is a dill-cured salmon that is popular especially around the holiday season. It is a raw fish dish, a Swedish delicacy and a quintessential Smörgåsbord item.

Cured salmon gravlax in dill
Cured salmon gravlax in dill. Credits: Magnus Carlsson/imagebank.sweden.se

You should top it with Hovmästarsås, a dill-infused mustard sauce most notably used with this salmon dish.

Smaklig måltid!

Swedish Gravlax

Swedish Gravlax, or gravad lax, is a dill-cured salmon that is popular especially around the holiday season.
Prep Time15 mins
Resting Time2 d
Total Time2 d 15 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: European, Scandinavian, Swedish
Keyword: Christmas, Easter, Midsummer
Servings: 16 people
Calories: 150kcal
Cost: $50

Ingredients

  • 35 oz salmon raw
  • 5.3 oz salt
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 2 tbsp white peppercorn crushed

Instructions

  • Slice across the fish fillet, not through it, making several shallow cuts in the fillets to help absorb the following marinade.
  • Mix salt, peppercorns, and sugar and generously coat the body of the fillet, flipping it over to get both sides equally. Dice the dill, and do the same, covering both sides.
  • Wrap in foil or plastic, then place in refrigerator with a weighted pan on top to help the fish better absorb the marinade.
  • Allow to stay in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days before serving, flipping twice per day while basting with the liquid that pools around the fish.
  • Smaklig måltid!

Notes

Top it with Hovmästarsås, a dill-infused mustard sauce most notably used with this salmon dish.

Cotoletta alla Milanese Recipe: The Milanese Veal Cutlet Staple

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The Cotoletta alla Milanese is quite a common dish in the real Milan, Italy; so common, in fact, that many people simply ask for una milanese in restaurants there.

Cotoletta alla milanese recipe
Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Pier. [CC BY-SA 2.0].

The cotoletta alla milanese is simply a veal cutlet, breaded and fried. It is quite similar to the Wiener schnitzel, and rightly so, because that whole region of northern Italy, including Milan, used to be under Austrian rule.

One of the main differences is that the bone stays in when making the cotoletta alla milanese. This dish is quite a simple one with few ingredients, and it is just as easy to produce. Though there are several variations of this dish, it all basically boils down to a veal cutlet breaded and fried in clarified butter.

Buon appetito!

Cotoletta alla Milanese

The Cotoletta alla Milanese, or Milanese Veal Cutlet, is quite a common dish in the real Milan, Italy; so common, in fact, that many people simply ask for una milanese in restaurants there.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central European, Italian
Keyword: Cutlet, Veal
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 550kcal
Cost: $15

Ingredients

  • 4 veal cutlets
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick butter (110-120 g)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp pepper (or to taste)

Instructions

  • In one bowl, crack the eggs into it and mix with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir.Prepare another bowl with just the breadcrumbs.
  • Tenderize the veal cutlets by hitting with a meat mallet or sledgehammer or anything of substantial weight that you have at your disposal.
  • Dip each cutlet into egg mixture, then dip in breadcrumb bowl, completely coating veal cutlet with both; you may dip again in both the eggs and the breadcrumbs to fully coat the cutlets.
  • Heat butter in open pan and fry cutlets until golden brown on each side.
  • Buon appetito!

Notes

Serve with some broccoli or potatoes as a contorno (side dish).

Pierogi Dough Recipe: Classic Dough for Quintessential Polish Dumplings

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Pierogi are quite popular for its simple ingredients and unlimited options for its stuffing. It can be an appetizer, main dish, or dessert.

In this post, we’ll show you the pierogi dough recipe, the unassuming base for this classic Polish staple food.

dough being made in flour
Taken by B. Huff via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Pierogi are the national food of Poland, and common throughout the world for the simple ingredients and unlimited options for its stuffing. It can be an appetizer, main dish, or dessert.

Traditionally a “peasant food” in Polish cuisine, it is now quite popular to eat at almost any time of day. Pierogi can also be found spelled perogi, pierogy, perogy, pierógi, perogie, pierogie, piroghi, pyrohy, or pyrogy (depending on the language and country of origin).

This recipe is just for the dough, and you can fill in whatever ingredients you desire. The word pierogi is already the plural form, as it you generally eat more than one at a time; the Polish word for a single piece is pieróg.

Classic Pierogi Dough

Pierogi are the national food of Poland; here's the recipe for its dough foundation.
Prep Time25 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Mixtures & Bases
Cuisine: Eastern European, European, Poliish, Slavic
Keyword: Dough
Servings: 24 pierogi
Calories: 20kcal
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup water (boiled)
  • 1/4 cup water (cold)
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  • Pour the flour through a sifter and into the mixing bowl. Add a half a teaspoon of salt and the egg (egg is optional).
  • Pour the 3/4 cup boiling water slowly into the bowl, while stirring the mixture around with a whisk. Try to remove as many lumps in the batter as possible.
  • Cover the bowl for five minutes and wait. Wash some dishes or something if you have nothing better to do. After 5 minutes, add the quarter-cup of cold water, and let it sit for 15 more minutes; wash some more dishes.
  • Add the 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil and knead the dough for a few minutes.
  • With a rolling pin, roll the dough on a flat surface until it is uniformly about 3 mm thick.
  • Cut circles out of dough; using a large cup or small bowl is an excellent replacement for a circle-cutter.
  • Find a pierogi recipe and filling you enjoy and make some Polish dumplings!

Notes

  • Replacing much of the water with milk (anywhere from a quarter to three-quarters of the amount of water) makes the dough taste sweeter and gives it a velvety texture, perfect for making dessert pierogi or pierogi-filled with cheese.
  • Glue pierogi together by moistening half of the edge of a dough circle with some water,folding it together, and then pinching it shut.
  • Polish pierogi recipes rarely call for eggs, because it makes the finished product more hard and tough, as opposed to the soft dough that is common, which is why we leave the egg as optional.

Stone Fence Cocktail Recipe: A Colonial American Favorite (“Stone Wall”)

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Meet a drink that was the favorite of many of the colonials and revolutionaries in the Northeast of what would soon be the United States – the Stone Fence.

rum drink being poured into rocks glass
Taken by A. Jaime via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

Also commonly known as the “Stonewall” (or “Stone Wall”), this cocktail was quite simple: rum and hard cider, essentially. The infamous Green Mountain Boys and their leader, Ethan Allen, purportedly drank this mixture prior to the legendary taking of Fort Ticonderoga.

Benedict Arnold also was said to have tried this, and to have reported on the Green Mountain Boys’ doing so. Even Buffalo Bill, much later, was a fan (he preferred it with a twist of lemon).

Soon, with the westward push and expansion, the drink would evolve; during the Civil War period, it came to be made with corn whiskey and non-alcoholic apple cider. This recipe here is an attempt at the Colonial American original.

Stone Fence Cocktail

The "Stone Fence" cocktail, also known as the "Stonewall" or "Stone Wall," was a colonial American Favorite of the Green Mountain Boys and others.
Prep Time2 mins
Total Time2 mins
Course: Alcoholic Drink
Cuisine: American, American – Early/Colonial
Keyword: Historical
Servings: 1 drink
Calories: 221kcal
Cost: $2

Ingredients

  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 6 oz hard cider
  • 1 pc lemon twist optional

Instructions

  • In a pint glass, pour the rum followed by the hard cider.
  • That's really it. Simple, no?

Notes

Ice can be added. Also, add a twist of lemon, if you prefer.