We know as much as the next person that staying at home is tough. Not only because we’re passionate travellers but also because we miss our family, friends and socialising in general. While the current situation is a whole new level of “challenging”, there are things to be thankful for. One prime example is having access to the internet, as with it comes a world of possibilities to get together virtually, keeping yourself busy and even opportunities to go on virtual holidays.
One of the best ways to feel like you’re exploring an exotic culture is through food! So why not schedule a video call with your family or friends and cook together? Below you’ll find our handpicked dishes that will bring you and your loved ones a little closer to your next holiday destination.
Pad Thai (Thailand)
This stir-fried noodle dish has become a classic across the globe and you may think it’s overrated, but anyone who has been to Thailand or an authentic Thai restaurant will know that Pad Thai truly deserves all the attention it gets.
Grab your fork and spoon in true Thai style and be transported to exotic Thailand with this quick and easy 15-minute recipe.
Saag Paneer (India)
India is well-known in the culinary world for its rich flavours and use of hot spices at times. While this leafy vegetable dish, known as Saag Paneer, still requires you to expand your spice shelf, it’s actually one of the country’s milder inventions. The cheese that is usually served with the dish also helps keep the temperature down as dairy products counteract hot spices.
Go on a virtual spiritual trip and master the art of Saag Paneer.
If you’re after a drink for a virtual party with your friends then the Pisco Sour is the one. The drink originates from Peru but is also often found on menus in Chile. Its main ingredients are the Peruvian liquor “Pisco” and lime juice, hence the name Pisco Sour. While it may not sound groundbreaking, it’s a refreshing and delicious drink that will make you feel like you’re sat in one of Lima’s colonial bars with the wind of the pacific ocean running through your hair.
Be warned, if you can easily taste liquor you might want to adjust the measurements. Try making one serving first and add more lime or sugar syrup to adjust it to your tolerance levels.
Give this Pisco Sour recipe a try, it might be your new favourite drink.
Arepas – a classic Colombian and Venezuelan dish that can be found in many South American countries. Arepas are made from cornflour and formed similar to a round flatbread, which is then stuffed with a wide variety of fillings. More traditional fillings usually include beef, black beans, rice and plantain. They might not look like much but oh boy, once you’ve tried them you will not be able to go back. You’ll even disregard how messy it can be to eat them.
The good thing is that you can stuff your arepas with whatever healthy (or unhealthy) fillings you like.
We’ve made it to Europe and its hearty and rather meat-heavy cuisine (at least traditionally). But vegetarians and vegans fear not, you can easily substitute some of the ingredients for veggie alternatives.
We’re starting our European journey in Russia, where Pelmeni are one of the most traditional dishes; though it’s actually still unclear whether Pelmeni originate from Russia, Serbia is also making a claim to Russia’s favourite dish. Pelmeni are meat filled dumplings and perfect for warming you up on a chilly day. If you’re a vegetarian, the meat is best replaced with a savoury mushroom and cream filling.
You can find the recipe here.
Every child in central and eastern Europe grows up to love this Hungarian beef stew and once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand why. The meat is usually very tender and a typical comfort food – one of many in Eastern Europe. Why not start your culinary journey in Hungary with this recipe?
If you want to add a bit of a Central European touch to the dish you can serve Goulash with Spaetzle, a German and Austrian egg-based type of pasta. It’s a meal that will take a bit longer to cook but we promise you won’t be disappointed!
Bunny chow (South Africa)
We know what you’re thinking and to answer your question, no, Bunny Chow doesn’t actually involve any kind of rabbit meat. The main ingredients for this delicious recipe are chicken, chickpeas, potatoes and bread. Make sure you’re hungry before you start tucking in, we guarantee you won’t be able to stop eating.
You can find the recipe here.
Mchuzi wa samaki (Tanzania)
Mchuzi wa samaki is a fish curry that can be found in many countries in East Africa but is said to have originated from the paradisiac island Zanzibar, just off the Tanzanian coast. You can tell that the dish has been inspired by idyllic island life – it’s a meal rich in unique flavours but you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to get there. In fact, this mild curry can be cooked in just 50 minutes.
Bring the white sand beach, reefs and cocktails home with this mouth-watering curry.
Tacos al pastor (Mexico)
Tacos – we probably don’t have to say anything else! If you’re crazy about tacos then you have to try tacos al pastor, a dish inspired by the lamb shawarma, which is a meal Lebanese immigrants introduced to the country. It’s a popular street food in both, Mexico and the US.
Bring Mexican rays of sunshine to your own home with this recipe.
Gallo Pinto (Costa Rica)
Gallo pinto is a Costa Rican dish made of rice and beans and is usually served with plantain, cheese and vegetables. If you’ve been to Costa Rica you’ll know that it’s impossible to escape this dish. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s always on the menu. Gallo Pinto may be the country’s most popular dish because it’s a deliciously balanced meal which encompasses the Costa Rican way of life “Pura Vida”.
Live your life the Costa Rican way for a day with the country’s most popular dish.
Falafels (The Middle East)
We’re aware that falafels may not be the exotic recipe you were waiting for. Although it’s a traditional Middle Eastern dish, falafels have gained a lot of popularity over the years and can now be found in every supermarket. Whether you’ve tasted a falafel that’s worthy of the name is another question.
Ditch the pre-made falafels from the supermarket and make this vegan treat yourself.
Anyone looking for a lifestyle change during lockdown will want to make a note of the healthy, yet incredibly delicious Moroccan tagine. Tagines can be compared to stews (but a lot richer in flavour) and the base ingredients are usually potatoes, carrots and onions. There are many different versions of tagine, we’ve opted for a vegetarian option as it’s a good starting point to get a feel for the dish but there’s definitely room to make this meal your new signature dish.
Anna is on the marketing team at Tucan Travel. From a young age Anna has travelled solo and on group tours through Europe, Northern Africa, the Americas and Asia.