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Travel from Home: 5 delicious global dishes to recreate at home

By Mint City Sponsored | 9 November 2020

Header image courtesy of Sofiia Popovych (via Shutterstock)

One of the best things about travelling abroad—besides the change in scenery and exciting sights—is the food. After all, what is a visit to Taipei without a snack (or three) at the bustling night markets, or a tour of the Amalfi Coast without a glass of wine and fresh frutti di mare? While it looks like we won’t be able to visit these places in person anytime soon, we can still let our palates do a little travelling for us by indulging in some delicious international cuisine.

And with all of us spending more time at home nowadays, what better time is there to learn how to recreate some of the world’s best flavours from the comfort of your own home? Here are five mouth-watering international dishes that any home cook can make with just a little time, enthusiasm, and some easy-to-source ingredients! Bon appétit!

India

Photo credit: @indishious (Instagram)
1

Paneer butter masala with garlic naan

Well-loved by all, the paneer butter masala is a dish that is the perfect blend of spiciness tempered by creaminess. It is also vegetarian and near irresistible when paired with garlic naan.

Ingredients

• 250 grams of paneer, defrosted and diced into one-inch cubes
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 1.5 teaspoons of chopped ginger
• 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
• 6 to 8 cashew nuts, soaked in water for 15 minutes
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 green chillies, diced
• 3 medium tomatoes
• 2 teaspoons of Kasuri Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves)
• Half teaspoon of garam masala powder
• 1 tablespoon of coriander powder
• 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
• 2 tablespoons of cream
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• 2 tablespoons of oil
• Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and grind them with two tablespoons of water to make a paste. Blanch the tomatoes and blend them to make a smooth tomato puree. Set the two pastes aside in separate containers.
  2. Heat the cooking oil and butter in a pan over a medium flame. In order, add the bay leaf, onion, garlic, and ginger, then sauté for approximately four minutes until the paste turns light brown.
  3. Add the green chillies and the red chilli powder, then sauté for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the cashew nut paste and tomato puree (from step 1) and cook for approximately three to four minutes, until the oil starts to separate from the puree.
  5. Add the coriander powder and garam masala, then mix well.
  6. Add half a cup of water, then season with salt and cook until the oil rises to the surface.
  7. Add cream and mix well.
  8. Add the paneer cubes and kasuri methi, then cook for about three minutes until the mixture has reduced to your preferred consistency.
  9. Garnish with a cube of butter before serving.
  10. Enjoy with garlic naan or rice.

Thailand

Photo credit: @simplypaya (Instagram)
2

Chicken pad thai

This rice noodle dish has become a delicacy thanks to its well-balanced flavours and diverse mix of textures. Luckily for us, it’s also not difficult to prepare. Tangy, sweet, and slightly spicy, a good pad thai is hearty and will leave you wanting more.

Ingredients

• 200 grams of rice noodles
• 350 grams of chicken breast, shrimp, or tofu
• 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
• 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (for a more traditional taste, use palm sugar if available)
• 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon of lime juice
• 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
• 2 cups of bean sprouts
• 1 cup of thinly sliced carrots
• 2 spring onions, chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 bell pepper
• 2 eggs
• One-third cup of peanuts
• 1 lime

Directions

  1. Cook the rice noodles according to the packaging’s directions.
  2. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water right after cooking to prevent them from sticking together.
  3. Whisk the sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, and fish sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat the cooking oil in a pan on medium heat, then add chicken and sauté for approximately five minutes until cooked through. Set the meat aside, leaving the oil in the pan.
  5. Stir in the bell pepper and carrots, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, spring onions, and bean sprouts. Sauté for another minute.
  6. Push the vegetables to the edges of the pan, and crack the eggs into the centre then scramble the eggs until they have just set.
  7. Add the chicken, rice noodles, and sauce mixture into the pan, and stir fry everything together for a couple of minutes.
  8. Garnish with some crushed peanuts and lime wedges or even sprinkle some coriander, chilli flakes, and sesame seeds.

Mexico

Photo credit: @chef_andhis_mrs (Instagram)
3

Halloumi fajitas

A Mexican feast is a sure-fire crowd pleaser, so try your hand at these vegetarian fajitas with savoury halloumi cheese, offset by sweet bell peppers and crunchy red onions—it’s easy to prepare, which makes it the perfect weeknight meal.

Ingredients

• 250 grams of halloumi cheese
• 4 soft tortillas
• 2 handfuls of baby spinach
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 1 red onion, sliced
• 1 red pepper, sliced
• Half teaspoon of chilli powder
• Half teaspoon of garlic salt
• Half teaspoon of ground cumin
• A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Guacamole, to serve

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a high heat. Fry the onions and peppers until both have softened and are beginning to brown along the edges.
  2. Add the spices and toss, cooking for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a bowl, set aside, and give the pan a quick wipe.
  3. Cut the halloumi into slim, finger-shaped pieces. Add to the hot pan and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden.
  4. Add the vegetables back into the pan and toss everything together.
  5. Serve on warmed tortillas with the baby spinach leaves. Top with coriander and serve with guacamole.

Italy

4

Zesty ravioli skillet

What can be more broadly representative of Italian cuisine than pasta? We particularly like the ravioli—essentially little parcels of cheesy goodness which come with a variety of fillings. This recipe couldn’t be easier to whip up, and should only take roughly 20 minutes.

Ingredients

• 750 grams of ravioli
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 150 grams of shredded mozzarella cheese
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• 800 grams of diced tomatoes with onions, undrained
• 75 millilitres of heavy whipping cream
• 4 cups of fresh baby spinach
• Half teaspoon of salt
• Half teaspoon of black pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the ravioli according to the packaging’s directions. Drain and set aside after cooking.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat for approximately two minutes.
  3. Add the garlic to the pan and stir for approximately 15 seconds, or until fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and stir until the sauce is simmering.
  5. Stir the cream in. Cook until simmering, then add the spinach and the ravioli.
  6. When the spinach wilts, remove the pan from the heat and top with mozzarella.

Greece

Photo credit: @martasfood_ (Instagram)
5

Traditional Greek baklava

Of course, we’d have to round things off with dessert. This delicious sweet is made of multiple layers of crispy golden phyllo, filled with chopped nuts and honey syrup. We’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t like these crispy nuggets of indulgent goodness!

Ingredients

• 25 to 30 sheets of phyllo (filo) dough
• 500 grams of walnuts, chopped (or a mix of different nuts; almonds, pistachios)
• 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder
• 2 teaspoons of ground clove
• 300 grams of butter, melted
• 600 grams of sugar
• 400 millilitres of water
• 80 grams of honey
• Zest from one lemon or orange
• 1 stick of cinnamon

Directions

  1. Thaw the frozen phyllo pastry sheets by placing them in the fridge a day ahead and an hour in room temperature before using them.
  2. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, being careful not to burn it. Butter the bottom and sides of a baking pan.
  4. Layer the sheets of phyllo in the baking pan to form the pastry base. Add them one at a time, sprinkling—not brushing—each piece with melted butter. Use about 10 to 12 layers for the base.
  5. Mix the chopped nuts, cinnamon, and ground clove, then sprinkle the mixture over the phyllo base.
  6. Continue the layering and buttering process. Brush the topmost layer of the baklava with butter, making sure it is covered well. Cut into desired shapes.
  7. Place the baklava into a preheated oven at 175 degrees Celsius, on the lower rack with both the top and bottom heating elements on. Bake for approximately 50 minutes, until all the phyllo layers are crisp and golden.
  8. For the syrup, put the sugar, water, citrus zest, and cinnamon into a small pot, and bring to the boil. Without stirring or blending, let the sugar dissolve and boil for about five minutes.
  9. Take off the heat, and stir in the honey after the syrup stops bubbling. Let the syrup cool down.
  10. Ladle the cold syrup slowly over the baklava straight out of the oven, allowing each ladle to be fully absorbed evenly.
  11. Let the baklava cool down and serve after the syrup has been absorbed throughout.

You might be itching to run straight to the kitchen to try these recipes out, only to find you don’t have the ingredients you need. Don’t fret if this is the case, because we know just the place that will stock everything you need.

Mint City is an independent grocery store featuring a generous array of flavours from Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and further across the globe. Working closely with exceptional vendors all around the world, they are here to bring Hongkongers food products of the finest quality, without the hefty price tag. If you’re in the market for international food and beverage labels at affordable prices, Mint City is your one-stop-shop!

Throughout the month of November, Mint City is offering Localiiz readers five percent off on all online orders over $250, with free delivery to your doorstep. Simply use the code AUTUMNTREAT at checkout, and get your kitchen ready. You can also visit their expansive, 5,000-square-foot retail space in Hung Hom to pick and choose your favourite products. Which of these fantastic global dishes will you be attempting first?

Mint City

Mint City is an independent grocery store committed to bringing quality foods from the kaleidoscope of flavours in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and the rest of the world. Working closely with exceptional vendors all around the world, they stock food products of the finest quality, without the hefty price tag.

Unit CD3, G/F, Hang Fung Industrial Building Phase 1, 2G Hok Yuen Street, Hung Hom

(+852) 2723 5672

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