(115) Kenya Day 1 – Kenyan Beef Curry

Kenya, an African country known for its incredible wildlife -a safari hot spot. Nestled beside Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Indian Ocean, this country is chalk-a-block full with national parks and wildlife reserves. The country is also well known for the world’s fastest runners, the great wildebeest migration, and Kitenge culture.

Source: kuoni.co.uk

Kenya is a big exporter of tea and coffee. Interestingly it is thought that Kenya has no “national dish.” Due to the 40+ native tribes there are several special dishes that are thought to represent these diverse communities. Common staples of the Kenyan diet consist of grain (maize, sorghum, and millet), rice, greens, grilled meats, fish (in coastal regions), and local vegetables. Stews are a very common meal to have on a regular basis along with ugali (maize polenta).

Today I made a traditional Kenyan curry with steak, it can also be made with chicken or goat. Similar to Kenyan stews, tomatoes, onions, and garlic are core ingredients.

I opted out of the the more authentic pairing of ugali because I have had unsuccessful attempts at making polenta/porridge that tasted good and naan bread is 👌Curries and stews traditional pair with ugali which is key to soaking up alllll the goodness! Cooking was a breeze, the slow cooking of the curry allows the flavors the develop.

Our first Kenyan meal was a power house dish full of pleasant spice and refreshing cilantro. The flat bread paired well with the dish and absorbed the curry which had a tomato dominant flavor. And if it couldn’t get better the meat was also very tender, perfect! We rated this one 9.5/10 🔥

Kenyan Beef Curry

Paige
This is comfort in a bowl with just the right about of spice!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine African
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 lbs sirloin steak chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 2 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 2 medium red onions diced
  • 1 16oz can tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp paprika smoked for more depth of flavor!
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp curry powder or more 🌶️
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 fresh chilis/hot peppers sliced for garnish (I used jalapeno)
  • 1/2 cilantro bunch roughly chopped

Instructions
 

  • Add the 4 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Mix in the beef, garlic, and ginger allowing to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove pot from heat and drain liquid, reserve broth for later. Set beef aside as well. Add the pot back to the stove and add cooking oil changing temp to medium heat. Add in the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add canned tomatoes to onions and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes soften. Mix the beef back into the pot along with the remaining spices and tomato paste. Combine ingredients well.
  • Add the broth back into the pot and add any additional water needed to cover the beef completely. Bring mix to boil then turn down to a simmer for 1 hour. Make sure to stir frequently.
  • Once the beef is cooked through you can do your final taste test adding any additional seasoning you find necessary. Garnish with peppers and cilantro. Serve with rice, ugali, or naan bread.
Keyword African, Beef, Beef Curry, Curry, Kenya, Kenyan

(114) El Salvador – Pupusas and Bistec Encebollado Salvadoreño (Steak and Onions)

Source: Traveltomtom.net

El Salvador, “The Savoir” in Spanish, is a small Central American country that borders Guatemala, Honduras, and the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador is also known by “the land of volcanos” due to it homing 20+, with two active volcanos that erupted last year.

Typical fare found here is influenced by the indigenous people and Spain. Maize is a main staple of the country and is used often in cooking. Cassava, beans, cheese, pork, and seafood are other main ingredients and loroco and isote are common seasonings. The national dish of El Salvador is pupusas which I attempted to make..

Pupusas are a thick batter with a stuffing either containing cheese, meat, vegetables, beans, or a combination. It’s popularity doesn’t stop here, it spans across the world as a tasty bite. Another indigenous recipe, they were thought to have originated from the Pipil tribe over 2000 years ago. The steak on the otherhand is another traditional and well loved Salvadorian classic with the flavor combo of yellow mustard and Worchester sauce. You can find the pupusa recipe here and steak recipe here.

I struggled to get the right consistency for the batter which you can see and I ended up adding more flour to get it more workable. The steak was straight forward. I can’t remember the salsa I got, but it was good!

Well, I failed at the pupusas.. so sad. I didn’t have the right grain/flour for it so mine didn’t stay together and was very cornbread-like. The steak had a unique sweetness to it. On a positive note we thought the salsa paired well with the pupusa “wannbe.” We rated it 6/10.. Oh well! That means we will have to circle back in the future and try something else to redeem ourselves!

(113) Philippines – Adobo Chicken

The Philippines is an Asian country made up of 7.6k islands of which only 2k are inhabited. The Philippines are known for their beautiful beaches and picturesque landscapes like the one pictured below.

Source: science.org

The cuisine of The Philippines is unique due to the diverse ethnolinguistic groups and tribes over the thousands of islands. Much of Filipino cuisine was created several centuries ago and have since evolved into known dishes today such as paella, lechon, adobo chicken, and lumpia to name a few. This country is also one of the world’s largest producers of coconut. Vinegar is also known as a very crucial element in Filipino cuisine as you will read more about below.

Of course the dish we chose is a very well known dish and is often the first food to be associated with Filipino food- chicken adobo! When I was researching the Philippines, my friend Eric who is half Filipino, steered me in the direction of this mouth watering plate. He has made us this meal on multiple occasions so I already had a good idea how good it would taste. Adobo, a salt, vinegar, soy sauce, and black peppercorn marinade has been around since the precolonial period. The indigenous people would use vinegar and salt to help preserve food in the tropical climate.

This was another easy dish! I marinated the chicken overnight in order to get as much flavor as possible and while it cooked I could get the mushrooms and onions prepped. When everything was cooking I got the rice going and prepared the salad. Although it was a steady hour of cooking with minimal breaks it can be done during the week.

Yum! This chicken was so delectable, the mushrooms were tender and full of flavor, and the salad was refreshing and spicy! We loved that the ingredient list was minimal and not overwhelming. The meal overall was well rounded and a crown pleaser. We rated it 8/10!

Adobo Chicken with Mushrooms and Onions – The Philippines

Paige
This super savory chicken uses simple ingredients and is easy to make.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Filipino

Ingredients
  

Adobo Chicken

  • 6-8 chicken thighs preferably bone-in with skin on
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp black pepper corns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Mushrooms and Onions

  • 1 onion diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms I used portobello, diced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions
 

Adobo Chicken

  • Marinade all ingredients for a minimum of 4 hours, I marinated mine overnight for more flavor!
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees, place chicken with marinade in dutch oven and cook for 30 minutes covered.
  • Flip chicken over and cook for another 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. When flipping chicken drizzle marinade over the top to give chicken a glaze.
  • Serve chicken with jasmine rice or a salad. We decided to do both.

Mushrooms and Onions

  • Prep mushrooms and onions while garlic simmers at medium heat in skillet.
  • Add mushrooms and onions to garlic with remaining ingredients, allow to simmer until cooked through. Serve on top of jasmine rice and chicken.
Keyword Adobo, Chicken, Cooking Every Country, Filipino, Mushrooms, Onions, Soy Sauce, The Philippines, Week night meal

(112) Tunisia – Shakshuka

Today’s meal is from Tunisia, not Greece as the above picture may convince you. Tunisia is apart of Northern Africa which borders the Mediterranean Sea, Algeria, and Libya. Here you can find a blend of Arab and Berber culture, 99% of the country being Arab. An interesting fact about Tunisia is that Star Wars A New Hope was filmed in several locations.

Sidi Bou Said – Source: The Japan Times

The local fare is greatly influenced by the countries culture and surrounding regions. Like other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, olive oil, tomatoes, and seafood are commonly used in their meals. A trait that sets Tunisian cuisine apart from other Northern African countries is that most of their meals are spicy. These spices include cumin, caraway, chili peppers, paprika, coriander, and garlic.

The dish I found to represent Tunisia is called shakshuka. It is thought to have originated here, but is widely eaten as a breakfast dish throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. Simply it is lightly poached eggs in a pepper and tomato sauce along with other fresh ingredients. This meal traditionally is vegetarian and the recipe I used can be found here.

After prepping all the veggies (or using canned) you end up combining all the ingredients in one pot and making wells for the eggs to sit while they cook. The recipe is fairly simple and quick to make.

We found this plate to be unique, but unfortunately underwhelming in flavor and textures. The flatbread pair well and was the perfect vessel to transport the meal to your mouth. I can’t see us trying this one again, it was rated 6/10.

(111) The Marshall Islands – Coconut Fish and Papaya Salad

The Marshall Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, its closest neighbor being Hawaii to the northeast. This independent nation is made up of 1,225 islands, 870 reefs, and 29 atolls which spans over 750,000 sq miles. Sadly this country is facing the looming threat of global warming and is at high risk of being under water if the globe warms two degrees.

Majuro Atoll. Source: BBC News

Cuisine of The Marshall Islands mostly includes ingredients that can be found locally including several varieties of fruit, seafood, and rice. The Marshallese take care with food preservation including fermentation. Dried pandanus paste which is made from pandan leaves can last several years if prepared properly. These leaves have a subtle vanilla flavor and were used when we made nasi lemak from Malaysia.

Today’s recipe combines all the island flavors including coconut and papaya. We opted to omit the sweet potato salad since we aren’t big mayo fans. You can find the recipe here

I found the cooking and preparation simple, but it didn’t look too appetizing. Looking back I actually forgot to bread the fish, that makes a HUGE difference in the end result. It would have given the dish the “face lift” it needed, especially if shredded coconut was added to the flour! We served up the concoction over a bed of jasmine rice. Meh

This was another dish that was really unique and unfortunately lacked contrasting textures due to my error and execution- I blame this on being a crunch meal during the work week. The elements of the dish all worked together and the mint highlighted the freshness of the fruit. It was a little too unique for us, but I guarantee if you follow the recipe you will have a better result. We rated this version 6.25/10.

(110) Luxembourg – Brun lapskaus (Brown Stew)

Source: audleytravel.com

Today’s dish is from Luxumbourg, a small European country which is encompassed by France, Belgium, and Germany. It is known for being a very wealthy country due to its banking, industrial and steel sectors. Although it’s smaller than the state of Rhode Island it is full of historical forests, castles, and caverns.

The cuisine reflects its’ neighboring countries and immigrants from Portugal and Italy. Fresh water fish, beef, and poultry are commonly seen in their cooking and are considered a very important part of the meal. Many staple dishes here have root vegetables and potatoes, today’s dish is no different!

Today’s recipe was difficult to find. For whatever reason finding a more authentic dish of Luxembourg posed as a challenge, I was able to find this to try. I also found it seasonably appropriate and great for when you’re snowed in like I am currently- under 2 ft of snow! The tender beef is the show stopper here and complimented by a medley of vegetables.

The preparation and cooking was pretty simple. I opted to bring more color to the dish by purchasing the rainbow carrots and generously garnishing the stew with parsley. There’s tedious chopping, but in this dish it can be overlooked as the complexity is low.

We thought the stew was lovely and had a mild sweetness from the butter. The parsnips and carrots had flavors that stood out among the rest. The parsley lightened our palates and the stew. Overall it was a well rounded wholesome stew that was well seasoned, it was rated 8.25/10.

(109) Iran – Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh (Persian Saffron Chicken)

Source: tehrantimes.com

Iran, a country we hear about in the news way too often for negative reason but not in this post! Iran, the second largest country of the middle east, is situated in western Asia bordered by Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Persian Gulf, and Caspian Sea. The climate depends on where you reside in the country- major regions include desert (the majority of the country), mountainous, and coastal. Pictured above is western Iran.

My saffron substitute- turmeric!

Iranian cuisine is full of savory spices that is sure to warm you up, especially on a day like today -it’s full on snowstorm mode in Western Maine! Iranians also LOVE their tea! It is custom to drink tea after every meal and at gatherings- typically it will be black tea without milk. Rice is at the heart of many Persian meals accompanied by meat (often lamb or chicken), salad, yogurt, and vegetables. Some of Iran’s largest exports are caviar, saffron, and pistachios; saffron especially being big in their cuisine. Saffron was also apart of today’s dish too, but to cut costs I found a reasonable substitute right at my local grocery store- turmeric root! If you decide to purchase saffron one thing to note is the color of the threads. The quality of saffron can be determined by the color of the threads, the darker color implying a higher quality.

Zereshk polo ba morgh which translates to barberry rice with chicken is the meal I chose to make to represent Iran. This dish is often enjoyed at celebratory events and gatherings. Saffron might seem like the key ingredient, here but the real star is the barberry. I had never heard of barberries and thought this was something to add to my Amazon cart and I’m glad I did. They’re a little smaller than a raisin and have a tart flavor that compliments savory meals. This well rounded meal has multiple components and a lengthy ingredient list, but isn’t too complicated to make. You can find the recipe here!

Preparing this colorful meal was pretty simple and most of the time was the chicken simmer in the pot which only required my attention every 25-30 minutes to make sure nothing was burning or sticking. The salad I cut up in advance, the mint topping coming from dried mint from the garden!

I had a good feeling about this one, the Middle Eastern dishes always seem to knock it out of the park and I was right on the money! The flavors were bold and vibrant, the chicken was very tender, and the berries brought a beautiful burst of tartness that elevated the dish to the next level. This is yet another dish that will be added to our personal collection, bravo Iran! We rated this one 9.75/10!

(108) Poland – Krokiety

Wawel Castle – Krakow, Poland. Source: Planetware.com

Poland, a central country in Europe resides between Germany, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, and the Baltic Sea. Poland is home the most ancient forest of Europe known as the Białowieża forest which is heavily protected and preserved. It also is home to wild Bison, one of the only places in the world where the population is thriving once again. Pictured above is one of the historic cities of Poland, Krakow which is known for Wawel Castle and architectural styles from over the centuries.

Of course when we think of Polish cuisine we think of pierogis! The delicious little potato and cheese dumplings are the ideal comfort food, but there is so much more to Polish cuisine. Poland loves their meat and is often found at the heart of their meals. Cereals, grains, and noodles along with a variety of vegetables and mushrooms accompany the meat. Dairy products especially butter is used during cooking preparation or in the meal itself. A traditional Polish dinner is made up of three courses- soup (tomato is common), sometimes an appetizer such as cured meat or herring, the main course, and a dessert. You won’t go hungry visiting Poland!

The meal we opted to try was something we had never heard of before- krokiety. Polish krokiety (also known as croquettes) is a staple of Poland often filled with meat, cabbage, and/or veggies. Once the pancake is filled it is folded then fried with bread crumbs. Crikey! You can find the recipe to the Krokiety here (there’s my dad joke for this post).

Ian prepared this one and it was time consuming! The outer part of the krokiety is pancake like and wasn’t too complicated but the assembling and folding of these bad boys took a few trials. Keeping the breading on them too was tricky but either way I applauded Ian on the end result and presentation! He definitely has an eye for plating!

This was another unique dish that was very different from the rest. It was crepe like and had a nice crunchiness to it. We thought it also was in need of a sauce and found red sauce worked well (can you tell we like tomato sauce?). The filling was very savory and left us feeling satisfied! This dish got 7.5/10.

(107) Eswatini/Swaziland – African Almond Stew with Ginger Cauliflower Rice

Source: Wep.it

Today we are in Eswatini which was previously known as Swaziland. 50 years after gaining independence the country changed its name to Eswatini which is the original ancient name prior to the British rule. You can find this landlocked, African country situated between South Africa and Mozambique. Like the surrounding countries it is known as a safari hot spot due to having all five of the large “game” animals (lions, buffalos, elephants, leopards, and rhinos).

Eswatini cuisine is centered around vegetables and grains. Meat dishes, also known as inyama is reserved for special occasions which could include goats or chickens. Without access to the sea, fish and other seafood is not common. “Mealie meal” which is a maize grain is a staple to Swazis which can be eaten alone or paired with a stew to soak up the savory flavors.

The meal I chose to represent Eswatini vegetarian and includes ingredients that may be accessed on a more regular basis. This meal was inspired by someone who had volunteered for several months, a tomato based curry being a regular meal. The writer amped up the base of the meal and added Eswatini staples such as ginger and sweet potato to highlight the cuisine of the country. I also was happy to see I didn’t have to attempt another maize product as they seem to go wrong for me! You can check out the recipe here!

Cauliflower rice is something I am familiar with and is super simple, just makes a mess if you aren’t careful! The preparation and cooking was pretty straight forward. There wasn’t any arugula in the store so I got spinach instead. One way to save you time is get the canned version of the foods- there is no shame in that and it saves you on prep time. I used to always think fresher is better but with the grocery prices too.. this is the way (unless of course you can support a local farm stand!)

This one was really AMAZING- two words: almond butter! This dish had the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, the tomatoes were tangy, and the almonds brought a crisp crunch. We were blown away and plan to add this to our personal recipe collection! We rated it 9.75/10❤️

(106) Malta – Froġa tat-Tarja

Source: EU-startups.com

Bringing us to our 106th country is Malta, a small country situated in the central Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily and North Africa. Prior to its’ independence in 1964 Malta was apart of the British Empire. Malta is approximately 121 sq miles with a population of just over 500k people spread across 3 islands. On the island Gozo there are ancient ruins that date back to 3,600 B.C, which is older than Stonehedge! The country is full of history and delicious food.

Maltese cuisine is influenced by several surrounding countries including Italy, Spain, Provence (France), and other countries of the Mediterranean. Since Malta is a small network of islands it relies on importing the majority of its goods and with its location the country receives goods from its’ neighboring countries. The national dish of Malta is rabbit stew or stuffat tal-fenek, but since there is no rabbit in the grocery stores we made another dish that is special to Malta.

The dish we will be making today is a Maltese omelet or as it is known in Malta as froġa tat-tarja. It shows its influence from the Italian frittati di pasta which has the core ingredients of egg, parmesan, and pasta. I was unable to find a back story to the dish but I believe a good possibility could be someone mixing together leftover ingredients and voila an inexpensive dish was born. The recipe I used as a guide can be found here.

Preparation didn’t take long, just simple cooking skills were required- I hope you all know how to cook pasta and beat eggs! I was able to get some farm fresh eggs from my coworkers farm, this makes all the difference. While the pasta was cooking I beat the eggs, cut the parsley, and grated the cheese. This meal a good one to try during the work week since it isn’t time consuming. Another bonus is the simplicity of ingredients which many have as staples in their home. One thing that was a little difficult for me was flipping the omelet. Due to its heft and my lack of flipping finesse I placed a plate on top of the skillet so that once I flipped it over it was on the plate and I slid it back to the skillet. The omelet wanted to break apart so make sure to take care when plating!

This was truly unique and was actually recommended by a fellow Instagramer who shares the same passion for food as I do. He is from Malta and said this was a dish we had to try! The flavors of the parsley, parmesan, and egg was nice and light however without sauce it was more on the dry side. With addition of classic tomato sauce it was like a crunchy spaghetti! Although it looked really pretty on the plate we rated it 6.25/10 on average. We appreciate trying a dish that is so different than the rest!