We Took A Culinary Trip Around The World - Here's How It Went!
Get your fill of international culture and cuisine during the pandemic by experimenting in your own kitchen!
I'll admit, I've been missing travel... a lot. I find myself frequently reminiscing on past adventures, craving the excitement and curiosity I felt in the foreign places I visited. But it doesn't look like world travel will be back on the menu anytime soon.
So for now, I've come up with another solution- if I can't take myself to other countries, I will bring the countries to me!
Me and my boyfriend took turns picking a countries we'd like to visit and we then looked up vegan versions of the countries' most popular dishes. We ended up choosing Greece, Norway, Egypt, and Brazil. I loved the idea of this culinary world tour because not only would it get us out of our comfort zones (and away from the same few recipes we continually make) but it would also make for the cutest date nights. First stop, Greece!
Receipe used: https://elavegan.com/vegan-moussaka-lentils-gluten-free/
I've always wanted to visit Greece so this was an easy first choice for me. The most popular recipe I saw online was Moussaka (which I'd only ever heard of in Disney's Hercules when Hades makes a joke at the baby shower LOL). Every time I watch Hercules I wonder what exactly Moussaka is so I was instantly keen to try it! Upon research I found out that it's a layered dish of eggplant and potato, filled with a tomato sauce, and then topped with a creamy "Bechamel" sauce. Sort of like a mix between ratatouille, lasagna, and Shepard's pie! It's traditionally made with lamb but we simply used lentils instead. Here's how it turned out (before/after sauce):
It was sooo good. The texture definitely reminded me of a lasagna but the flavors were unique to anything I've had before. The Bechamel sauce was my personal favorite and had a surprisingly cheesy taste and incredibly creamy texture, especially for being vegan. It reheated well as leftovers and made enough for 2 people to have 3 meals each. I will definitely be making this one again!
Not gonna lie here... this dish was a total flop. We ended up choosing Fiskesuppe, a traditional Norweigan fish chowder. Instead of fish we used tofu (which we were told to lightly cook rather than crisping in the recipe so it would be soft like fish). I personally don't like soft tofu, especially in soup (it's a texture thing). And I certainly didn't like the mix of flavors either. Overall it just kind of grossed me out so me and Taylor decided collectively to go to taco bell for vegan bean burritos instead :) lol. No disrespect to the Norweigans!! I'm sure they make a kick-ass fish soup. Our tofu version just wasn't cutting it. The culinary world tour would have to stay on hold until tomorrow. At least we tried.
I've never really taken the time to think about what Egyptian cuisine is like and quite honestly I still don't know what types of food Egyptians eat on a daily basis, but let me just tell you- this Koshari had me wanting to hop on a plane and go try allll the Egyptian cuisine. It's that good.
I could hear my boyfriend chuckling in the kitchen as he assembled this and when I walked over to see what he was doing, I couldn't help but chuckle myself. On the plate was nothing but a huge pile of seemingly random things- it was basically just a plate of pasta and rice! After the failed fish soup our expectations were pretty low, but we both grabbed a plate nonetheless and took a bite. Honestly I've never been so taken off guard by a bite of food- simple as this dish looked, it had such an incredible variety of flavor and textures. Somehow it all just worked. I can honestly see this becoming a staple in our kitchen from now on.
It made enough for the 2 of us to have dinner twice, though I would say it tasted much better the first night we had it. When heated up, the onions loose their crisp and the rice/lentil. mixture becomes a bit mushy. But overall, 10/10 recommend.
Recipe used: https://ethicallyliving.com/vegan-feijoada-recipe/
Our last trip on the world tour was Brazil! We found multiple recipes on the web for a dish called feijoada, a stew traditionally made with beans, beef, and pork. We made ours with beans, sweet potato, peppers, and vegan sausage- served over brown rice. The dish turned out a bit bland for my liking but I think it could be really good if we played around with the seasonings a bit. I forgot to take a picture the first night we had it but I did grab a picture of the less-appetizing leftovers:
Overall I really enjoyed this little experiment! Trying out new dishes is always fun and even if we didn't love every single one, it still got us to try new things and get out of our comfort zone. A little creativity and exploration go a long way when you're stuck at home unable to travel!
Let me know if you guys try any of these recipes or what some of your favorite international dishes are in the comments :)
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