Improving your cooking can take a lot of trial and error. You must experiment with different recipes and ingredients to find out what works best for you and your family. But every now and then, you might feel like you lack inspiration and that you’d like to try something new and you’re ready for some more eclectic cuisine.
Depending on how long you have been cooking and what your abilities are, you don’t want to go for something with a higher difficulty level since the possibility of ending up with a messy final result can put a damper on your dinner plans.
Luckily, there are many different eclectic and diverse recipes out there, suited for each and every proficiency level, so that you can give your home cooking a boost. Here are some traditional cuisines from all over the world that can serve as inspiration.
The appeal of Japanese food is second to none. The secret lies in the seasonality of the ingredients, as all elements of a dish tend to be naturally in season. Despite the appearance, Japanese food is often quite simple and quick to prepare, so long as you have the ingredients to hand.
Japan is the birthplace of the concept of “umami,” the savoury and meaty taste found in both vegetables and meat. Miso, soy sauce and seaweed, staple ingredients in Japanese dishes, are common as providers of this taste.
Cooking Japanese foods feels best in a luxury kitchens setting, particularly one in neutral colours, reminiscent of Japanese minimalism. If you have been thinking about changing your kitchen’s look and are unsure which design you should opt for, this is perhaps your best bet.
Not only is it a timeless, classic look, but you’ll also get furniture that’s easy to manage and clean, as well as sufficient storage space for all your appliances.
Some of the more straightforward Japanese dishes you can try cooking are:
- Oyakodon: A donburi dish with chicken, eggs and scallions that are simmered together and then served over a large bowl of rice. Different varieties of the Japanese rice bowl include gyudon, which uses beef and onions; unadon, which uses rice fillets; hokkaidon with raw salmon sashimi; and katsudon, which contains deep-fried pork cutlet.
- Yakimeshi, the classic fried rice, can be cooked with countless ingredients, including tofu, pork belly, seafood, shiitake mushrooms, roe and vegetables. The best dish to make to avoid food waste from leftovers.
- Zosui: A rice soup made with pre-cooked rice, miso, seafood and vegetables
- Soba: These buckwheat noodles can be served in many ways. In flavourful broth, cold with radish, okra and natto fermented soybeans, in curry dishes or as a salad.
- Naporitan: This pasta dish requires the spaghetti to be extra soft and topped with ketchup, onions, green pepper, sausage and bacon. If you want yours a little spicy, you can also add some Tabasco sauce.
Japanese food is, as you see, much more than sushi. In fact it is a very diverse and eclectic cuisine that offers lots of potential for healthy and nutritious food which can also be quite cheap too.
Apart from Japanese food, many French dishes are perhaps the most well-known in the world. However, most people avoid cooking French dishes out of the belief that they will all be exceptionally difficult to get right. Luckily, that is nothing more than a stereotype, and there are many well-known dishes you can replicate at home.
You might already be familiar with some of them since you likely sampled them in restaurants before. But making them at home allows you to test your creativity, as well as eat healthier.
- French onion soup is arguably one of the most iconic French dishes. You’ll need chicken or beef stock, but you can add water if you want the process simpler. The onions are fried, then moved to the water or stock, and later served with croutons and melted cheese on top.
- Cassoulet: This classic peasant dish is made of duck legs, sausage, beans, lots of wine, garlic and onions and is both delicious, hearty and quite cheap to make. It’s a great crowd pleaser too and is a perfect winter warmer. Serve with crusty baguettes.
- Beef bourguignon: A standard French dish popular in Parisian bistros, the name of this stew comes from its place of origin, east-central Burgundy. Red Burgundy wine is one of the main ingredients, with the others being beef, onions and lardons. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also add a traditional bouquet garni to your dish.
- Steak frites: The origin of this recipe is disputed between Belgium and France, with the former claiming it as its national dish. This simple, unfussy recipe is the ideal option when you want to indulge on a relaxing weekend evening.
- Croque Madame: A luxurious twist on the classic breakfast sandwich, all you need to create the croque madame is ham and cheese. For the finishing touches, add a fried egg on top.
- Ratatouille: You already know anyone can cook, so why not try this iconic vegetable stew?
Everybody loves Mexican food. It is flavourful due to the rich blend of seasonings and spices, but it doesn’t just taste great. It also manages to look amazingly delicious. It’s a genuine feast for the senses to try Mexican food.
- Burritos are one of the most popular dishes and can be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Grill the flour tortilla lightly to make it more pliable, then fill it with meat and refried beans. Don’t forget the lettuce, tomatoes and cheese and, of course, the condiments. Guacamole, salsa and pico de gallo all work well.
- Chiles en nogada is a stuffed vegetable dish with shredded meat, poblano peppers, walnuts, pomegranate and picadillo, a traditional Latin American food made from ground beef, tomatoes, olives and raisins.
- Pozole has been common in Mexico since pre-Columbian times and has hominy, nixtamalized maize, pork, garlic, avocado, limes and radishes.
- Mole sauce has many variations but typically contains cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, nuts and fruit. Cloves, anise, tomatoes, sesame seeds and herbs like hoja santa are commonly used as well. It is served with different kinds of meat, including pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, and rice.
And if you have a sweet tooth, you can try to make concha, whose name comes from its seashell-like look. It is essentially a sweetened bread roll topped with butter and sugar.
To sum up, if you’ve been looking to make your cooking a little more eclectic, throw an amazing dinner party, and try something new, your best bet is to draw inspiration from the traditional cuisines of other countries and regions in order to create something truly exceptional.