Campus Life

5 tasty meals from 5 different countries to try this week

by Sulvey Polanco

Skip the expensive takeout food.

Although ordering food from Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats is oh-so-easy and right at your fingertips, the prices are HIGH. With steep delivery fees and even the actual dish being so jacked up, you may find yourself having to skip out on your fave foods.

Worry no more!

Making your favourite meals is easier than you think! It’s important to try and appreciate the delicious foods other countries have to offer. So, skip out on the Timmies run and try out these great recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I’ve found staple recipes from India, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico, and our next door neighbour, the United States, that won’t be hard to make at all.

Here are 5 easy meals from 5 countries that you can make any day of the week:

 

INDIA

Shahi Paneer

Indian food is known for having SO MUCH FLAVOUR. As a student it may seem nearly impossible to replicate your favourite dish from your favourite Indian spot.

Shahi Paneer consists of paneer, a firm cheese that is very popular in Indian cooking. This cheese has a high heat tolerance so it actually doesn’t melt, making it ideal for cooking. Its taste is similar to cottage cheese and it’s even available at most supermarkets like Walmart. The cheese is doused in a delicious, decadent and creamy curry gravy. This is a favourite for all vegetarians, but if you want to vegan-ize the recipe switch out the paneer for tofu, the cream for coconut cream and the butter for a vegan butter alternative!

Here is an EASY recipe for Shahi Paneer that’ll give restaurants a run for their money.

Shahi Paneer with naan on side
Image Courtesy of Archana’s Kitchen

 

Ingredients

PANEER

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/2 stick
  • 2 green chillis, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, crushed
  • 1 ½ cups tomato puree
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbs. paneer masala
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tsp. salt, to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream (480 mL)
  • 14 oz paneer cheese, 1 block, cubed (395 g)

FOR SERVING

  • fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • naan bread
  • rice, cooked

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a 5qt-pot over medium heat (5.6L).
  2. Add chilli, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add crushed garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until onion is completely softened, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure bottom doesn’t burn.
  3. Add tomato puree. Stir well and cover again. Cook until tomato looks like it’s almost separating, and is reduced in volume by half, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add coriander and paneer masala. Stir well. Add red bell pepper and cook until pepper is half-cooked, about 5 minutes. Add salt, cover again, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the heavy cream. Stir well, then add the cubed paneer and cover. Cook for 25 minutes all the ingredients are tender.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and serve with naan or rice.

Recipe by Tasty

 

VIETNAM

Summer Rolls

When people think of Vietnamese food, one of the first things that come to mind is their world-famous soup, pho, but Vietnamese cuisine is rich with many other amazing AND easy recipes.

Summer rolls are one of my all-time faves, not just for the summer time.

This recipe is simple but SO good. Pretty much all of the ingredients are readily available at any supermarket. The best thing about this recipe is that you can customize it and put what YOU like in it. Personally, I add tofu to mine instead of shrimp and make extra sauce to fry up the tofu with and it’s AMAZING. Feel free to use other ingredients as well like, chicken, beef, pork or even just some julienned veggies!

Photo of summer rolls with shrimp and peanut sauce
Image Courtesy of Recipe Tin Eats

 

Ingredients:

SUMMER ROLLS

  • 7 – 14 sheets of 22cm/8.5″ round rice paper 
  • 11 small cooked prawns/shrimp (about 12cm/5″ in length, unpeeled including the head)
  • 50g / 1.5 oz dried vermicelli noodles
  • 7 lettuce leaves – use a lettuce variety with soft leaves, like Oak or Butter Lettuce 
  • 14 mint leaves
  • 1 cup bean sprouts

PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter, preferably smooth (crunchy is ok too)
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar (or lime juice)
  • 1/3 cup milk (any fat %) (or water)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chilli, sambal oelek or other chilli paste, adjust to taste (optional)

Instructions:

PEANUT SAUCE:

  1.  Combine the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredients. Mix briefly (it won’t come together), then microwave for 30 seconds. Mix again until smooth. Set aside to cool. Adjust sourness with vinegar, salt with salt and spiciness to taste.  Thickness can be adjusted with milk or water once cooled.

ROLLS:

  1. Place vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with warm water for 2 minutes, then drain (or follow packet instructions).
  2. Peel the prawns, slice in half lengthwise and devein
  3. Remove the crunchy core of the lettuce leaves.
  4. Place some vermicelli noodles and bean sprouts in a lettuce leaf, then roll it up, finishing seam side down. Repeat.
  5. Fill a large bowl with warm water. The bowl doesn’t need to be large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go.
  6. Place two rice papers together (if using 2). Note which side is the smooth side – this is supposed to be the outside of the spring roll. Submerge the rice papers into the water (both of them at the same time, together) for 2 seconds. If your bowl isn’t large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go, that’s fine, just rotate it and count 2 seconds for each section you submerge into the water.
  7. Place both rice papers (one on top of the other, they will stick together) on a board or the counter with the smooth side down.
  8. On the top part of the rice paper, place 3 prawns with a mint leaf in between, as per the photo below.
  9. Place the lettuce bundle with seam side down onto the middle of the rice paper.
  10. Fold the left and right edges of the rice paper in, then starting from the bottom, roll up to cover the lettuce bundle. Then keep rolling firmly. The rice paper is sticky, it will seal itself.

Recipe by Recipe Tin Eats

 

UNITED STATES

San Francisco Style Seafood Cioppino

Our next door neighbour, USA, has some amazing dishes that you can make from the comfort of your own home.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about American cuisine is often, burgers, french fries or junk food, but that’s definitely NOT the case.

The United States is rich with a wide array of different foods depending on the different states or regions. This recipe is from San Francisco. As you may know, San Francisco is surrounded by water which means there is an abundance of seafood! This soup is the Seafood-lovers paradise. It is PACKED with different seafood like shrimp, mussels, and scallops and is sure to keep you happy.

Yup, it’s American AND healthy.

Seafood soup with shrimp and mussels. Bread on side.
Image Courtesy of Jessica Gavin

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French baguette, 1/2-inch thick sliced on a bias (sourdough recommended)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing on baguette
  • 1 cup yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic, (about 8 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup leeks, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup celery, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup carrots, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 serrano chilli pepper, seeded and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine, (Merlot recommended)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, dried
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 pound raw scallops, about 10 (16/20 count size)
  • 1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (16/20 count size)
  • 1 pound mussels
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley

Instructions:

  1. Prepare croutons. Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice the baguette on a 1/2-inch thick bias cut. Lightly brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip over and cook another 2 to 5 minutes, until golden brown on each side. Cool and reserve.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot.
  3. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the leeks, celery, bell pepper, carrots, and minced serrano chilli peppers. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook 3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato paste, wine, water, lemon juice, thyme, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf.
  7. Clean and remove the beard of the mussels. Discard any mussels that have broken shells or do not close when tapped.
  8. Heat the cioppino soup over medium heat. Add shrimp and scallops to the soup, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Open the lid and flip over the shrimp. Insert the mussels, evenly spread across the pan. Turn heat to medium-high, cover and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked and mussels are open. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  10. Taste soup and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
  11. To serve: Ladle soup into serving bowls, add seafood, and garnish with chopped parsley and more thyme. Serve with homemade croutons.

Recipe by Jessica Gavin

 

JAPAN

California Sushi Roll

Japan is known for its fan-favourite dish, sushi. From nigiri to sashimi, to maki rolls, it’s safe to say sushi is easily one of the most popular dishes from Japanese culture that has taken over Canada.

If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of your time at sushi buffets and ordering sushi right to your doorstep. But—let’s be real, sushi is EXPENSIVE. With average rolls ranging from $10-$15 at restaurants, it can be hard to keep up with your sushi obsession.

Probably one of the most popular rolls is the California roll. Though the California roll originated in Canada and America, it still contains the same technique and ingredients available in more traditional rolls. Since sushi-grade fish is not always readily available, this is an easy and tasty alternative that is also budget friendly!

If you can’t find imitation crabmeat or prefer to keep it vegan, simply omit it and have yourself a tasty avocado cucumber roll!

California sushi roll
Image courtesy of Taste of Home

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sushi rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. black sesame seeds
  • Bamboo sushi mat
  • 8 nori sheets
  • 1 small cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 3 oz. imitation crabmeat, julienned
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and julienned
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce, prepared wasabi and pickled ginger slices, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine rice and water; let stand for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Transfer rice to a large shallow bowl; drizzle with vinegar mixture. With a wooden paddle or spoon, stir rice with a slicing motion to cool slightly. Cover with a damp cloth to keep moist. (Rice mixture may be made up to 2 hours ahead and stored at room temperature, covered with a damp towel. Do not refrigerate.)
  4. Sprinkle toasted and black sesame seeds onto a plate; set aside. Place sushi mat on a work surface so mat rolls away from you; line with plastic wrap. Place 3/4 cup rice on plastic. With moistened fingers, press rice into an 8-in. square. Top with one nori sheet.
  5. Arrange a small amount of cucumber, crab, and avocado about 1-1/2 in. from the bottom edge of the nori sheet. Roll up rice mixture over filling, using the bamboo mat to lift and compress the mixture while rolling; remove plastic wrap as you roll.
  6. Remove mat; roll sushi rolls in sesame seeds. Cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make eight rolls. Cut each into eight pieces. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger slices if desired.

Recipe by Taste of Home

 

MEXICO

Tuna Ceviche Tostadas

Many people misconceive Mexican food for something it is not. Often, people believe that Mexican food is too spicy, but the reality is that chiles are mostly used to enhance the flavour of the dishes, not overpower them. Also, it is likely that many of the food that you think is Mexican actually isn’t (Taco Bell isn’t Mexican, if you didn’t already know)!

This recipe is not only super tasty and refreshing, but it uses ingredients you can find anywhere to create something very authentic! A tostada is a corn tortilla that has been fried to its peak crispiness. This recipe is quick and easy to make, making it ideal for a last minute meal! If you’d like, you can also substitute the canned tuna for something else such as, shrimp or any firm fish like tilapia or red snapper.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian tostada, you can find a recipe here.

Mexican Tuna Tostadas with lime on side and avocado in background
Image courtesy of Mexico in My Kitchen

 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup chopped tomato or cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 serrano pepper* finely chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1 can chunk light tuna in water 12 oz.
  • ½ avocado
  • 4 corn tostadas
  • Salt and pepper
  • A drizzle of olive oil optional

Instructions

  1. Gently mix tomato, onion, Serrano pepper, and cilantro in a medium-size bowl.
  2. Drain any excess liquid from the tuna. Carefully, with the help of two forks, stir the tuna into the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. Add the juice of half a lime, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In another bowl, mash the avocado to form a puree, and add a few drops of lime while mashing it. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To form the tostadas, spread a portion of the avocado puree over each tostada and top it with the tuna ceviche. To garnish, you can add a few slices of Serrano pepper. Enjoy!

Recipe by Mexico In My Kitchen

 

I hope these recipes show you how EASY it can be to make your favourites from the comfort of your own home! It is SO easy to broaden your horizons and try food from around the world in your very own home.

Skip out on the plane ticket and try out these recipes—your wallet and your taste buds will thank you for it.


Looking for more recipes to make? Check out 4 cozy meals you can make for under $20.

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