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15 International Dishes That'll Bring The World Into Your Kitchen

Try these recipes to create a global experience in your kitchen.

Food & Drink

I love to cook, but when things get boring, it's time to get into some of the best international dishes to make at home. Switching things up and recreating dishes helps me get over the travel blues, and you can re-imagine a great global experience through food, too. Plus, who doesn't love having a good cooking session where you relieve stress and then sit down to an amazing meal afterward? Try these 15 recipes for international food that are quick and easy or worth the effort and wait. (Thank me later.)

15 Best International Dishes To Cook At Home

From Greece: Greek Whole Roasted Branzino Recipe

Whole roasted fish and veggies features all of the flavors of the Mediterranean you never knew you'd been craving. It's especially perfect for those of us who ain't got time to be slaving in the kitchen for hours and leaving a bunch of dishes to wash. Even if you've never been to Greece, you'll love the clean, simple, yet delectable flavors of lemon, olive oil, and garlic typically used in signature Greek dishes. I prefer roasted branzino, a popular European bass---and yes, head on, please---but you can also substitute with black sea bass, snapper, or whiting fillets. This classic recipe has just six ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to cook. I also love this recipe if you want to get a bit more fancy with it and add two of my favorite ingredients for fish: white wine and capers.

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From Trinidad: Curry Shrimp Recipe

OK, so I'm a bit biased on this since I love anything curried. Sometimes curry dishes can be labor intensive---especially if you're keeping it authentic like my people do---but when you use shrimp it's a quicker process. I have my own recipes from influence, trial-and-error, and well, it's in my blood, but I love this simple and tasty curry shrimp recipe for beginners who aren't making everything from scratch. You can also add more veggies, including red and green peppers, green beans, or carrots and your meal is done in less than 40 minutes. Add the pelau, a traditional dish in Trinidad, for a break from the typical white rice. Trini food vlogger Chris De la Rosa, cookbook author and founder of CaribbeanPot, has a nice recipe for a veggie version that is gluten-free. There's an instant pot recipe that's good as well.

From Mexico: Huevos Rancheros Recipe

Tacos are a given at your favorite Mexican spots, but I love the traditional breakfast dish huevos rancheros and will eat it at any time of day. Huevos rancheros is hands down one of the best Mexican meals to make at home. All you need is a skillet and five core ingredients that you probably already have in the fridge or cupboard. Try this health-conscious recipe from Kevin of Fit Men Cook or this super-savory huevos rancheros recipe by chef Sunny Anderson that incorporates cheese and cilantro. I sometimes substitute the black beans for pinto, or use cheddar cheese and bake it in the oven, You can also add shredded pork or sausage or throw a little of the American South in there by using biscuits (from scratch or the can) instead of tortillas.

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From Japan: Teriyaki Chicken Noodle Bowl Recipe

Once you make your own Teriyaki sauce at home, you won't want anything out of a bottle or from the local take-out spot. This Teriyaki chicken noddle bowl recipe proves that it's actually easier than you think, and the just-right mixture of sweet and salty made me want to make larger batches to keep in the fridge. You can get really authentic and buy noodles from your local Chinese or Thai restaurant, or you can go the low-budget route, as I have, by using dry packs of $1 ramen noodles. (Hold the spice packet.)

From Spain: Seafood Paella Recipe

It takes just one pan of seafood paella to create a masterpiece that will make you think you're at a seaside eatery on the coast of Spain. What I like about this is that you can use the ready-made bag of frozen mixed seafood and a bag of frozen mixed veggies for a dish that comes out absolutely fantastic. Try this one-skillet seafood paella recipe that includes saffron, a healthy dose of hot spices, and mussels, or go uber-traditional with this paella recipe if your local farmer's market specializes in gourmet ingredients.

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From Nigeria: Nigerian Fish Stew Recipe

I used to frequent a popular Brooklyn, N.Y. restaurant where I'd always order grilled tilapia with extra stew on the side. The stew, made with a base of tomatoes, peppers, and onions, will for sure become a go-to in your home to add to rice, veggies, fish, or meat dishes. Here's an easy recipe for Nigerian fish stew, and you can use spices right from your pantry. For the fish, you can cook via your oven if you don't have (or don't feel like prepping) a grill. Otherwise, try this oven-grilled fish recipe by a favorite Nigerian lifestyle vlogger of mine, Sisi Yemmie. You can substitute the tilapia for snapper (whole or filet), catfish, or trout---just be sure it's a meaty variety that can stand up to the sauce of the stew.

From Canada: Easy Poutine Recipe

Canadian comfort food might be just what the doctor ordered for that work-from-home rut you've been in. If you've ever had loaded fries, you'll love this. Cheese curds may not be your thing, but you can substitute with queso fresco, fetta, or mini mozzarella balls. (I'd highly recommend the curds, otherwise the authentic taste of this poutine recipe is a bit off---good but a little left of the norm.) Use this easy 15-minute poutine recipe with a few cheats, or get your French cook on and try this made-from-scratch gravy.

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From Vietnam: Traditional Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe

A divinely sweet and sour soup from heaven? Yep, this is it. Pho is served from street stalls to high-end cafeterias to strip-mall joints in the South (where my sister and I typically order this, with $1 sticky wings, and $5 lychee martinis). Though authentic pho takes hours to cook, you can still easily concoct this at home in much less time using this traditional Vietnamese beef pho recipe for red-meat lovers or this one for something leaner.

From Italy: Neapolitan Pizza Recipe

Don't worry sis. Nobody's asking you to spend hours kneading dough. I like Mama Mary's pizza crusts which I buy at Walmart or my local grocery store, but you can also buy pizza dough from your favorite Italian spot or order online. (Keep it in your freezer to make breadsticks, rolls, and pizza whenever you want.) One thing I like about Neapolitan pizza is that it's a bit more Italian than the cheese-saturated stuff we're used to in the States. You can either recreate this Neapolitan pizza recipe by A Couple Cooks or invest in a good olive oil and mozzarella, try fresh tomatoes and basil, and follow this marinara recipe.

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From Italy: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe Pasta Recipe

I've always been partial to the usual red or alfredo sauces and I've refined my favorite recipes in making those. (And please don't insult me with anything in a jar. Once you make it from scratch, it's hard to back to that crap.) When I was initially encouraged to try cacio e pepe, a common Roman Italian mainstay, I immediately thought, "Ew, a spaghetti dish with no protein, no massive amounts of cheese, and no trifecta of root veggies? I'll pass." Well, I was binge-watching YouTube videos looking for easy pasta dishes I could make with few ingredients and this kept popping up. When I tell you I was shook! Just pasta (a decent one), pepper (fresh-ground of course), cheese (pecorino romano or a good Parmesan), and salt, and you've got a good excuse never to wasting time making spaghetti and meatballs again. Try the classic Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe recipe here.

From France: Quiche Lorraine Recipe

French culture is something I've studied and adored for years, and the first French dish I ever had the pleasure of enjoying was escargo, a buttery, garlicky delicacy made with snails. Now sis, I know that might not be your cup of tea, so I'm going to share my second-favorite French-originating food (other than everything the French make related to bread) I eventually learned how to make: quiche. I've always turned to it when I want to bring something other than bacon and eggs to a brunch, and this Quiche Lorraine recipe is where it all began. (OK, I cheated a bit by turning to the legendary Julia Childs, but here's a recipe inspired by an iconic French chef you can try as well.)

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From Nigeria...Ghana...Senegal: Jollof Rice Recipe

Nope, I'm not choosing. I like them all! I can eat a whole bowl of jollof rice by itself. It's savory, full of flavor, and can be paired with almost anything. (Trust me, I've had it with boiled eggs, fried chicken, stewed beef, goat, and even in a burrito). OK, I'll admit that the Nigerian version is my favorite (and you can find a good recipe for that one here), but there are others I enjoy, including this veggie-filled version by Kenyan chef Kaluhi Adagala. Thieboudienne is the Senegalese version, and here's a pretty good recipe for that as well. You can cheat and make jollof rice in an instant pot, or use canned or frozen ingredients if you don't have fresh on hand. (Yep, I've done it. It came out great. And please, Jolloff Judges, don't come for me.)

From Sweden: Swedish Meatballs Recipe

Not only is this a great dish to cook when you just don't feel like putting too much effort into cooking, but Swedish meatballs are great for next-day leftovers on a cold day. This recipe can be done with simple ingredients, and you can even sub the pork or beef for turkey or ground Beyond Beef. A good quick fix I've done for this dish is using frozen meatballs and a good ole' can of Campbell's beef gravy (with my own added seasoned salt and herbs) instead of making those two from scratch. (Just be sure not to omit the flavor of sour cream or cream of mushroom soup this recipe often requires.) This is also another great dish you can make low and slow while you're cleaning the house. Eat with egg noodles, mashed potatoes or veggies of your choice.

From India: Simple Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

You gotta love the cool hints of yogurt mixed with the garlic and ginger spices of this dish. The key to this dish is the marinade, and I've even tried this with seafood and it was a hit. For starters, find a great recipe for chicken tikka masala here, or try this one if you want to truly feel like you got the chance to take that trip to Mumbai this year. Make some homemade roti if you're brave, (which I have been in the past, starting with this recipe). You can also buy the flatbread, which goes deliciously with this dish, from your local restaurant or grocery store.

From Jamaica: Oven Jerk Chicken Recipe

People will argue that there's no such thing as jerk chicken that's not cooked over coals or pimento wood, but when you're nowhere near a Negril roadside stand or a grill, you've got to use what you got. The oven is the next best thing, and I love to make this oven jerk chicken dish when I'm yearning for food from my favorite island. Getting the right flavors truly depend on the recipe, and this one helped me when I first ventured to try this at home. You can also try this remixed jerk sauce recipe courtesy of the fab singer and chef Kelis. And you don't have to make the jerk sauce from scratch. I love the jarred wet version by Walkerswood or Grace which can be found at your local grocery store or ordered online.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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