Tag Archives: Olympics

Pastry-Post Doc at the Olympics: Ethiopian Pasti

ethiopianFor the final country represented on the Olympic Refugee Team – Ethiopia – we decided to dig a little deeper into the county’s cuisine. Now we adore Ethiopian food, but we were wondering about traditional Ethiopian desserts (since we have never encountered any!). Turns out, we weren’t missing a hidden dessert culture – the whole concept of dessert is pretty much an imported one. However, with the influx of sugar into Ethiopia in the 20th century, desserts started cropping up. One of the most popular desserts now in Ethiopian is the pasti, a sweet, fried dough dessert influenced by Italian food, sold in small shops called Pasti Bet (pasti houses). Here is a simple video recipe for pasti from How to Cook Ethiopian, with the video in Amharic and English text below. Pasti is even popular enough to have an Ethiopian R&B song about it!

 

 

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The National Dish of the DRC: Poulet à la Moambé

DRCFlagWhen researching the national dish of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the countries represented on the Refugee Olympic Team, we found a few dishes vying for the top spot. First up was Fufu/Bukari, an almost ubiquitous cassava mash used to sop up foods. However, Fufu is popular across a wide swath of Africa, so that didn’t seem distinct enough to be a national dish. Another contender was Pondu/Saka-Saka , cassava leaves in palm oil, but it is really more of a side dish. However, after some additional sleuthing, the main course that seemed to be the most widely-accepted national dish of the DRC is Poulet à la Moambé (Chicken Moambe), which is also considered the national dish of Gambia and Angola. We understand why it is widely beloved, we have tried this hearty, peanut-y soup before and it is delicious! Chicken Moambe is made with ingredients you’ll be able to find almost anywhere – bone-in chicken, peanut butter, palm oil and tomatoes – see recipes from African American Kitchen and Chef Bolek. If you want to go the whole nine yards you can accompany it with Fufu and Pondu!

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Pastry Post-Doc in South Sudan: Kuindiong

south-sudan_flag.pngThis is the first time that South Sudan (which only became an independent country in 2011) is competing in any Olympics, and 5 refugees associated with South Sudan are also competing for the Refugee Olympic team. South Sudanese shares many features with the traditional cuisine of Sudan, which features a wide array of stews, corn-based breads, and hearty veggies like okra, but relies more heavily on fish. However, the South Sudanese can do sweets, too. One of the emblematic desserts of South Sudan is a sweet semolina pudding, Kuindiong. This pudding reminds us of Middle Eastern semolina puddings, like Basboosa, and uses the same semolina flour used in Italian pasta. This recipe from SBS Australia (seen below) seems simple and delicious.Kuindiong.jpg

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The Refugee Athlete Team at the Rio Olympics

OlympicFlagFor the first time in the history of the Olympics, a team composed of refugees is competing under their own banner. The 10 athletes representing the Refugee Olympic Team hail from South Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all countries affected by ongoing conflicts. Competing in swimming, judo and track and field, the athlete’s appearance at the game is raising awareness for their home countries’ struggles, and they received a standing ovation during the parade of nations during the opening ceremonies. This week and next we will be featuring foods and cuisines of the countries represented by this brave team. Though we have written about the food of Ethiopia, Syria and the DRC, the food of South Sudan is new to us. We look forward to seeing more of these athletes!

 

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Going for the gold with the National Dish of Kosovo, Flija

KosovoKosovo, which gained independence only in 2008, competed in the Olympics for the first time in Rio, and in their first showing, Majlinda Kelmendi won a gold medal in Judo. In honor of this win, we thought we would delve a little more into the world of Kosovar cuisine. Though it is similar in many ways to its Balkan neighbors in Albania, Serbia and Macedonia, Kosovar cuisine has some unique dishes that set it apart. One of the most iconic is Flija (or Flia), a round layered dough cake/bread, which incorporates yogurt into the batter. Global Table Adventure has a recipe for Flija (pictured below), which leads you through the steps of adding layer after layer to the dish. Though Global Table Adventure has adapted the recipe for the typical kitchen, Flija is traditionally baked outside in a large silver pan known as a “saç.” Flija seems seems complicated, but looks delicious!

Filja

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The Olympics of Food: Rio 2016

Olympic-Cookies

The Olympics have finally come to Rio! When we were living in Brazil a few years ago, the country was already gearing up for the Olympic games, so we are excited to see it finally come to life. ETW will have some special food-related Olympics coverage this year, focused on the food of Brazil and the countries competing. We already have an extensive archive of Brazil and Rio De Janeiro food posts, so we encourage you to check it out in the meantime. This year, we will have special posts on the two countries competing in the Olympics for the first time – South Sudan and Kosovo (we also covered the 7 new countries in 2014) – and the multi-national refugee team. Stay tuned! Bom apetite!

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Dominica’s National Dish: Callalloo (or is it Mountain Chicken?)

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For our last post about the cuisine from debut Winter Olympic countries, we bring you the Caribbean island nation of Dominica, who has two entrants this year, husband and wife cross-country skiers, Angelica and Gary di Silvestri. In an interesting turn of events, there was actually a vote held to pick the national food of Dominica, which seems awfully official. Mountain chicken (actually a giant frog) used to be the unofficial national dish, but the frog is now on the conservation list, so a new dish had to be selected. The new dish, chosen by vote, was Callaloo, a stew made with leafy greens. Though spinach can be used, the dish earns its name from the callaloo plant, a local name for amaranth or taro leaves. A preparation of Callaloo with crab (another recipe here) is particularly common in Dominica, though callaloo is eaten in other Caribbean countries. Due to this, the mountain chicken still has some proponents who hold that it is really a more representative dish from Dominica. What do you think?

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National dish of East Timor: Ikan Pepes

th_easttimorflag_index-thumb__60x40East Timor is one of the world’s youngest counties, established only in 2002. However, it is already sending its first athlete to the winter Olympics, skier Yohan Goutt-Goncalves. Seafood is key in the national diet in this island nation, and culinary influence from Portugal and Indonesia is strongly felt. The national dish of East Timor is Ikan Pepes / Pepes Ikan (Ikan means ‘fish’ and pepes is the cooking technique), fish steamed with chili sauce in a banana leaf. Sounds pretty good! Here are two recipes for Ikan Pepes from Latitudes and Good Chef Bad Chef, which include ginger, garlic and turmeric in the aromatic fish marinade. We love foods cooked with this technique and it is a shame we haven’t tried to do it yet – maybe Ikan Pepes will be our first attempt. Fortunately, our favorite grocery store carries banana leaves.

IkanPepes

Pepes Ikan by Alpha

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National dish of Malta: Stuffat Tal-Fenek

mtMalta, a Mediterranean island nation. has one competitor in their debut Olympics, skier Elise Pellegrin. Malta’s cuisine is influenced by France, Spain, Italy and even England. The national dish of the country is Stuffat Tal-Fenek, a stewed rabbit dish in a red wine an tomato sauce. Apparently rabbit is hugely popular in Malta, and a dinner where rabbit is consumed is called a fenkata. One legend behind the dish was that it was originally developed as an act of resistance to hunting restrictions placed on the island (which were removed by the 18th century). I Love Food.MT has a recipe for Stuffat Tal-Fenek, and Gourmet Worrier has a recipe with a particularly elegant presentation.

fenek1

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Fufu and Pâté from Togo

nav-togoThis year, Winter Olympics newcomer Togo has two athletes competing in Sochi, skiiers Alessia Afi Dipol and Mathilde-Amivi Petitjean. We were also super interested to learn that there was a sizable Togolese population in Madison, Wisconsin. Togo is a tiny country and shares a lot with its neighbors, culinary. However, in our search for some classic Togolese dishes, Pâté and Fufu. Fufu, and similar dishes are popular throughout West Africa. In Togo, Fufu is made from pounded yams, and serves as a perfect startch to accompany any meal. Pâté is similar to fufu, but is made from cornmeal. Both Pâté and Fufu are usually served with some other sort of stew or sauce. CeltNet has a nice array of some tasty Togolese entrees that would be great with Pâté and Fufu including Chicken and Peanuts and Palm Soup.

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National dish of Zimbabwe: Sadza

zimbabweZimbabwe is competing in the Winter Olympics for the first time in Sochi, with Alpine skiier Luke Steyn, and we are excited to learn more about the country’s national dish and cuisine. The national dish of Zimbabwe is widely considered to Sadza, a versatile, porridge-y cornmeal dish that can be served with almost any entree. CNN notes it as one of their 15 favorite dishes in Africa. Zimbo Kitchen has variety of Sadza recipes, as well as a wonderful selection of other recipes from Zimbabwe, you should definitely check them out.

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National dish of Paraguay: Sopa Paraguaya

paraguay Second in our series on winter Olympic newcomer cuisines is Paraguay. The athlete representing Paraguay is an American citizen of Paraguayan heritage, Julia Marino, who competed in slopestyle freestyle skiing. One of the most emblematic dishes from Paraguay is Sopa Paraguaya, which literally means “Paraguayan Soup”, but is actually a cornbread-like dish with a light, souffle texture, rather than a dense bread. Why it is called a soup is shrouded in mystery, but it remains an extremely popular staple for holidays and weddings. Other than corn flour, primary ingredients in Sopa Paraguaya include cheese and onions. Here are some recipes from Global Table Adventure, Cynthia Presser and Bite and Booze. Cheese and carbs – this is our kind of dish. If this dish intrigues you, you should try one of our other favorite dishes from Paraguay, cheese rolls called Chipa.

 Sopa Paraguaya

Sopa Paraguaya by Javier Lastras

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A Tour of Hidden Russian and Georgian Devon Ave.

  Chicagoans associate Devon Avenue almost singularly with a vibrant Indian community, and vibrant Indian food. But travel a bit further west on Devon, and it morphs into a Russian community, home to some of the city’s best stores for Russian and eastern European fare. We set out with one of our good friends, a Russian-born New Yorker from Brighton Beach no less, to see just what Devon had to offer. We figured it was perfect timing to inspire you to get some Russian goodies in honor of the winter Olympics in Sochi!

Our first stop on Devon was Argo Georgian Bakery (2812 W. Devon Ave.), a place we had been meaning to try for quite a while. Right in the center of the store was an amazing Georgian oven. There were an assortment of delicious baked goods for sale, and we especially enjoyed the Hachapuri (Georgian bread stuffed with cheese). You can also get a variety of breads (lavash and shoti), and bean-filled breads (lobianai) and also frozen foods to bring home. We are carb lovers, and absolutely adored the freshness and artistry of these breads.

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We were not lucky enough to see bread being removed from the huge beehive-shaped oven, the toné. But we have  learned how the bread is made: it operates similar to a tandoori oven, where the bread is stuck to the side walls as it cooks.

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After filling up on bread at Argo, we headed over to Three Sisters Delicatessen (2854 W. Devon Ave.). Three Sisters is a nice, but small, specialty store absolutely jam-packed with treats from Russia. One one side there is a large meat case, and a selection of some pretty appealing looking cakes. You are also in luck if you are in the market for caviar, salted fish, or Russian cookies and chocolates.

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At first sight the blandly-named City Fresh Market (3201 W. Devon Ave.) looked like  a typical neighborhood grocery store. But once we got inside, our friend got so excited: the market has a strong Eastern European flavor, with a huge array of Eastern European canned goods and deli items. Her personal favorite, and ours, was the huge pickle bar, packed with unusual things like pickled tomatoes (as seen below). This was a real standout, and unlike anything else we had seen in Chicago!

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‘Ota ‘Ika – Tongan Ceviche

flag-tonga-flagge-rechteckig-40x60The first in our Winter Olympics newcomer series is Tonga. The sole athlete from Tonga is certainly making waves at their first Winter Olympics, the luger, born Fuahea Semi , now Bruno Banani, did not place, but by changing his name he won an endorsement deal from a German underwear manufacturer with the same name. Antics aside, we have always wanted to try Tongan cuisine, since the South Pacific has so far eluded us in culinary terms. Being an island nation, fish plays a large part in the island’s cuisine, along with other staples like coconut, sweet potato and cassava. One of the most iconic dishes in Tonga is ‘Ota ‘ika, known sometimes as “Tongan ceviche,” fish marinated in citrus and coconut milk, similar in some ways to Latin American ceviches. Since M loves ceviche, I can only assume we will be making this recipe soon. Check out recipes from Daily Dish and Radio NZ to get a good start. Are there any other Tongan recipes you would recommend?

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Cuisines of the seven countries making their Olympic debuts

OlympicFlagThough we started off the Sochi Olympics by covering Russian food, the Olympics are perfect time to highlight food from all around the world. The US, Canada, Russia and Northern European are usually heavy hitters in the medal count because they are COLD, however, many other countries are making winter Olympics appearances, including seven for the first time ever.  Check out the Olympic Teams from each of these countries – ParaguayMaltaTogoTongaZimbabweDominicaEast Timor – and get ready for ETW posts featuring national dishes and other foodie delights from each of these countries in the coming weeks.Olympic-Cookies

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Russian menu ideas for the Sochi Olympics

RussiaWhat did you think of the Opening Ceremony? With the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics officially under way, we are in full Russian food mode. We are not experts in Russian food, but we have trying to learn more about the country’s different regional and local specialties. We’ve done a little research in preparation for a Russian dinner party in honor of the Sochi Olympics, to get a little beyond Borscht (Beet soup) and vodka (though of course, those are great, too). Here are some recipes to get your Russian dinner party started. Do you have any favorites you would recommend?

Russian dinner

Russian dinner by Vincen-t

Appetizers and Sides:

Mains:

Dessert:

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Getting ready for the Sochi Olympics

Sochi Olympics Logo

RussiaThe 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia start February 6th, which means even more inspiration for exploring international cuisines. The setting in Sochi, a resort town on the Black Sea, also provides a great springboard for learning more about Russian cuisine. Sochi, in particular, is known for its idiosyncratic cuisine that is a result of the cultural interchange along trade routes. The Russia and India report has a list of unique Sochi-specific dishes to try.

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Diverse, International Restaurants in London

So the Olympics are officially over – and we are sad (though we are looking forward to Rio)! However, while the international athletes may have gone home, the international food scene in London is only growing. With over 8 million people, London has an amazingly diverse population and food scene. Indian food, arguably the most popular cuisine in the UK, is found nearly everywhere in the city, and there are amazing Indian restaurants for every budget. While London has long been home to South Asian food on Brick Lane and has a Vibrant Chinatown, it is home to many other far-flung cuisines.  London Ethnic Eating is a blog dedicated to exploring ethnic food in the city, turning up eateries ranging from Vietnamese to AlgerianTime Out London’s List of top 50 restaurants includes many international options.

Brick Lane at Night

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Seswaa: National Dish of Botswana

File:Flag of Botswana.svgCongratulation to Nijel Amos of Botswana, who earned the first-ever medal for his home nation by finishing second in the men’s 800 meters! In celebration of his achievement, we learned a little about Seswaa, arguably Botswana’s national dish. Seswaa (also called Chotlho) is a mashed-meat stew, often reserved for special occasions. It’s preparation is simple: typically cooked by men, chunks of meat are slowly simmered in salt and water in a three-legged iron pot (like the ones pictured below courtesy of our friend Brendan). Margarita’s international recipes has a rather humorous recollection of trying to pound the meat with a wooden spoon to produce the desired result, but with little luck – for her, the gristle seemed to prevent a proper pounding, so she had to resort to shredding instead.

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And if you don’t want to try Seswaa or one of the any other great Botswana dishes, you should give a Mopane worm a try!

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Chicken Tikka Masala: National Dish of Britain

Mughal_Empireunited_kingdomIndia Flag

Until about a week ago, Team GB had all but struck-out in the medal department at their home Olympics. Fast forward half a fortnight, and their 16 golds places them third on the overall list, as well as garnering them today’s national dish highlight at ETW – chicken tikka masala. Wikipedia offers this succinct definition: “Chicken tikka masala is chicken tikka, chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, that is then baked in a tandoor oven, [and] served in a masala (‘mixture of spices’) sauce.” The recipes variations are as wide-ranging as its origin histories, but nothing obscures its popularity. Recently Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary, declared chicken tikka masala as the new national dish of the United Kingdom. Today, 1 in 7 of all curries sold in Britain are tikka masala, and it is the most popular restaurant dish in the country. But while tikka masala is unquestionably popular in Britain, and has been declared the national dish, its transnational origins reveal a fascinatingly complex and controversial history.

Chicken Tikka Masala at Akbar’s Indian Restaurant in Santa Monica, CA.

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