A national dish is essentially a dish that is strongly associated with a country’s staple food, indigenous ingredients, popular among the citizens and forms a part of the country’s identity. Now, not all countries have officially declared one particular dish as their national dish, probably because of the vast cultures it inhabits. Take India for example, we have various dishes worthy of that title like tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and so on. Khichdi was named India’s national dish, but quickly word was out that it’s not really our national dish. Some countries though, which we are going to look at now, have some amazingly delicious dishes that have gained national or rather International importance.
Also known as Burgers, Hamburgers are basically a type of sandwich which consist of a patty of meat (typically beef) in between two halves of a bun along with various garnishes like onion, tomato, pickles and condiments, say for example mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise. In some variations cheese slices are also used.
Roast Dinner with Yorkshire Pudding. This is a typical Sunday dinner in England. It consists of roasted meat, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, stuffing and can be eaten with various condiments like apple sauce or mint sauce. Yorkshire pudding is a savory pudding made with eggs, flour, milk, salt and baked in the oven in a tin somewhat similar to a muffin tin.
It is a traditional sauce of Mexico, typically made with sautéed onions and garlic mixed with variety of herbs and spices such as sesame seeds and chilies. But the surprising ingredient in this is chocolate! It is important for the dark color in most moles. Mole typically goes well with Turkey, Pork, chips and more.
Nasi Lemak. This dish consists of fragrant rice which are cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves and served with anchovies (a type of fish), eggs and sambal (a spicy paste). It is a very nutritious, balanced and healthy dish. Newer variations of Nasi Lemak consist of beef curry, chicken and other meats.
Nasi Goreng. This dish is similar to fried rice and consists of rice, meat and onions tossed with a sauce made with sweet soy which makes the dish brown and caramelized. It is usually served with a fried egg with a runny yolk. Some versions also consist of dried shrimp.
Pad Thai. It is a stir fry dish which typically consists of ingredients like rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, tofu, coriander leaves, bean sprouts, peanuts and scrambled eggs and mixed with a sauce made with fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and tamarind paste. It is really popular in the streets of Thailand and has also made its place internationally.
Ragu alla Bolognese. This is a pasta dish made with Bolognese Ragu sauce which consists of reducing down celery, carrots, onions, beef, olive oil, butter and white wine. Tomatoes are added to make it into a thick sauce to pour onto the pasta like tagliatelle (flat pasta). It has become a popular dish in many parts of the world.
8. South Africa
It is essentially a spicy, aromatic and savory casserole dish made with ground beef curry (in which curry powder and bay leaves are a must) and a thin layer of egg custard is spread over the top. Baked in a cast iron pan it screams flavors of South Africa.
Peking Duck. It is a famous, old traditional dish made by roasting the whole duck(marinated with soy sauce, 5 spice powder) in a wood fired oven. When it is perfectly crisp, its carved in thin slices and served with Chinese pancakes and various condiments like hoisin sauce, julienned carrots and cucumbers, scallions. Peking duck is eaten by wrapping it in the pancakes with the condiments.
Pot-au-Feu. Simply put, it translates to ‘pot on fire’. It is actually a French stew but can be served as two dishes. First, a bone marrow stew made with bones, vegetables and seasoned with salt and pepper along with toasted bread. Then, the meats and vegetables which were braised in the broth can be eaten on the side.
This is also a rice based dish made with rice, saffron, vegetables such as onion, bell peppers, tomatoes and meat such as chicken or seafood like shrimp, mussels and spices such as paprika and cooked in a chicken/seafood broth. The best part is it just requires one pan!
Curry Rice. This Japanese comfort food consists of bite sized tender pieces of meat, thick cut carrots and potatoes cooked in a rich and creamy brown curry with a mild spice level and served with fluffy rice. The thick curry is sweet and savory with honey and grated apples as additions in some variations.
Jollof rice. As the name suggests, it is a rice dish made with long grain fragrant rice, stewed in a tomato broth (made with tomato sauce and stock) seasoned with a special Nigerian curry powder and thyme. It is served with fried plantains and coleslaw. It is especially popular within the locals
Poutine. The main part of a poutine are fries. But what makes Canadian fries different from all others is that they are served with gravy (It can be either beef gravy or chicken gravy or a mix of both) and cheese curds (solid pieces of curdled milk. They can be white or yellow. Generally white ones are preferred for Poutine).
It is essentially a deeply flavorful and rich meat dish with a sweet and sour gravy. The meat is marinated in a stock made with onion, celery, carrots, bay leaves, vinegar, ginger, sugar and meat/vegetable stock for 4 days to 2 weeks. Then it is roasted and the stock is made into a gravy by thickening with flour. Gravy is sweetened with honey and crushed ginger snaps are added. This gravy after straining can now be poured onto sliced meat.
Adobo is actually a very flavorful dark colored sauce or marinade which can be made using white vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, peppercorns, and bay leaves. It is used to make dishes like Adobo chicken or Adobo pork in which the meat is marinated in the sauce, then cooked/simmered in adobo sauce and finally browned off before serving.
Meatballs with cream sauce. Swedish meatballs are made using ground pork and ground beef and seasoned with spices like nutmeg and allspice. They can be served in a creamy sauce made with broth, butter, flour, soy sauce, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Optionally, they can also be eaten with Lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce, roasted buttery potatoes and toasted bread.
Pho. It is a flavorful and delicate Vietnamese soup dish made with noodles, vegetable or meat stock, meat bones, onion, ginger, a variety of aromatic spices like star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and fennel seeds and fish sauce which is the most important ingredient for a pho. It can be eaten with condiments like chilly oil, bean sprouts, fresh mint and Thai basil.
Bulgogi. Bulgogi is probably the most Internationally popular Korean dish. It is actually grilled barbeque beef made with thin slices of marinated beef grilled till its dark and caramelized over an open flame. The marinade is traditionally made using Asian pear, soy sauce, garlic, mirin, sugar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and black pepper.
Nihari Ghosht(Mutton) is an authentic Muslim slow cooked mutton stew known to cook preferably overnight to get soft, tender meat. It typically consists of spices and aromats like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves, chilies, saffron and gulab jal (rose water) all mixed with yoghurt and served with Parantha, naan or rice to complete the meal.