Pollo sudado (translation: “sweaty chicken,” recipe follows) is weekly fare for many families in Barranquilla, where the dish probably originated. Its popularity spread throughout the neighboring area for good reason. Chicken and potatoes, stewed in onions, broth, and spices, has all the makings of comfort food: easy to make, rich, starchy, and flavorful.
Colombia doesn’t exactly have a national dish; its cuisine is highly regionalized with dozens of contenders for the honor. The country does, though, have a food that is eaten most often: arepas (recipe follows), pan-fried flatbreads made from ground corn flour. Arepas are served in a variety of ways, sometimes with jam, butter, or sliced avocado, or even split open and stuffed with cheese.
On this Easter Sunday it is time again to pass judgement on two world cuisines on The World Cup of Food. One of Taiwan and Lebanon will be eliminated form our competition and one will advance to meet the winner of Switzerland and Hungary in the round of thirty-two.
A fine example of how Lebanese cuisine has been exported around its region, shish taouk (recipe follows) can be found in eateries from Egypt to Iraq to Turkey. Marinated chicken cut into cubes is skewered and grilled over a fire until charred on the outside and is served (at least in Lebanon) alongside hummus or inside a pita with grilled vegetables and the Lebanese garlic sauce toum.
Fattoush (recipe follows), the Lebanese salad of diced vegetables and toasted or fried pieces of pita bread, is gaining in worldwide exposure of late, now widely available at most Middle Eastern (and a lot of Greek and Turkish) restaurants. It is our impression that most Americans, though, are unfamiliar with fattoush and its crispy texture and bright, fresh flavors. We would like to do our part, however small, to change that.
Lebanese cuisine has been one of the most underrecognized, highly influential cuisines in the world. Lebanon’s position at the far eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has historically made it a crossroads for travelers moving between North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, and as a result a surprising number of dishes popular from Greece to India owe their existence to the food traditions of the tiny country, including hummus, baba ghanouj, fattoush, tabbouleh (recipe follows), tahini, and every superhero’s favorite, shawarma.
Japanese colonization of Taiwan (from 1895 to 1945) left a lasting impression on Taiwanese culture. Loan words from Japanese pepper the Taiwanese dialect, and like Japan, Taiwan has had a more Western-friendly attitude than some of its neighbors. Food traditions, of course, were also left behind by the Japanese, and today a hungry visitor to Taiwan is about as likely to find sushi or ramen noodles as he or she is more traditional Taiwanese fare.
It’s time to decide on another African nation for one of the final thirty-two places in The World Cup of Food. This week, our match pits the cuisines of Egypt and Ethiopia against each other. Which do we think is better?
Wat (or alternately, wot) is an Ethiopian stew spiced with the ridiculously hot spice mixture berbere (recipe follows that of doro wat) and cooked in a copious amount of niter kibbeh, Ethiopian clarified butter. The chicken version, doro wat (recipe follows) is probably the most popular, though lamb, beef, or even vegetarian versions are common.
Leafy greens are an essential part of the Ethiopian diet. Gomen (recipe follows), collard greens stewed until tender and spiced with niter kibbeh (Ethiopian clarified butter), are perhaps Ethiopia’s favorite vegetable dish.