Global Recipes From Around the World

Take a culinary trip around the world without leaving your kitchen. From savory golden hreeseh from Palestine to sweet cardamom-flavored semla rolls, you can discover foods with fascinating backstories here.

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What’s more, a few key ingredients can change how recipes are perceived. Just consider what makes a stew from India “curry” and thus a viral recipe.

Middle East

At the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Middle East cuisine is characterized by a broad array of flavors. As early civilizations in the region paved the way for modern agriculture, they were among the first to keep livestock and develop farming and cooking techniques that are still widely used today.

Western consumers are well-acquainted with hummus and falafel—both popular chickpea cometibles that can be found at food carts, fast-casual restaurants, dine-in restaurants and grocery stores—but the region’s diverse dishes deserve to be more widely explored.

For example, knafeh is a savory, baked dessert containing cheese surrounded by shredded filo dough, while masgouf is a grilled carp dish served with a syrup. Vegetables, such as zucchini and eggplant, are a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, while legumes and grains, such as fava beans, are also common. These ingredients are complemented by aromatic spices and herbs, such as sumac and cardamom.

Eastern Europe

The region of Eastern Europe encompasses countries that follow the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as Western European countries with a history of Roman Catholicism or Protestantism. It includes Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, as well as a portion of Russia (see: European Russia map).

The countries in Eastern Europe broke loose from the Iron Curtain after World War II and began to transition toward democratic governments and market-oriented economies with private ownership. Some have even succeeded in becoming members of the EU, but others are still struggling to overcome the legacy of communism.

Dreary weather inspires a craving for hearty dinners, and Eastern Europeans have perfected comforting dishes that will shoo away the chill. From classic goulash made with paprika to modern takes on borscht-turned-pasta, these recipes offer a rich culinary heritage that is hard to beat.

South America

South America is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Its rich biodiversity is also reflected in its cuisine, which has been influenced by indigenous, European and African cultures. Traditional music and dance, such as samba and the tango, are popular throughout the continent.

The region’s historic connection with Europe helped shape its culture. For instance, gaucho (cowboy) culture developed in Argentina and Uruguay. Its traditions of dress, music and food still remain today.

Quinoa is a staple crop in the highlands of Peru. Its health benefits, like protein and fiber, make it an integral part of the country’s cuisine. Here, mamani Villavicencio uses it to make pesque de quinua, a stew that features potatoes, quinoa and huacatay, a native herb similar to tarragon. She serves it with a side of churros.

Africa

African recipes are rich in flavor and offer a delightful exploration of the continent’s diverse gastronomic heritage. From hearty stews to sizzling grilled meats, African food showcases an exciting mix of culinary influences from Arab, Indian and European cultures.

Traditional dishes like jollof rice are popular across the continent, with Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal each having their own distinct version of this delicious staple. Other popular foods include oshifima (maize porridge), pap (similar to American grits) and koeksisters, or sweet doughnuts.

Namibian cuisine displays a strong German influence, with sausages and cured meats sitting alongside South African potjiekos, biltong and braaivleis. A blend of cultures is also reflected in South African dishes, with bobotie, the national dish, featuring ingredients from Arab, Indian and European traditions. Throughout the region, staples like cassava and yams are commonly used. In addition, local fish and fruit are a part of every meal. Many meals also feature a variety of vegetables, beans and roots.