Tired of eating the same foods all the time and looking for inspiration of how you can spice up your lockdown meals? We’ve got you! As most of us have been spending majority of our time at home during Covid-19, cooking all the meals yourself, even for those of us who enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, can become a chore. You start to miss those delicious restaurant meals and healthy salads that you used to pick up from your favourite local café during lunch time… But who says you can’t replicate those at home?
And while none of us are likely going to be travelling anywhere this summer, you can recreate the smell of foreign lands and busy outdoor restaurants in the safety and comfort of your own home. Staying healthy and eating well really doesn’t have to be that hard! We’re going to tell you about some of our favourite dishes from around the world that you can learn to cook at home, and perhaps even treat your flatmates when you move into your student accommodation in autumn.
Something that can be found on many Indian restaurant menus, Tandoori Chicken is a classic loved by many. But did you know it is actually really healthy and easy to make? The chicken is marinated in low-fat yogurt and seasoned in tandoori masala, and a combination of various spices to give you a lovely kick and a warming feeling on a cold evening. One entire leg piece includes approximately 260 calories, making it a great choice for anyone looking to bring Indian spices into their healthy diet. Usually served with rice, but you can substitute those for a green salad or another grain alternative. Check out a few of our favourite Tandoori Chicken recipes and try it yourself:
While you might think of Chinese food as greasy and spicy, it doesn’t have to be that way! Chinese cuisine has plenty of healthy options to offer. For those of you vegans and vegetarians out there Buddha’s Delight is a great option to try. It’s a stir-fry made with tofu and steamed vegetables like bok choy, cabbage and broccoli in a light, savoury sauce. This completely plant-based dish has plenty of fibre, as well as protein from the tofu. Even if you generally eat meat, consider including tofu into your diet! It’s very is high in protein and provides fats, carbs, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
Moreover, Buddha’s Delight has deep cultural traditions and is often cooked during Chinese New Year. If you’d like to learn more about the origins of this vegetarian dish, check out this link we found: https://tasteasianfood.com/buddhas-delight/
If you know anything about Italian cuisine, you will certainly know that it’s famous for its amazing pizza, pasta dishes, and tends to be quite calorific. Everything comes covered in cheese and often served with garlic bread as a side. Italian food is definitely meant for your soul, as it’s beautifully portrayed in the movie Eat, Pray, Love where the main character enjoys all of its glory in her pursuit to find happiness.
However, when it comes to eating healthy, we have a hidden gem for you! Pesto Shrimp Pasta with a dash of red pepper gives you an opportunity to enjoy Italian flavours without the guilt. Seafood, particularly shrimps, are known to have a lot of amazing qualities and often recommended for a full, nutritious diet. For example, eating shrimp promote heart and brain health due to its content of omega-3 fatty acids. So get yourself these simple ingredients, pull out your favourite type of pasta and get cooking!
Now Spanish food is definitely one that reminds us of warm weather, beaches, cold sangria, and holidays! With the weather warming up in the UK, why not recreate your own version of a Spanish riviera restaurant at home with this lovely Tomato Gazpacho. This easy recipe is a perfect way to use leftover tomatoes and other vegetables you might have bought but never managed to use up, since they all get whirled up in a food processor. If you never tried or heard of gazpacho before, it’s basically a cold soup made with raw, blended vegetables. It originated in Spain and it usually eaten during particularly hot and dry summer months. While we might not normally be able to boast about the hot weather in the UK, gazpacho can serve as alternative starter that is both refreshing and unique!
While Russian cuisine is not the most popular one in the UK, it’s definitely worth looking at when you’re looking to experiment in the kitchen and bring in some new flavours. The biggest country in the world is known for simple, hearty food that will certainly warm you up and fill your belly. And you can make it very healthy too if you do it right! Our choice here, Beef Stroganoff is one of the better-known Russian dishes and definitely a definition of comfort food. Using lean beef to make it means you can get high quality protein and an iron boost while avoiding the fats. The mushrooms used in stroganoff are also low in calories, filled with fibre and contain B vitamins important for our metabolism, as well as minerals such as selenium, which is good for a healthy immune system. Don’t hesitate, try it out!
To finish this list of, we just had to share with you a dessert recipe, which while not as healthy as all the other dishes we listed before, can be beautifully incorporated into your diet and treat you at the end of a long day working or studying. Brazil’s cuisine is usually associated with a lot of meat, barbeques, and fried food. But their desserts are also to die for!
Brigadeiros, for example, are incredibly addicting. Made with only five ingredients, these fudgy truffles are super easy to put together at home and to put on the list of treats to make for your new flatmates when you move to university accommodation in September. In Brazil, they’re often served during birthday parties and they also have an interesting origin story. The name “brigadeiro” means “brigadier” in English. According to popular beliefs, the Brigadeiro was created in honour of Brazilian Brigadier Eduardo Gomes in the 40s, who had a lot of female fans that eventually created this candy that now carries his title. Sweet condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, a pinch of salt and chocolate sprinkles is all you need to make these delicious treats!