Gyoza Potstickers on Lettuce Salad With Sauces

Gyoza is a type of Japanese potsticker that is surprisingly easy to prepare. It is particularly delicious when served on a bed of lettuce to up your vegetable intake and improves presentation. The popular gyoza sauce is also simple to prepare, perfect for dipping your pan-fried dumplings.

The only caveat is that you may need a little bit of practice to fold the potstickers in a visually appealing way. Even if it takes a few tries, the gyoza will taste delicious.

A Little History of Gyoza Potstickers

Gyoza potstickers are the Japanese variation of Asian dumplings. The history of potstickers is rumored to have begun when a chef tried to boil a dumpling in a wok but left it alone, causing the water to boil off. The dumpling stuck and crisped, creating potstickers, which translates into “stuck to the wok” in Chinese. From there, each country, including Japan created their versions.

Recipe

To make life easy, opt for packaged gyoza wrappers, although you could make your own if you have the time.

Potstickers

  • 1 package of gyoza wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon of neutrally flavored oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup of water
  • ¾ pounds of ground pork
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1-inch ginger, grated and fresh
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 or 3 cabbage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sake
  • Black pepper, fresh ground
  • ¼ teaspoons salt

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon Japanese chili oil, optional

Preparation

1.     Start by preparing your fillings. You can wilt the cabbage leaves to make them easier to handle. If so, you can use the microwave to blanch them or add salt then squeeze out the water. Remove the cabbage leaves’ cores then chop them into tiny pieces.

2.     Cut the shiitake mushrooms and green onions into very small pieces as well.

3.     Combine the ground meat with the cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, and green onion.

4.     Add your grated ginger and minced garlic. Then add the freshly ground pepper, 1 teaspoon sake, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Mix the contents of the bowl well, kneading them by hand.

5.     Place a wrapper in your palm on the non-dominant hand. Place a small quantity of filling in the center of the wrapper. Then use a wet finger to create a circle on the wrapper’s outer quarter inch.

6.     Fold the potsticker in your preferred way. You can fold it in half and pinch the center without sealing, then pleat the top starting in the center.

7.     To cook the gyoza, get a large, non-stick frying pan and put it over medium-high heat. Place the gyoza in one layer with the flat side down. In about three minutes, the bottoms should be golden brown.

8.     At this point, add ¼ cup water to your pan and cover it. Steam the gyoza for around three minutes, at which point almost all of the water should evaporate. Remove the lid so any remaining water evaporates.

9.     Add a teaspoon of sesame oil throughout the frying pan. Keep cooking the gyoza uncovered until they are crisp on the bottom.

10. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and serve the sauce on the side.

11. Serve the potstickers on a bed of lettuce for some extra vegetables and an even more visually appealing plate.

Videos on How to Make Your Gyozas Potstickers

To see the entire process of making gyoza potstickers and the sauce, watch this video.

For another angle to help you get the folding technique down, check out this video.

This is just one of the many variations of gyoza potstickers you can prepare as well as one of the popular choices for the sauce. You can easily change the protein or add your favorite vegetables to the potstickers or try a different Asian sauce.

What’s the Difference Between Biryani and Pulao?

On the surface, biryani and pulao are similar dishes. They’re both delicious all-in-one combinations of rice and a mix of meat and vegetables that comes from the Indian subcontinent. But when you look a little deeper, the two dishes have distinct differences. Biryani and pulao are cooked, spiced and served differently and even have a different history. Although some people use the terms interchangeably or say they’re the same dish, true foodies understand what makes biryani and pulao unique.

It’s All in the Cooking

The main difference between biryani and pulao is the way that they’re cooked. Pulao is the simpler dish. It’s cooked in one pot and the finished product is mixed together. It’s also cooked using the absorption method, meaning liquid is added to the rice and other ingredients and the dish is cooked until all the water is soaked up by the rice.

Biryani, on the other hand, is a complex dish that can take a long time to prepare. It’s defined by its layers; a true biryani has a layer of rice, then a layer of the meat or vegetables being used, followed by a top layer of rice. Generally, the rice is par-boiled while the meat and vegetables are cooked in the spices. Then the two mixes are layered in a pot and cooked for a long time over low heat.

Biryani is served as a main dish and has a complex mix of spices that give it a rich flavor. Pulao, on the other hand, is usually a side dish. It’s always flavorsome, but tends to use simpler spices

History of the Dishes

Food historians still debate the origins of the two dishes, but it’s possible they have a common ancestor. Simple one-pot meals of rice and meat may have evolved based on local ingredients, leading to different regional dishes, including biryani, pulao and paella in Spain.

Pulao is found throughout the world and known by many different names. In America, it’s often known as pilaf, while those in the UK call it pilau. Other names include pela, polo and fulao. Most believe it originated in central Asia and spread from there, importing pulao south to India and north into Europe. When central Asia was part of the USSR, pulao even became a staple on Russian tables. Charles Perry named five great schools of pulao: Caribbean, Central Asian, Indian, Iranian and Turkish. Each was developed using the ingredients and flavors found in the region.

Biryani, on the other hand, has its origins in India. Some food historians believe it was developed for royalty of the Mughal Empire that ruled much of India from 1526 to 1857. Others think it came to southern India via Arab traders. Still others say that it developed somewhat independently in both locations. Cooks in different parts of India developed regional specialities that use local ingredients and even different cooking methods, such as kacchi biryani, which layers raw meat and rice together and cooks them in a single pot.

Do-It-Yourself Pulao

Pilau or Pilaf with Beef Meat Close Up Selective Focus. Traditional Asian Dish Plov also known as Polow, Pilav, Pallao, Pulao, Palaw with Rice, Spices, Vegetables and Fried Veal

Pulao is the easier dish for an amateur cook to try. First, gather your ingredients. Basmati rice is the most popular type of rice to use in the dish, but others can also be used. For meat, goat or poultry is traditional, but the dish is built around using what’s at hand, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Vegetable options include onions, carrots, peas or whatever appeals. For spices you can go as complex or simple as you like. An Indian pulao generally uses cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Lastly, you need the liquid. Plain water is perfectly acceptable, although some people prefer a meat broth to add flavor. You should have around twice as much liquid as rice.

The most important step in cooking a pulao is washing the rice. Both the pulao and biryani are defined by the way the rice grains in the dishes are separate. Washing the rice gets rid of the starch that makes the grains stick together. Some people recommend washing it at least three times, while others soak their rice overnight. At the very least, wash your rice in running water until the water runs clear.

To cook, heat some oil in a saucepan. Next, add your aromatics, such as garlic and onions, and your spices, and stir until onion is softened and the spices have released their fragrance and flavor. Next, add the meat. This should only be cooked until it’s sealed. Then add half your liquid, bring it to a boil and cover until the meat is almost cooked. For chicken, this is around 10 minutes.

Then add the rest of the water and the rice. Bring it back to a boil and simmer for 18-20 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the meat is tender. At the end of the cooking time you can stir through some fresh herbs for extra flavor.

There are many different pulao recipes you can try to appeal to a range of different palates.

Cooking Biryani

Biryani is a much more difficult recipe to master. A traditional biryani can take hours to prepare and cook and there are often side dishes such as raita and chutneys that also need to be made. Many recipes found online don’t have the layers, which makes them closer to a pulao than a biryani.

Again, washing your rice is key, as is developing a spice mix that gives a rich, robust flavor. In a biryani, the meat is browned separately from the rice, which is partially cooked, then drained. Create layers with half the rice, a layer of meat and finally the rest of the rice. Broth or gravy is added, which is soaked up by the bottom layer of rice, leaving the top layer light and fluffy.

If you’re planning to cook biryani at home, find a recipe that has a mix of spices that appeal to you, whether that’s the cardamom and cloves of a Hyderabadi biryani or the turmeric and mustard oil found in Kolkata.

The Impossible Burger

Every year, Americans grill and eat billions of burgers, or about three burgers per person per week. Burgers are delicious, but they’re not always healthy, and producing them takes a toll on the environment. Thanks to new advancements in food technology, there’s a way for you to have your burger and eat it, too. The Impossible Burger is a new creation that hopes to replace traditional burgers in the near future.

The History of the Impossible Burger

The Impossible Burger is one of the best-received vegan burgers to hit the mainstream markets. Launched in July 2016, it has quickly become a hit with meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike. The first burgers were produced in Rutgers, New Jersey and Redwood City, California, and they were sold in several New York and California eateries. Since then, the burgers have appeared in numerous grocery stores and restaurants, including all 377 White Castle locations and nationwide in Burger King.

A new version of the Impossible Burger, the Impossible Burger 2.0, was released on January 9, 2019. This burger is kosher, halal-certified, vegan and gluten-free, whereas the original contained wheat. The new version is lower in saturated fat and sodium while still retaining its high protein count. If customer feedback is anything to go by, it’s just as tasty as the first version was.

What’s in the Impossible Burger?

The Impossible Burger contains a range of high-quality ingredients, including sunflower oil, yeast extract and vitamin B12. The vitamin supplements are especially useful for vegans and vegetarians who may have nutritional deficiencies. The ingredient choices reflect Impossible Burger’s mission to be accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of dietary restrictions. However, people with potato, soy or coconut oil allergies should stay clear. Also, the burger is not organic, and it contains two genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs: heme and soy protein.

Heme is the molecule responsible for blood’s red coloring. The Impossible Burger uses a plant-based heme that comes from the roots of soy plants. Though there have been no long-term studies about heme’s health effects on humans, studies conducted on animals have shown no adverse effects. Conversely, animal proteins have been connected to various adverse effects, including an increased risk of cancer.

How does the Impossible Burger Compare to Beef Burgers?

Although experts are currently debating the Impossible Burger’s nutritional value, studies suggest that the Impossible Burger is generally healthier than beef burgers. Furthermore, the Impossible Burger poses significantly less risks to the environment.

Beef burgers are one of the leading causes of greenhouse gases due to flatulence released by livestock. These burgers also require huge amounts of water and land to produce. For instance, 2.2 pounds of beef requires almost 4,000 gallons of water. The Impossible Burger, on the other hand, can be created with far less resources. Thus, the goal of Impossible Foods, the makers of the Impossible Burger, is to create a more environmentally-friendly, sustainable burger that also tastes great.

In order to make the burger as meat-like as possible, the makers of the Impossible Burger used both heme and coconut flakes. The former gives the Impossible Burger its “bleeding” ability, as well as flavor, while the latter resembles fat frying on the grill. Together, these ingredients have created a delectable, meat-like food that many consumers can’t tell apart from real beef.

Food Like the Impossible Burger

Due to its high demand, various stores have quickly sold out of the Impossible Burger. If you can’t get your hands on one of these burgers, you might also like the Beyond Burger, and for those who prefer chicken to beef, MorningStar has several options. However, polls suggest that the Impossible Burger is at the top of most people’s lists.

What’s in the Future?

The brains behind the Impossible Burger are already working on a new plant-based food: Impossible Sausages. They’re similar to the Original Burgers, though they don’t contain any potato proteins. Once released, Little Caesars has signed on to distribute these sausages as toppings for their pizzas. If their experience is anything like White Castle and Burger King’s, it’s bound to be a success.

A future goal for the Impossible Burger is disbursement in grocery stores. Furthermore, the creators hope to sell their burgers at a lower price. Currently, these burgers tend to cost more than regular burgers, with an Impossible Cheeseburger at Red Robin costing over $13 while a regular burger is closer to $9.

The Impossible Burger is an environmentally-friendly, delicious burger that you can find in various fast food restaurants. In general, it’s healthier than a normal burger and contributes much less to global warming. If you’re a vegan who’s looking for a meat-like burger or a meat eater who’s trying to cut down on meat, the Impossible Burger is worth a try. Not only is it a realistic, tasty burger — it’s also a responsible, healthier decision.

Vegan food

Veganism is a diet that avoids consumption of all animal products, including eggs, milk and honey. Some people choose to be vegan for health reasons, but the majority of vegans avoid animal products for ethical reasons. Vegans believe that humans should not exploit animals in any way and that all creatures on the planet should live in harmony.

Early History

The earliest mention of the vegan lifestyle dates back to the 500 BCE scripts of Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, who believed in benevolence among all animal species including humans. The Eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism have always promoted a vegan lifestyle. While long popular in the Far East, veganism didn’t make its way to the Western World until the late 1840s when Rev. Sylvester Graham taught his followers not to consume any animal products as part of their strict religious lifestyle.

Modern History

In 1944, a British man named Donald Watson coined the term and started the British Vegan Society. He wanted to show the difference between vegetarians and those that would not consume or use any animal products. By the time he died in 2005, there were 250,000 vegans in Britain and about 2 million in the United States. As people become increasingly worried about the state of the planet, they’re choosing a vegan lifestyle to try and save the earth. Recent reports by the LANCET commission show the dairy and meat industries are some of the biggest contributors to global warming.

Health Benefits

There are several scientifically proven benefits to following a vegan diet such as:

  1. Weight loss – Eating a vegan diet tends to eliminate most of the unhealthy foods that cause weight gain. In general, people following a vegan diet will lose weight and achieve a healthy BMI.
  2. Health – A vegan diet is rich in basic nutrients in comparison to the standard Western diet. Eliminating meat and animal products from your diet will force you to eat other healthy food items such as fruits, vegetables, peas, nuts and seeds.
  3. Lower blood sugar – Changing to a vegan diet has been shown to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by between 50% and 78%.
  4. Cancer – Those that follow a vegan diet have a 15% lower chance of dying from cancer compared to those following a standard diet. This may be due to the high number of fresh fruits and vegetables that are consumed by them regularly.
  5. Lower risk of heart disease – Consuming a diet that’s rich in legumes, fruit, vegetables and healthy fibers has been shown to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by 75% and heart disease by up to 42%.
  6. Arthritis – A diet that involves a probiotic-rich whole food eating system like the vegan lifestyle appears to reduce the symptoms and pain associated with arthritis.

Reasons to Go Vegan

There are numerous reasons aside from your health to make the change to a vegan lifestyle:

  1. Reduce climate change – By going vegan, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
  2. Save money – A diet that’s based on fresh fruit and vegetables is cheaper than the standard meat-based Western diet.
  3. Help feed the world – Over 800 million people don’t have enough to eat regularly. At the same time, over 90 million acres of land are being used to grow feed for farmed animals.
  4. Save water – It takes about 1,799 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef. The Stockholm Water Institute believes that we will run out of water on earth by 2050 if we don’t reduce our current rate of meat consumption.
  5. Save the rain forest – The majority of deforestation across the world has been to clear land for cattle grazing and to grow animal feed.
  6. Try new foods – The change towards more plant-based food options has resulted in a wide range of vegan alternatives being available in your local grocery store. There has never been a better time to try ditch meat and try a vegan lifestyle.

Importance of a balanced vegan diet

The vegan diet can be very healthy but followers need to make sure that they are getting enough protein and other essential nutrients. Some people go overboard eating carbohydrates and that can lead to obesity and other health-related issues. When eating a vegan diet you should:

  • Eat a rainbow of different fruits and vegetables throughout the day to ensure you are getting a wide range of nutrients.
  • Choose high fiber versions of starchy foods such as old-fashioned oats, wholemeal bread, sweet potatoes and brown rice.
  • Make sure that you include protein in your diet regularly. Protein sources for vegans, include tofu, lentils, soya milk, peanuts, chickpeas and quinoa.
  • Eat plenty of nuts and seeds that are rich in Omega 3 oils.
  • Try to eat plenty of calcium-fortified foods as you will need calcium to protect your bones as you age.
  • Take supplements for Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and iodine to ensure optimal health.

If you’re feeling weak or suddenly lose a large amount of weight, you should see a doctor to make sure that you’re getting all your required nutrients. You may need to make small changes to your diet or take additional supplements.

Recipes

This is a photograph of a vegan macaroni and cheese served in a white dish and topped with broccoli.

Vegan Mac n Cheese

Indulge in some yummy comfort food by cooking a pot of healthy mac n cheese that is completely vegan but just as tasty as the original. This may seem like a large number of ingredients but the method is very simple and the result is delicious.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole-grain macaroni
  • 1.5 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 1 head of broccoli ( the broccoli is optional but adds a nutritional boost. Feel free to replace this with your favorite vegetable)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 cup of peeled and grated organic potato
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • red pepper flake (optional but does add a bit of heat)
  • 2/3 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Add your broccoli or similar vegetable about 2 to 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Drain the pasta and vegetables before transferring to a large serving bowl.
  2. In a separate cooking pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, a pinch of salt, grated potato, and red pepper flakes. Stir over heat for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the cashews and water and stir to combine all ingredients. Let the mixture simmer for about 8 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  5. Pour the mixture into a blender and add the nutritional yeast and apple cider vinegar. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth. You may need to pause the machine and scrape the sides regularly. Add extra water if the mixture doesn’t blend easily or if you prefer a thinner sauce.
  6. Taste the mixture to check if you need extra salt or apple cider vinegar. This will depend on your taste preferences.
  7. Serve the sauce with the pasta. The mixture keeps well in the fridge for about 4 days if you have any leftovers.

Kale, Black Bean and Avocado Burrito Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • salt to taste
  • 1 bunch of curly kale chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 a jalapeno, seeded and sliced
  • 1 avocado pitted and sliced into chunks
  • 1/2 cup mild green salsa
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tins of black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • cherry tomatoes to garnish

Method

  1. Cook the brown rice according to the package instructions with a little salt to taste. Drain and fluff the rice before setting aside.
  2. Whisk together the lime juice, a splash of olive oil, jalapeno, cumin, and a pinch of salt. Soak the chopped kale in the lime marinade. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, combine the avocado, salsa, cilantro, and lime juice. Blend until it has become a smooth paste.
  4. In a saucepan, heat the tablespoon of olive oil and add the shallots and garlic. Saute until fragrant before adding the black beans, cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the beans are warmed through. Add a splash of water if the beans begin to dry out.
  5. To serve, spoon a portion of rice into each bowl, add the beans, avocado, and kale. Garnish with chopped cherry tomatoes.

Vegan Burger

Red, green,black mini burgers with quinoa and vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup uncooked millet
  • 1 cup of oats ( choose the gluten-free ones if you are also avoiding gluten)
  • 1 can of black beans that have been rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 a small red onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • cayenne powder to taste
  • pinch of salt
  • coconut oil for cooking
  • 8 wholewheat vegan hamburger buns or large mushrooms to act as buns
  • Your favorite burger fixings such as avocado, tomato, vegan cheese, lettuce, mustard, and pickles

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise. Place the potatoes cut side down on the roasting tray and roast for about 40 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and leave to cool. Once they are cool you should be able to easily remove the skins. Roughly chop the insides before setting aside to cool completely.
  2. Bring one cup of water to boil in a saucepan. Add the millet and reduce the heat to a simmer. The millet should take about 25 minutes to cook.
  3. Use a blender to grind the oats into flakes but not a powder.
  4. In a large bowl combine the cooled sweet potatoes, millet, black beans, onions, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt to taste. Use a potato masher or mixer to blend the ingredients well.
  5. Sprinkle the oat flakes over the mixture and use your hands to combine the mixture until it can hold a shape.
  6. Portion the mixture into patties and place on a baking tray. Refrigerate for at least four hours but preferably overnight.
  7. Pan-fry the patties in a skillet with the coconut oil. Cook each patty until brown before flipping. Each side should take about 5 minutes.
  8. Toast your buns and serve the burgers with all your favorite fixings.

Final thoughts

A vegan lifestyle can be a healthy choice for you and it may help to stop the effects of global warming. There are plenty of delicious meat alternatives available now and you should be able to easily find meat-free options for all your favorite meals.

Goulash

Goulash is a rustic stew or soup with meat (usually beef) and vegetables, seasoned strongly with paprika and other spices. It’s a popular meal in Central Europe, but also in many other parts of the world. In North America, goulash usually resembles the classic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás), one of the national dishes of Hungary and a symbol of the country. Traditionally it’s prepared in a cast iron kettle called a bograc.

Brief History

Like the UK’s Shepherd’s pie, Hungarian goulash had its origins with cattle herders and shepherds in the Middle Ages. It was a practical staple meal for this outdoor-living, nomadic group who cured the stew in the sun and stored it in sheep’s stomach pouches for dinners on the run.

Prior to global trade in paprika, the deep red spice now associated closely with Hungarian cuisine, especially goulash, the dish was based on just a few ingredients, including beef, veal, pork or lamb, and onions. Over time, innovations, such as tomatoes, were added, and other vegetables. Traditionally though, goulash is served without starch, so no potatoes or rice. Rather it’s often served with small egg noodles called csipetke, which are boiled in the broth, or with dumplings that cook in the steam of the simmering goulash.

How to prepare Goulash

There are many ways to prepare goulash. What follows is a traditional recipe from the Daring Gourmet that includes potatoes for a hearty dinner entreé. Serve it with a crisp white wine, sour cream and crusty bread on the side, and a cool salad — like cucumber — to cut the heat. Or go completely Old World and serve goulash with dumplings (see recipe below). They are the perfect accompaniment for this saucy, spicy one pot dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons pork lard (butter is an acceptable substitute, but pork fat is traditionally used and recommended for the best flavor)
  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 1/2 pounds of good quality beef, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt the lard in a sturdy Dutch oven and cook the onions until they are just turning golden brown (approx. 7 minutes). Take the pot off the heat, add the paprika and stir. Add the beef and garlic, then return to the heat for about 10 minutes. By this point there should be no pink left on the beef.
  2. Add the bell peppers and cook for another 7 minutes. Finally add the diced carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes to the beef broth, and season with a bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, covered.
  3. Serve warm.

Dumplings

  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add milk and butter and stir thoroughly.
  2. Once the beef chunks are cooked to the tender stage, use a tablespoon to drop the dumpling batter into the simmering stew. Cover the pot and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Don’t uncover the pot for 15 minutes — you want the dumplings to cook in their own steam to become light and fluffy. At the 15-minute mark, test the dumplings with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, they are done and ready to enjoy.

Variations

Even within the category of traditional Hungarian goulashes there are many variations:

Omitting the potatoes and adding sauerkraut and sour cream, you end up with Székely Gulyás.

Using pork, lemon and thin vermicelli in the goulash instead of potato and egg noodle is called Likócsi Pork Gulyás.

There are even personal versions that have been passed down through the ages. One thick and rich goulash, closer to a stew in consistency, and made with three kinds of meat, is called Székely gulyás, named after the Hungarian writer, journalist and revolutionary József Székely (1825–1895).

Outside of Hungary, goulash is a favorite dish from Ethiopia (spicy fish goulash) to the Philippines (caldereta). Hungarian immigrants fleeing oppressive governments also brought many versions of goulash to North America with them. Now there’s even a slow cooker version.

Most of the popular celebrity chefs have given goulash a try. Jamie Oliver has a healthy version. Martha Stewart has a Slovakian version. There’s even a low-rent American facsimile called slumgullion that features whatever ingredients a cook has on hand.

The goulash tradition is based on making the most of what you can find. Under the umbrella of that tradition, you have to also consider dishes like mulligan stew, a campfire classic invented by American hobos riding the rails in the early 20th century.

Coq au vin

Coq au vin translates to English as rooster in wine. This traditional French dish is prepared with chicken legs braised in wine with button mushrooms, onions, carrots, and lardons — slivers of fatty slab bacon that are a staple of French cuisine, especially in the South.

Brief History

Although the colorful lore surrounding coq au vin suggests that it dates back to the time of the Romans and Gauls, it’s more likely a dish that evolved naturally and simultaneously in several parts of 17th century France as well as the rest of Europe and the UK under different names. The thinking behind this is that roosters are generally a tough fowl and fairly ubiquitous across rural France. Using wine as a marinade is an effective way to create tenderness where there is very little naturally.

The first cookbook mentions of coq au vin don’t appear until the 20th century, although the regional variation coq au vin blanc is included in the cookbook Cookery for English Households, by a French Lady, published in 1864.

During the 50s and 60s, North America’s love affair with French cuisine was fuelled by the rise of celebrity chefs such as Paul Bocuse and Julia Child. Coq au vin became synonymous with romantic fine dining. But the truth is that this is a rustic and hearty dish, beloved by those who work outdoors, and easily pulled together in country kitchens from ingredients on hand once the family rooster had outlived its usefulness.

How to make Coq au vin

American chef Julia Child helped popularize coq au vin and French cuisine in general in North America. Her 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking contains a classic, though not entirely traditional, version of the dish. Hers is a further adaptation. You can also check out the Coq au Vin episode of her 1963 TV series, The French Chef, on PBS to get a handle on her technique. For comparison, the great French chef Paul Bocuse’s version can be found here — unlike Child, he recommends marinating the chicken for up to 24 hours.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine (Burgundy works best)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces to replace lardons, which are more difficult to source in North America. Use lardons, if you can find them. If not, use unsmoked bacon.
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups pearl onions, peeled
  • Beurre manié dough made from butter and flour and used for thickening stews and soups. Detailed instructions are included in this excellent article in the gastronomic Saveur magazine.
  • 1/4 cup brandy (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken in a bowl with wine, chicken stock and brandy if using.
  2. In a large lidded skillet, casserole or dutch oven, cook the bacon until crispy.
  3. Remove chicken parts from the wine mixture and dry with paper towel. Reserve the liquid for later.
  4. Sear the chicken in the same cooking pot used for the bacon until golden brown on all sides. Reserve the bacon / chicken fat to use later. Still using the same pot, add the onion and carrots, and let them cook until the onion is golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, and let it cook for about one minute.
  5. Push the vegetables to the side of the pot and add the tomato paste, cooking it until fragrant and beginning to darken. Pour the reserved wine mixture into the skillet, scraping the bottom to remove bits. Add seared chicken, sprinkle with thyme, cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.
  6. Add pearl onions to the pot with the chicken and cook a further 10 minutes. In the meantime, in a separate large skillet, sauté mushrooms in olive oil. Set aside.
  7. Finally, after removing the chicken pieces from the pot, mix up a beurre manié and add it, stirring and allowing the sauce to thicken, then season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add back the chicken, sprinkle with the sautéd mushrooms, bacon and fresh thyme.

Side Dishes

Coq au vin is a great dish to serve up family style from a rustic skillet or casserole. It doesn’t need a lot of dressing up – mashed potatoes are perfect for sopping up the juice as is a crusty baguette. Many cooks add simple greens – green beans or asparagus in season, or a green salad. Serve with a red wine similar to the one you used as a marinade.

Variations

There are several notable regional variations to the most traditional red wine version of coq au vin, that most of us are familiar with.

Coq au vin blanc originated in the Alsace region of France, and uses sweet white riesling rather than red wine. Most modern chefs prefer a drier wine for this variation, a sauvignon blanc or pinot gris. Coq au vin is one of those incredibly flexible dishes that lends itself to experimentation. When the dish is made with beaujolais nouveau, it is referred to as coq au violet.

Regional variations can also include different kinds of mushrooms and vegetables, depending on what can be harvested locally.

Finally, in keeping with contemporary cooking styles, adjustments are constantly being made for modern palates and dietary preferences. Take the important component of the beurre manié, for example. A traditional beurre manie demands 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons softened butter. The Paleo and gluten-free versions requires 2 tablespoons tapioca starch and 1 tablespoon softened butter. The lactose intolerant can use a dairy free beurre manié with 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine.

Mexican Cuisine

Taco Tuesday posts dominate social media each week, which isn’t surprising when you consider Americans devour a whopping 4.5 billion tacos per year. Even if you aren’t a taco fan yourself, you probably enjoy burritos, nachos or some other type of Mexican cuisine. You might even have a strong opinion about whether Tex-Mex is real Mexican food or just an Americanized knockoff.

Some Americans credit their fondness for Mexican meals to the rapidly growing Hispanic population in the United States. That may play a role in your own diet, but Mexican food actually appeared on U.S. soil long before that. Tacos didn’t officially earn their U.S. moniker until the early 1900s, but other Mexican staples, such as chocolate and chile peppers, appeared centuries before that.

What is Mexican Cuisine?

Mexican cuisine typically refers to dishes made from beans, peppers, meat and some type of vessel, such as a tortilla or taco shell. Many dishes are spicy, but you can reduce the heat by adding fewer peppers.

When preparing Mexican cuisine, you might use some — or all — of these ingredients:

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Jalapenos
  • Green peppers
  • Red peppers
  • Chile peppers
  • Chipotle peppers
  • Onions
  • Shredded chicken
  • Steak flanks
  • Pulled pork
  • Ground beef
  • Chorizo
  • White cheese
  • Corn
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon

These ingredients are then placed on a vessel, such as a flour tortilla, soft corn tortilla, crunchy taco shell or tortilla chips. You can also add them to rice or salad or stuff them inside of a tamale.

Americans often top Mexican food with salsa, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo — also known as salsa fresca, a blend of diced tomatoes, onions and cilantro with a hint of lime juice. You can also add shredded cheese or melted queso to your completed dishes.

Is Tex-Mex Cuisine the Same as Mexican Cuisine?


Tex-Mex cuisine refers to Mexican dishes fused with American trends, so it’s similar to many traditional Mexican dishes. It started in Texas — hence the ‘Tex’ part of the name — and spread across the country, making a final stop in Canada. The Tejano people are credited with launching this popular style of food.

Some people argue that Tex-Mex doesn’t compare to traditional Mexican fare when it comes to taste and the quality of ingredients. Here are some key differences between Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine:

  • Mexican cuisine uses white cheese, not cheddar or other varieties
  • Tex-Mex recipes often use cumin, but authentic Mexican dishes get their flavor from cilantro, chile peppers, cacao or other herbs and spices
  • Mexican tacos come in corn tortillas stuffed with pork or steak, while Tex-Mex fans favor ground beef in crunchy corn tacos or soft flour tortillas

Based on these differences, Taco Bell and Chipotle don’t offer traditional Mexican cuisine. However, they still incorporate important parts of Tejano culture into their menus, and they’re easier to find than traditional Mexican restaurants. There are more than 7,000 Taco Bell locations scattered across the globe, and Chipotle has around 2,400 restaurants.

Where is Mexican Food From?

Mexico might seem like the obvious answer, but it’s not the only source of Mexican-style cuisine. Some popular recipes stem from a blend of Native American and Spanish dishes, and Latin Americans also enjoy — and inspire — some Mexican dishes.

Mexican food originated approximately 9,000 years ago with help from the Mayan communities. Back then, meals mainly consisted of vegetables and grains, including corn, beans, avocados, squash, tomatoes and chilies. Eventually, Spanish settlers — or rather, invaders — introduced the Mayans to garlic, herbs and meat.

Around the time of the Spanish invasion, Mexican food didn’t always contain the same meat we eat today. Dishes were often made with turkey, duck, squirrel, deer, rabbits and even dogs. Some meals even contained maguey worms and grasshoppers.

However, meat was prepared in methods similar to those used today. Meat was often slow roasted to preserve flavor and moisture, and it was typically seasoned with spices or herbs.

Drinks were made from corn, similar to the atole drinks we have today. Later in history, Mexicans introduced Europeans to chocolate, and Spanish settlers shared sugar. This resulted in drinks similar to the hot chocolate we have today.

Corn also was — and is — a staple for savory Mexican deals. You can create dough for tamales or tortillas with corn as well as make crunchy taco shells. Tortillas were made by hand until the 1940s when electric and gas-powered machinery, then considered high tech, was introduced.

What’s Unique About Mexican Food?

Mexican food has a rich history that spans thousands of years — it has truly stood the test of time. This cuisine boasts a global appeal, which means people around the world chow down on Mexican dishes. You can find Mexican food in Mexico, of course, but you can also order Mexican dishes on nearly every continent. With the exception of Italian food, most cuisines lack the worldwide popularity of Mexican fare.

Some cuisines rely on a few basic ingredients. Mexican food incorporates vibrant veggies with rich spices and satisfying proteins. You can customize Mexican food to meet nearly any lifestyle or dietary preference, including:

  • Gluten free
  • Keto
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Dairy free
  • Sugar free
  • Paleo
  • Whole 30
  • Low carb

Because it’s so easy to customize the taste and price of each dish, Mexican food appeals to nearly every age and demographic. Some Mexican meals require hours in the kitchen while others can be thrown together in minutes.

What Are Some Popular Mexican Meals?

Mexican dishes are different throughout the world, so what’s popular in your city might be a rarity elsewhere. With that being said, there are several dishes that always seem to find a spot on most Tex-Mex menus or at traditional Mexican dinners.

Depending on where you live, popular menu options may include:

  • Soft tacos and hard tacos
  • Burritos
  • Quesadillas
  • Nachos
  • Cochinita pibil
  • Fajitas
  • Enchiladas
  • Pozoles
  • Tamales
  • Chiles rellenos
  • Tostadas
  • Carne asada
  • Taquitos
  • Flautas
  • Tortilla soup
  • Guacamole
  • Refried beans
  • Fried ice cream
  • Margaritas

Many people mistakenly assume flan is a Mexican recipe, but it was actually a Medieval European meal. It came to the U.S. around the same time as ceviche, another dish commonly confused as Mexican cuisine. The Incas created ceviche with fresh fish, and Central Americans later flavored this dish with citrus.

How Do You Make Mexican Food?

You can easily make your own Mexican-style creation by combining a grain, a protein, veggies and spices. Let’s break down each category so you have some ideas:

  • Grains: Flour tortillas, corn tortillas, hard taco shells, tostados, tortilla chips, corn dough (like the dough used for tamales), rice
  • Protein: Black beans, pinto beans, chicken, pork, beef, steak, sausage, tofu
  • Veggies: Chile peppers, chipotle peppers, green peppers, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, jalapenos
  • Spices and Herbs: Cilantro, cumin, cacao, oregano, taco seasoning

You can also add cheese, corn, diced tomatoes, smashed avocado and any of your other favorite foods to a Mexican-inspired recipe. Experiment with different combinations to find a sweet or savory dish that you and your loved ones enjoy.

Looking for specific recipes rather than a general idea of how to make Mexican food? Try this recipe for chicken mole enchiladas inspired by the dish we found on the Food Network:

Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Mole:

  • 5 dried pasilla or ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • One 3.1-ounce disk Mexican chocolate, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper

Enchiladas:

  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup queso fresco

Here’s how you make this popular recipe:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, then place the chicken on a baking sheet. Apply salt and pepper, then drizzle olive oil over the chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until chicken is fully cooked, not red or rubbery. Shred chicken into small pieces after it cools.

While your chicken bakes, work on preparing your mole. Start by soaking the dried chiles in 1 1/2 cups hot water for 15 minutes, then drain your mixture and set it aside.

Toast the corn tortillas in a skillet without oil or cooking spray until crisp and golden. Once cool, tear your tortillas into pieces and set them aside. Drizzle oil in the skillet, then saute the onions with a dash of salt over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add garlic to the onion mixture, and saute your veggies for an additional 2 minutes..

Combine the onion and garlic mixture in a blender with the chiles and tortillas you set aside, plus peanut butter and oregano. Pour the chicken stock over your ingredients and blend until mixture is smooth.

Add the blended mixture to a medium saute pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, then cover your pan and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes.

Carefully stir in the chocolate, then season the mole with salt and pepper. Save 1 cup of mole for the enchiladas, and set aside the rest for dipping the tortillas.

Now it’s time to assemble the enchiladas. Start by filling a medium saute pan halfway with oil over high heat. Using tongs or another heat-safe kitchen utensil, dip each tortilla one at a time into the hot mixture. Fry it for a few seconds until it’s hot and soft.

Place fried tortillas into the warm mole and then move them to a plate. Fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture, then roll it like a cigar. Place tortillas side by side, seams down, in the serving dish, then pour mole on top. Serve with sour cream and queso.

Need an easier Mexican recipe? Try this homemade guacamole:

Quick Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 avocados, pitted and mashed
  • Lime juice
  • Sea salt

Instructions:

Add a dash of lime juice to mashed avocados, then sprinkle with sea salt. That’s it! Serve with chips, veggies or tortillas. You can also use guacamole as a topping or filling for tacos, casseroles or toast.

Got a little more time?

Add diced tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic powder or minced garlic to your mixture. Top with cotija cheese or fresh salsa.

Mexican foods are packed with fresh flavor, whether you eat vegetarian fajitas, lime-infused guacamole or pork-filled tamales. Some people prefer traditional Mexican fare to Americanized Tex-Mex cuisine, but both options stem from memorable historical periods. Next time you bite into a tasty taco or savor a rich piece of chocolate, think about how you’re eating the same food your ancestors once enjoyed.