South Africa: 51/52

Chakalaka

Chakalaka is a South African staple, especially at barbecues. So maybe December isn’t the best time of year to make a BBQ side dish (we are well into winter weather up here), it can at least remind us of warmer times. This dish is a bit sweet, spicy, and crunchy…with every veggie under the sun included.

The Dish

The recipe comes from the Immaculate Bites blog and includes a mix of peppers, spices (including cumin, paprika, and curry), carrots, tomatoes, and the “star” of the dish…baked beans. It seemed like an odd addition, but we can see why this is a staple at BBQs.

 

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The veggies must pass inspection!

 

The Verdict

The beans brought an interesting twist to this dish. Maybe it was because E was shopping for baked beans in an American supermarket, but this dish came out a lot sweeter than expected. The blend of peppers, carrots, tomato, and curry made for a nice condiment. E thinks this could be delicious paired with BBQ ribs or even a hot dog!

 

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Best served chilled on a warm summer day…sigh…

 

Austria: 50/52

Vanillekipferl

Austrian Vanillekipferl are small vanilla crescent cookies usually served during the holidays and were a great compliment to our Hungarian cookies. These light buttery cookies are perfect for morning, afternoon, mid-afternoon, and evening coffee breaks…

The Dish

The recipe is pulled from the Austrian official travel guide. Once the dough is mixed, it is rolled, cut, and molded into tiny crescents. After baking, the cookies are dusted in a sugar and vanilla mixture.

 

We are starting to think our sugar and butter intake is at an all time high…

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Lil’ Vanillekipferl assembly

The Verdict

Our version swapped out the almonds for hazelnuts and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Besides being fun to say, these bite-sized Vanillekipferl have the perfect amount of hazelnut and the vanilla sugar dusted on top was a nice compliment to the cookie.

Best of all, they are small and light, so E didn’t feel guilty grabbing 2…or 6 in one sitting. 🙂

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More please!

Hungary: 49/52

Apricot Kolaches

 

We couldn’t say no to making cookies for this weeks’ Pineapple Sushi. In fact, we opted for two (see our Austria post). Apricot Kolaches are a traditional Christmas cookie with a flaky butter/cream cheese dough wrapped around an apricot jam.

Oh, and let’s sprinkle these with extra sugar for good measure.

The Dish

The recipe is simple and comes from American Heritage Cooking . Since we had about 3-4 holiday desserts for the house, we opted to halve the recipe. The dough is a mix of butter, cream cheese, sugar, and flour. For the filling, we used dried apricots and cooked with sugar.

E made the filling, but S took charge of dough and assembly (of course with M’s guidance).

 

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Equal parts cream cheese and butter… resolutions are for 2017!
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Whippin’ up some homemade apricot jam

 

The Verdict

S is officially the master of all jam filled butter cookies (Spitzbuben anyone?). The jam was a perfect compliment to the buttery cookie. The butter we used had a touch of salt, so the results were a bit salty for our liking, but that didn’t stop us from gobbling handfuls with our afternoon coffee.

 

 

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Take a look at these beauts.
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Extra QA tester Ms. L ensures enough crumbs make it to the floor

 

 

Ethiopia: 48/52

Berbere Chicken and Misr Wot (Lentils)

Berbere is a traditional Ethiopian spice blend of fenugreek, paprika, ginger, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, garlic, onion, cinnamon, and allspice. This dish has it coating the chicken and stewed with spicy lentils. We couldn’t get enough of it!

The Dish

The recipe is pulled from the Feasting from Home blog. E scored a berbere spice blend from the Chelsea Market in NYC, which was essential for this dish! The chicken is coated in the berbere spice and lentils stew along with carrots, tomato, onions, ginger, garlic, and more berbere.

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The Verdict

Top 5 Pineapple Sushi dinners! The chicken was so juicy and S couldn’t get enough of that crispy berbere chicken skin. The berbere stewed lentils were a perfect pair for this dish.

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Mongolia: 47/52

Suutei Tsai (Mongolian Milk Tea)

We’ve been eyeing Mongolia on our list of countries for a long time. Mongolia’s cuisine has been shaped by the country’s extreme climate and conditions, and a lot of their dishes call for rather unique set-ups and situations  (open fires, yaks, whole goats, etc.) hard to come by in Brooklyn. So, we opted for an easier but unique drink called Suutei Tsai, which is a salty milk tea.

The Dish

The recipe comes from Global Tea Adventure. The basic idea is to boil heat up some water & milk, and then steep some green tea for a few minutes and add salt to taste. The recipe calls for millet, which you cook up with some butter and serve with tea – we used puffed millet instead, which together with the milk tea reminded us of cereal.

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That ain’t sugar, baby

The Verdict

The distinguishing feature of this tea is the added salt. Knowing that, we didn’t play it safe by adding a pinch  – we added the whole 1/2 teaspoons and didn’t look back.

The result was, perhaps not surprisingly, a salty drink. It reminded us more of a soup than a tea. Even after a few sips, our taste buds continued to be confused by the fact that this tea was salty rather than sweet. It wasn’t bad, but we never really got used to drinking it.

 

Suutei tsai is probably a very satisfying drink on a cold day in the vast Mongolian plains, a setting we just couldn’t recreate in Brooklyn.

We’ve probably drank too many Chai Lattes to ever want a salty tea again, but we’re glad we gave it a try!

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Chile: 46/52

Empanadas

Empanadas are a popular hand pie from Latin America and Spain. The most popular Chilean version is called “pino” which is a mix of beef, raisins, olives, and hard boiled egg. These morsels came out so moist and flavorful. Bring on the ’empies’!

The Dish

The dough and filling were made separately. The beef for the filling is sauteed with onions, garlic, and a mix of spices, with some added broth to make it extra juicy!

Next comes filling, folding, crimping, and baking these little morsels. After making a fair share of dumpling-esque dishes on Pineapple Sushi, E thinks she is starting to get the hang of it.

It never hurts to have some help in the kitchen. M was very…helpful…

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M conducting the orchestra

The Verdict

These savory pockets of goodness are the ultimate comfort food – warm, filling, and packed with flavor.

Empanadas are often paired with sauces, and we found that Peruvian green sauce (which we made with our Peruvian Chicken) pairs incredibly well, giving it a spicy jalapeno kick.

Make sure to make extras, as they can be frozen and reheated easily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the much needed ‘2am Saturday night’ snack.

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Malaysia: 45/52

Laksa

Thanks to some talented college friends, E was lucky enough to have tried homemade Laksa before. While “dorm room Laksa” brings back great memories, this version may be a little different. Laksa is a noodle/soup dish found in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. There are many varieties of Laksa (curry, chicken, tamarind base) but most have a distinct rich fish broth. Our version is made with a shrimp broth and spiced up with jalapenos.
The Dish

Our version of Laksa is from Food and Wine. First, a homemade fish stock is prepared with shrimp shells, carrots, and onions. Then, the laksa “paste” is prepared — jalapenos, garlic, onion, ginger, coriander, turmeric, and peanuts (NOTE: PineappleSushi substitution for macadamia nuts, because we ain’t made of money) are blended together and sauteed to form the base of the dish.

The dish is topped off with some coconut milk, shrimp, and noodles. We opted to add in some baked tofu for some extra texture.

 

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Bring on the shrimp!

 

The Verdict

Let’s just say, the pot of simmering shrimp stock had M bouncing off the walls for a couple hours. The homemade stock is worth the effort, and the result is a rich, spicy, and flavorful soup. A squeeze of lime really brought out all the flavors and had us slurping for seconds…and thirds.

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M on the hunt. Shrimp Edition.

India: 44/52

Saag Paneer

Another first on Pineapple Sushi, we made homemade cheese! Paneer is a fresh cheese common in South Asian dishes. It is very similar to homemade ricotta cheese with its mild flavor, but can easily take on the flavor of any spice added to it. In this case, the cheese is marinated in cayenne and turmeric for a powerful pop in this spinach dish.

The Dish

The recipe is from the Food Network  and was an easy dish to whip up– spinach is sauteed with ginger, garlic, garam masala, corinander, cumin. The fresh cheese is cubed, marinated in spices, and lightly fried. Then the paneer is added to the dish and served with a side of basmati rice.

 

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The spinach to cheese ratio seems about right here…

 

 

 

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“E! The recipe says you need turmeric, coriander, cumin, and uhh anchovies! Extra anchovies!!” – M

 

The Verdict

With cheese being the star, it is a surprisingly light dish. The touch of yogurt at the end of cooking really helps mellow out some of the robust spices used in this dish.

Reviews from the PS crew:

E -Yum! Will make again!

S- It’s great!

M- Lacking in anchovy flavor, but alright…

 

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Tumeric wishes and fried cheese dreams…

 

Nicaragua: 43/52

Gallopinto

Rice and beans. Doesn’t get any more simple than that, right?  Well, the recipe for Gallopinto, the Nicaraguan take on rice and beans, isn’t as easy  as throwing some rice and beans into a boiling pot* but the result is worth the time and effort.

*This is how S thought rice and beans were made.

The Dish

We followed this recipe from Serious Eats. We opted to boil the rice in chicken stock to maximize flavor. Note that this recipe recommends chilling the cooked rice in the fridge for at least a day, so plan accordingly!

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S gettin’ artsy with the beans

The Verdict

Since rice and beans isn’t a main dish, we served it with some chicken and pico de gallo. Gallopinto can be served soft or crisp – we opted for the latter and were not disappointed. The contrast between the tender beans and burnt rice was just right.

Leftovers were just as good as our freshly cooked meal. S got adventurous and added some mushrooms to Gallopinto for a quick breakfast and was amazed by the results. A delicious and versatile dish!

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Pakistan: 42/52

Samosas

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and E was craving something crunchy, savory, sweet, and spicy (don’t we all know the feeling) and samosas fit the bill! Samosas are by no means unique to Pakistan (also popular in India and other countries) but are a popular street food item that has become very popular in America.

Time to break out the spice cabinet and redeem our frying skills! Huzzah!

The Dish

The recipe is pulled from a NYTimes article. It’s a straightforward recipe with potatoes, carrot, onion, ginger, cilantro, and a mixture of traditional spices. Cumin runs throughout the dish and is incorporated into the dough and the filling, giving the snack great flavor. The dough is rolled out, stuffed, dipped in a pot of hot oil and are done within minutes.

Every fried item needs a dip… so E whipped up a quick mango “chutney” (no recipe… just guts and gall) with mango, chilis, and a myriad of spices that seemed appropriate (more cumin!).

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Pineapple Sushi’s 13,845 dish that uses cilantro…

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Stuffing the morsels with yummy potato filling

The Verdict

This is probably one of those times where E didn’t need to cut the recipe in half… These little suckers were gobbled up in no time. S, E, and M had a battle royale for the last little morsel.  It’s a surprisingly easy dish to put together and perfect for a quick snack or lunch. This will have to be a keeper.

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M plays the “cute” card in an attempt at snatching a samosa