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World of Comfort

Three Hearty Dishes From Around The Globe

As the calendar changed did you resolve to try something new?  Are you bored with “taco Tuesday” or at my house, “pasta Wednesday”?  It goes against the Bussin motto (more is better), but there can be too much of a good thing.  


Since we are in the depths of winter, I am focusing on food that will warm you up.  I love chili, mac and cheese and Shepard’s pie as much as you do.  But there is more – a whole world of cuisines that you can experience with the click of a mouse and without the costs.  Since Toronto has a diversity of ingredients so readily attainable, I offer you some ideas to change it up.   Below is a selection of one-dish, mainly vegetarian dinners from around the world that will add a little savoir faire to your weekday meals.  Links to online recipes are included.


Okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancakes) – doesn’t sound great but it is.  You should try the Okonomiyaki at Honest Weight in the Junction, but you can also make this at home.  This is a quick fix dinner and it’s very flexible.   Cabbage is a must but you can add shredded kale, carrots, potatoes or sweet potatoes.  You can use already shredded coleslaw mix.  You can keep it vegetarian or add fish, shrimp or bacon.   The okonomiyaki can be topped with bonito flakes, Japanese mayonnaise and/or okonomiyaki sauce, which is like teriyaki and can be made very easily.   For the recipes – try okonomiyakiworld.com, food52.com and smittenkitchen.com.  


West African Peanut Stew – for peanut lovers this is a must-try.  A sweet and savoury spicy curry, reminiscent of Indian and Thai cuisines.  The base is onions, garlic and ginger and lots of warm spices, together with broth and/or coconut milk, peanut butter, greens and sweet potatoes and sometimes lentils.   It can be a thick soup or a stew served on rice.  For the recipes – try naturallyella.com, seriouseats.com or veganricha.com.


Mujadara (Egyptian lentils and rice with crispy onions) – everyone loves caramelized onions.  The recipe I use is from Claudia Roden, a notable author on Middle Eastern cuisine.  The dish is lovely served with a garlicky yogurt sauce on top and a simple salad.  You can find variations of Roden’s recipe at foodandwine.com or theartofdelicious.wordpress.com.  Cook’s notes:  I add lemon, cumin and coriander to the rice before cooking it in stock.  I also use brown rice instead of white. Tahini, cumin and hot sauce add a little something to the yogurt sauce.     

There are many dishes that I would like to highlight but I don’t have room.  You can easily find recipes online for Cioppino (a spicy fish and seafood stew), Greek lamb stew, Beef Bourguignon, Moroccan vegetable stew, to name just a few.  So many cuisines, so little time.  Bon appetit and stay warm!  

Naomi Bussin is a lawyer, mother of three and an accomplished cook. Food is her favourite subject and she reads cookbooks in her spare time.