Summer is almost upon us, which means more time to travel, play and cook together! The kitchen is a perfect place to spend some quality family time and keep on learning while school is out, so we put together five of our favorite global foods to cook with kids this summer. All of these foods are easily found on the menus of their respective ethnic restaurants around the country, so your little darlings will be thrilled (or at least less suspicious) to find something on the menu they are familiar with when you eat out!
1. Indian Fruit Lassi (India)
Second only to Chai in popularity in its native India, Lassi is a refreshing yogurt-based drink made by combining various proportions of yogurt, water or milk and spices. Sweet versions are particularly delicious, and we love this smooth Mango Lassi to make with young chefs, or this made-for-kids Mango Lassi recipe from PBS Kids.
Mango Lassi is a popular drink worldwide including in Malaysia, where Indians are the third largest ethnic group. The cool creamy fruit with a hint of spiciness pairs beautifully with hot food hot days, and is often served sprinkled with chopped pistachios!
2. Trifle (Britain)
This pretty, layered British dessert may not seem terribly exotic, but it’s an English classic that kids love to assemble and eat. There are many variations – some with Jello, some without, but they all taste sweet and satisfying, with the added bonus of being visually appealing. Although traditionally served at Christmas/New Year, Trifle makes a perfect dish to end a summer dinner, filled with seasonal berries. Make it in a big punchbowl for an impressive centerpiece, or in individual glasses or martini glasses for a more refined sweet treat. Older kids can help with the prep work and making custard, younger kids can help with assembly!
Try this recipe from Nigella Lawson (omitting the Sherry for children), or for a less traditional spin, try this Chocolate Caramel Trifle with Raspberries. Note: If you use prepared custard for your trifle, be sure to track down some Bird’s Custard Powder which is both authentic and more delicious than the vanilla pudding called for by some recipes.
3. Yakitori with Sticky Rice (Japan)
These Japanese skewers are served in bars known as izakaya, or as a grilled street food, and they also have the kid-friendly novelty factor of food on a stick! Most commonly made with chicken or chicken parts and often accompanied by tare sauce, you can learn more about the different types of yakitori and their Japanese names here. We like this juicy and delicious recipe for Grilled Chicken Meatball Yakitori and this more simple recipe for Yakitori using chicken thighs.
Serve with Sticky Rice and enjoy!
4. Croque-Monsieur (France)
The Croque-Monsieur first appeared in Paris restaurants around 1910, and has been a favorite with famished natives and tourists ever since. This simple toasted sandwich, whose name translates roughly to “Mister Crunchy”, is filled with ham and cheese is perfect kid-food in the traditional sense. It can also but can be upgraded to a “Croque-Madame” with the addition of a fried or poached egg.
Try this version and serve with crispy, salty frites or a salade verte.
5. Pastilla (Morocco)
Also known as Bastilla, Bstilla or spelled phonetically as Bisteeya. This Middle Eastern pie is traditionally made with pigeon, but chicken is a common western substitute. Working with the scrunchy filo dough used as a crust, and the unusual mixing of sweet and savory flavors (the savory pie is dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon) makes it a fun project for junior chefs! Try this recipe from the wonderful blog The Traveler’s Lunchbox or a beautifully photographed step-by-step version from La Tartine Gourmande.
–Fiona Van Alstyne is a Hip Travel Mama contributor and Luxe Food & Wine editor.
If you are passionate about food like me, stop by Wanderlust and Lipstick each week for WanderFood Wednesday, where you will find amazing pictures and food that will inspire you to travel the world and bring the world’s cuisine a bit closer in your own kitchen!
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