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Salvadorian: Tamal de Elote May 1, 2012

Filed under: Dinner,Recipes,Salvadorian — multiculturalfamilyrecipes @ 11:25 pm



  • 12-15 corn husk for wrapping
  • 1/4 cup lard
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups masa harina (flour)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2-3 ears corn on the cob


  1. Add the cornhusks to a large pot. Pour boiling water over them and let them soak for at least 30 minutes to make them pliable.
  2. Add the lard, butter and baking powder to a food processor or mixer and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Cut enough corn kernels off the cobs to make about 2 cups. Scrape the cobs with a knife to get all their milk. Add the corn kernels and their milk to the food processor and pulse until fairly smooth but still a little chunky
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the masa harina, salt and warm water and knead to form a pliable mass. Pulse a little bit at a time into the corn and lard mixture until smooth.
  5. Drain the cornhusks and wipe dry. Lay out a husk with the pointed end up and add about 1/4 cup dough to the center. Fold in each side to cover the dough. Then fold up the bottom husk. Finally fold down the pointed top and insert it into the bottom to make a package. Tie the tamal with strings if needed. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  6. Set up a steamer and steam the tamales for 30-45 minutes. Remove and serve hot with a little cream poured over the top.


Tamales de Elote are a traditional breakfast meal. My grandmother adds refried beans to the tamales sometimes just to give it a different flavor. One of my favorite traditional breakfast foods.


Afghan: Mantu April 30, 2012

Filed under: Afghan,Dinner — multiculturalfamilyrecipes @ 6:44 pm


  • 1 Lb ground beef 1/8 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 ½ tbsp coriander ground
  • ¼ tbsp cumin ground
  • 2 large finely chopped onions
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • ¾ cup yogurt
  • ¼ tbsp dried mint
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 mashed garlic gloves
  • boiled water


  1. Filling: Combine ground beef, onions, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander ground and 1 cup water in a skillet; stir and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Let it cool off.
  2.  Place wrappers on a cutting board covered lightly with flour one at a time then pure 1 cup of cold water in a bowl. Dip your index finger in the bowl of water and rub the edges of the wrapper to make it wet. Place one table stingy of the mixed beef on the bottom half of the wrapper. Bring the other half on top of the bottom half making a triangle. Take two opposite corners each in different hands and seal them together making a bow. Place the oil in a bowl and dip the bottoms of the filled Mantu in oil and place them in a (steam cooker) or you can spray some oil inside the steam cooker. Both ways can be possible then steam the dumplings for 40 minutes or longer on a medium heat.
  3.  Sauce: While waiting, place the remaining of the mixed beef filling in the skillet with tomato paste and cook it uncovered for 10 minutes.
  4.  Yogurt: Add garlic, 2 teas thingy water and mint to the yogurt mix.
  5.  To serve, put a layer of the yogurt on a flat serving plate ghori; then place the Mantu on top of the yogurt plate. Afterward put another layer of yogurt on top of the Manto and add a layer of the mixed beef sauce. Then sprinkle some fresh or dry mint, red pepper and fresh chopped cilantro on top of the plate. Now your delicious Afghan Mantu is ready to serve.


Growing up, Mantu was my favorite Afghan Dish. My family is pretty huge so when my mom made Mantu for us, it was a process of an entire day of filling each wonton. However I remember Mantu days were our family gathering days. Mantu is also the main Afghan dish that is always required to be served in celebrations and special occasions.


Afghan: Naan

Filed under: Afghan,Dinner,Starters — multiculturalfamilyrecipes @ 6:20 pm


  • 1 ½ lbs (5 ¼ cups) white flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 package quick rising yeast
  • 4-5 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Sia dona (nigella seeds), poppy seeds, sesame seeds


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in salt, warm water, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes on a slightly floured surface, or until smooth. Then place dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough. Pinch off small handfuls of dough, about the size of your fist. Form into balls, and place on tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to double, about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 500 degree. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place in the oven to get hot.
  4. When the dough has risen divide into double equal sized balls. Shape or roll out on a lightly floured surface idealy on a long wooden board into oval shapes to a thickness of about ½ inch. After shaping the naan, wet your hand and form deep grooves down the center of each. Now sprinkle your Naan lightly with the Sia Dona poppy seeds. sesame seeds.
  5. Remove the hot baking tray from the oven and place a the flattened bread dough onto it. Bake immediately for 8 to 10 minutes until the naan is golden brown. The bread should be fairly crisp and hard on the outside but make sure not over cook or burn it.


Afghan Naan or the bread is the most famous food category in Afghanistan. Every Afghan household has to always have Afghan Naan in their homes. Without Naan, we Afghans don’t eat our food, we have to have our Naan at all times even if there’s rice or soup for dinner still our Naan is required at the side at all times.


Afghan: Qabuli Palow April 28, 2012

Filed under: Afghan,Dinner — multiculturalfamilyrecipes @ 7:33 am


  • Lamb or Beef – 2½ lbs, large pieces
  • Beef/Lamb broth – 1 cup
  • Basmati rice – 3½ cups
  • Onion – 2 large, diced
  • Garam Masala (spice blend: ground peppercorns, cloves,      cinnamon, cardamom) – 1 tsp
  • Saffron – ½ tsp
  • Cumin powder – ½ tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Brown sugar – 1 tsp, optional
  • Carrots – 2, julienned (sliced) thin vertical slices
  • Black raisins – 1 cup
  • Almonds – ½ cup, blanched
  • Pistachios – ½ cup, blanched
  • Cooking oil – ½ cup
  • Water – 2 cups


  1. Soak rice in water in a bowl and keep aside.
  2. Heat half of the oil in a heavy large skillet and fry onions until golden brown. Add meat pieces to the fried onion and cook until light brown on both sides. Add salt, garam masala and saffron and fry the meat until the oil separates and rises to the top. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer covered until meat is tender. Add more water if required.
  3. In a separate pan, sauté carrots in a small quantity of oil, add sugar and fry until softened. Remove from pan and keep aside. Add a little oil to the pan and sauté raisins until they swell up. Remove from pan and set aside. Next fry the almonds and pistachios to a golden brown and set aside.
  4. When meat is cooked, remove it from the remaining water/stock with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add rice and salt to the stock, add broth and cook until the liquid comes to a boil. Lower the heat and cook covered until rice is done and dry (about 15-20 minutes). Alternatively, once the water dries up to about 70% of its original quantity, the pan may be placed in a preheated oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.
  5. When ready to serve, transfer the rice to an oven-safe serving plate, top with meat in the center surrounded by carrots on all sides, sprinkle with raisins and nuts and heat in the the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.


Qabuli Palow is one of the most famous Afghan dishes that is excpected to be served at weddings, parties, celebrations and major events. Qabuli Palow is a rice dish that can be served as both lunch and dinner. Carrots and raisins are a must but almonds and pishtachios are optional. If an Aghan wants to make thier guests happy then Qabuli Palow is their first pick prepare.


Italian: Pasta Alla Carbonara

Filed under: Dinner,Italian,Recipes — multiculturalfamilyrecipes @ 12:14 am


  • 1 pound of dry pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, penne, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, more for garnish
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped


  1. First off, it is important to realize that the pasta sauce and the pasta need to be prepared very carefully for this dish to work. Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the pasta will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished. The pasta MUST be hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender, yet firm. Drain the pasta well, but reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce (if you wish).
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add pancetta and saute for about 3 minutes, until the pancetta is cooked. Add garlic and saute for less than one minute to soften.
  4. Add the hot, drained pasta to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is why the pan must be removed from heat).
  6. Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches your desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Mound the pasta carbonara into warm serving dishes and garnish with fresh parsley. Top with Parmesan cheese.


Pasta alla carbonara is one of my absolute favorites. This is a recipe that I’ve found works the best for this dish, and the ingredients are simple enough that I usually have most in my kitchen already. This dish is delicious whether you make it at home, or order it in an Italian restaurant. If it’s on the menu, it’s usually the one I order.


If you can’t find pancetta or don’t have any, bacon is a fine substitute. Just make sure you chop it into smaller pieces to give it the same effect!


Italian: Chicken Parmigiana April 27, 2012

Filed under: Dinner,Italian — multiculturalfamilyrecipes @ 11:01 pm



  • 8 pieces of chicken thinly sliced and pounded
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups dry seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 8 slices mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, basil and parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.
  3. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and water.
  4. On a plate, spread the all-purpose flour to cover the surface.
  5. One piece at a time, coat the chicken with the flour and shake off the excess. Then proceed to dip the chicken into the egg mixture, and then coat with the breadcrumb mixture, patting it with your fingers to make the crumbs adhere.
  6. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes. If the pan starts to look dry, add more olive oil so the breading doesn’t stick to the pan. Remove from pan and put on a paper towel covered plate.
  7. Lightly oil (spray oil is good) a shallow baking dish. Spoon into the pan 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Arrange the chicken over the sauce, while slightly overlapping the chicken. Sprinkle some extra parmesan cheese over the top and cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese slices and a little more parmesan.
  8. Cover the pan with foil and bake until heated through, about 20-30 minutes. To brown the top, remove foil and place briefly under a broiler.


Chicken parmigiana is a delicious chicken dish that is cooked in tomato sauce and topped with lots of cheese. This dish is great served by itself or with pasta. Another great thing to do with it is make sandwiches with a fresh Italian roll. This is just one variation of the popular dish, some people prefer to make it with veal. The recipe would be the exact same, just acquire 8 pieces of thinly sliced veal and substitute it for the chicken in this recipe!


Georgian: Khinkali April 23, 2012

Filed under: Dinner,Georgian,Recipes — multiculturalfamilyrecipes @ 9:21 pm

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • 3.5 cup flour
  • salt

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef 20% fat
  • 1 onion
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg and 1 cup of the water. Stir the egg and water into the flour with a fork. Add more water as needed to form a soft dough. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 5 to 6 minutes. Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes to rest.
  • In another bowl, dice onions and garlic mix together the rest of the ingredients for the filling.
  • Cut the rested dough into 2 portions. Roll out one portion of the dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 3-inch rounds of the dough using a cookie cutter or large glass. Roll each round out into a 5- or 6-inch round. Sprinkle each round with a little flour and set aside as you finish with the rest.
  • Place about 1/4 cup of filling in the center of a round of dough. Working around the dumpling, bring an edge of the dough up over the filling, making pleats in the dough and bringing the edges together over the top of the filling. Pinch the top of the dumpling together to seal it and form a knob. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the dumplings to the water and cook at a low boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove the dumplings to a serving dish with a slotted spoon. Season generously with cracked black pepper and serve hot. Can also be served with sour cream.
  • How to Eat Khinkali: Grab the top knob of a dumpling and bring it to your mouth. Take the first bite carefully. If the dumpling has been sealed properly, delicious, brothy juice will gush out. Eat the remainder of the dumpling except for the top knob. The knob is never eaten by Georgians. Instead, line them up on your plate to keep a tally of your appetite.


Khinkali is a Georgian tradition I remember as a little girl I would sit with my grandma and make them it was a long process but the end result was worth every second. Traditionally it is eaten with fresh carcked black pepper. The knots are not usually eaten by it is my favorite part. It is very juicy and keeps you coming back for more.