Updated: Nov 30, 2022
Czechia - Vepro Knedlo Zelo
Czechia's Vepro (roast pork) Knedlo (bread dumplings) Zelo (braised sauerkraut) is exactly what you would expect from a dish of this name. Made up of these 3 distinct segments and topped with a gravy made from onion and the pork juices. What makes this dish different to, say, an English roast pork is that the meat is flavoured strongly with caraway seeds, which are apparently very prevalent in Czech cooking. The pork is placed in a pan with lard and onions and then roasted for a long time, approximately 2 and a half hours. This gives it a very succulent texture, and a strong pork-y flavour. The Knedlo is a dumpling, studded with pieces of slightly staled bread. It can be boiled or steamed - the ones in the above photo are boiled in salted water. I was expecting the dumpling to come out quite dry, but in reality, they were very moist and tasty. The sauerkraut is braised along with bacon, adding a nice saltiness to the dish.
Lesotho - Chakalaka and Pap-Pap
If you've read any of my blog before, you'll probably be pretty familiar with my favourite cornmeal-based carb at this point. In Lesotho, it's known not just as pap, but as pap-pap. This itself is the national dish, but as I decided that it probably wouldn't be a super-satisfying dinner, I chose to also cook chakalaka alongside. In addition to being fun to say, chakalaka is both very healthy and pretty tasty! Comparable to a French ratatouille, the stew is a combination of carrot, onion, red pepper, tomato and (most importantly in my opinion) two hot red chillies. The spice of the chilli is really key here for the enjoyment of the dish, making what could be quite a bland carb into a very enjoyable meal.
Mongolia - Buuz
Recipe from https://www.mongolfood.info/en/recipes/buuz.html
Buuz are the epitome of simple but tasty food. Flour and water based dumplings are filled with a seasoned mix of minced mutton, onion, garlic and caraway. That's really all there is to it. The dumplings are steamed and served with not normally much else, as apparently Mongolian cuisine does not include many vegetables, though I decided to eat with tomatoes for a splash of colour. There's very little more to say about buuz, but they are very tasty, very juicy and very easy to eat 12 of in one go.
Seychelles - Grilled Fish
Recipe from https://www.chlo-eat.com/home/grilled-fish
Creole "Grilled fish" is the national dish of the Seychelles. I must admit though, as it may be fairly obvious from the picture, this fish is not, in fact, grilled, rather fried after marinating in a mixture of thyme, parsley, tomato, garlic, ginger, sugar, shallot and soy. The leftover marinade is then used to make a thick, flavoursome sauce, finished with lime juice. This dish is fairly classical in technique, making it well up my street skills-wise, as well as having a depth of flavour that made the meal very moorish. This presentation isn't traditional, but I couldn't help myself .
Kenya - Nyama Choma
Did someone say pap? Not quite in this case, rather ugali. And not even as the national dish itself! Nyama choma refers to "barbecued meat" when translated from Swahili. It is preferably made with goat meat, but here I used lamb instead. I have to say, I think this was quite possibly the most tender lamb I've ever had the pleasure of eating. It is served with ugali and "kachumbari", a salad of red onion and tomato, flavoured with coriander and lemon juice. Perhaps not the right way of plating this, but it tasted amazing nonetheless.