Suriname - Saoto Soup
Recipe from https://tropilab.com/saoto.html
I've almost finished at this point and, as such, had pretty much run out of easy national dishes to do. So, from here on a lot of these meals are not, in fact, the national dish. Suriname's actual national dish is Pom, a meal whose characteristic ingredient is pomtajer root. Whilst this could be recreated using taro root / eddoes, I thought it better to try and create a dish that was fully traditional. Surinamese cuisine is one that seems to have a lot of influences, particularly from Indonesia and the Netherlands. From these influences (predominantly Indonesia) is born Saoto. A definite contender for my new all-time favourite soup. At its most simple, one could call it a chicken noodle soup, but this does not do any justice whatsoever to the vast array of textures and flavours if the dish. The noodles in question (vermicelli) are not boiled but fried, giving them a texture that I can best compare to a Pom-Bear crisp. Onions are thinly sliced and caramelised, greens and bean sprouts provide crunch, potatoes are fried, eggs boiled and chicken breast cooked in a broth of garlic, bay, galangal, pepper, lemon grass, chicken stock and kecap. Is the recipe highly involved? Yes. But have I been thinking about quite how much I loved this dish for the last few months? Absolutely.
Sierra Leone - Groundnut Stew
Recipe from https://feelgoodfoodie.net/recipe/peanut-soup/
Cassava leaf stew is the Sierra Leone's offering, but due to a distinct lack of cassava leaf where I live, I have opted for groundnut stew instead. A flavour combination I'm very used to at this point of chicken and peanuts is centre stage here in stew form, along with their usual accomplices - onion, garlic, ginger and tomato, though this time with the addition of spinach throughout. Of all the peanut-based chicken stews I've had so far, this one stands out to me just because of how creamy its texture was - I presume this is because of proportions of peanut butter, but it just felt more luxurious than the others.
Vanuatu - Lap Lap
Recipe from https://kitchen.nine.com.au/recipes/traditional-laplap/9c401d59-5fd6-4c87-b5db-4cc80abf75a4
I love dishes like lap-lap. Not that I think it's the best food I've ever eaten by any means, but it just uses such different techniques to anything I use in my usual cooking. Manioc root (cassava) is finely grated, drizzled with coconut milk and cooked in banana leaves. This creates a chewy texture that is very moreish. Different variations on lap-lap exist such as Bunya with chicken and root vegetables, and Tuluk (pictured) stuffed with seasoned mince.
Andorra - Escudella
Recipe from https://visitandorra.com/en/indigenous-products/andorran-recipes/escudella-a-winter-stew/
A traditional winter dish, Andorra's escudella is a a flavourful stew of winter veggies, various meats, beans and rice or noodles. The exact ingredients seem to vary, but the broth can contain (and this recipe is for 4 people):
3 types of bones
Black onion sausage
Noodles or rice
Either people in Andorra have incredible metabolisms or one is expected to pick and choose the ingredients they want to include in their own versions, which is exactly what I ended up doing. It's a very tasty soup, I must say.
Latvia - Herring with Cottage Cheese and Potatoes
The dish I decided to make for Latvia is the very descriptively named herring with cottage cheese and potatoes. I feel like I don't need to elaborate too much on this. The herring in question is a fish that I absolutely adore. Straight out of a jar, perfectly sour and salty and fishy. Mmm. I grew up with rollmops as a bit of a treat, so naturally still love them. My girlfriend, on the other hand, was less than keen about this dinner. I really enjoyed the combination with the crispy, salty roasted potatoes and the extra creamy and sour cottage cheese. It's a dish I could eat again and again (and when not also cooking for my partner, absolutely will).