Updated: Nov 4
Fiji - Kokoda
Fiji's Kokoda is similar to Tonga's Ota 'Ika in that it is essentially fish marinated in acid (lemon juice) and served along with coriander, tomato, red onion, pepper, chilli and spring onions, all in coconut cream. The acid in the lemon juice "cooks" the fish, so the flesh is firm and flaky. I appreciated the addition of chilli in this recipe as it added a bit of heat to a dish which is by nature quite cold and one-note. I made a mistake here in not serving the Kokoda in a lettuce leaf, as is often done, as it would have given better contrast on the plate, as well as providing another texture.
Turkey - Doner Kebab
A dish often associated with late nights in England (in fact, the kebab van in the town I grew up in holds the award for best kebab van in the country), Turkey's Doner kebab is traditionally created on a rotating spit, to cook the meat evenly. As I unfortunately do not have one of these hanging around in my kitchen, I cooked the kebab meat in a hot pan. To make the doner meat, the beef is frozen together in a sauce of tomato paste, thyme, yoghurt and vinegar. Freezing allows the meat to be sliced up nice and thin before cooking off. I served with a very simple salad, and after photographing (poorly) I drizzled the entire thing with garlic mayo.
Russia - Pelmeni
Russia's Pelmeni are boiled dumplings filled with a mixture of chicken and pork mince, flavoured with dill, grated onion and garlic. Traditional shaping equipment can be bought, but I decided to shape by hand. Their shape fairly closely resembles a tortellini. The dough iteself is a fairly simple one, and is unleavened, made purely of flour, milk, egg, salt and water. I chose to serve the pelmeni simply in melted butter, but it is just as common (in fact, I think more so) to serve with sour cream.
Iceland - Kjötsúpa
I decided not to make Iceland's official national dish of Hákarl, as I thought that my housemates may not be too happy with me fermenting a shark in our kitchen for 4-5 months. Instead, I decided to make Kjötsúpa, a soup of lamb, pearl barley, cabbage and root vegetables including turnip, cabbage and potato. The soup is flavoured with lovage, a herb I'm not very used to, but one which complemented the earthier flavours very well. The key to this dish wasa being very on top of it with skimming off any scum off of the top of the pot. A very hearty dish, but not one that I'm sure I'd repeat, though I think that's more of a personal preference than anything else.
Germany - Sauerbraten
Germany's Sauerbraten was an interesting one. The beef is left for a week to essentially ferment in a mixture of red wine, vinegar and veggies you would expect to find in a mirepoix (celery, carrot, garlic, leek, onion), as well as allspice berries, juniper berries and peppercorns. After a week, a slightly sour taste will have developed. The veggies are disposed of, and the beef is seared off before cooking slowly in the remaining liquid along with honey and onions. The sauce is then finished off by mixing the liquid with ginger snaps and blending up. I served with red cabbage and potatoes. Personally, I didn't care a lot for the beef, but I was really very impressed with the sauce. The ginger snaps added a very enjoyable sweet touch to the dish, and the texture was surprisingly velvety - I was expecting it to be much more grainy.