Modern transportation and the Internet both have contributed to a desire to know about other countries and cultures. This includes learning about classic cuisines, those dishes from countries that have long been favorites. Additionally, there are regional cuisines. An example is Tex-Mex, a unique style of Mexican food indigent to the Southwestern United States. Our list of the top ten cuisines you should learn to cook includes some classics, those considered most popular, and two regional favorites.
Since the most famous and frequently learned cuisines are Italian, French, and Chinese and most food experts and critics add Indian and Thai cooking, these are the first five we will discuss.
#1 French – French food emphasizes the use of wine, both for cooking and drinking. Main dishes often have cream or light pan sauces, and fresh herbs. The French are also known for their pastries and breads. A favorite is the croissant. Also, crepes are a dessert favorite that many people eat as a main course, especially at breakfast.Master recipes for classic French onion soup, coq au vin, and beef burgundy.
#2 Indian – Indian food is spicy and hot – flavors one must be accustomed to cooking with and eating. Start slowly, using chicken lamb, fish, and goat meat cut in small pieces with vegetables. Cumin, turmeric, ginger, and coriander are some of the more than twenty-five spices used to season Indian cuisine. Curries are popular Indian foods and leaning to make a good chicken curry is an excellent introduction to Indian cooking.
#3 Chinese – You will find Chinese restaurants in almost every country of the world as more than one-third of the world’s population eats Chinese food, and many people list it as their favorite “foreign” food. Chinese cooking uses fresh vegetables lightly steamed with small portions of meat. Fish is also a popular meal item. Desserts have a light sugar content, such as the well-known almond cookies. Rice is served at most meals and, if you are learning to cook Chinese food, start with mastering the cooking of steamed rice. Eggrolls and wontons are fun to make and packaged wrappers are readily available with ingredients and directions printed in the labels.
#4 Italian– Italyhas over 400 varieties of cheese, 300 kinds of sausages, and dozens of types of pasta, all which are featured prominently in Italian meals. Cooking lessons will help you learn ways to get creative with this cuisine. Tomato and vegetable sauces are easy to make and there are numerous recipes available for them, as well as some excellent jarred varieties. You will want to learn to make classic Alfredo sauce, with or without chicken. Use plenty of garlic for seasoning.
#5 Thai– Thai food balances sweet and sour, bitter and sweet, with a touch of heat. Rice, lemon grass, coconut, lime juice, and peanuts are favorite ingredients. Learn to cook Pad Thai, a stir-fried rice noodle dish with meat, tofu, or shrimp and vegetables.
#6 Japanese – Since Japan is an island nation, fish figures prominently in Japanese cuisine. Foods are served in individual bowls to keep the flavors separate. Rice, noodles, and fresh vegetables are prevalent. Learn to cook such favorites as tempura and sukiyaki, and don’t forget the cold, raw ingredients in Sushi for a fun Sushi bar.
#7 Turkish – Turkish foods combine European and Asian flavors. Turkish favorites familiar to many are Baklava, a dessert, and hummus, made with chickpeas. Pilaf, traditionally made with wheat or barley, is a main dish when meat and vegetables are added and is easy to make and flavorful.
#8 Brazilian– Yams, cassava, and coffee are some of the most notable Brazilian foods. Look for recipes for Feijoada, a slow-cooked traditional Brazilian black bean stew with meat, such as sausage, served over brown rice. Empanadas, small fried pies filled with meat and vegetables or fruit are also popular. Both are excellent additions to your recipe collection.
#9 Tex-Mex – This regional favorite, includes such Mexican classics as tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and refried beans. Cilantro is a popular seasoning. Both flour and corn tortillas are used. An easy and delicious Tex-Mex adaptation is an enchilada casserole, with layers of oil sautéed tortillas, meat (either shredded chicken or beef), a cream or tomato based sauce, and cheese.
The blend of Louisiana creole and the spicier Cajun cooking, this regional favorite’s recent popularity makes it available nearly everywhere. Creole food is more sophisticated, deriving from European Louisiana aristocracy. Cajun is country food from the bayous south of New Orleans. The two have combined to provide uniquely flavored food. Crawfish and rice is a favorite, however in the home kitchen, begin with gumbo made with rice, chicken, okra, and tomatoes.
You may wish to learn how to cook only a few of these top ten cuisines or all of them – the choice is yours. Remember, there are many recipes available on the internet, so you can continually add to your repertoire. Enjoy cooking and eating these adventurous dishes!