In a bit of a rut in the kitchen? You can kiss the dinnertime blahs goodbye by trying out new and delicious recipes for foods you’ve never tried before. Instead of stir-fry or fried rice, try your hand at bibimbap, a Korean dish of mixed rice, vegetables, and meat. Skip the boring meatloaf in favor of a terrine made with duck and bacon. For dessert, trade in the fruit pie for a mixed berry pavlova. Those three menu alternatives are just a few of the dishes more than half of American diners weren’t familiar with, according to a recent survey by restaurant reservations website OpenTable. Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying a new dish could be just the thing to get your family excited about sitting down to dinner.
Here are five delicious recipes for what may be your new favorite foods.
Bibimbap, or “mixed rice” is a popular Korean dish unfamiliar to 64% of American diners, according to the OpenTable survey. The dish can include a variety of ingredients but traditionally involves rice topped with vegetables, meat, gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), and egg. Sometimes it’s served in a hot stone bowl called a dolsot. This bibimbap recipe from A Spicy Perspective is fairly easy to prepare, making it perfect for beginners. The version below is vegetarian, but you can add bulgogi beef if you wish.
- 3 cups cooked sticky rice (1¼ cups dry rice)
- 8 ounces loose-leaf spinach or chopped kale
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, or cremini)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1 bunch green onions, cut into 1-inch segments
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 4 eggs
- Beef bulgogi (optional)
- Salt and pepper
For the gochujang sauce
- ½ cup gochujang paste
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Directions: Cook the rice according to the package directions. Set aside.
Add the spinach to a pot with 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ¼ cup of broth, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a simmer. Check to see if the spinach is wilted. If wilted, remove from heat and keep covered. If not, stir and continue to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to a nonstick skillet. Turn heat to medium. Add the mushrooms and the garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Mix together all the ingredients for the gochujang sauce in a bowl. Set aside.
Wipe out the skillet you used to cook the mushrooms. Turn heat to medium. Fry eggs, two at a time, for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip, then cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
Scoop warm rice into 4 bowls. Top with the wilted spinach, cooked mushrooms, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and green onion. Add the beef, if using. Top each bowl with a fried egg and drizzle with the gochujang sauce. Serve.
2. Patatas Bravas with Roasted Tomato Aioli
Patatas bravas is a Spanish dish of fried potatoes topped with a sauce and often served as tapas. More than half of American diners were unfamiliar with the dish, despite its similarity to popular foods like French fries and hash browns. This recipe for patatas bravas from Food Network’s Bobby Flay is easy to prepare and sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- Olive oil
- ½ small red onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ¾ cup prepared mayonnaise
- 1 large plum tomato, halved, seeded and roasted until soft
- Few dashes Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
- Splash aged sherry vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large Russet potatoes, parboiled, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Flat-leaf parsley leaves
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a baking sheet in the oven.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Let cool slightly.
Combine the onion mixture, mayonnaise, tomato, hot pepper sauce, and vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Heat 2 inches pure olive oil or canola oil in a large high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add the potatoes, season with salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove the potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate for a moment to drain the excess oil. Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, put the potatoes on the pan in an even layer and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan and season the potatoes with a bit more salt. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with some of the aioli and garnish with parsley leaves. Serve hot.
Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake made with cabbage. Nearly 70% of American diners were unfamiliar with the term, according to the OpenTable survey. The dish may be new to many diners, but it’s not hard to make if you follow this recipe from Japan Centre, which makes one pancake. Head to your local Asian supermarket to track down some of the more specialized ingredients, like dried bonito flakes and aonori seaweed.
- 2 cups plain white flour mixed with 1½ cups dashi or water
- 3½ ounces water
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup cabbage
- 1 spring onion
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon okonomiyaki sauce
- Dried bonito flakes
- Aonori seaweed
- Pickled ginger
- Tenkasu tempura flakes
- Your choice of meat, seafood, and vegetables
Directions: Combine flour mixture and water in a large bowl and set aside.
Finely chop the cabbage and the onion. Add to the batter along with your chosen fillings. (If meat is raw, cook separately from the pancake and add later, as instructed below.) Add the egg and mix until just combined.
Warm some oil in a frying pan. Pour the okonomiyaki batter into the pan. Once the bottom of the pancake has browned, add the cooked meat (if using), and flip. Press down with a spatula to ensure an even thickness.
Once the other side of the okonomiyaki is golden brown in color, remove from the pan and slice into triangles. Garnish with okonomiyaki sauce and mayo, then sprinkle with bonito flakes, aonori seaweed, tenkasu tempura flake, and pickled ginger. Serve immediately.
4. Duck and Pork Terrine with Cranberries and Pistachios
Fifty-one percent of Americans have never heard of terrine, a kind of French meatloaf similar to less finely minced pâté (terrines can also be made with vegetables). The ingredients are combined in a pan (also called a terrine), cooked in a water bath, sliced, and served cold or at room temperature. This recipe for a duck and pork terrine is from the BBC’s Good Food and is perfect for holiday meals.
- 2 duck breasts, about 10 ounces each, skin removed and reserved
- 200 grams thinly sliced streaky bacon
- 1 (2¼-pound) pork shoulder, cubed
- 2 slices of bread, crusts removed
- 3½ ounces milk
- 3 shallots, roughly chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 7 ounces duck or chicken livers, roughly chopped
- 6 black peppercorns
- 12 coriander seeds
- 2 cloves
- Generous pinch of ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ grams shelled pistachios
- Heaping ⅓ cup dried cranberries
Directions: Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the duck breasts and skin in a shallow dish, then place in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Discard the shriveled bit of skin that remains, then pour the duck fat into a bowl to cool. Reserve 6 bacon slices, then roughly chop the remainder. Roughly chop the cooked duck meat.
In a food processor, blend the chopped bacon, pork, and duck in batches to a coarse texture, then tip into a large bowl. Tear up the bread and soak in the milk for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the bread and put in the food processor with the shallots, garlic, and livers. Process to a coarse texture, then add to the bowl, mixing well.
Grind the peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cloves to a coarse powder using a pestle and mortar. Stir in the cinnamon. Add the spices to the meat along with 4 tablespoons reserved duck fat, the Cognac, eggs, and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix together very thoroughly, preferably using your hands.
Press half the mixture into a 6-cup baking dish or similar. Scatter over the pistachios and cranberries, then cover with the remaining meat mixture. Arrange the reserved bacon slices over the top, tucking in the ends. Cover the dish tightly with foil, then put in a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the dish.
Bake for 2 hours, remove foil, then bake for 15 minutes more to brown the top. Cool completely, then wrap in fresh foil and chill. For the best flavor, let the terrine chill and mature for at least 2 days before eating. To freeze, make the terrine as directed above, cool, and then freeze. Defrost in the fridge before serving.
5. Mixed Berry Pavlova
Many Americans have never heard of a pavlova, but it’s a popular dessert in Australia and New Zealand, where the dish originated. Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, it consists of a meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. This recipe is from Ina Garten.
- 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- ½ pint fresh blueberries
- ½ pint fresh raspberries
For the sweetened whipped cream
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the triple raspberry sauce
- ½ pint fresh raspberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12-ounce jar)
- 1 tablespoon framboise liqueur
Directions: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1½ hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. (Opening the oven door will cause the meringue to collapse.) It will be crisp on the outside and soft inside.
As you wait for the meringue to cool, make the sweetened whipped cream and the raspberry sauce. Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. (Do not overbeat.)
To make the triple raspberry sauce, place the raspberries, sugar, and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.
Invert the meringue disc onto a plate and spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Combine the strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries in a bowl and toss with about ½ cup of raspberry sauce, or enough to coat the berries lightly. Spoon the berries carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.