In today’s interconected world there is a vast choice of different international cuisines, with many exotic dishes you can only imagine and scarcely pronounce.
But despite the variety on offer, certain types of dishes exist in most countries. Let’s check them out closely.
A meal consisting of meat, vegetables, stock, and spices, sometimes also wine.
Beef stew is common in England, but pörkölt is a similar dish – with origins in Hungary – which has been domesticated in the Czech Republic and other parts of the world under the name goulash (while goulash in Hungary is a soup dish).
When we move a little bit to the east, there is a dish called Rogan Josh, from Kashmir, which not only strongly resembles goulash, but the word “josh” literally means stew (rogan josh – stewed in ghee or red stew). Rogan Josh is prepared with lamb or mutton cooked a very spicy sauce.
Ragout – a French style stew
Dumplings appear across the world. Broadly they are small pieces of filling wrapped in dough, steamed or cooked in hot water.
The name “dumpling” is mainly asociated with heavy, unhealthy meals from Central Europe – the Czech Republic in particular. Here dumplings are an important side dish that hasn’t earned a very good reputation among tourists. Dumplings can be in the form of a rounded shape with filling, but more commonly sliced without filling and served in a sauce.
Two types of Czech dumplings with sirloin sauce
Very similar are the Austrian Knödel and the Tirolean Dumpling.
Chinese dumplings vary with different types of fillings, and with the type of the dough. Eaten alone or in soups, they are all very delicious. Har gow (dim sum)
Russian filled dumplings are called Pelmeni.
Italian ravioli can be included in the category of filled, steamed pasta.
Italian ravioli with tomatoe sauce
Indian dumplings: Kozhukkatta, Manda Pitha, Idli.
Kozhukkatta / Kozhukattai
Japanese: Nikuman, Gyoza.
Japanese gyoza with soy sauce
Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan): Manti
Fillings can be also sweet.
Czech republis: Potato or quark dumplings stuffed with fruit
Dumplings stuffed with plums
India: Modak (Indian Festival sweet food)
Schnitzel, in brief, is a breaded, deep fried cut of meat, which alternatively can also be vegetarian.
The most typical representative of this is Wiener Schnitzel made with veal. From Austria the Schnitzel has migrated not only to neighbouring countries (Schnitzel in the Czech republic is traditionally made from pork, also from chicken, and the national speciality is fried cheese, and Schnitzel made with mushrooms, cauliflower or zucchini), but has also enriched the cuisine in far away Japan, where Tonkatsu has been prepared since 1899.
Japanese Tonkatsu Schnitzel
Czech Fried Cheese
South American “schnitzel” is called Milanesa and is directly linked to Italy, while in France a similar dish is called Escalope.
Escalope with spaghetti
Other meals similar to schnitzel are dishes (vegetarian or non-vegetarian) which are battered and deep fried. Typical for most of Asia.
Chinese Sweet & Sour (Chicken, Pork)
Asia chicken sweet
Indian Pakoras (vegetarian – chilli, zuchini, potato, eggplant)
Indian Cauliflower Pakoras
Indian Fish Koliwada
While often associated with France, the casserole is a near-universal way to prepare a meal. A casserole can be a simply prepared meal in one dish, therefore time-saving and economical, while other types are more elaborate. In almost all cases, casseroles are placed in special vessels suitable for baking in an oven. This distinguishes them from stews, which are prepared on stoves (with heat from the bottom).
Types of casseroles by country of origin:
Tajine – North Africa, Middle East
Sambal chicken tajine
Cassoulet – south of France
Moussaka – Middle East, Balkans
Shepherd’s Pie – United Kingdom (originally it was a leftover dish)
Lancashire Hotpot – Lancashire, UK
Macaroni casserole – Northern Europe
Northern Macaroni casserole
Mac and Cheese – USA
Mac and Cheese
Photos: Shutterstock / Title collage: Martina Advaney