International Culinary Arts
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lawrentians are unable to return to campus and are attending virtual classes across 16 different time zones.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lawrentians are unable to return to campus and are attending virtual classes across 16 different time zones. Caught in between these two worlds, it is a struggle for many of us to remain together in spirit as one big community. However, despite our differences in location, there is still one thing that unites us all: food. From Dalgona coffee, a recent TikTok trend, to pani puri, a centuries-old Indian snack, these delicious treats are a sight—and taste—to behold. Whether it’s sweet brigadeiros or savory haggis, or even the culture and class amalgamation of bobotie, exploring the history of international cuisines can bring Lawrentians closer together and provide us a glimpse into our diverse backgrounds. With that being said, here are our top five favorite foods from around the globe:
India, Pani Puri: Pani puri, a popular Indian street food delicacy, is made of crisp fried dough balls, puri, stuffed with potatoes, sprouts, spicy tangy water, and sweet chutney. This dish is usually enjoyed with sukha puri, a variation of pani puri filled with spiced potatoes and sev (small crunchy noodles). While most Indian dishes are unique to certain regions, pani puri is consumed across the subcontinent and has even acquired different names in each region: puchka in West Bengal, gol gappe in New Delhi, and phulki in Gujarat. Though its history is often disputed, the epic Mahabaratha serves as commonly-believed origin of pani puri. According to the Sanskrit epic, a newly-wedded Draupadi is given a challenge by her mother-in-law, Kunti, soon after their family is exiled after losing a game of dice. Kunti, wanting to test her daughter-in-law’s true capabilities, asks Draupadi to make enough food for her five sons, using only some leftover potato sabzi and enough wheat dough to make one puri. When Draupadi proves successful and invents the pani puri, Kunti curses the dish out of jealousy, so that, in the future, whoever eats the snack would spill some drops onto his shirt. Anyone who has eaten pani puri is well aware of the immense precision needed to avoid spilling: the perfect-sized hole must be made in the fried dough, and as soon as the water and chutney are poured, the puri must be eaten in one fell swoop. Consuming the puri in its entirety may seem like an innocuous task, but don’t be surprised if you’re left with a mess on your hands! After all, it’s the mess that makes pani puri all the more enjoyable.
Brazil, Brigadeiros A traditional Brazilian dessert, the brigadeiros, is similar in size and shape to a bonbon, except with the distinction of being a widely celebrated national icon. The simple chocolate sweet, comprised of condensed milk, butter, cocoa powder, and chocolate sprinkles, is commonly served in little paper cups during birthday parties, pot lucks, weddings, and formal events. Brigadeiros, translated into English as brigadier, an officer rank in the military, is named after the Brazilian war hero Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes, famous for ending a communist coup in Rio de Janeiro during the 1920s. When he ran for president, many women honored the handsome and charming bachelor by creating a dessert in his name. However, as post-war Brazil faced shortages in milk and sugar, Rio de Janeiro confectioner Heloísa Nabuco de Oliveira substituted those ingredients with the available condensed milk, which is still used today when making brigadeiros. Although Gomes was unable to win the election, the brigadeiro has become a staple chocolate dessert for millions of Brazilians, found in restaurants and confectionery stores around the world.
Scotland, Haggis The national dish of Scotland, haggis, is not food for the faint of heart. It is a savory pudding composed of the liver, heart, and lungs of a sheep. After being minced and mixed with beef, oatmeal, onions, and a myriad of spices, the blend is encased into a sheep's stomach and boiled. Haggis has evolved over the centuries to use all the pieces of a lamb, even parts not usually used in everyday cooking, which is in part why haggis has been banned from the United States, as it violates health regulations. Traditionally, it is served with potatoes, turnips, and Scotch whiskey, though in recent years, chefs have taken liberties with the recipe. This meal is such an integral part of the Scottish identity that Robert Burns dedicated his poem “Address to the Haggis” to it in the 18th century, and in Scotland, Burns Night is celebrated every January 25, in memory of the poet, with the main celebration food, of course, being haggis.
Korea, Dalgona Coffee Originally gaining popularity as a TikTok trend during quarantine, Dalgona coffee has recently swept the Internet into a frenzy, following a series of aesthetically-pleasing “how-to” videos highlighting the recipe’s easily-accessible ingredients. The beverage involves milk, topped with a foam composed of whisked instant coffee and sugar. Although most refer to the drink as “whipped coffee,” its real name, Dalgona, comes from the foam’s resemblance to a popular South Korean street candy during the 1970s, which shares the same light-brown color. Dalgona, also known as ppopgi, means “honeycomb toffee” in Korean is still sold there today in the form of lollipops cut into different shapes. However, Dalgona coffee’s origin is highly disputed; some believe that the drink can trace its roots back to India and Pakistan, where it is called phenti hui, and to Greece, the birthplace of frappes. Regardless, this delicious drink is one which everyone can make at home, even if it requires a little time, some physical activity, and plenty of persistence—especially if you decide to hand whisk! In fact, the foam needs to be whisked around 400 times to achieve the perfect cloud-like consistency. When mixed with milk, the result is a creamy, velvety-smooth drink, perfect for the spring and summertime.
South Africa, Bobotie Bobotie, pronounced bar-boor-tee, is South Africa’s national dish, made primarily of curried minced meat topped with a milk and egg mixture. While some claim that bobotie is derived from the Malayan word boemboe or “curry spices,” others suggest that the dish likely originated from the Indonesian dish bobotok—shredded coconut, bay leaves, vegetables, and fish steamed and wrapped in banana leaves. When the Dutch East India Company shipped Malay, Javanese, and Indian slaves to Cape Town in the 17th century, they formed the Cape Malay community and adapted to their new surroundings by fusing Asian and Dutch cuisines, leading to the creation of bobotie. According to Reuben Riffel, a South African chef, enslaved Asians would eat roast meat on Sundays, and the next day, the leftovers would be mixed with spices and topped with an egg mixture. Without access to certain ingredients, such as South Indian tamarind or coconut milk, the Cape Malay community acquired certain ingredients via the spice route, ultimately transforming bobotok into bobotie. While the dish is occasionally garnished with nuts or fruit chutney, the recipe has remained unchanged since its creation, but it has certainly gained popularity outside of South Africa’s working-class population. The perfect confluence of Eastern and Western cuisines, bobotie has united South Africa’s historically racially-segregated communities and serves as one of the nation’s most authentic delicacies.