Comfort Food from Around the Globe

Food not only sustains our body, but it can sustain our minds. There is no doubt that food has calming properties, as the term, “comfort food,” suggests. Sometimes a simple food dish can bring back memories one may have forgotten or memories of happy times to be cherished and triggered by a favorite dish.

Globally, the concept of comfort food exists in every country and every kitchen and we think that everyone should try the experience of tasting the myriad of dishes from other cultures, countries, and traditions. Come with us as we take a tour of the globe in these comfort food recipes from around the world.

Ramen

From American grocery store and sodium packed flavor packets, to a roadside restaurant in Japan that makes them from scratch—Ramen has developed into a comfort food around the world for many.

Simple Chicken Ramen

  • 2 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts or 2 bone-in chicken breasts*
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning after cooking.
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp sesame or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 tsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp soy, or low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 4 cups of favorite, rich chicken stock
  • 1-ounce dried shitake mushrooms or ½ cup fresh.
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • 2 3-ounce packs of dried ramen noodles
  • Optional: fresh jalapeño slices, for serving if desired.

How to make Simple Chicken Ramen

  1. Cook the chicken*. Preheat oven to 375. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large oven-safe pan or skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook until skin is golden brown without sticking to the pan. About 5-7 minutes. Flip chicken, and cook for another 4-5 minutes, then transfer the pan or skillet into the oven until it is cooked through. Remove from oven, transfer chicken to plate and cover until ready to serve.
  2. Make the broth: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, until simmering. Add garlic, ginger, cook until soft and fragrant. Add soy sauce, mirin, stir and cook for 1 additional minute. Add the stock, cover, bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid, simmering uncovered for 5 minutes, then add dried or fresh mushrooms. Simmer gently for an additional 10 minutes and season with salt to taste.
  3. Make soft-boiled eggs. Fill a pot with enough water to cover eggs, bring to a boil. Gently lower eggs still cold from the fridge into boiling water, let simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer eggs to bowl filled with ice and water and let sit for at least 5 minutes, or until cool, to peel and slice in half lengthwise. Set aside.
  4. Assemble the ramen bowl. Chop scallions and, if using, jalapeño. Slice the chicken into thin pieces. Set aside. Add ramen noodles to the boiling water used to cook the eggs. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Divide noodles into two large bowls, add chicken and ramen broth. Top with scallions, jalapeño, and a soft-boiled egg. Serve and enjoy!

Chilaquiles Rojos

This traditional Mexican breakfast is one of the most beloved breakfast dishes in Mexico and making its way into many more Mexican and Latin-American restaurants in other countries.

Ingredients

  • 12 corn tortillas cut into six pieces, left out to dry on the counter night before.
  • 2 cups either salsa Red or Green
  • ½ cup Mexican cream (Mexican crema, a thickened cream that flavor-wise, falls between American sour cream and French crème Fraiche)
  • ½ cup Mexican Queso, crumbled
  • 1 sprig Epazote
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of onion, rings separated
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 and ½ cup cooked and shredded chicken, beef, or pork (optional.)

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Fry tortillas until golden and crisp in batches to avoid overcrowding skillet. Lay fried tortillas on a paper towel to drain and continue until all tortillas are cooked.
  2. Clean skillet with a paper towel. Turn heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add salsa of choice, cook for 5 minutes. Add Espazote and season with salt. Stir in tortillas gently to avoid breakage, then add chicken, beef, or pork if using. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Serve garnished with crumbled cheese, onion, and topped with cream.

Haluski

The exact origins of Haluski is an ongoing debate but can be claimed to come from Polish, Slovak, Ukrainian, and Hungarian origins. It is simple comfort food that contains either egg noodles or a potato dumpling sautéed with cabbage, onion, pork, and sheep or goat’s cheese. Whether you use the dumplings, the egg noodles, what cut of pork you use, and which type of cheese varies from region to region. In the United States, Haluski is most often made with egg noodles or gnocchi.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of butter
  • 1 small green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 large onion, halved then sliced
  • 8 ounces pancetta or Kielbasa or Bacon
  • 1 lb egg noodles or gnocchi
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 5 ounces goat cheese
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once melted, increase the heat to medium-high and sauté the onions and the cabbage in butter. Sauté for roughly 10 minutes, stirring often, then add the pancetta or pork and sauté for another 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the egg noodles or gnocchi according to package directions and drain well.
  3. Add drained noodles or gnocchi to cabbage mixture and season with pepper. Spread goat cheese along the top and stir gently until melted, serving hot.

Admittedly, this is just a small glimpse at the food that is comforting from across the world. There are thousands of dishes from cultures everywhere that recall warmth, family, and childhood memories and we encourage you to explore them all.