Our 12-year-old friend Cate recently visited her grandmother’s ancestral home in China with her family. When I asked her about the food, she said it was really good but that eating Chinese food night after night got a little boring. My daughter, Celia, chimed in that she got tired of eating Middle Eastern food every night in Israel this summer. I had to laugh.

In North America we are so fortunate to live among a blend of immigrants from all over the world, and our food options reflect this diversity. It’s not at all unusual for our family to eat (homemade) Indian, Thai, Mexican, and Italian food on any given week, and then go out for Japanese or Ethiopian food on the weekends. Sometimes we forget how different that is from how much of the world eats.

Food can be a delightful pathway to another country or culture for your family.  When you make an Indian-inspired meal like the one below, for example, take the opportunity to have the family learn something about the people in that part of the world and how they eat. You may even be inspired to have a weekly international night, when you eat the food from a different country and learn more about it.

Here are a few facts about India to get you started with this week’s International Night:

  • Most Indians eat food with their hands, using a little bread or rice to scoop up the flavorful dishes. For the most part, Indians only eat with their right hands and use their left hands to pass the food.
  • Many Indians are vegetarians. In the Hindu religion, which is practiced by the majority of Indians, cows are considered sacred so Hindus never eat beef.
  • Curry powder, often used in making Indian food, is really a mix of different spices such as cumin, turmeric, cardamom, and ground chilies, but there are endless combinations of ground spices that make up Indian curry blends. 

Here are some additional resources to learn about Indian food and culture:

http://www.kids-cooking-activities.com/Indian-cooking.html

http://www.oocities.org/teacherkab/countries/india.htm

http://asiarecipe.com/indfoodtour.html

Also check out Kid Culture, a wonderful blog dedicated to celebrating world cultures with your children through food.

This Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry recipe is adapted from a cookbook called On Rice by Rick Rodgers. If you want to spice it up even more, add up to 2 tsp. chili powder or fresh diced chilies, 1 tsp. turmeric and 1 tsp. ground cumin with the curry powder, and stir in 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro with the peas.

Would you like to see more international night recipes on Kitchen Explorers? What are your family’s favorite international cuisines? Please leave a comment below sharing your thoughts.

Recipe: Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry

  • Prep Time: 5 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 25 min(s)
  • Total Time: 30 min(s)
  • Servings: 6; about 2 1/2 cups each

A wonderfully unique recipe for coconut chicken and vegetable curry.

Ingredients

    • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 4 carrots, sliced
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
    • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or extra-firm tofu or Quorn (a meat substitute, sold frozen), diced into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
    • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
    • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
    • 3/4 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 1/4 tsp. salt

Instructions

    • In a large heavy stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, garlic, and chicken, tofu or Quorn, and sauté it, stirring often, until the onions start to brown, 5-7 minutes. (Hint: If you have picky eaters, remove some of the cooked carrots and chicken or tofu for them now.)
    • Add the curry powder, cauliflower, broth and coconut milk. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.
    • Stir in the peas and salt and serve it over basmati rice.

You Might Also Like