Cooking is not much more than knowing what flavors to combine together for a cohesive meal. This same principle can be followed to make regional types of cuisine.
Sometimes I can’t get out of my own head. Sometimes I forget what home cooks don’t know. And that’s really hard for me. I really want to help you to know how to cook, sans a recipe. Then I began to think on THE most common statement/question I hear about cooking. I believe this one thing is THE biggest setback for most people to get over and rock it in the kitchen. It goes something like this: I don’t know what ingredients go together! I don’t know how to cook Indian food. I don’t know what food goes into Indian food. Is this you?
Have no fear!! If this is your biggest fear and hold up, I have the help you need. A lot of gaining your confidence in the kitchen and cooking is reading. Read, read, read!!!! I’m going to put in another plug for The Flavor Bible, you NEED to have this book in your kitchen. In fact, here is the link to 6 Essential Food Books That Every Home Cook Should Have.
About a year ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and found this graphic that I thought was the most genius compilation of ingredients that pretty much helps sum up which ingredients are in what cuisines. It’s super simple to follow and hopefully inspires you to throw out the lemon pepper seasoning that I know somebody here has in their cupboard! Here is the article online if you wanted to read the history behind the charts.
When I found these charts, I just thought “everyone needs to see these!” I was so happy that someone or a group of people had put together this comprehensive graphic. Now I encourage you guys to use these charts as a guide in your cooking but you also need to do research (more reading and even eating! R&D baby!) on different cuisines for staple dishes and seeing what makes up all of these regional cuisines.
However, we know how much I like to do things my own way. I thought about 5 of the most commonly cooked and searched international cuisines. Then I made this beautiful list for you! The 5 that seem the most common are:
All of these regions have super distinct flavors that you’ll find in any of their dishes. And the amazing thing about all of these ingredients, they’re very easy to find in your regular grocery store. You don’t have to go to a specialty market for a lot of them. Some you might (for lemongrass, let’s just say) but for the most part, these can all be found very easily. This graphic is to help you feel comfortable with the flavors found in these 5 different countries so you can make “such-and-such inspired” what have you.
But don’t stop there! Keep finding amazing books to help you become familiar with a favorite region of yours. I love finding authentic recipes to recreate; saves a lot of money than booking a trip to a foreign country… let me tell you!
I feel as though, sometimes, American cooking tends to be glossed over (I am totally guilty of this, myself). Let me tell you, though. American cooking is so diverse! It’s amazing how many “regions” we have here in the states. We have about 9 which is mind blowing; they’ve all been influenced by so many countries that we truly have a unique cuisine. I’ve compiled a list of the 5 most common (and interesting) cuisines here in America and what is prominent in each one.
See?! We’re pretty awesome!
If you were hesitant before about cooking and branching out, I hope that these charts help you start building foundations for other types of dishes! I will admit that some of my go to dinners include pasta, veggies and some canned tomatoes (there is nothing wrong with that.) Let’s all make a resolve to try something different! My challenge for you guys is to buy one different food or ingredient and make dinner with it! I want to hear about your creations.