No family time is complete without sharing the deliciousness of a great meal. It does not matter how entertaining your grandma or witty your dad is, if there is no food, the whole thing is just bland. For some, it is impossible to keep up with a conversation unless you serve them delicious food. So, whether it is to help people keep up with a conversation or to impress your family with your cooking skills, here are some of the best dishes that you can cook to satisfy the taste buds of your family:
Table of Contents
- Cook the Best Dishes for Your Family
- Apple Pie (American Favorite)
- Chow Mein (All the Way from China)
- Tacos (The Mexican Star)
- Sushi (Welcome to Japan)
- Malai Kofta (The Taste of India)
- Fesenjan (The Peak of Persian Food)
- Coucou and Flying Fish (Dance of the Caribbean Flavors)
- Beef Rendang (The Tastiest Beef Recipe from Indonesia)
- Hummus (Middle Eastern Favorite)
- Pavlova (Australian Sweetness)
- Currywurst (This German Wurst is the Best)
- Choose the Best Recipes for Your Family
Cook the Best Dishes for Your Family
Apple Pie (American Favorite)
While a sweet dish is supposed to come after the main course, apple pie has made it to the top of the list sweetly because of how American it is. Talk about American family meal ideas and apple pie will always be there to start the list. The British and the Dutch might have brought it to the US, but over the course of time, the dish has become a staple of American cuisine and is enjoyed as one of the most popular (if not the most) comfort foods by Americans. You can prepare apple pie using dozens of different styles and recipes. The most famous styles include French, Dutch and English.
Experts believe a perfect apple pie should taste of apples first and then of sugar, cinnamon and other ingredients. The apple pie loving Americans believe the best apple pie tastes like happiness. If you are wondering what happiness tastes like, you might want to prepare apple pie for your family this weekend. One of the mistakes you should avoid when preparing the pie is using one standard measure for adding sugar. In reality, you should add more sugar when the apples are a bit sour and less sugar when the apples you are using to prepare the pie are already sweet.
And to be sure that your dough does not get too dry or gummy, listen to the best apple pie chefs and dough as they say.
Chow Mein (All the Way from China)
Does your family like to taste the world? Are you into experimenting with your cooking skills and trying out a variety of dishes from different parts of the world? If Chinese cuisine interests you, one of the best things to cook for your family is Chow Mein. The main idea is to stir-fry the noodles to introduce a hint of crispiness and top it with some thick sauce. Just to add to your knowledge, the mein in the term “Chow Mein” is Chinese for noodles. The overall crunchiness of Chow Mein makes it a unique dish as you have to stir fry all the other ingredients, including the meat, along with the noodles.
If you prefer soft noodles over crispy ones, you can try Low Mein. This is a dish people often confuse with chow mein due to their similarities. You can also mix things up a bit to make your Chow Mein more versatile. For example, adding tomatoes and mushrooms can balance out the crunchiness of the noodles and other vegetables in your dish. If you want to kick start a conversation at the dining table, cook Chow Mein and Low Mein, and ask your family which one’s better.
Tacos (The Mexican Star)
This star of Mexican cuisine has achieved fame all around the world. The best thing about a taco is that it looks extremely simple but leaves plenty of room for experimenting. It’s just some wheat or corn tortilla wrapped around your favorite type of filling. There are some famous fillings for tacos. However, that should not stop you from experimenting with your own ingredients and personalizing your family meal.
Before you start making tacos for your family, it is better that we taco ‘bout the hard and soft shell first. As the names suggest, soft shell tacos have soft tortillas wrapping up the ingredients whereas the hard shell is crispy and crunchy. Regardless of the shell you choose, be sure to garnish your tacos with some fresh and aromatic herbs, onions, guacamole, chili pepper, salsa, lettuce and tomatoes. It is also up to you to go with beef, chicken or pork for the filling.
It won’t be wrong to say here that it is Taco Bell’s marketing that made hard shell tacos quite a thing in the recent years. Yes, the hard shell variation has gained popularity just recently. So, insert tacos on your list of best dishes to cook and do not forget to taco ‘bout the hard and soft shell tacos to spark up a conversation.
Sushi (Welcome to Japan)
Ask anyone if they know one dish from Japan and the answer invariably is Sushi. Oftentimes, people confuse sushi with sashimi and get the impression that sushi must always have raw fish as the main ingredients but that’s not the case. Sashimi might include raw fish but you can also go for sliced pieces of chicken. Sushi can even be vegetarian and by no means does it mean raw fish. However, you can make sashimi (a type of fish) an ingredient in your sushi. When planning to prepare sushi, it is best that you do some research on these terms: sashimi, maki, temaki, and nigiri.
Sushi tastes great with either soy sauce or wasabi, or both. If you watch YouTube videos, wasabi is the green ball like thing in a small bowl. You might have to do some work to get real wasabi on the dining table for your family because even the best restaurants in the US don’t serve real wasabi.
It’s the rice prepared with vinegar that actually is the Sushi and not the rolled pieces of raw fish wrapped in rice. To enjoy the dish at its best and make it a cultural learning for your family, it is best that you ask everyone to eat with chopsticks. As for expectations associated with the taste of sushi, it will send notes of sourness, sweetness, and saltiness in your mouth.
Malai Kofta (The Taste of India)
Let’s take a trip to the spicy side of the world. One of the reasons for the British colonization of the Indian subcontinent was the trade of spices. Garam masala, which is still the main spice added to most Indian foods, is a mixture of nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and many other spices. Malai kofta is like the taste of heaven in your mouth. Malai means cream in Urdu and Hindi, and the word Kofta means meatball. You can already imagine delicious meatballs floating in delicious creamy gravy.
If you promote vegetarian eating in your house, this is the perfect dish for you. To enhance the experience of your family meal, be sure to bring in some Indian naan (bread) when eating the dish.
The dumplings in this dish incorporate vegetarian ingredients. You can opt for paneer (cheese), breadcrumbs, potatoes, onion, turmeric, garam masala, etc. Malai Kofta is no ordinary dish in India. The people there prepare Malai Kofta for special guests and big occasions. Hence, you might want to give it a special treatment just for that reason. You can give this recipe a personal touch and make it non-vegetarian if you wish to. Rather than making vegetarian dumplings, you can prepare chicken or beef koftas (meatballs).
Fesenjan (The Peak of Persian Food)
Take your experimentation to the next level with this Persian dish. You might have tried mixing the most diverse ingredients together to create something new at some point in your life but Fesenjan combines the flavors you might have never imagined together in a dish. So, Fesenjan brings chicken, walnut and pomegranate in one place, something you might not have tried before. It is a stew flavored with walnuts and a paste of pomegranate. In most cases, chefs use chicken or duck stew but you can also go for lamb. That said, you should not prepare this dish without meat or with seafood instead of meat.
There is no doubt that Fesenjan can be one of the most unique family meal ideas due to the variety of flavors that blend in this dish. Once you prepare the dish, the final result is a thick and dark stew topped with pomegranate seeds. The best part of Fesenjan is you eat it with rice, which makes it palatable for just about anyone. You can try one of the many varieties of Persian naans (breads) with it but eating it with rice is the best option.
If you ever get to visit Iran and attend someone’s wedding there, there is a good chance you will find this dish on the menu. This might just be an excuse for you to make your first visit to a store with Middle Eastern products because finding pomegranate molasses (an integral part of the ingredient) is not that easy.
Coucou and Flying Fish (Dance of the Caribbean Flavors)
This dish comes from Barbados and is the national dish of the region. It is unique and definitely a perfect choice if you love experimenting in their kitchens with new flavors and ingredients. You can prepare coucou with okra and cornmeal, and to make it authentic, some flying fish stock over it. The sauce you pour on top has strong flavors due to the herbs , olive oil, and ketchup used in its preparation.
One of the concerns you can have when planning to prepare the dish is if you have the real Barbadian flying fish in your hands. If you happen to be a cook as well as a tourist, how about you bring some from Barbados with you? Do not worry about getting caught at the airport because it is okay to travel with this fish as per the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
You might want to be ready for a surprise when looking at the ingredients to prepare this dish. A dozen is a small word for the number of spices, herbs and other ingredients that go into its preparation. Prepare the list beforehand and be sure to spend some time at the store collecting all the ingredients. Some of the main ingredients you will need for Coucou and Flyish Fish include tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, lime juice, ketchup, fish stock, parsley, dill, thyme, butter, garlic, bay leaves, flying fish (of course), okras, corn meal, and some more.
These are quite a few ingredients as you can see but the final result will be worth the effort.
Beef Rendang (The Tastiest Beef Recipe from Indonesia)
If you love meat, you will love it even more after trying beef rending from Indonesia. Do note that this dish requires an extensive cooking time. The reason for this is the thick slices of beef you use, and you need to let them cook for a while. Hence, if patience isn’t a virtue your family shares when it comes to food, you should consider other dishes on this list. Secondly, you have to cook the beef on low heat, which adds even more time to its preparation. A lot of local spices and coconut milk make up the main ingredients to flavor the beef.
By cooking the beef slowly for many hours, you reach a point where the gravy is absorbed completely by the beef slices. If you cook it perfectly, the end result will be thick slices of tender beef oozing out the flavors of the absorbed coconut milk and spices.
If you have an Indonesian friend, invite them to join you at your family meal. When the time is right, call the dish a “curry” and watch them explain the whole Indonesian cuisine to you to prove that beef rending is not a curry. In a nutshell, most Indonesian dishes have a lot of liquid-like curry. When you compare rendang beef with those dishes, it is quite dry, and that’s why Indonesians do not consider it a curry.
Hummus (Middle Eastern Favorite)
Turning hummus into breakfast, they say is one of the most incredible things done after Jesus turned water into wine. In some ways, you could compare the hummus craze with the Nutella craze i.e. people who love these can slather them on just about anything edible. It is a dip, not a dish that can fill your stomach. However, it has the potential to become your children’s favorite dip once you introduce it to them. The main ingredient that goes into hummus is chickpeas. You make a paste of chickpeas and add lemon juice, garlic, olive oil (a favorite in the Middle East) and tahini (a sesame seed sauce).
In the Middle East, people eat it with pita bread. It is also one of the integral part of Shawarmas, a Middle Eastern dish in the form of wrapped meat inside pita bread. If you did not know, hummus is so famous and loved around the world that it has become an internet meme. According to some internet memes, your girl cannot say no to your proposal if you present a box of hummus with the ring.
When you ask people what hummus tastes like, the most common answer is, “The best thing in the world.” In reality, you will feel its nuttiness and smokiness as you eat it, with notes of garlic flavors creating a delicious atmosphere in your mouth to eat more hummus. Once you prepare it and are ready to eat, be sure to hummus a tune that praises this delicious creation from the Middle East.
Pavlova (Australian Sweetness)
It’s time to bring in some sweetness back into the list after so many sour, salty, and spicy dishes. When you first look at it, you will find it cute, with tangy and colorful fruits resting on top of white cloud-like meringue shell. This cute-looking dish can cause controversies sometimes. While it might be one of the best dishes to cook for a family meal, it is definitely not the best thing to talk about if you have an Australian and a New Zealander friend on the table with you. The two nations can often get into an argument over who started making Pavlova first.
The dish has a meringue base on top of which you can have any fruits that you like. However, if you want to keep it Australian, put passion fruit on top. If you want to show your love with Aussies and Kiwis, opt for passion fruit and kiwis. Make it even more colorful by adding slices of fresh strawberries in between the kiwis and passion fruit. The locals believe Pavlova was created to honor Anna Pavlova, a Russian Ballerina dancer, who visited Australia in the 1920s.
Enjoy the dish after you have had your meal to end the day with some sweetness and the freshness of fruits. Yes, it can be quite sugary but you are not going to eat it every day. Not to mention, it could be one way to convince your kids to eat fruits because the colorful slices of fruits on top of white meringue base look extremely enticing.
Currywurst (This German Wurst is the Best)
Currywurst is one of the most iconic, loved and addictive foods from Europe, primarily popular in Germany. It is one of the most famous street foods that received so much love from its eaters that it has turned into a cult. What makes this dish so unique on this list is it is probably one of the simplest and straightforward dishes you will ever eat. However, it is so delicious that might be one of the first things to disappear from the table at your family meal.
Germans are fond of sausages. You could literally take a walk in a busy commercial street and find hundreds of different types of sausages, but there is nothing like currywurst. The dish is as simple as two or three sausages cut into slices, served with fries on the side and topped with ketchup and curry powder. It is hard to control your hands from reaching out for more once you start eating this dish. The good thing about straightforward dishes like currywurst is there is plenty of room for you to experiment with the ingredients.
You can choose the topping for your currywurst according to your preferences. You can go for a different sauce and mix some other spice with the curry powder. If you are in a daring mood today, you could pair it up with hummus. Perhaps your kids will do it themselves if they are already in the habit of eating hummus with everything.
Choose the Best Recipes for Your Family
Cooking is an art, and art must never be subject to standards and regulations. The dishes mentioned above are some of the best from various countries of the world. The first time you try them, it is recommended to prepare them in the most traditional and pure way possible. However, once you have prepared and tasted them once, you can figure out what’s missing or what’s too much for the taste of your family. You can then make adjustments and prepare the recipe in a way that best satisfies your taste buds of your family.
Another thing you will notice in the dishes above is that most of them are easy to prepare. The difficulty level is not that high. Yes, it can be a bit difficult to find ingredients for some of them but that’s not the best excuse too when you have internet. Find the best recipes and prepare these amazing dishes not only to make your family meals special but to open your heart to the many cultures, traditions and flavors of the world. You can always head to YouTube to learn how to cook a number of these exotic delicacies!