They say less is more. When you combine the simplest of ingredients with the utmost love and care, you get more satisfaction.
That is the beauty of cooking. Mother’s recipes are not a mathematics equation, they are simple, they are easy, and most of all, they are made with love.
Below are some simple dishes that have been passed down from mothers to children, since maybe even a thousand years ago. Hope they make you feel cozy, and at home.
Table of Contents
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Crêpes are ancient history. Legend has it that they were invented in 1200s France! Today, these are the darlings of French desserts. These ultrathin pancakes can be filled with whatever you feel like that day! To understand how the French cuisine became so perfect, you have to eat these.
Ciorbă de burtă
Pretend you are in cold, dark Romania. You feel lost…until you taste this tripe soup. It is creamy, sweet, and sour, simple yet flavourful. Also, it is steaming hot! So just imagine how cozy, and at home, you would feel. This is the power of this soup.
Great things can be made from the most ordinary of food. Originally said to be the “poor man’s dessert” because of its cheap ingredients (sausages, curry powder, canned tomatoes…), the currywurst has spread like wildfire in the streets of Germany.
When you can make a dish either savory or sweet depending on your mood, you know it is a great dish! The cobbler, as well as being England’s comfort food is also a pantry dish. If you don’t feel like doing exhausting meal prep, throw in some simple ingredients. Don’t forget to bake your dough!
Coq au Vin
King Henri promised the poor folks of France that there would be a chicken in every pot. And so it was that this cheap, but delicious, the dish came to exist. Sauté some onions, butter, and garlic (so French!) in a pan. Then, throw in some chicken or rooster, and smell the deliciousness!
This recipe first appeared in the 1700s, translated as ‘burnt cream’. Only the French could think to ‘burn’ cream and make it one of the most iconic desserts. Typically, the hot custard is first created as cream and vanilla are added to make something that is just going to melt in your mouth.
Middle & South American cuisine
Many cultures love their sausages. You can eat it when you want some me-time, or you can grill it at your family barbeque. So you can understand why the chorizo, cooked Mexican style, is a rave in everyone’s home. Brought from Spain, the chorizo has grown quite famous.
Here is my recipe for Spanish chorizo pasta.
Cachapas are one of the most famous Venezuelan dishes. Sweet corn pancakes that are served with cheese, beef, chicken, or just plain with a touch of butter.
We love festivity desserts! The canjica, served when Brazilians celebrate the birth of St. John, is a pudding made from white corn and coconut. What is it with Brazil and making simple food that just burst with flavor? Chill it, warm it, add spices, add sugar, this dish will never let you down.
What would the world be without chocolate? Certainly less happy. For our sweet packets of happiness, we have to thank Guatemala for this is where chocolate was born. So, it must be true that the Guatemalans know how to make it the best. Perhaps you can try this at the next Mayan celebration!
Cazuela de Mariscos
The vivid blue beaches of Colombia must have wonderful sea life. So that velvety seafood dishes can be made from them! Imagine sitting in the shade of a coconut tree as you eat this seafood soup. Taste what Colombia has to offer: delicious scallops, shellfish, coconut, and whatnot.
Vegan never tasted better than when it is served in Turkey. The cigkofte, wildly famous in Turkey, is made when you put your hard work into kneading fine bulgur wheat. Mix the dough with the best the Mediterranean has to offer: olive oil, red pepper flakes, spices. Simply the best!
What’s Greece without calamari? Served in every fish tavern, every restaurant, and on most occasions, this fried squid dish remains one of the many beauties of Greece. Pour some olive oil into a skillet, then drop your floured squid in it. Serve hot, and don’t forget to garnish!
Croquetas de Bacalao
Sitting on a street-side in Madrid snacking on these fried delights filled with cod. Sounds divine! This dish is what happens when you decide not to throw away scraps but combine them. To your delight, when you use simple pantry ingredients together (milk, flour, breadcrumbs, fish), you get these!
As fun as this is to pronounce (kuus-kuus), it is even more fun to taste. Moroccans have perfected the art of making couscous since they started making them in the 1200s! Make steamed balls of crushed wheat, and use this as a base for some hot stew of your choosing (preferably Moroccan!).
The name screams that this dish will be a burst of flavor. Chakalaka! This dish was born in vibrant South Africa when paprika powder, curry mix powder, and turmeric meet simple vegetables – chilies, cabbage, onions, carrots & tomatoes. What is born is just fiery!
Zambia is a master at creating vegetarian dishes! Some pumpkin, some tomatoes and onions, leaves & groundnuts, and you are gifted with Chibwabwa. Find yourself at a typical Zambian celebration as this cherished dish is revealed! Devour alongside Zambian dough, nshima!
Uganda is home to a very unique number of vegetable dishes. The Chaloko, made with pinto beans, onions, peppers, tomatoes, is a delicacy you just cannot miss. Combined with posho, another delicacy, this is the ultimate meal.
Eaten all across East Africa, the coconut curry is indeed just one of those things you cannot find good anywhere else. There exists a delicate process of de-husking the coconuts to extract milk. Then, combine with basmati rice, traditional spices, and you will be left with a wholesome dish.
Central Asian cuisine
Dumplings from Uzbekistan just sound like a must-try! Uzbek cuisine is valued for its diversity and richness so the Chuchvara can be no different. Stuffed with meat, and boiled in broth filled with meat and vegetables, this hearty soup dish will be sure to fill you right up!
Practically every culture has that one sweet dish made of fried dough and sugar. Like the Kazakhs. This common treat is a delight for the people of Kazakhstan looking to get their hands sticky, and tasting something sickly sweet. Make this a fun snack to go with tea!
No one knows how to cook meat as well as the Afghans. When Afghans roast lamb meat on a mankal, a traditional charcoal grill, they know exactly what they are doing. The new generation likes it as much as the shepherds of the old did. Served with naan bread, and marinated to perfection, you have to eat it once!
South Asian cuisine
Sounds like something hot! This dish from Nepal takes spice and flavor to another level. Sprinkled with authentic Newari spices, buffalo meat is roasted on a hay fire to make this eye-opening dish. When combined with chuira (rice flakes), this is bound to be one of those things you taste once and never forget.
The people of the Himalayas love it! A cheese made of buttermilk, this is prepared with the finest attention to detail. Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, all love it because it is just so fulfilling, and goes with practically everything. You can put it in momos, savory vegetable dishes, and soups. Must have in the pantry.
Pan Asian cuisine
A global superstar! The chow mein is so popular and delicious, you can taste it through the screen! Noodles tossed with a concoction of typical Chinese ingredients, a chopstick twirling around, and the steaming hot noodles just filling your mouth up, it all sounds so heavenly!
This dish has singlehandedly managed to unite Korea and America. As it is Korean, it must have complex flavors and a carefully crafted mix of foods. This noodles recipe is one of the most popular dishes of Korea. Here’s why: when you stir fry noodles and throw in a whole pantry of Korean spices, and healthy vegetables, people will go crazy!
What is amazing about the world is that it is filled with some creative food! Banana nuggets from Cambodia are definitely on that list. These snacks sizzle in the kitchen after school is over. Banana wrapped in spring rolls, deep-fried in a wok, and sugared to perfection is eaten nice and hot after a hard days’ work.
There you have it! A list of all the foods that are delightful in their simplicity, bursting with motherly love, and that smell & taste like home. Hope you enjoyed reading through this and felt all warm and cozy.
Owner and Food blogger on The Cookware Geek. She loves cooking, baking, traveling, playing with the cats, and knitting. She believes that eating delicious meals doesn’t require a culinary degree or a Michelin-star chef in your kitchen.