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International Holiday Recipes

by Our Editors
International Holiday Recipes

This season, while planning your menus, mix it up a little and try going multi-cultural with some of these exciting holiday recipes from around the world.

David Tumbiri

Most cultures around the world have unique winter celebrations where people come together to feast with extended family and friends. Even in the Southern Hemisphere, where December is one of the hottest months, barbecues and beach parties are an integral part of the global holiday revelry. This season, while planning your menus, mix it up a little and try going multi-cultural with some of these exciting holiday recipes from around the world. Bon appetit!



When do we have it? Sinterklaas Eve (December 5).

Bisschopswijn (Dutch Bishops’ Wine) is the traditional beverage served for Dutch Sinterklaas Eve.

International Holiday Recipes- Bishops Wine the Netherlands
1 liter red wine
1 lemon
1 orange
20 cloves
2 tbsp sugar
1 cinnamon stick
a pinch of mace and saffron (optional)

1) Insert 10 cloves each into the lemon and orange.
2) Put the wine, sugar, lemon, orange, and cinnamon (and optional mace and saffron tied in muslin) into a covered pan and slowly bring to a boil.
3) Turn down the heat and simmer gently for an hour.
4) Strain out spices and fruit.
5) Heat the wine again, but do not let it boil. Serve hot.

LATVIA (Appetizer)

When do we have it? Christmas/Solstice.

Piragi are savory pasties found at every midwinter Latvian feast.

International Holiday Recipes - Piragi Latvia

250g smoked, fatty pork (pancetta)
250g streaky bacon
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 whole small nutmeg, freshly grated
salt and pepper to taste

1) Finely dice the pork and bacon.
2) Fry gently in an ungreased iron skillet until the fat runs.
3) Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4)Cook onion in the bacon fat then add, along with 1 tbsp of the rendered fat, to the drained meat.
5) Season the mixture with nutmeg, pepper, and salt as needed.
6) Set aside to cool.

25g fresh yeast
2 tbsp warm water
250ml milk
65g unsalted butter
500g unbleached wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp soured cream
1 egg, beaten
Additional egg, beaten with 2 tbsp water
Sprinkling of caraway seeds

1) Cream yeast and water and set aside to activate.
2) Scald milk and butter, then cool to tepid.
3) Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
4) Pour the milk mixture, soured cream, and the single beaten egg into the well, and gradually incorporate liquid into flour with a wooden spoon.
5) Let dough rest for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead vigorously for 10 minutes.
6) When dough feels elastic, place in a greased bowl, cover and leave for one hour until doubled in volume.
7) Knock back the dough, knead briefly, then roll and stretch on a floured board to form a large rectangle, 40cm x 55cm (approx 16 x 22 inches).
8) Make 8 rows of 4 or 5 small mounds of filling across rectangle of dough.
9) Fold the dough-edge over the first row and filling, and using a round pastry cutter or rim of a glass, cut a circle around each dough-covered mound.
10) Press firmly to seal the edges and transfer to a greased baking sheet.
11) Ensure there is some space around each piragi before brushing with egg wash and sprinkling with caraway seeds.
12) Leave to rise while the oven is heating to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
13) Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden-brown. Serve warm.

JAPAN (Side Dish)

When do we have it? Japanese New Year (late December until January 3).

Osechi-ryori is Japanese New Year’s food and consists of many different dishes. Colorful osechi-ryori dishes are packed in layers of lacquer boxes called jubako. Each type of food in osechi has a particular meaning; long life, good health, fertility, good harvest, happiness, etc.

International Holiday Recipes - Osechi Ryori Japan

Sweet Black Beans (kuromame)
1 cup black beans
3 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
one old nail (to blacken the color of beans)

1.Put water, sugar, salt, soy sauce, and baking soda into medium pot and bring to boil.

2. Cool the liquid and add beans and a nail.

3. Leave ingredients to soak over night.

4. Simmer the beans on low heat for 5-6 hours until softened. 5. Cool it before serving.

*Makes 4 servings

MEXICO (Salad)

When do we eat it? Christmas.

Ensalada de Navidad (Christmas Salad) is usually served after midnight mass with the Christmas dinner: turkey or roast baby pig, tamales, and sweets.

International Holiday Recipes - Mexico Christmas Salad

2 small cooked beets, peeled and diced
1 large cooked carrot, diced
1 orange, peeled and chopped
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/4 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 large banana, diced
1/2 cup unsalted nuts, almonds or peanuts
seeds of 1/2 small pomegranate
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
3 tbsp salad oil
1/2 tspn sugar
dash of salt

1) Mix all the fruits.
2) Put lime or lemon juice, salad oil, sugar, and salt into a screw top jar. Shake until blended and sugar has dissolved.
3) Pour the dressing over the fruit salad and toss well.
4) Pile the salad into a salad bowl and garnish with the nuts and pomegranate seeds. Let stand in the refrigerator until chilled and flavors mix.
5) Serve chilled.

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