Recipes from Around the World

Want to try something a little different for the New Year? Here are some of our favorite recipes from around the world. 

Tamales, Mexico

Tamales are a corn dough stuffed with cheese and meat dish, wrapped in banana leaf or corn husk. Traditionally, a group of women in the family divide tasks and each is responsible for a step of the preparation. 

Ingredients (makes 50 tamales):

  • 3⁄4 cup shortening
  • 1 quartered medium onion
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 minced garlic cloves 
  • 3.5 lbs pork shoulder or pork butt, trimmed of fat and cut up
  • 3.5 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups red chili sauce
  • 6 cups masa harina
  • 10 cups water
  • 50 dried corn husks around eight inches long


Boil the water, garlic, onion, pork and 1.5 tsp of salt. Preferably, use a 5-quart Dutch oven. Cover it and let it simmer for 2.5 hours to make sure the pork is tender. Remove the meat. Allow both the meat and the broth to chill. 

Using two forks, shred the pork and discard the fat. Then, strain the broth, reserving six cups. 

Heat the red chili sauce in a large saucepan, then add the meat. Cover the pan and let it simmer for ten minutes. 

In another large bowl, make masa by beating shortening on medium speed for one minute. Add and stir in the masa harina, baking powder, and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix it well before adding the mixture to the broth. Add enough broth to make a thick, creamy paste. 

While you do that, soak the corn husks in warm water for at least 20 minutes. Rinse to remove the corn silk, and drain well.

Spread 2 tbs of the masa mixture on the middle of each corn husk to assemble each tamale. The corn husk should be about 8 inches long by 6 inches wide. If it’s too small, use 2 overlapped small ones. Tear a strip from the sides if it’s too large.

In the middle of the masa, add one tbs of meat and sauce mixture. Fold in the sides and the bottom of the husk.

Place a steamer basket in the Dutch oven. Use extra husks to cover the basket and pile the tamales there, open side up. Add water in the Dutch oven and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat, cover it and let it steam for 40 minutes, adding water if necessary. 

You can freeze the uneaten tamales for later. Just thaw and wrap in a wet paper towel, reheating in the microwave for two minutes. 

Galette des Rois (King Cake), France

King cake is a traditional French pastry with an interesting history dating back to the 14th century. The cake, often topped with a golden paper crown, has a tiny hidden charm buried in one of the slices. Whoever gets the slice with the charm wears the crown, signifying that they are “King for a Day”. 


  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rum (optional)
  • 1 whole almond or dried bean, for the charm
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • Two 9.5 in-diameter circles puff-pastry dough (from a 14- to 17-ounce package), cold

Instructions for the filling:

Using a mixer (or by hand), beat the butter and the sugar together. Get the mixture creamy and light. Add the almond flour and salt. Mix it well. Then add one whole egg and white from the other egg, reserving the yolk. Add the vanilla extract and the rum. Cover and refrigerate it for at least one hour. 

Take the yolk and mix it with 1 tsp of cold water. Cover and refrigerate until need. 

Instructions to assemble

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the circle dough in the center and then add the filling evenly over the dough. Don’t forget to leave a 1-inch border empty. Press the charm into the filling. With cold water, moisten the border, place the second circle of dough. Seal the border by pressing it with your fingertips. 

Scallop the edges of the dough with the back of a table knife, pressing the knife to create the waves, around ¼ to 1/2 -inch deep, in every ½ inch. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Using the reserved yolk, brush the top of the dough. It’s important to avoid the border, so as to allow the galette to rise. If you design the top of the galette with a pattern, be careful to not pierce the dough. Make 6 small cuts (for steam vents) on top.

Turn the heat down to 400, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the galette is puffed and golden. Check after 20 minutes. If it’s baking too quickly, place foil loosely on top. 

Transfer to a rack and let it cool for 15 minutes. Serve it warm or at room temperature. 

Pavê, Brazil: 

Pavê is a traditional holiday dessert in Brazil, or for any special occasion. Pavê, in Portuguese, sounds like “to see.” When the whole family gathers together, there’s always one funny uncle who likes to joke “It’s not to see! It’s to eat!” 

This dessert is very simple but it does require one special ingredient, Nestle Media Crema Table Cream, which can be found in markets that carry Latin products. 


  • 1 can of condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1 can of cream milk (Nestle Media Crema Table Cream, 7.9 oz)
  • 1 package of Maria biscuits
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbs of corn starch 
  • 3 grated chocolate bars


In a large pot, add the corn starch and the condensed milk. Mix well, making sure there are no lumps of corn starch. Then, add the egg yolks. If the yolks are small, you can add one more yolk. 

Add 2 cups of milk. Now turn on the heat (medium-high heat) and keep stirring until it starts to boil. 

When you see the bubbles, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. If you noticed that the mixture is too thick, getting hard to mix, add more milk accordingly. Finally, add the cream milk. Stir it with the heat turned off.

To assemble it, take a large rectangular glass container. Add one layer of the mixture. Take Maria biscuits and, one by one, submerge them in milk on both sides a few times, and add to the top of the mixture. Cover the cream with it. Try to cover as much of the surface as you can. 

Repeat the process a couple of times to create layers of cream, biscuit, cream, biscuit, and cream. 

Now, the Pavê is almost done. Cover the surface with a topping to taste. Grated chocolate is a fvorite. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. 

Hoppin’ John, Southern USA: 

Who doesn’t want money and prosperity in the new year? Hoppin’ John is a traditional dish that has pork-flavored field peas or blackeyed peas (representing coins) and rice. It’s often served with cornbread, which is the same color as gold, and collards and other greens to represent money. 


  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 diced green bell pepper,
  • 1 ham hock (or diced ham)
  • 2 stalks diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups soaked black-eyed peas
  • 5 cups chicken broth (low-sodium or no-sodium)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to Taste
  • White or brown rice, for serving


Start the recipe six hours ahead by soaking the black-eyed peas in cool water. After the six hours, rinse the peas before using them. 

In a large pot, heat butter on medium-high heat. Add the whole diced onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic. Stir for three to four minutes. Add the soaked beans, chicken broth, ham hock, and the cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. 

Wait 30 minutes, check if the mixture is too liquid. If it’s too soupy, take the lid off and cook for another 15 minutes. If it gets too thick, add more broth accordingly. 

Stir vinegar, adding seasoning and other spices to taste

Serve over white or brown rice, making sure to get plenty of the cooking liquid spooned over the top. 

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