Think of the foods that typically grace your holiday table. What comes to mind?
The traditional holiday dinner is often portrayed as a roast bird with all the fixings, but that’s not necessarily the case for many Americans. The United States is a melting pot of ethnicities, and the dishes served at many holiday tables reflect these diverse backgrounds.
I spoke with several foodies who are either immigrants or have strong cultural ties, and they shared the assortment of international foods that take center stage at their holiday feasts.
Pakistani cuisine is a blend of foods from the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia. “Spices, like cumin, carom seeds, turmeric, garam masala, cardamom and saffron, are a huge part of South Asian cuisine,” says Shahzadi Devje, RD, owner of Desi~licious RD. “As a Pakistani Muslim, my holiday table always contains some sort of curry, such as chicken or lentils (daal),” she adds. Devje notes that ethnic vegetables, like bhindi (okra) and baingan (eggplant), are usually cooked in tomato-based sauces with traditional spices and served with traditional breads, called chapati, paratha or naan. “No South Asian feast is complete without a biryani, a traditional mixed rice dish, or zarda, a sweet yellow rice with nuts and dried fruits,” says Devje.
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