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12 Best Recipes From Our Students Home Countries

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Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Paraguay, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Vietnam.

Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America is often full of turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. It includes Indian corn, holiday parades, day after shopping and football. But above all else – It is a time to be THANKFUL and spend time with family! 

Each year on the last Thursday in November, Americans gather for a day of gobbling. Sharing this uniquely American holiday with your exchange student is momentous and rewarding. Our past ETC students have claimed this celebration to be one of their favorite experiences of their entire exchange year.

History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2020 occurs on Thursday, November 26.

Long ago, in the early 1600s, a group of people in England wanted to practice religion in their own way. The King controlled the Church of England, and everyone was ordered to go to the same type of church. Anyone who dared to disobey would be jailed or worse. The group of people who wanted to free the Church of England from the King’s rule, making it “pure” were known as the Puritans. To escape the rule of the King and his church, around 100 men, women and children left their homeland, with their dream of religious freedom. They sailed on a ship called the Mayflower on a pilgrimage to the New World. These brave explorers, the Pilgrims, landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts after their long six-week journey. It was December 11th, 1620. The cold winter had set in. The land was strange to them, and nothing seemed familiar. The winter was long, cold, and very hard for the Pilgrims. They lost almost half their population by spring. The colonists formed a relationship with the neighboring Wampanoag Native American tribe who helped by supplying them with seeds and food, teaching them about their new home, and giving them the skills – such as fishing, planting and hunting – all that they needed to survive in this strange, new land.

With seeds and plants received from the Native Americans, the Pilgrims planted crops and that fall the crop was abundant. To celebrate, the Pilgrims had a three-day feast of thanksgiving. Many foods were cooked for the feast – wild turkey, duck, and venison were probably served, along with fish, pumpkins, squash, corn, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. The Wampanoag tribe joined them for this harvest feast in 1621 thus the “First Thanksgiving.” For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. In 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Let’s add a unique dish to your Thanksgiving and other upcoming holiday menus! Take a peek at these 12 unique recipes all from the native countries of ETC students!

Germany: Cheesy Spaetzle with Vegetables


  • 1-5/8 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 big carrots
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 7/8 cup peas
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup grated Emmentaler cheese
  • freshly ground pepper

Recipe Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Form spaetzle dough by combining the flour, eggs, salt, nutmeg, and about 3/8 cup water in a bowl. Vigorously stir until bubbles form. Allow the dough to sit for 15 minutes.
In a big pot bring salt water to a boil. Using a spaetzle board and scraper, place the spaetzle dough onto the board and slowly scrape off into the water. If you don’t have a board, use a colander with large holes and press the dough through with a spatula. It takes about 2-3 minutes for the spaetzle to cook. Remove them from the water and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking further. Set aside in an oven-safe dish.
Peel and shred the carrots. Slice the tomatoes into halves. Chop the onion. In a skillet melt the butter. Add the carrots, pepper pieces, peas, and onion, and lightly cook for about 3 minutes. Flavor with salt and pepper.
Add the vegetables to the spaetzle and stir. Sprinkle with cheese and place the dish in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Spain: Tortilla de patata or Potato Omelet


  • 3 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (6–8), peeled, cut into ¼” slices
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 large eggs, beaten to blend

Recipe Preparation:

  1. Place potatoes in a large colander, sprinkle with 2 tsp. salt, and toss to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and cook, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10–15 minutes.
  3. Add onion to potatoes in skillet; cook until onion and potatoes are soft, 5–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to a large bowl; let cool slightly. Strain oil into a heatproof bowl; set aside.
  4. Add eggs to potato mixture; season with salt. Wipe out skillet. Heat ¼ cup reserved oil over medium-high heat (chill remaining oil for another use). Add egg mixture, arranging potatoes to submerge.
  5. Reduce heat to medium; cook tortilla until almost set (it will be slightly runny on top), 25–30 minutes. Invert onto a large plate. Slide into skillet browned side up. Cook until golden on bottom and cooked through, about 4 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into wedges.
12 Best Recipes From Our Students Home Countries

Vietnam: Braised Green Beans with Fried Tofu


  • 2 tablespoons white sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth 
  • 1 (14 ounce) package tofu, drained 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • 3 cups oil for frying, or as needed 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced into thin wedges 
  • 12 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 3 inch pieces 
  • 1 cup bamboo shoots, drained and sliced 
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or as needed 
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • 3 tablespoons water 

Recipe Preparation:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the white sugar, soy sauce, white wine and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Set the sauce aside.
  2. Pat the tofu dry with paper towels, and cut into cubes. Season the cubes with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cornstarch over them on all sides.
  3. Heat a little more than 1 inch of oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. If you have a deep-fryer, fill to the recommended level, and heat the oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). When the oil is hot, add the tofu, and fry until golden brown on all sides. Turn occasionally. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
  4. In a separate skillet, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and green beans; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until they begin to break apart, about 4 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots and stir to blend.
  5. Stir the sauce into the skillet with the beans and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the liquid starts to evaporate too much, stir in up to 1 cup of chicken broth.
  6. Mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and water until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir this into the sauce in the skillet. Simmer, stirring gently, until the sauce clears and thickens. Add the fried tofu and stir to coat with the sauce.

Mexico: Mexican Wedding Cakes


  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 8 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Recipe Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Mix all the ingredients together with a mixer until well blended. Roll dough into round small balls.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Cool completely then roll in additional confectionary sugar.
12 Best Recipes From Our Students Home Countries

Thailand: Thai Sweet Sticky Rice With Mango (Khao Neeo Mamuang)


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk 
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch 
  • 3 mangos, peeled and sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 

Recipe Preparation:

  1. Combine the rice and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. While the rice cooks, mix together 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil; remove from heat and set aside. Stir the cooked rice into the coconut milk mixture; cover. Allow to cool for 1 hour.
  3. Make a sauce by mixing together 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the tapioca starch in a saucepan; bring to a boil.
  4. Place the sticky rice on a serving dish. Arrange the mangos on top of the rice. Pour the sauce over the mangos and rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

China: Shrimp ‘n Broccoli Lo Mein


For the Lo Mein 

  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil 
  • 1/2 lb. white shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced 
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 
  • 1 c. broccoli florets 
  • 1/3 c. thinly sliced carrots (or matchstick) 
  • 6 oz. spaghetti, cooked and drained 
  • 3 green onions, chopped 

For The Sauce 

  • 1/2 c. soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar 
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil 
  • 1 tbsp. cold water 
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch 

Recipe Preparation:

  1. Drizzle a large skillet with sesame oil. Over medium-high heat, cook shrimp, peppers, broccoli, and carrots until veggies are tender and shrimp is pink, 5 to 7 minutes. 
  2. Whisk together all sauce ingredients and add to pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in noodles and green onions and cook, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Serve immediately. 

Norway: Norwegian Waffles


  • 6 eggs
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 180 ground (11/2) cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250 grams (1 cup) sour cream
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • Non-stick cooking spray or melted butter for cooking

Recipe Preparation:

  1. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, whip the eggs, sugar, and cardamom together until the mixture is quite aerated and turns pale yellow.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Mix the sour cream and butter into the egg mixture, then add in the dry ingredients. Allow the batter to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. (Do not skip this step.)
  4. Five minutes before the end of the resting period, preheat your waffle iron.
  5. When the iron is hot, spray with cooking spray or brush with melted butter and pour the batter into the iron, taking care not to over- or under-fill the waffle iron.
  6. Cook the waffle until slightly brown, then remove from the iron and serve.

France: Ratatouille


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • pinch crushed red pepper flake
  • 1 medium-large zucchini
  • 1 medium-large yellow zucchini
  • 1 orange heirloom tomato
  • 4 medium vine tomatoes
  • 1 small Japanese eggplant
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

For garnish:

  • Asiago or your choice of cheese (i.e Parmigiano Reggiano or gruyere)
  • Fresh basil, julienned

Recipe Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in the onions and let cook for a minute until they just begin to soften. Add in half of the chopped garlic, the crushed red pepper flake, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the vegetables. Lower the heat if you notice the onions are browning too quickly.
  3. While the onions cook, slice the ends off the squash and eggplant, as well as the stems off the tomatoes. Then, slice each vegetable so that it is about 1/4? thick. You can make this more thick or less thick — the most important thing is that you make your cuts consistent, so the vegetables will all cook evenly. If you make the cuts thinner, keep in mind they can cook faster; thicker, and they will take a bit longer (though the flavor can develop more).
  4. Once the vegetables are prepped, add in the tomato paste to the pan with the onions. Stir to distribute and “melt,” until the paste has coated the onions and the mixture is fragrant. Transfer the onion mixture to the bottom of your baking dish, and drizzle with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
  5. Next, begin arranging your sliced vegetables in the dish, alternating by color. You can arrange these in whatever pattern you want; I like to stack them in an outer circle first, then fill the inside area with leftover pieces. Sprinkle the rest of the garlic over the top of the arranged vegetables, then season the whole thing with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
  6. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, or until the mixture is very bubbly and the vegetables look tender. Remove the dish from the oven, and turn your broiler on to high. Layer shaved or sliced cheese on top of the cooked vegetables, then bake underneath the broiler until the cheese gets bubbly and brown. Let the dish sit for a couple minutes, garnish with freshly chopped basil, and serve. 
12 Best Recipes From Our Students Home Countries

Italy: Tomato Risotto


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup Tomato Water
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan plus more for serving
  • 6 Oil-Poached Tomato halves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Preparation:

  1. Bring 6 cups water to a boil over medium heat; remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup water and cook, stirring often, until water is absorbed. Continue adding water by ½-cupfuls, stirring often, until rice is tender but still firm to the bite, 20–25 minutes. (You may not need all the water).
  3. Mix in Tomato Water, butter, and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until liquid is mostly absorbed, about 2 minutes. Mix in Oil-Poached Tomatoes.
  4. Serve risotto topped with more Parmesan.

Brazil: Authentic Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)


  • 4 cups tapioca flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees with a rack in the middle.
  2. Combine the milk, water, oil and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Add the tapioca flour to the bowl of a stand mixer and, once the milk mixture boils, pour it over the flour. Turn the mixer on and mix it well. The texture will be fondant-like, really white and sticky.
  4. With the mixer still on, add the eggs, one at a time. You will think they won’t mix, since the tapioca flour mixture is so sticky, but hang in there cause they will.
  5. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the cheese, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.
  6. The dough is supposed to be soft and sticky. However, if you’re worried it’s too liquidy, add some more tapioca flour. Just don’t over do it or your cheese bread will be tough and not too gooey.
  7. To shape the balls, wet your hands with cold water and, using a spoon, scoop some of the dough to shape balls that are a little smaller than golf-sized.
  8. Place the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bring it to the preheat oven.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden and puffed.
  10. Serve them warm! ?

Notes- To freeze them, shape the balls, place them on the baking sheet and bring to the freezer. Once they are frozen, transfer to a ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer up to 3 months.
Once you’re ready to use them, preheat the oven to 400 as usual and bake the frozen balls for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and puffy!

Korea: Korean Pumpkin Porridge with Rice Dumplings (Hobakjuk)


For the porridge:

  • 1 (2-pound) pumpkin, kabocha, or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cooked red beans (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds (optional)

For the sweet rice dumplings:

  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons hot water


  1. To prepare the porridge, fill a saucepan with an inch or two of water. Place a steamer basket or colander in the saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the pumpkin in the basket, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Make sure the water doesn’t boil away; if necessary, add more water during steaming. Cook the pumpkin until very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes.
  2. While the pumpkin steams, prepare the rice balls. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup sweet rice flour and 3 tablespoons of hot water. Using your hands, knead it to form a dough. The dough should be soft and pliable like play-dough — not too dry and not too sticky. If necessary, add more water, a little at a time, to reach the right consistency.
  3. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Keep the balls covered with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out. Set aside.
  4. Transfer the pumpkin to a blender along with 4 cups water, 1/4 cup sweet rice flour, and the brown sugar and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. While the porridge simmers, cook the rice balls. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Add the rice balls and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. Use a small strainer or slotted spoon to remove the cooked dumplings.
  6. If using red beans, add a spoonful of beans to the bottom of each individual bowl. Ladle the porridge into the bowls. Add three rice dumplings to each bowl. Garnish with pine nuts and sesame seeds, if using. Serve immediately.

Japan: Yakisoba Fried Noodles


  • 1 portion yakisoba noodles
  • 2 tbsp yakisoba sauce 
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 50g pork
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/8 white cabbage
  • 1/4 green pepper
  • 1 small carrot
  • aonori powdered seaweed
  • pickled shredded ginger
  • dried bonito flakes (optional)

Preparation instructions:

  1. Begin by cutting the pork into small slices. Cut the carrots and pepper into thin slices and roughly chop the onion and cabbage.
  2. Stir fry the pork until browned, then add the other vegetables except for the cabbage and cook until tender.
  3. Add the cabbage after the other vegetables are ready.
  4. Add the noodles to the pan, then mix together while adding the yakisoba sauce.
  5. Once it is ready, sprinkle over aonori (powdered seaweed) and top with shredded pickled ginger. For extra flavour you can add dried bonito flakes and mayonnaise.
12 Best Recipes From Our Students Home Countries

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