As an expat in a country where familiar things were not accessible until recently, I had to get creative with what I had. Today, I would like to share a healthy and easy multicultural meal that works for our family.
I have never been very skillful when preparing meals. I don’t really enjoy cooking to the extent that I feel adventurous. And, I am often in a hurry because I am not in the habit of prepping food in advance. So, when my children were born, I gathered together various recipes from different cuisines and created quick and easy recipes that were adapted for my taste. This meal consists of a tomato stir-fry, cooked amaranth, a green salad, and rice. It’s super-healthy and super-easy to make.
The first dish in this multicultural meal is a tomato-and-egg stir-fry. My recipe is a version of a popular and well-known Chinese dish.
7-8 medium size eggs or 6 large ones
1/3 cup light soy sauce
1/3 cup water
a couple of tablespoons of oil
mashed garlic (optional)
- Beat the eggs. Then, warm up about one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and scramble the eggs, so they are not too watery but also not too dry. Set aside.
- Warm up another tablespoon of oil. Add chopped tomatoes, soy sauce, and water. Stir on high heat for 30 seconds. Then, stir for an additional 2-3 minutes on medium heat until water begins to evaporate. Let it simmer for another minute, but don’t let the mixture get too dry.
- Mix the eggs in with the tomato mixture. And, voila, you are good to go!
The second dish in this multicultural meal is cooked amaranth. I call this dish mchicha, which is the Swahili word for both spinach and amaranth. As many people know, these leafy greens are a great source of iron and many other essential vitamins.
Around 300-400 grams of amaranth
A bit of vinegar
1/3 onion finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic mashed or finely chopped
About 1 tablespoon of oil
Spices of choice: turmeric, coriander (a teaspoon of each)
Black pepper and salt to taste
- Soak the amaranth leaves in some water and vinegar for about 5 minutes. Rinse the leaves several times until the water is clean.
- If you are cooking for a very young child, snap off the hard parts. (You can cook them separately for yourself or other family members.)
- While the oil is heating, chop the amaranth. Then, add the onion, garlic, and spices to the hot oil and stir until golden.
- Add the amaranth, cover, and cook on medium-low heat. As the mixture cooks, its volume will decrease by half or more. Once it is mushy, it’s ready. If you prefer a drier dish, simply boil off some of the excess water.
This video shows how I make this dish. It’s in Russian, so feel free to mute the sound.
A fresh garden salad is always a welcome addition to any meal. This recipe includes some of my favorite (and readily-available) fresh veggies.
Olive oil, salt, and lemon juice (optional)
- Decide how much of each ingredient you need depending on your preferences and how much you love salad!
- Chop up all the veggies. Then add the oil, salt, and lemon juice. (Balsamic vinegar works too!)
My final dish for this meal is a side of rice. I have many different rice recipes and generally use a rice cooker. If you’re looking for something different, try my recipe for Persian tadig rice.
Rice takes about 20-30 minutes to prep, so consider starting your rice dish first. You can also soak the amaranth while preparing the tomato and egg stir-fry.
For more easy recipes, check out my blog. If you are like me, and you are looking for super-easy ways to cook for your family, these recipes are for you! They will not necessarily produce Instagram-ready photos, but they will offer healthy meal options for the people you care about most. And be sure to let me know how they worked for you!