15 Best Ethnic Dishes at Home

We live in New York, a place where just about any craving can be met by picking up the phone and calling for take-out. Authentic ethnic food abounds, and we’ve been known to ride the subway for an hour to reach those hubs of the best Thai, Greek, and Indian food. Yet, there’s a satisfaction in recreating them within the bounds of our kitchens. Here are our at-home renditions of some of our favorite ethnic restaurant fare, as authentic as we could make them. At the very least, they are unadulterated by any urge to go fusion. You may need some specialty ingredients for these dishes; though many good supermarkets now carry a broad range of ethnic ingredients, it’s great fun (and usually less expensive) to stock up at ethnic neighborhoods and markets if you have any nearby.


1. Baklava
Though it’s time-consuming to prepare, this Greek bakery staple makes a great transition to home cooking, so long as you’re in the mood to get messy.

2. Baja Fish Tacos
One of the most crowd-pleasing, inexpensive buffets, we serve fish tacos a little too often. This simple version echoes the flavors of Mexico, with its fried fresh fish and understated accoutrements.

3. BiBimBap
BiBimBap is a Korean hotpot, and so long as you’re not too worried about authenticity, it’s infinitely customizable at home.

4. Fried Rice
Perfect for using up leftover rice (and really any other leftovers in your fridge), fried rice makes an appearance on every Chinese menu and is fun and quick to recreate.

5. Chana Bateta
The sweet red sauce that coats these chickpeas is much like the one you’ll find in Chicken Tikka Masala at restaurants, but here it enrobes healthful, vegetarian fare.

6. Ginger-Scallion Noodles
Momofuku brought this Chinatown specialty to the foodie masses. It may sound unusual, but it’s actually one of our favorites for quick-to-the-table weeknight dinners.

7. Thai Green Chicken Curry
Instead of picking up the phone to call for takeout, make everyone’s favorite curry at home.

8. Matapa
Okay, so there aren’t that many African delivery places in the U.S., but give this Mozambican dish a try anyway.

9. Pad See Ew
Again–put down that phone! With just one small shopping trip to your local Chinatown, the ingredients for making Cara’s favorite noodle dish (and one of the best hangover cures out there) can be in your pantry at all times.

10. Pork Bo Ssam
It’s true that no one in Korea serves bo ssam with pork, but the concept–lots of garnishes–is authentic enough, and pork butt is never not welcome on our tables.

12. Potato-Pea Masala
Like the inside of a samosa, this Indian potato dish is comforting for brunch or dinner.

13. Samosas
These samosas are baked, not fried, which makes them that much more friendly to the small kitchen cook.

14. Spicy Thai Beef Salad with Mizuna
Based on the cuisine Phoebe ate while in Thailand, this salad is pungent and fresh.

15. Summer Rolls with Nuoc Cham
One of the more healthful take-out items, these summer rolls take a bit of time to prep and wrap, but they’re worth it if you’ve got the time.

Posted in: The Best of BGSK
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