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Go on a Culinary Adventure with These Four Global Recipes

Getting kids to try new foods can be a lot of fun. Kids’ eyes light up when they taste something new and delicious, and those new flavors can offer lasting benefits. Exposing kids to new ingredients helps expand their palates, making them more willing to try new dishes and fostering a lifelong healthy relationship with food.

The benefits go beyond their budding taste buds, too. Food is closely tied to culture, and cooking different cuisines from around the world is a great way to learn about other countries right at home. 

Whether you’re trying unique fruits or a fun new dinner recipe, preparing international foods with kids helps the whole family think of far-off places when sitting down to eat. Here are some global cooking ideas for kids from America’s Test Kitchen Kids, our partners on the Kitchen Adventures subscription box, for your family to try. 

(Each recipe uses tools and appliances that require adult supervision. You are the best judge of your child’s abilities. Please read through each recipe to determine its suitability for a particular child and assess how much assistance will be needed.)

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4 Kid-Friendly Cooking Ideas to Make at Home

Crepes (France)

These thin, pancake-like treats come from France, dating back to the thirteenth century. Crepes have withstood the test of time and are still widely popular around the world today, so you know they have to be delicious! 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1½ cups (12 ounces) whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted ­butter, melted and cooled

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add oil to 10-inch nonstick skillet. Use paper towel to spread oil into thin, even coating on bottom of skillet. Discard paper towel. Heat skillet over low heat for at least 5 minutes.
  2. While skillet is heating, in large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. In medium bowl, whisk together milk and eggs.
  3. Add half of milk mixture to flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Add melted butter and whisk until combined. Add remaining milk mixture and whisk until smooth.
  4. Set cooling rack next to stove. Increase heat to medium and heat skillet for 1 more minute.
  5. Use ¼-cup dry measuring cup to scoop ¼ cup batter from bowl. Lift skillet off heat and pour batter into far side of skillet. Swirl skillet gently in circles and shake until batter evenly covers bottom of skillet.
  6. Return skillet to heat and cook until surface looks dry and crepe starts to brown at edges, 1 to 1½ minutes. Working quickly, slide spatula under crepe and flip crepe. Cook until second side is spotty brown, 15 to 30 seconds.
  7. Carefully slide crepe from skillet onto cooling rack (use spatula to help transfer if needed). Return skillet to heat. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with remaining batter, stacking cooked crepes on top of each other on cooling rack. Turn off heat.
  8. Transfer stack of crepes to large microwave-safe plate. Place second plate, upside down, on top of crepes. Heat in microwave until warm, 30 to 60 seconds. Use oven mitts to remove from microwave and remove top plate. Fill crepes with your favorite fillings, fold in half or into quarters, and top with your favorite toppings. Serve.

Garlic-Sesame Nori Chips (Japan)

Nori is an edible seaweed common in Japanese cuisine. You can use it for sushi, soup, and hundreds of other dishes, but our favorite is baked nori chips. (Bonus: these are gluten free.) 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 (8-by-7½-inch) sheets nori
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In small bowl, combine sesame seeds, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne (if using). Use spoon to stir until well combined.
  3. Place 1 nori sheet, shiny side down, on clean counter. Use pastry brush to paint bottom half of nori sheet with water (nori should be wet, but not soaked). Fold top half toward you and press firmly to seal. Paint top of folded nori sheet lightly with sesame oil. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon sesame seed mixture evenly over top. Use kitchen shears to cut folded nori sheet in half crosswise (the short way) to make 2 squares. Cut each square in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. Cut each triangle in half to make 2 smaller triangles. You should have 8 small triangles. Repeat steps 1 through 4 with remaining nori, water, oil, and sesame seed mixture.
  4. Transfer nori triangles, seasoned side up, to parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Place baking sheet in oven. Bake until chips are slightly shriveled and sesame seeds are golden, about 8 minutes.
  6. Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven and place on cooling rack. Let chips cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Serve.
A bowl of fresh salsa surrounded by corn tortilla chips.

Fresh Tomato Salsa (Mexico)

Salsa is a staple in Mexican households, and it’s easy to see why. This tasty sauce goes with everything from tacos to cups of elotes mexicanos (Mexican street corn, which you can learn how to make in our Food Truck Trio kit). 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ripe plum tomatoes (4 to 6 tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Use paring knife to cut tomato in half from top to bottom (through stem end). Place each half flat side down. Use tip of knife to cut out core from each half and discard. Cut each tomato half into quarters (4 pieces).
  2. Place colander in sink. Transfer tomatoes to colander and sprinkle with salt. Use rubber spatula to gently stir to combine. Let tomatoes drain for 30 minutes.
  3. When tomatoes are ready, tip and shake colander to drain any remaining liquid. Use 1-cup dry measuring cup to transfer 1 cup tomatoes to food processor and lock lid into place. Turn on processor and process until tomatoes are broken down, about 15 seconds. Stop processor.
  4. Remove lid and add cilantro, jalapeño, shallot, lime juice, chili powder, and remaining tomatoes to food processor. Lock lid back into place. Hold down pulse button for 1 second, then release. Repeat until mixture is chopped but not totally broken down, about five 1-second pulses.
  5. Remove lid and carefully remove processor blade. Use rubber spatula to scrape salsa into airtight storage container. Serve. (Salsa can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
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New York Chocolate Egg Cream (USA)

The origin of chocolate egg cream is hotly contested, but one of the more  common origin stories is that candy shop owner Louis Auster invented the drink in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. According to legend, Auster sold 3,000 egg creams every day until the day his store closed!

We get why so many people wanted the chocolate egg cream. This fizzy drink (which actually contains no egg or cream) is a delightful twist on chocolate milk—a kid favorite. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • ⅓ cup cold whole milk
  • ⅔ cup cold plain seltzer
  • 1 pretzel rod (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add chocolate syrup to glass. Pour milk on top. Use long spoon to stir until well combined.
  2. Pour in cold seltzer. Working quickly, stir mixture hard until well combined and thick layer of foam forms on top, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately with straw (if using) and pretzel rod (if using).

Helpful Tips for Cooking with Kids

Psst, grown-ups! Whatever happens to be on the menu, you can help ensure everyone has fun cooking recipes together by taking steps to keep things as simple and easy as possible. Here are some tips to try:

  • Practice mise en place: Mise en place (pronounced MEEZ-on-plahs) is a French cooking term that means “everything in its place.” Before beginning to cook, place all the ingredients you’ll need within arm’s reach to save time. When cooking with kids, you may want to take this one step further by premeasuring your ingredients to minimize mess.
  • Take your time: A kid’s cooking activities are all about the journey, not just the yummy destination. Go slowly, narrate each step, and discuss the process with your kids. For example, if you use honey in your recipe, you can talk about how bees produce it in their hives out of nectar gathered from flowers.
  • Put on a show: When you’re a child, cooking often involves watching. Parents can keep their kids interested by making those “adult-only” cooking tasks fun to see. For example, make up a song about veggies as you chop them.
  • Make recipes the whole family will like: The best way to get kids (and adults) excited about cooking is to make something they’ll like. You can do this even when trying new ingredients by finding twists on kid-friendly recipes with new flavors.

Enjoy Our Tasty World, One Recipe at a Time

Quick, well-known family stand-bys will always have their place in your home kitchen. But when you cook recipes from around the world with your children, you introduce them to other countries and cultures. They get to try new flavors, learn practical skills, and explore the world without leaving the house. So, grab a spatula, whisk, and love of adventure and head to the kitchen to try some fun and easy recipes! If your children have a taste for international cuisine, support their journeys with our Kitchen Adventures subscription box. They’ll receive monthly collections of recipes and shopping lists, hands-on activities, kid-friendly kitchen tools, and cultural information to connect them with cultures around the world.

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