Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WFMW: Ethnic Food Weeks

stock image - coconuts
I love to eat ethnic food: Chinese, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Korean, Mexican, Thai, and lots of others. But have you ever noticed that when you make a dish like curry you have to buy a bunch of ingredients like coconut milk or curry paste that you don't use for any of your other recipes? Or how about when you're making chili and you have that leftover half container of sour cream or salsa that you can never seem to find a use for? Or how many times have you wasted half a can of tomato paste because you only needed a couple of tablespoons? So much waste, it hardly seems worth it to make the delicious foreign foods. So here's what works for me - ethnic food weeks.

stock image - cilantroThis week is Southeast Asian week. That $2 bottle of fish sauce I bought? I'll be using it in every single recipe this week: red curry, Vietnamese spring rolls, Thai coconut soup, and pad thai. So I'm not wasting $2 on a bottle of fish sauce for just 1 Tbs of use. And the half can of coconut milk left over from making the curry, which would usually end up being thrown out, it's being used for the coconut soup. The bunch of cilantro I bought for the spring rolls, the extra can be used as garnish for all the other dishes.

Taking a week or so tour of a certain ethnic cuisine is a great way to make sure you use up all those exotic ingredients that are specific to one style of cooking. It's also a great way to get a lot out of your budget, because most ingredients you buy will have more than one use during the week. Plus, many foreign cuisines rely less on meat than many American meals. And the longer you continue to eat from the same cuisine, the bigger the economic benefits. Take our famed Korean food month experiment.

So give it a try yourself, and please let me know how it works out for you!

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6 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • AmyK

    I've done this, too! I have to keep it to myself, though, 'cause my hubby and stepdaughter aren't very adventurous with food... but I sure am, even if it doesn't turn out quite like they'd make it in the country-of-origin!

  • Mom2fur

    That's a great idea! I've been wanting to try some Indian recipes but have held back due to the ingredients. I think I might have to try this idea, even if I put some things into the freezer for future use, or use the ingredients over a month instead of a week.

  • Ashley

    Oh yum! Could you list a weeks worth of recipes for each? Or have you already! Love it!


  • mub

    This is a really good idea, I always have half-cans of SOMETHING left over that I don't get to in time!

  • MDiskin

    And why are fish sauce bottles so huge? I just found one lurking in the depths of my cupboard....

    ps -- when were you at GT?

  • JunkMale


    My wife was there from 2000 - 2005, and I was there from 2001 - 2006.