Foreign exchange students share recipes from native countries

The following recipes were contributed by exchange students from Williamsport Area High School: Ben Jessen of Germany; Andjela Kojanic of Serbia; Isnu Arini of Indonesia; Ana Lucia Martinez of Mexico; and Hege Larsen of Norway.

Serbian Pasulj Corba (Hearty Bean and Sausage Soup)

– Andela Kojanic

While the recipe traditionally calls for bacon and sausage, my mother always makes it with one or the other – not both. It’s very heavy so we do not eat it often. We always eat it with good bread.

1 pound dried white beans (navy beans or cannellini) or 1 pound of canned white beans

2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

1/4 pound smoke streaky bacon

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bell pepper or capsicum, red or green: cored, seeded and chopped

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

6 whole peppercorns

2 heaping teaspoons sweet paprika

1 heaping teaspoon hot


3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 pound kielbasa or other smoky simmering sausage, thickly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt, more if required

(If you’re using canned beans, naturally you can skip the instructions for cooking the beans, and after combining all the ingredients but the kielbasa, simmer the soup for about an hour to an hour and a half. Add the kielbasa at the one-hour point.)

Meanwhile, for those doing it the old-fashioned way: put the beans in a colander and pick them over to get rid of any grit or discolored beans.

Rinse them a couple of times in cold water. Then put in a large saucepan, cover about an inch or two deep in water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let the beans cook gently for half an hour.

At the end of that time, remove the pot from the heat and pour a liter or so of cold water over the beans to stop the cooking. Allow them to rest for ten minutes or so, then drain the water off and set them aside for the time being.

Dry the big pot out and add the olive oil or sunflower oil. Add the chopped bacon and saute it gently until it starts to brown and its fat runs.

Then add the chopped onions and fry until translucent. Add the chopped garlic, the bay leaves, the chopped parsley, and the peppercorns. (Make sure you do not add the salt at this point.If you add it now, the beans will refuse to get tender when you cook them.) Finally add the paprika, frying everything gently for about five minutes thereafter.

Add about a liter of boiling water and the beans. Stir well and add the tomato paste: cover.

Turn the heat down and allow the soup to simmer very gently for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the beans are soft. (You will need to keep checking the beans for their degree of doneness: they may take as long as three hours’ simmering to become soft, depending on the particular batch of beans.) About an hour before the soup will be ready, add the kielbasa.

A little before serving time, check the taste and then add the salt. Do it a little at a time, being careful not to oversalt.

Finally, before serving, use a potato masher or a broad spoon to mash some of the cooked beans against the side of the pot so they will thicken the soup somewhat.

Serve with slices of a good thick farmhouse rye or other dark bread. A big red wine will go well with this, too.

Pisang Goreng (Indonesian Banana Fritters)

– Isnu Arini

This is a family recipe. My mother makes it. We usually eat it as a snack in the evenings during rainy season. Warm food is good during colder weather.

Serves: 4

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

1 1/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cut butter, melted

1 teaspoon rum or imitation rum flavoring

4 ripe bananas, sliced

2 cups oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and vanilla. Make a well in the center, and pour in milk, egg, melted butter and rum. Mix until smooth.

Fold in banana slices until evenly coated. Heat oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.

Drop banana mixture by tablespoon into hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove bananas from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Norwegian Meatballs with Gravy (Kjottkakermed brunsaus)

– Hege Larsen

1/3 pound lean ground beef

1/3 pound ground pork

1/3 pound ground veal (if veal is unavailable use 1/2 lb each of beef and pork)

1 egg

2/3 cups Panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 tablespoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

6 tablespoons butter

1/4cup flour

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 onion, skin removed but left in tact

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons red wine

dashes gravy browning agent (eg. Kitchen Bouquet)

3 to 4 thin slices of gjetost, Norwegian brown goat cheese (optional, since this is an acquired taste)

Saltand pepper to taste

In an electric mixer, mix together the ground meats, the egg until combined. Form a well in the middle and add the breadcrumbs then pour the milk onto the breadcrumbs and allow to sit for a minute or two to soften them.

Then, whip the meats, crumbs, and milk together for several minutes until very well combined and lightened in texture.

Form the meat into balls about the size of golf balls.

Heat a couple of tablespoons or so of butter in a large Dutch oven and fry the meatballs, carefully turning until they are well browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Do not crowd the meatballs in the pan, you may have to fry them in two batches to make sure they don’t steam each other.

Once all of the meatballs have been browned, return them all to the Dutch oven, add the half onion, and pour the broth over them, using enough broth to cover them halfway.

Simmer until they are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the onion.

To make the gravy, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour to make a roux and allow to cook for a minute.

Then (this is the slightly tricky part), bit by bit, whisk the broth that the meatballs were cooking in into the roux, whisking vigorously to prevent clumping.

If you didn’t use all of the broth to cook the meatballs, add the rest of the broth to the gravy and bring to a simmer.

Turn to very low heat. Whisk in the sour cream, wine, gravy browner, and gjetost if desired. Stir in salt and pepper to test. Also adjust the rest of the flavorings to taste.

If the gravy is too thick, add in a little hot water from the potatoes that you should be boiling at the same time (you always eat meatballs and gravy with potatoes!).

When the gravy is seasoned to your liking, pour it over the meatballs in a serving dish. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, sweet-sour red cabbage, and a green vegetable.


– Ben Jessen

The story of this recipe is we hide a nut in it on Christmas afternoon who gets the nut gets a present It is served with mint sauce.

Milchreis is a German rice pudding made by cooking short grain rice on the stovetop in milk with sugar and vanilla. German Milchreis is usually served as a sweet main dish with fruit or compote, or simply with sugar and cinnamon on top.

Serves 4 for main dish.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

1 cup short grain white rice (brown rice won’t get creamy)

1/4 cup sugar

4 cups milk (or 3 cups milk plus 1 cup cream)

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 inch piece of vanilla bean, split open (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Mix the rice, sugar and salt in a large saucepan, stir in the milk and add the whole piece of vanilla bean. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often.

Reduce heat and simmer the rice for 30 minutes, or until soft and milk becomes thick. Stir often. Scratch out vanilla seeds and stir into pudding. Discard bean.

Serve warm with cinnamon and sugar or fruit compote or both.