Exchange students share recipes from their home country

One of the joys of hosting exchange students is being able to get to know and appreciate another culture. Host families of the students also get to enjoy the food culture of their student’s home country. The students know how to cook and are delighted to share the recipes and their culture.

Two of the students are here on a U.S. Department of State scholarship for students from former Soviet states – Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX).

Students compete with the academic and English skill and the more subjective ability to succeed. Ukraine and Kazakhstan are represented this year.

All students are in local high schools for the full academic year and participate in school activities and sports. Nanami, of Japan, plays in the high school orchestra, Strolling Strings and Williamsport Youth Orchestra. She represented Williamsport Area High School at the District Music Festival.

Students are required to give back to the community by volunteering. All have used their culinary skills at a local soup kitchen and one also cooked for Family Promise.

Chicken and egg on rice

(Oyakodon Chicken)

Nanami, of Japan

Chicken and egg on rice is a classic Japanese comfort food, a quick, easy and happy meal. Oyako – means “parent and child,” a reference to the chicken and egg. Nanami chose to share this recipe so we would know an everyday sort of Japanese food.

3 chicken thighs

1/2 onion

3 eggs

4 or 5 stalks trefoil* or watercress

2 cups cooked rice


4 tablespoons chicken stock

2 tablespoons sake

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons mirin, sweet cooking sake

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

*Trefoil is a perennial herb with a flavor between parsley and celery. Watercress is a typical substitute.

Remove excess fat and skin from the chicken thighs, and shave into bite-sized pieces. Peel the onion and slice thinly. Place the chicken in a nonstick skillet with a lid, and cook and stir over medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink inside and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook and stir until the onion is soft, about 5 more minutes. Cut the trefoil stalks into 1 inch lengths and add to chicken and onion mixture.

Add the sauce ingredients. Simmer about 10 minutes. Beat the eggs lightly. Pour over the chicken. Cover the skillet, reduce heat and allow to steam for about 5 minutes, until the egg is cooked. Remove from heat.

To serve, place 1 cup of rice per bowl into two deep soup bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 of the chicken and egg mixture.

Ukrainian varenyky

Daria (Dasha), of Ukraine

Varenyky are dumplings stuffed with a variety of fillings – savory or sweet. Varenyky are very popular in Ukraine and Russia.

Canada, they are better known as pierogi from the Slavic terms Pyrohy or Pedehey meaning heaven on a plate. They are traditionally served for Christmas Eve Holy Supper.

The term varenyk means “boiled thing.” However, in certain regions of Ukraine the dumplings are steamed instead. Savory varneyky are typically served with melted butter, bacon, fried onions, or sour cream. Fruit filled and sweet varenyky are swerved with sour cream and sugar or drizzled with honey.


5 Cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter (softened)

1 Cup evaporated milk


7 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

2 large onions, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Butter

1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the softened butter and evaporated milk; stir gently until all the liquid is absorbed. Add water only as needed, kneading continuously until dough sticks together. Place dough into a greased bowl, turn to coat, and let rest for 30 minutes.

To make the potato filling, place potatoes into a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium skillet, over medium heat. Saute onions in butter until tender. Mix the onions into the potatoes along with the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch circles. Place one tablespoon of filling onto one side of the circle. Fold the other half over and press the edges to seal. Place finished dumplings onto a floured tray and keep covered.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop 10 or so dumplings into the water at a time. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then remove to a colander to drain. Place finished dumplings onto a lightly oiled dish and turn them to coat with a thin layer of oil.

Sozba Lagman

Karina, of Kazakhstan

“I have chosen Sozba Lagman because it is one of my favorite Kazakh meals. My mom cooks a lot of Kazakh dishes, because my family respects Kazakh traditions. When I was younger my grandparents thought me how it is important to be proud of being Kazakh and to love my culture. In my opinion, she makes the best Sozba Lagman.”

It is a typical dish for the Kazakh ceremonies and events in addition to the obligatory traditional dishes, such as manti, pilaf, besbarmak and kazy.


2 1/4 pounds flour (8 cups)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1 cup oil (canola)


1+ lbs beef

3/4 lb. cabbage

3 onions, sliced

2 eggplants, chopped

2 bell peppers, julienned

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 potatoes, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 radishes, sliced

1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced and chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

Knead the dough and roll into a ball. Cover with a cloth and let rise for 1 hour. After it rises, moisten the dough with salt and soda (1 tsp. soda and tsp. soda and cup water)

Press down the dough to soak it with the soda/salt/water mixture.

The noodles can be made in a pasta roller, by rolling flat sheets and then pulling them through a slicer. Hand stretched Lagman-style noodles are made by slicing strands of dough about 1-inch thick. Roll the strands out with your palms, stretching them longer as you go, doubling the dough cord over on itself as it gets longer. When all the dough has been rolled into 6-8 ropes, pour a few ounces of oil into a large mixing bowl. One at a time, coil the dough ropes into the oil and stretch them further by hand until about 1/4-inch thick, coiling them out of the bowl. Boil in salted water and then rinse in cold.

In another large pot, heat the 2 tablespoons oil until it is near smoking. Then slowly add all the diced meat, salt, some black pepper. Cook for 8 minutes on high heat. When the meat is browned, add the vegetables, garlic and bay leaf. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. When the vegetables are sauteed, reduce the heat to medium for 3 minutes, making sure not to burn.

Serve lagman (noodles) in individual dishes. Pour the gravy over it. Sprinkle with chopped boiled egg and dill.

Bon appetit! As bolsyn!!!!

Students are available to make presentations about their home countries for school, church or civic groups in the community. For information about scheduling such an event or if for information about hosting students contact Ann Swift, local PAX (Program of Academic Exchange) community coordinator at or 570-772-7012. Information also is available at the website