Seven students form the PAX - Program of Academic Exchange - cluster in the Williamsport area this year. The students are here on competitive scholarships from the U.S. State Department.
The FLEX Program is for students from former Soviet States, and YES is for students from countries with significant Muslim populations.
The countries represented in our area are Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. Students are attending Williamsport Area High School, Loyalsock Township High School and Milton Area High School.
The students provided these recipes from their home countries.
In December, the students spent an evening volunteering for Family Promise by cooking and serving supper and then leading games and activities for the families. In addition to sharing their favorite foods, the students shared their countries as they ate together with families.
Students helped with Family Promise as part of their requirement to do at least 20 hours of community volunteer work.
Family Promise was a great way to share their culture with the community, as well as sharing these recipes. Students are available for community programs for those wishing to learn more about their home countries. PAX is looking for families to host students for the 2012-13 academic year.
For information about contacting these teens for presentations or if you would be interested in hosting a student, email email@example.com.
Swift is the local Program of Academic Exchange representative and may be reached at 998-2991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Russian Crepes (Blini)
By ASIYA KHASANOVA
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons oil
Beat eggs in a bowl. Add sugar and mix together. Add milk, flour, salt and mix. Finally, add oil. Batter should be thin.
Heat griddle with a little bit of oil.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter on hot griddle. Tilt pan to spread it evenly. When edges are crisp looking and center appears dry. Flip carefully and bake another minute until golden brown.
Remove to a plate. Put a dab of butter on top. Continue cooking crepes and stack them on the plate with butter on each.
Fold in half and then half again. Plate with desired toppings such as strawberries. Or spread with desired filling. Fold and fold again.
Topping and filling options - strawberries, cinnamon and sugar, jellies or jams, honey, lemon and sugar. Sour cream or whipped cream is a nice finish.
These also can be a savory dish. Do not add sugar to batter. Choose fillings such as mushrooms and potatoes or even caviar. Sour cream on the side, of course.
By DIANA YALYEYEVA
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons active, dried, yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (8-ounces) butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
Finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the sugar and yeast with the warm water. Then set aside to stand for 5 minutes.
Heat the milk to lukewarm (body temperature) then stir into the yeast mixture. Add 1/2 cup of the flour. Then beat to combine, cover and set aside for 10 minutes, until frothy.
Meanwhile, in a clean bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and egg yolks to combine then add to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is pale white.
Stir in the lemon zest and the vanilla extract. Now beat in the yeast mixture. Mix in 5 cups of the remaining flour and bring together as a dough. If the dough looks a little wet and loose, add a little more flour (you are looking for a firm, but soft dough).
Turn onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead for at least 10 minutes, until soft and elastic. Grease a bowl, add the dough to this and turn to coat in the oil. Cover and set aside in a warm place until doubled in volume (about 2 hours).
Knock the dough back then turn onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead a few more times then return to the bowl, cover and set aside until the dough has doubled in volume (about 90 minutes).
When the dough has risen divide into four equal parts. Taking one of these at a time, turn onto a lightly-floured surface and roll out then shape into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Dust lightly with a little flour then form indentations with the back of a spoon (set these at evenly-spaced distances on the top of the dough).
Place 1 teaspoon of rose preserve in these (the indentations should be spaced apart so that the filling lies in the center of the circles cut with your pastry cutter).
Roll out another piece of the dough to the same shape as the original and gently cover the first piece, overlapping them a little. Now cut out rounds with a pastry cutter so that the filling lies in the center of the dough circles.
Transfer these to a lightly-floured baking tray, cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in volume. Repeat the process until all the dough is used (bring any scraps together and re-roll). When the dough has risen, heat oil or lard in a wok or deep-fat fryer to 180 C (350 F) and fry a few of the pampushky at a time, until golden brown and cooked through. Turn half way through cooking.
Dough will puff up in the frying pan. Perfect Pampushky are light as air. Drain on paper towels. When slightly cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve with tea. (Ukrainian tea is best!)
1 pound meat mince (lamb, beef, or 1:1 beef and pork)
1 pound grape leaves (fresh or pickled)
1 tablespoon rice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic
6 ounces yogurt
Coriander, parsley, basil
Salt and black pepper
Rinse raw rice, soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Add finely chopped onions, tomatoes, and greens, soaked and rinsed rice, tomato paste and lemon juice to the mince; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well incorporated.
Lay grape leaves shiny side down. Spoon the mince on one side and roll each leave carefully closing all sides. Place the rolls in a heavy-bottom saucepan in even layers (you may spread a couple of leaves on the bottom to prevent sticking). If needed add some salt and tomato paste. When done cover with a saucer, add boiling water 1/2 inch above it. Cook over low heat for 1-1 1/2 hours. Allow to rest 30 minutes before serving.
Serve with yogurt mix of grated garlic and salt.
Plov, the Kazakh national dish
By ADIL ALIMBETOV
2 pounds small grain rice
2 pounds carrots
2 large onions
1 pound beef (boneless)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
There are two steps in making plov. The first is called zirvak:
Chop onions, carrots and meat into medium pieces. Cook onions in a heavy pot until golden brown, then add meat and carrots and spices.
Cover the pot. You cook the zirvak until the vegetables are cooked well in a medium heat for about 20-25 min.
The second step is the tricky step. This is this rice step: First you must soak the rice in salted water for at least 30 minutes. This is very important.
After the zirvak is done, add in the rice, and cover with hot water (water should be about 3/4 inch above rice) and bring to boil. Keep the heat on high until all of the water evaporates. Then gather the rice to the middle of the pot. But remember NOT to mix the rice with Zirvak. Pierce holes in the rice all the way to the bottom with a spoon.
Lower the heat. Cover rice with a plate and then put the pot cover on for about 20 minutes. Simmer. You should hear a "goop goop" sound as the moisture is mixed into the rice. Keep a close eye on it or it will burn. The goal is to get ALL of the fluid evaporated and cooked into the rice.
Meaty Ukrainian Borscht
By OLENA OSTERENKOVA
2 pounds beef flanken or short ribs
3 quarts of water
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 medium carrot, scraped
1 medium celery root, peeled, 1/4 cut out for broth, remaining cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, unpeeled, stuck with several cloves
8 whole allspice berries
3 medium-large beets, without tops
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 medium parsnip, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium turnips, cut in 1/2-inch cubes, or 2 cups chopped cabbage
1 large carrot, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium potatoes, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
tablespoon tomato paste
8 to 10 large garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste
3/4 to 1 cup sour cream or yogurt
3 tablespoons finely chopped dill
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
In a 5- or 6-quart pot, bring meat and water to boil over high heat.
Reduce to simmer and skim off foam. When foam stops rising, add salt, carrot, 1/4 celery root, whole onion and allspice; simmer gently, partially covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat falls off the bone.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Scrub beets, wrap in foil and bake for an hour, or until just tender. Poke through foil with skewer to check for doneness. Peel beets; shred on coarse side of grater.
When meat is very tender, remove, strip off bones and cut into small cubes. Place in bowl; cover with foil. Strain broth. Rinse out pot.
Place pot over medium heat, warm butter, and saute onion 2-3 minutes. Add cubed celery root, parsnips, turnips and carrot. Saute 5 minutes. Add strained broth, potatoes and shredded beets.
Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Just before serving, while soup is simmering gently, stir in garlic and lemon juice.
Remove from heat immediately. Serve piping hot in flat bowls with dollop of sour cream and generous sprinkling of parsley and dill.
By YULYA GREBNEVA
1 smoked chicken breast
2 tart green apples
2 red peppers
1 can pineapple, drained
1 can whole kernel sweet corn, drained
Mayonnaise to bind together
Cut everything in little pieces, mix and enjoy!
By HAMZA ALI
4 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
4 small potatoes, peeled and halved
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground
1 (2-inch) piece
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces cut into chunks
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1 pinch powdered saffron
5 pods cardamom
3 whole cloves
1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pound basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
In a large skillet, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or ghee) to fry potatoes until brown. Drain and reserve the potatoes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is soft and golden. Add chili, pepper, turmeric, cumin, salt and the tomatoes. Fry, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add yogurt, mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked to a pulp. It may be necessary to add a little hot water if the mixture becomes too dry and starts to stick to the pan.
When the mixture is thick and smooth, add the chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the spice mixture. Cover and cook over very low heat until the chicken is tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. There should only be a little very thick gravy left when chicken is finished cooking. If necessary, cook uncovered for a few minutes to reduce the gravy.
Wash rice well and drain in colander for at least 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil (or ghee) and fry the onions until they are golden. Add saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger and rice. Stir continuously until the rice is coated with the spices.
In a medium-size pot, heat the chicken stock and salt.
When the mixture is hot, pour it over the rice and stir well. Add the chicken mixture and the potatoes; gently mix them into the rice. Bring to boil. Cover the saucepan tightly, turn heat to very low and steam for 20 minutes.
Do not lift lid or stir while cooking. Spoon biryani onto a warm serving dish.