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Everyday ELLA ideas for cooking

Cooking is more than just preparing food. It is a reason to celebrate, a chance to come together with family and friends.

Introducing your child to food enjoyed by people from a variety of cultures:

  • encourages them to be proud of their identity
  • promotes acceptance of human differences.

Most children learn best by doing hands-on activities. Making delicious, diverse dishes gives your child a way to see, smell, feel and taste a culture.

When you cook with your child, choose food from as many cultures as possible.

Treat your child as capable and responsible by letting them help you measure, cut and mix.

Share the dish with your family or friends and encourage your child to share what they have learnt about it

Here are some cultural dishes that appear in the ELLA apps. You might like to try making them at home!

Cultural food

Baklava – Arabic

These sweets are made of layers of file pastry with fillings such as pistachios, hone, walnuts, dates, rosewater and orange blossom.

Noodles – Chinese

In China, long noodles symbolise long life. It is thought bad luck to cut the noodles when cooking them and good luck to eat them without biting through them.

Black forest cake (Schwarzwälderkirschtorte) – German

The black forest cake is a sponge or chocolate cake that is soaked with cherry syrup and filled and covered with whipped cream, cherries and chocolate shavings. It is named after the Black forest region of Germany where cherries are grown.

Macarons –French

During the French Revolution, two nuns baked macarons (meringue biscuits) to pay their rent. Their macarons were plain meringue. In more recent times, macarons have been sandwiched with a filling and come in many colours.

Spring rolls – Vietnamese

Spring rolls (chả giò) consist of meat or vegetables wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried. Spring rolls are always accompanied by a tasty dipping sauce.

Kue – Indonesian

This is a bite-sized snack or dessert. It is sometimes sold by street-food vendors. One example, the ‘kue pukis’ (a coconut-milk cake), is much loved by children and quite easy to make.

Crostata – Italian

The thick crust (‘crosta’) of this open baked tart is most often filled with fruit or jam but there are savoury versions as well.

Sushi – Japanese

In a sushi roll, ‘nori’ (dried seaweed) is wrapped around vinegared rice and other ingredients. Fillings often include a seafood and vegetable. Sushi rolls are served with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

Yugwa – Korean

These are sweet treats made with rice puffs rolled in honey and sesame seeds or smaller rice puffs. They are often served at weddings and other important events.

Tiropitakia – Modern Greek

These Greek snacks are made with pastry and cheese filling (usually feta). They are served warm. The cook may use a flaky pastry made with yoghurt and olive oil or layers of thin filo pastry.

Taco – Spanish

A corn or wheat tortilla (flatbread) is wrapped around a filling and accompanied by salsa and other garnishes in this Mexican dish. ‘Taquería’ is a Mexican word meaning taco cart (for street vendors) or restaurant.

Börek – Turkish

Baked and filled flaky pastries, börek are often filled with cheese, meat or vegetables.

Samosas – Hindi

These triangular-shaped snacks of pastry with spicy filling were most likely first brought to India by Muslim merchants in the 13th or 14th century. Indian samosas are usually vegetarian, stuffed with potatoes, peas, onion, chilli and spices, and deep-fried in oil.

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ELLA is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment and is managed by Education Services Australia. © 2021 Commonwealth of Australia, unless otherwise indicated. This material, other than Commonwealth trade marks in The Polyglots characters and The Polyglots logo, may be used in accordance with the Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 licence, unless otherwise indicated.