What to Eat: The World Cup

The world's biggest sports event is here again, and fans of all stripes can cheer on Italy, the U.S., South Africa, and more while sampling five flavorful international recipes, from risotto to bobotie.

06.16.10 10:38 AM ET

India: Pakoras
by Suneeta Vaswani

Watching intense soccer matches can be exhausting, and these simple and savory snacks are perfect for staying fueled.

Every culture has some version of a fritter, and India—a land that is home to many subcultures and cuisines—not only has many kinds of fritters, but many variations on the same kind of fritter, known generally as a pakora. In the north these gram flour, batter-dipped and fried veggie snacks are stuffed with any number of vegetables, from potato to cauliflower to spinach. In the east, they’re called Noon Bariya and are made with wheat flour. In the south they’re called bhajias and are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and completely delicious.

Click here for the recipe.

Italy: Risotto with Parmesan Cheese
by Marcella Hazan

No matter the team allegiance, this dish will be a complete crowd pleaser from the god mother of Italian cuisine.

Italian cuisine is often defined by its simplicity of flavors and preparations: think caprese salad, pasta with garlic and fruity olive oil, or a piece of meat rubbed with herbs and then grilled. And if simplicity is the overall characteristic, then risotto with Parmesan cheese might be the epitome of Italian cooking. Of course, any number of additions can be made to a simple risotto to spice it up—asparagus in the spring, tomatoes in the summer, squash in the fall, seafood any time of year—but it’s the simple preparation that is often the most impressive. Marcella recommends adding shaved white truffle to the top of the finished dish.

Click here for the recipe.

South Africa: Bobotie
by Eric V. Copage

Pay homage to the host country with this recipe for a regional culinary classic.

As is often the case in former colonies, one of South Africa’s most famous dishes has many cultural influences. In the 17th century, the Dutch arrived in South Africa and treated it as a kind of resting place between the Netherlands and their Indonesian colonies. They brought with them Indonesian slaves (also called Malays), who were, among other things, cooks. The Dutch women had a minced meat casserole in their repertoire, which they presumably had adopted from the Italians, and the Malay cooks riffed on the casserole by adding in the spices they brought from their native lands. And thus we have bobotie, a curried beef casserole spiced with coriander, onions, garlic, curry powder, and apricots, topped with an eggy custard, and baked.

Click here for the recipe.

USA: Apple Pie
by Marion Cunningham

James Beard’s right-hand woman shares her secret for the perfect post-match sweet treat.

As American as…yes, it may be a cliché, but the American-ness of apple pie cannot be denied. Of course, cultures around the globe feature an apple pie of their own— tart tatin in France, thick-crusted appeltaart in the Netherlands, Austrian apfelstrudel, and the crustless Swedish version—but it’s the classic American version we think of when we hear those three sweet syllables.

Click here for the recipe.

Brazil: Caipirinha
by Sharon Tyler Herbst

Salute a victory with this refreshing cocktail from the woman who wrote the dictionary on food.

Pelé, Ronaldo, Caipirinhas…these three creations alone would be enough to inspire our awe of Brazil. And since we can’t recreate the soccer players in our homes, Caipirinhas it is. Made with cachaça, a sugarcane Brandy native to Brazil, and limes and sugar, this is the Brazilian national cocktail. If you can’t find cachaça, substitute vodka and make yourself a Caipiroska; adding sake makes it a Sakerinha, and with rum you’ve got yourself a Caipirissima.

Click here for the recipe.

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