Spice up your Circuit Breaker with a culinary trip around the world

With home-based learning over, school holidays taking over and Circuit Breaker still in place, thinking of activities to do with your children (or by yourself) can be tough, especially if you’ve already exhausted your list of activities. 

It’s time to jump on the bandwagon and put on your chef’s hat if you already haven’t! This time, instead of the usual or the familiar, whip up some dishes that originate from your sponsored child’s country! 

If you’ve been sponsoring for a few months to a few years, you have likely received a local recipe or two from your sponsored child’s country. If you can’t seem to locate those cards or are a new sponsor, here are some recipes that you can try with your family from the comfort of your home.  

Don’t forget to take some photos of (and with) your dishes – you can always send them to your sponsored child in your next letter and bond over a shared experience! 

1. Zambia: Nshima (Cornmeal porridge and relishes) 

Nshima is eaten with your hands and often dipped in relishes of meat, beans, and vegetables. It is usually eaten with your hands and dipped into the different relishes.  


  • 4kg bag of red kidney beans
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 cup of plain peanuts
  • 1 to 2 pounds of boneless beef rib meat
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 package cornmeal
  • Salt and pepper

Nshima Instructions:

  1. Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full of water and bring to a boil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix 2 cups cold water and 1 cup cornmeal.
  3. Add mixture to boiling water and reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cover pot and cook 5 minutes.
  5. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to remove lumps.
  6. Gradually add more cornmeal, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring to keep porridge smooth. As it thickens, reduce additions to 1 tablespoon at a time until porridge is Play-Doh consistency (about 20 minutes).
  7. Remove from heat, cover pot, and let stand a few minutes.

Relish Instructions 1: Kale 

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Chop kale and add to boiling water, along with ½ teaspoon salt.
  3. Reduce heat, cover pot, and allow kale to cook until wilted.
  4. Using a food processer or sealed bag with a mallet, grind the peanuts to a powdery consistency.
  5. When kale is wilted (about 30 minutes), drain enough water from the pot to keep kale covered.
  6. Add peanuts, one bowl chopped onion, one can of tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Mix well, cover pot, and cook on low heat for one hour.

Relish Instructions 2: Meat

  1. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces, place in a large sauté pan and add water until the meat is submerged.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Once most of the water has evaporated, add the last bowl of chopped onion, last can of tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.

Relish Instructions 3: Beans

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. In a large pot, boil soaked beans for one hour.
  3. Finely chop onions and distribute evenly into three small bowls; set aside.
  4. In a small pan, fry one bowl of chopped onion with one can of tomatoes and a pinch of salt.
  5. Once the beans have finished boiling, add onion and tomato mixture to the beans.
  6. Simmer and allow to thicken

2. Middle East: Cheese Pastry

©2019 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer

This cheese pastry is provided to children in refugee camps in partnership with the World Food Programme and is popular for its nutrition value and relatively simple instructions. 


  • 1 cup Monterey Jack or feta cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Italian parsley
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • Tube of refrigerated flaky biscuit dough (not crescent rolls)
  • Flour for rolling out the dough
  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 177 degrees Celsius. 
  2. Blend cheeses, parsley, scallions, and1egg until smooth.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, separate each biscuit and roll out to about a 6-inch circumference.
  4. Spoon a tablespoon of the mixture onto each dough round.
  5. In a small bowl, add 2 eggs and water. Mix with a fork to combine into an egg wash.
  6. Brush the edges of each dough round with egg wash, then pinch the sides together so they overlap and form a triangle.
  7. Brush the top with the remaining egg wash.
  8. Place on a baking sheet with a little space around each one. Optional: Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  9. Bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes or until golden brown on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

3. Mongolia: Buuz 

©2009 World Vision/photo by Justin Douglass

For the nomadic herders of Mongolia, Buuz is a traditional steamed dumpling dish that’s commonly made during the Mongolian New Year (around late Jan or Feb).   


For the dough:

  • 250g flour
  • 150ml lukewarm water
  • A pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 300g minced beef or mutton (beef is more common)
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the filling: Mix ingredients together and add a small amount of water until it’s smooth. Season with salt and pepper (some families add caraway).
  2. Prepare the dough and dumplings: Mix ingredients together into a pliable dough and rest for 15 minutes. Roll dough into a tube shape, then tear off pieces and roll into circular shapes with the centre thicker than the edge. Add a ball of filling to the centre, covering it with the dough. Pinch the edges together at the top, leaving a small gap as a vent. Dip bottom of dumplings in vegetable oil to prevent sticking. 
  3. Cook: Steam dumplings for 20 mins. Serve with soy sauce. 

4. China: Cold noodles with chicken and sesame-peanut sauce

Originating from the Sichuan area, this dish is especially popular during the hot summer months – ideal for Singapore’s hot and humid days. 


  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped, or 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger (optional)


  • 16 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles (or spaghetti)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped


  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons rice or wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup tahini sesame paste or peanut butter


  1. Cook the chicken: Fill a small pot with enough water to submerge the chicken breast (but don’t add the chicken yet), and add the ginger and scallion. When the water comes to a boil, add the chicken, and bring to a boil again. Immediately cover the pot, shut off the heat, and let the chicken sit in the water for 20 minutes. 
  2. Prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Cook the noodles according to the package. Drain and rinse them thoroughly under cold water.
  4. Layer the noodles, chicken, cucumber, chopped peanuts, and scallion. Pour the sauce over everything and toss together. Serve! 

Stay safe and cook much.

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Written By: 
World Vision Singapore