Volunteer abroad: Share a meal and explore a culture

When you volunteer abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions, you'll find that every moment brings with it an opportunity to learn about and explore the culture. And as every international adventurer knows, the number of ways in which local cuisine can offer insight into culture and heritage are endless. Every aspect of a shared meal in a new country is a chance to connect with tradition, from the local ingredients used to prepare a dish and the preparation method of choice—a tagine in Morocco, tandoor oven in India, or mortar and pestle in Ghana—to the special condiments added and the utensils used to enjoy your meal with your fellow volunteers.

So it's no surprise that when you volunteer with CCS, you'll share three healthy and authentic meals a day with your fellow volunteers at the CCS Home-Base. Each meal is prepared by the CCS cook using local ingredients. And each CCS cook is expertly trained in food safety and dietary restrictions to ensure that you can enjoy each meal—whether it's an old favorite or a first taste—worry free.

And if you're wondering what a typical meal may look like at some of the CCS Home-Bases around the world, here's just a taste of what's in store:

Picado de Rábano from #ccsGuatemala

1 pound radishes, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and chill well before serving.

Makhani Chicken from #ccsDharamsala and #ccsDelhi

2 1/4 lbs tandoori chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 tbsp ginger paste
2 tsp shredded ginger
1/2 tsp green chilis
Salt and paprika to taste
3 3/4 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2/3 cup cream
3 tbsp garlic paste

Melt half the butter in a pot, stir in the ginger and garlic pastes and cook until mixture is dry. Add tomatoes and salt and cook until the tomatoes are mashed. Add 2 cups water and simmer for few minutes. Strain the gravy through a soup strainer into another pot. Melt the remaining butter in a kadhai (wok), add shredded ginger and green chilies, and sauté for a minute. Add paprika and wait for the color of the masala to turn bright red. Add the strained gravy and bring to a boil. Add tandoori chicken pieces and simmer for 10 minutes until chicken is tender. Stir in the cream. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Indian bread of your choice.

Red-Red Stew from #ccsGhana

1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas (or can substitute two cans)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
2-3" piece of grated ginger
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 Serrano peppers, minced
Large can diced tomatoes in their juice (about 3 1/2 cups),
2 cubes of your favorite bouillon (can also use 1 teaspoon shrimp paste)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

Rinse and drain dried black-eyed peas. Place in a medium saucepan, cover with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and put aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the onions and garlic until they begin to brown. Add the ginger, paprika, cayenne, and Serrano peppers and cook, stirring, for several minutes. Place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and pulse several times. Make sure to leave the mixture a bit chunky. Add to the onion mixture along with the bouillon (or shrimp paste) and stir. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas and simmer another 10-15 minutes so that the flavors can meld. Add the cilantro, stir and simmer another minute. Season with salt and pepper.


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