Are you even doing #stayathome period right if you haven’t busted out the electric whisk? With more of us venturing into the kitchen during our downtime, there’s naturally been more micro food fads and trending recipe challenges popping up all over the web. We’ve rounded up the biggest seven ‘viral’ recipes you’ll definitely want to try. (Apologies to the wheat intolerant: there seems to be a lot of bread-making going on during the pandemic.)
Luckily, they’re all pretty easy to accomplish; no exotic, expensive or hard-to-find ingredients are required, and techniques are accessible even for beginners. Also, many of these recipes require a fair bit of time. For those in lockdown with nothing but spare hours on their hands, these cooking excursions have proven to be a welcome distraction as people continue to diligently #flattenthecurve.
If you haven’t heard of the South Korean whipped coffee trend, you’re better at social distancing than everybody else on the planet. The quarantine coffee du jour is named after a Korean honeycomb candy but does not usually contain the Dalgona sweet (or Popgi, as it’s sometimes known).
In fact, making this delightful dessert-like drink requires only three ingredients which we bet you already have: instant coffee powder, hot water and sugar. Whip them up until the mix becomes a delicious brown fluffy pillow. Serve over milk and ice, if you please.
If you’re feeling a little decadent, you can add some chocolate flakes or biscuit crumbs. Netizens have been getting creative with their own colourful takes on Dalgona coffee, with recipes featuring everything from matcha to purple taro to tapioca pearls.
No Instagram feed during coronavirus is complete without this Mason jar full of ‘greige’ goo. Many intrepid bakers are trying their hand at a homemade sourdough starter, which involves just two ingredients: whole rye or whole wheat flour, and cool water. The process takes about five days, wherein one must feed the starter with more flour and water daily.
Why do you need a sourdough starter, you might ask? Because sourdough doesn’t use active dry yeast and the starter also gives the bread that distinct sour flavour. If you’re on a quest to make your very own artisan sourdough from scratch, you’ll want to try your hand at the very crucial first step too.
The popularity of fermented recipes during quarantine actually makes a lot of sense; these foods typically hold up well during a time when food stocks are low or accessibility to fresh produce might be more difficult. Fermented food products can also be rather nutritious, boosting our gut with good bacteria or natural probiotics. During SARS in 2003, some South Koreans even claimed that the nation’s diet of kimchi had helped ward off the virus from their shores (although this has never been confirmed).
For kombucha drinkers, access to a purveyor of high quality ‘booch without buying it by the bottle might be harder to come by these days, so many are opting to grow their own SCOBY at home. The word ‘SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture/Community Of Bacteria and Yeast, or what makes the tangy base for the funky-tasting tea.
All you need to make your own SCOBY at home is tea, sugar, some pre-made kombucha and a little bit of time (2–4 weeks). It isn’t pretty, though. If it starts to look like a gelatinous cyst, you’re on the right track.
A more recent quarantine food trend, perhaps a counter-culture to the aesthetically-displeasing sourdough starters, is focaccia art, also known as focaccia garden. The dough becomes the canvas for vibant landscapes (or a trypophobe’s worst nightmare), embedded with everything from sliced tomatoes to peppers, olives and sprigs of herbs.
The focaccia art trend is supplemental to the #breadart trend at large, where many home bakers are carving flowers, leaves and other ornate lines into the crust of their dough before baking.
Another South Korean recipe taking the world by storm is the soufflé omelette, an evolution on the popular soufflé pancakes, which has made breakfast and brunch just a little more gratifying during these trying times. Although the breakfast dish hails from South Korea, the recipe was picked up by Buzzfeed and Tasty, thus catapulting it into the Millennial mass consciousness.
It requires only four ingredients: eggs, butter, salt and pepper. The trick to making the omelette super fluffy is how you deal with the eggs; whisk the egg whites separately until fluffy peaks form, then fold in the egg yolks.
According to Google Trends, searches for ‘banana bread’ surged in the United States, when US President Trump declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic on March 13 (similar spikes in search appeared for ‘dalgona coffee’ and ‘sourdough’ around this time).
And no wonder, banana bread is the gateway bread recipe to baking. If you’re tentative about a sourdough starter or becoming the next ‘Vincent Van Dough,’ make some banana bread. All you need are basic baking ingredients and very ripe bananas.
We’ve come a long way from spaghetti alla puttanesca. That’s not to say that puttanesca is not one of the most delicious pastas to ever grace our tongues, but many of the lockdown home chefs have taken it upon themselves to bring the pantry pasta experience to sublime new heights.
Racking up over million views on YouTube this month is Bon Appetit’s video on thirteen chefs with thirteen different pantry pasta recipes. From gemelli pasta with beans and pesto, to sopa seca with jalapeños and frozen corn, the chefs prove there are infinite ways to step up your pasta dinners, even during a pandemic.