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World dishes: three recipes from international Avans students

Alara, Mirela and Noela (left to right). Photos: Loet Koreman

Don’t you know what to cook every night either? Then here is a serving of inspiration from across the border. Avans students from Bulgaria, Cameroon and Turkey share recipes from their home countries. Enjoy your meal!

Alara Ahmetoğlu
Business, Leadership & Sustainability minor in Breda

“Kisir reminds me of home. I often make it with my mother there. The recipe is passed down from mother to daughter. Kisir is typically Turkish, but how it is prepared depends on the region where you’re from. I’m from Izmir, in the west of Turkey. There we use a lot of olive oil in side dishes. I have made it during my time in Breda, but I couldn’t get the exact ingredients here.”


– 2 glasses of bulgur (for vegetarian ‘meatballs’)
– 2-2.5 glasses of water
– 1 bunch of spring onions
– 1 small of bunch parsley
– 6-7 sprigs of fresh mint
– 1.5 heaped tablespoons of tomato paste
– 1.5 tablespoons of pepper paste
– 6-7 tablespoons olive oil
– 5 tablespoons pomegranate syrup
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon black pepper
– 1.5 heaped teaspoons cumin

To serve: lemon and lettuce

– Add the water, half of it boiling and the other half at room temperature, to the bulgur; cover with a plate and set aside for 10 minutes to let the bulgur swell.
– In the meantime, finely chop the spring onions, parsley and fresh mint. Chop the white parts of the spring onion extra fine.
– Once the bulgur has soaked up the water, spread it out and add the tomato puree, pepper paste, cumin, olive oil, pomegranate syrup, salt and black pepper. Knead thoroughly. You can also mix and mash instead of kneading. Taste to see if enough salt has been added.
– Now add the spring onions and herbs and mix carefully so you don’t crush them.
– Arrange the lettuce leaves on a dish and divide the bulgur salad between them. Squeeze over the lemon before serving. If the dish has been standing for a while, add some olive oil. Use the lettuce leaves as ‘wraps’ for the kisir.

Mirela Petrova
International Business student in Breda

“In Bulgaria we eat gyuvech in the winter, when it’s cold outside. It’s real comfort food. The earthenware pots it is made in are decorated with Bulgarian motifs. It does need to be prepared in a large pot, because it tastes better if you make it in larger quantities. You can eat gyuvech in restaurants throughout the country; there are lots of different versions. In those restaurants they play Bulgarian music and the guests dance together. The Bulgarian recipe I have used here is my mother’s. She sent me Bulgarian herbs and spices, because they taste just that bit different.”


– 1 kg pork
– 5-6 large potatoes
– 2 carrots
– 2 red bell peppers
– 2 tomatoes, chopped
– 300 g okra
– 400 g canned peas
– 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 3 teaspoons salt
– 2 teaspoons red pepper
– 1 teaspoon black pepper
– 30 g chubritsa (Bulgarian spice mix containing savory)
– 150 ml oil

Also required: large earthenware pot (7 litres)

– Peel the potatoes and chop into large pieces.
– Slice the carrots and bell peppers into medium sized pieces.
– Cover the bottom of the pot with half the potatoes, sprinkle with salt, red and black pepper and drizzle with some of the oil. Place half the vegetables (carrot, sweet pepper, tomato, okra, peas, onion and garlic) on top, sprinkle with the herbs and a dash of oil.
– Season the pork with salt, black pepper and chubritsa and place on top of the vegetables in the pot.
– Repeat the second step.
– Add 100 ml water and cover the pot with the lid.
– Cook for approximately 4 hours in the oven at 150°C, upper and lower heat.
– Before serving, sprinkle with parsley to taste.

Noela Tchi Lum
ESSET (Environmental Science for Sustainability, Ecosystems and Technology) student in Breda

“Achu is meant to be shared – with the whole family, at parties, weddings and other special events. I love the taste and it contains lots of nutrients. Where I come from, the north-west of Cameroon, achu is a very well known dish. I love spicy food, made with special ingredients. For instance, to make achu you need the achu spices, otherwise you can’t make it. My mother sent me some so that I could make it here.”


– cocoyams
– palm oil
– beef
– cow skin (‘kanda’)
– mushrooms (optional)
– achu spices
– salt
– seasoning cubes

Also required: powdered limestone, pestle and mortar

– Put the cocoyams in a clean pan and boil them for about 45 minutes. Once they are soft, peel them and pound them into a paste using the pestle and mortar.
– Boil the mushrooms. Boil the beef and the cow skin with the seasoning cubes and some salt for 30 minutes. Once it is tender, remove the meat and the skin from the stock (don’t throw them away!).
– Add some powdered limestone to the beef stock and mix thoroughly. Heat the palm oil and add it to the stock. Add the achu spices. The mixture will now be a yellow soup.
– Serve the cocoyam paste on a plate in the form of a ring and pour some soup into the centre. Arrange the beef, the cow’s hide and the mushrooms around the ring.

This article appeared in Dutch in Punt magazine ‘Grenzeloos’ (boundless). You can pick up the magazine for free at the various Avans locations.

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