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30-minute lunch and dinner recipes


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It’s late afternoon and the question echoes around the world: “What’s for dinner?”

Or, rather, that echo goes something like, “What’s for dinner? What’s for dinner? 夕食は何? Šta ima za večeru? Cosa c’è per cena? Apa untuk makan malam? 晚餐吃什么? ? Hvað er í matinn? מה יש לארוחת ערב?…” You get the idea.

The fact is, no matter where they live, everybody is busy and everybody forgets to do that menu planning thing were the answer to the “what’s for dinner?” question is “take a look on the whiteboard in the kitchen under Thursday…”. Everyone forgets that.


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As a result, getting dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less is an art form practiced from America to Zimbabwe. Lucky for us.

America: Ten-Minute Cheeseburgers

A juicy beef burger dinner puts a full stop on any day and Adam Liaw’s recipe will get you there in 10 minutes flat. That’s right, you’ll have these babies on the table faster than you can maneuver through a city drive-through.

Argentina: Matambre and Tortilla

Thinly-sliced ​​flank steak stuffed with barbecued vegetables and melted cheese sounds like a worthy dinner to us. The fact that it’s all done outside on the barbecue adds further to its appeal.

The appeal of a potato tortilla at the end of a long day cannot be underestimated. Not only is it ready to devour in 30 minutes, but it’s also made with ingredients you’re bound to have on hand. Call it a rescue meal.

Cambodia: Khmer fish salad

This crunchy fish salad is light, nutritious and an absolute breeze to make. It tastes so fresh and light that you’ll be amazed when it fills you up so readily.

Ethiopia: Enqulal firfir

Enqulal firfir puts a new spin on the beloved breakfast-for-dinner motif. Eggs are scrambled with vegetables and chilli then scooped into waiting mouths with freshly-made kita.

France: Lemon butter salmon and Buckwheat galette

The French definitely have a way with salmon, as this baked lemon and butter doused recipe proves. Exactly the kind of meal prep you want to come home to.

While ham and eggs are a classic galette filling, feel free to jam whatever you happen to have on hand into your crepe.

Germany: Knackwurst potato salad

Don’t keep potato salad for summer barbecues – it’s good all year-’round and you don’t need an occasion to make it, either. Not when it’s served warm and comes with added sausage…

Greece: Barbecue chicken and Lamb and feta meatballs

Most Greek dishes require a slow bake or braise, but you can find a few speedy gems in amongst the moussakas, spanakopitas and roast lambs. Like a quick barbecue chicken with plenty of flavours.

Lamb meatballs will also bring you all the flavor of a slow bake in a fraction of the time. Serve them with a salad, in between bread or straight into your mouth.

Hungary: Chicken schnitzel

Coating chicken in a golden crumb is not reserved for Hungarians, but gee they do it so well.

Indian: Tandoori lamb and Pepper chicken

Lamb cutlets make a fine evening meal, especially when marinated in Indian spices. Just remember to do the marinade in the morning so the cutlets can soak all day.

Curries are generally not known for their speedy cooking, so when you find a decent fast curry recipe like this one, hang onto it.

Indonesian: Corn fritters

Every home needs a good corn fritter recipe and this one can be yours. Serve them up with a green salad and make sure you save some for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Italy: Rigatoni boscaiola and Spaghetti vongole

This creamy pasta dish is Adam Liaw’s go-to and that’s all we need to know.

Seafood is a godsend when you’re in a hurry – it cooks lightning-fast and brings maximum flavour. Silvia Colloca’s spaghetti vongole e ‘nduja is all that and more.

Japan: Oyakodon and Miso soup

A chicken and egg combo that will make your tastebuds cluck with content. Especially since they know the whole dish took about 10 minutes to pull together.

A good miso soup recipe will rescue you time and time again. It’s filling, flavorful and fast.

Korean: Kimchi fried rice and

This quick fried rice proves that if you’ve got a jar of kimchi in the fridge, you’re very close to making a meal.

Lao: Barbecue chicken cutlets

Make the marinade the morning of or even the night before so these chicken cutlets have lots of soaking time. Then it’s a matter of heating the grill and popping them in to cook while you make a salad and a chilli dipping sauce.

Lebanon: Zucchini fritters

See ‘corn fritters’ above, but with zucchini.

Malaysia: Penang char kway teow

Thick rice noodles (the thicker the better) add texture and balance to a bold array of Malaysian sauces and spices. This is the kind of dish you’ll whip up on a whim because you can’t fight the cravings any longer.

Mexico: Mushroom quesadilla

Not only is this quesadilla dinner quick, it’s also portable. Make, grab and eat it on your way to somewhere fun.

Nepal: Aaloo tama

Take in a big hit of nutrition via the potato, black-eyed beans, ginger, garlic, spices and bamboo shoots that feature in this chunky Nepali soup. It’s a delicious way to warm up after a cold commute home.

Portugal: grilled sardines

Plump sardines simply grilled – one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever master. Serve with a big salad and lots of crusty bread.

Sri Lanka: Deviled prickly pear

Deviled tuna is a popular Sri Lankan dish that’s layered with spicy satisfaction in just 30 minutes.

Spain: Clams in green sauce

Put it on these clams, put it on chicken, or throw it through pasta – the green sauce in this Spanish recipe is gold.

Thailand: Khao pad pu and Green chicken curry

Added crab makes Khao pad pu special, but at its heart, it’s just speedy fried rice.

Ah, the classic Thai green curry is fortunately quite easy to make at home. A little curry paste hack doesn’t go astray, of course…

Vietnam: Stir-fried beef and Lemongrass chilli chicken

If Luke Nguyen can cook these crispy noodle pillows with stir-fried beef dish on a railroad track, then we can belt it out at home in under 30.

Rest assured, if it’s a Vietnamese dish and the words ‘stir-fry’ feature in the method, it’s a good dish for getting onto the table quick-smart.

Zimbabwe: Venison skewers

Venison adds intrigue to barbecued skewers, but you can always thread beef, pork or chicken instead. There’s always the whipped feta dip to keep things interesting.

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