How to easily expand your international cooking repertoire

How to easily expand your international cooking repertoire

If you think you have to go all the way to your favorite restaurant for dishes like choripan, fufu and burek, think again. Thanks to Plated, a meal subscription delivery service now available across the continental U.S., you can now cook food from around the world right in your own home.

Even if you're a kitchen newbie, Plated makes complicated dishes like Korean beef tacos and Moroccan shakshuka a breeze. Sign up at and choose from the week's rotating array of chef-designed meals, many heavily influenced by ingredients and recipes from the cuisines of the Middle East, Mediterranean, Asia and Latin America.

There's no need to be intimidated if you've never used things like mirin, za'atar or Sichuan peppercorns before, either. Every meal comes with easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipe cards that guide you from prep to first bite. And because the recipes are already tested, your meals are guaranteed to be delicious every time, all in about 30 minutes.

"Our test kitchen is often inspired by our travels, by local restaurants, and by favorite recipes we make at home," says Elana Karp, head of culinary for Plated.

On your scheduled delivery date, a box will arrive on your doorstep filled with fresh seafood, seasonal produce, meats raised without antibiotics, and all the herbs, spices and sauces you need to create restaurant-quality international meals.

In no time at all, you'll be cooking steak with coriander and cumin for Peruvian Lomo Saltado and seasoning udon noodles with soy sauce and Sriracha for a Sesame-Soy Udon Bowl. You'll even learn how to make simple add-ons — like Tzatziki Yogurt Sauce and Parmesan Cheese Crips. And because you're making it yourself, you can adjust the spice level or intensity to your preference.

You'll also be introduced to new cooking methods, techniques and shortcuts that are sure to inspire future meals. For example: Give your bland white rice a kick by adding feta cheese and spinach, or use sweet hoisin sauce to add depth of flavor to ordinary stir-fried beef.

"Cooking something you've never cooked before creates a sense of accomplishment," says Suzanne Lehrer, culinary manager at Plated. "It's easy for anyone to fall into a kitchen rut, but it's our job to make sure that never happens."

Plated is extending a great deal to LA Times readers. Click here to check it out.