Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine
Holiday Recipes from Ambassadors Around the World

 from Ambassador Juergen and Magda Chrobog

 RAHM-RINGEL (Cream Rings)

1/2 pound butter
1 pound sugar
1 pound flour
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp sweet cream
1/2 pound almonds, chopped
3 egg whites Cream together the butter, flour and half of the sugar. Chill the mixture for an hour or more. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out rings and transfer onto a cookie sheet. Stir together the remaining sugar, egg whites and lemon juice. Brush each ring with the mixture and sprinkle with the chopped almonds. Bake until cookies are a pale golden color around the edges.

Tidbit: Originally, the cream came from fresh cow’s milk left to sit overnight, so that the risen cream could be scooped off the next morning.

 from Ambassador Richard and Margaret Bernal


8 cups sorrel sepals
1 oz root ginger
6 cloves
8 pimento seeds
3 qt boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup white rum or wine Place sorrel, ginger, cloves, and pimento in a large mixing bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to stand overnight. Strain. Sweeten to taste. Add rum or wine if desired. Serve with ice at Christmas time. Serves 6.

Tidbit: Christmas is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Jamaica, and sorrel is the holiday’s most popular ingredient, given that it is green throughout the year, then turns red close to Christmas. Sorrel can be found at specialty retailers and food markets in the DC area.

 from Ambassador David and Ofra Ivry


2 packages of cream cheese
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
a pinch of salt Mix ingredients together until smooth. Separate contents into small balls and deep fry in oil. Sprinkle powdered sugar and serve with jam.

Tidbit: Chanukah is an eight-day celebration of the Festival of Lights beginning at sundown on December 21st this year. A joyous holiday, Chanukah has many traditional songs and games centering on the dredle, a children’s toy and learning tool.

 from Ambassador Sean and Bernadette O’Huiginn


1 lb of bread crumbs
6 oz of mixed peel
1 lb of sultanas
1 lb of raisins
1/2 lb of brown sugar
1/2 lb of beef suet
1 oz of mixed spices
1 tsp of salt
16 oz Guinness beer
rind and juice of two lemons
2-6 eggs Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the lemon juice, beer and eggs and mix well. Pour the mixture into two large pudding bowls and cover each first, with a sheet of greaseproof paper, tied under the rim of the bowl, then firmly wrapped on top with a sheet of tinfoil. Place the bowls in two large saucepans of boiling water for 3 1/2 hours. Remove the bowls when boiled and cover each with a fresh piece of greaseproof paper, then store pudding in a cool place until required. Serve with whipped cream.

Tidbit: Christmas in Ireland, apart from its significance as a religious holiday, is also a time when family members make a special effort to return home and enjoy the festival, and Christmas pudding, together. Many families hold an open house on Christmas Day or on St. Stephen’s day, the day following Christmas.


 from Ambassador Yuriy and Svetlana Ushakov

 SOLYANKA (Prepared Meat)

3/4 lb duck
1 1/2 lb turkey
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup celery
1/4 cup pickles
2 tbsp capers
1/4 cup black olives
2 tbsp green olives
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sour cream
lemon juice
bay leaf, pepper, parsley Sauté onion, parsley, and celery in butter, add the tomato paste and braise fry for 5-8 minutes. Prepare a bouillon of duck and turkey meat, then filter. Combine together: bouillon, chopped duck and turkey meat, pickles, capers, green olives, fried onion, parsley and celery, salt and spices. Boil it for 5-10 minutes. Decorate each plate with an olive, lemon slice, and a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle meat with parsley, sliced black olives, lemon, and sour cream.

Tidbit: Russian children do not look forward to a visit from Santa Claus; it is Grandfather Frost, dressed in the Russian style with felt boots on his feet, who will bring gifts and holiday cheer. Fortune-telling is a unique Russian Christmas tradition, where young girls are most interested in their chances of marriage in the new year, and what kind of character their mother-in-law will have.

Nigeria Nigeria

 from Ambassador Jibril Muhammad Sadimatu Aminu and family


1 lb of roasted shelled groundnuts
1/2 pint cooking oil
1 sliced onion
warm water Pound the groundnuts in a mortar with a pestle, then grind or mince until smooth. Collect mixture together into a ball and place on a cooking tray. Knead and squeeze ball of groundnut to remove the oil, adding a little warm water after each squeeze until all the oil has been extracted. Shape the ground-nut cake into even sized balls or rings. Heat the groundnut-oil slightly, fry onion slices to give flavor and fry the groundnut cakes until golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

Tidbit: Nigerians have special Christmas traditions. One such tradition is decorating their homes (compounds) and churches with both woven and unwoven palm fronds. In Nigerian tradition, palm fronds signify peace. This is the peace that Christ’s birth brings. The country is made up of Muslim, Christian, and indigenous religions.

 from Ambassador Dato’ and Faridah Ghazzali


3 1/2 pound boneless chicken
1 stalk lemon grass
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cummin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 inch piece fresh tumeric
8 shallots
salt to taste Cube the chicken meat, drain and put aside. Grind coriander, cummin, turmeric, peanuts, salt and sugar. Mix this with the powdered cinnamon, diced shallots and 1 tbsp cooking oil. Marinate the chicken mixture. Using thin bamboo skewers, skewer 5 pieces of meat on each skewer, as in Kebabs. Grill over a burning coal, constantly sprinkling cooking oil over meat using crushed lemon grass. Turn over and continue grilling until the chicken is cooked. Serve with peanut sauce.

Tidbit: Malaysia is one of the many nations that celebrates Ramadan, occurring this year from November 27-December 27. During Ramadan, fasting is rigidly practiced daily from sunrise to sunset, and all Muslims should abstain from evil thoughts and deeds. During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, it is traditional for Malay families to redecorate their homes and buy new clothes.


 from Ambassador Odeen and Evangeline Ishmael


1/4 lb. of cherries
1 lb. local dried fruits (raisins)
1 cup rum
1 1/2 lbs. brown sugar
12 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 lb. flour
1/4 lb. orange or lemon peel
1/2 lb. of butter Grind dried fruits and soak it in 3 cups of rum. Store in an airtight container for three weeks. Prepare the caramel by heating the sugar until it turns dark brown. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, soaked fruits, and rum. When it is well blended, pour the caramel. Add the flour, baking powder and mixed spices. Fold in the cherries. Pour mixture in a baking pan and bake in a slow oven (about 300 F) for two hours. Remove cake from pan after two days.

Tidbit: Guyanese cuisine is varied due to the many cultures that have settled in Guyana, but all Guyanese participate in Christmas celebrations which extend for twelve days until the new year. As you can see, this recipe requires some advanced planning, almost one month altogether, but we hear the results are worth the wait. Many families will store dried fruits in alcohol year round, as the alcohol acts as a preservative, and the fruits continue drawing flavor from the rum.


 from Ambassador Marwan and Lynne Muasher


1 1/2 cup uncooked rice (NOT instant)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter
2 lb lean ground lamb
100 grape leaves
1 sliced fresh lemon Rinse rice three times with cold water. Sprinkle the combined spices over rice, stirring to mix well. Add butter and lamb to rice and mix well. Place grape leaves in a large bowl and cover with boiling water to soften, then drain. To stuff leaves; place one tsp of the rice and meat mixture on each leaf. Beginning at the stem end, roll the leaf up over the filling, folding the sides of the leaf in; halfway toward the center, so the leaf is tightly tucked when you reach the tip. Cover a large pan with empty grape leaves, placing stuffed grape leaves on top of lemon slices placed evenly in the pan. Place a heavy dish on top of the leaves, so the bottom of the dish is pressing down on them. Add water to the pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes, or until stuffed grape leaves are tender.

Tidbit: This is a famous recipe in Jordan and is used for the Holiday Traditional Dinner, Eid Al-Fitr, where the fast of Ramadan is broken. Jordan celebrates a mixture of Islamic, National and Christian holidays.


 from Ambassador and Mrs. Davorin Kracun


6 veal chops
salt to taste
majoram, thyme to taste
oil for frying
1/4 lb ground meat
1 tbsp chopped onion
parsley, paprika, salt,
and pepper to taste Cut little pockets in the chops. Salt the chops and rub with the spices. Stuff with the prepared filling. Secure filling in the chops with toothpicks and sear quickly on both sides in a pan. Add a few tablespoons of water in the pan and simmer until the meat is soft. Filling: Put all ingredients in bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water and stir ingredients well by hand.

Tidbit: Christmas brings families together in Slovenia, beginning with midnight mass on Christmas Eve, a highly attended religious event. Additionally, on December 24th, a majority of Slovenian families set up crèches which remains under their Christmas trees until January 6th, the day of the Three Wise Men.

We would like to thank all of the embassies for sharing their holiday recipes and traditions with us. Each embassy offered us a glimpse into what makes their celebration unique and special. Perhaps the holidays are the perfect time to honor not only your family’s traditions, but those from around the world as well.


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