Caribbean Stew Chicken made with instructions from YouTube Coronavirus has shut down restaurant dining and broken my heart. I pretty much abandoned onsite eating last spring, and I’m not sure when I’ll feel comfortable enough to return. I especially miss my favorite Indian and Ethiopian spots. They were more than places to eat—they let me travel, if only for the time of the meal.

With another virus surge threatening further lockdowns, YouTube cooking videos ease my nostalgia for restaurants. The challenge of trying new techniques is a small escape, which I’ve found through these four dishes: One Indian, one Trinidadian, and a couple from Ethiopia. The ingredients aren’t hard to find and the techniques aren’t hard to master, but there are some things you should know before trying the recipes. Order your spices online

Before all this, whenever I wanted to try my hand at a new dish, I took my recipes with me to reference as I browsed through international markets. Since the pandemic, though, I’m ordering online. Berbere , for example, is a staple seasoning for many Ethiopian dishes. Several YouTube videos give directions for making it, but it’s easier and cheaper to order online, and safer than browsing shelves at brick and mortar stores.

I’ve found, too, that Ethiopian and Indian cuisines use similar spices: cardamon, chili powder, cinnamon, and turmeric. Once I stock up, I’m good for several types of dishes. If I can’t find the exact ingredients and the video doesn’t suggest substitutions, the comments often […]