International Cuisine

Alabama Living Magazine

Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols

Cook of the Month: John Sunyog, Cullman EC

As a child growing up in the Detroit, Michigan, area, John Sunyog was used to having easy access to a variety of foods from different cultural backgrounds. “Up there you had Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Polish, Jewish,” he says. So if his mother wasn’t in a baking mood he could find his favorite krusciki, or Polish twists, at a local bakery. “As a kid I loved eating those things.”  But another kind of love brought him south to Alabama when he moved with his fiancé to the Cullman area in 2005. Not finding the variety of food cultures he was used to, he had to go back to his mother’s recipe for the light, flaky pastries sprinkled with powdered sugar that he loved to eat. “The recipe is over 100 years old and has been passed down in my family for generations,” he says. He likes to make the treats for a special occasion “because it takes a little bit of time to make the dough and to get everything up and going. But the outcome is definitely worth it!” (He recommends not storing them in an airtight container, but in a bowl covered lightly with a towel to keep dust off.)

Krusciki (Polish Twists or Angel Wings)

  • 2/3 cup egg yolks (approximately 8)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (real is better than imitation)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • Powered sugar, for topping

Combine egg yolks, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour and make a stiff dough. Place on a floured board and knead until smooth, but not sticky. Divide the dough in half and cover one part. Roll the other part very thin on a floured board. Cut into strips about 1½-inches wide, then cut each strip into diamond-shaped pieces about 4-inches long. Make a diagonal slit about 1-inch long in the center of each diamond, then pull one end through the opening. Fry in deep fat at 385 degrees for about 1 minute or until brown. Drain on absorbent paper, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Store in an open basket to keep crisp. The other half of the dough that is set aside in the recipe can be used later or make a second batch right away. 

Sweet and Sour Pork

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin (cut into 1-inch cubes)


  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • ½ teaspoon accent
  • Place cubed pork tenderloin in a bowl. Pour marinade over the pork, stir, cover with a lid. Let meat soak in the marinade for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.


  • 2 egg yolks or 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix batter well. Add additional cornstarch, if necessary, to achieve a stiff batter. Drain marinade from the meat and combine the meat with the batter. Deep fry at 420 degrees until crisp and golden brown. Turn out onto a platter lined with paper towels.


  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon red wine
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine sugar, soy sauce, wine, vinegar, pineapple juice and ketchup in a medium boiler and bring to a boil.  Mix the cornstarch with water.  Add to boiling ingredients and stir until thickened.


  • 1 green and red bell peppers, cut in 1-inch squares
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 onion, cut in 1-inch squares
  • 1 can bamboo shoots, sliced
  • 1 can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 can pineapple chunks

Fry vegetables in a Wok using 6 tablespoons of canola oil heated to 420 degrees for a few minutes or just until vegetables take on a transparent appearance. Add the pork tenderloin to the wok. Pour the sweet and sour sauce over the meat and vegetables. Blend well and serve over steamed long grain white or Jasmine Rice.

Janet Parker, Central Alabama EC 

Weiner Schnitzel with Brown Gravy

Weiner Schnitzel:

  • 4 5-ounce veal cutlets
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 4 slices of lemon, garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Canola oil, for shallow frying

Brown Gravy:

  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place veal cutlets on cutting board. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap. with a heavy mallet, pound out meat evenly flat to ¼-inch thickness. Bread the veal with flour and salt first; then dredge in beaten eggs; lastly the breadcrumbs. In a large skillet heat canola oil to 350 degrees. Fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Drain excess oil on wire rack. 

Brown Gravy: Pour broth in same skillet used to cook veal and scrape loose the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When it starts to boil, slowly stir in flour. Stir constantly until mixed well. Add butter and heavy cream. Continue stirring until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper. Serve gravy over Weiner Schnitzel with your favorite side. Garnish with lemon slices.

Kirk Vantrease, Cullman EC

Sukuma Wiki (Kenyan-Style Collard Greens)

  • 1 bunch of collards (may substitute or combine kale or other greens)
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes, diced (or 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes) 
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 1 hot green pepper, de-seeded and diced finely (or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil

Wash greens thoroughly several times.  Cut the collard greens in half lengthwise and remove stems.  Stack greens and slice crosswise into strips about ½-1-inch width.  Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook chopped onion, garlic and green pepper in the oil for about 1-2 minutes until softening, stirring to prevent burning.  Stir in paprika and salt, then add diced tomatoes and continue stirring and cooking for another 3 or 4 minutes.  If using canned or frozen tomatoes, drain before adding, but save juices to add later if needed.  Add the greens and continue stirring until bright green and beginning to wilt.  Lower temperature, cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the greens are as tender as you like. During this time, stir occasionally and add a tablespoon or two of tomato juice or water if needed to prevent sticking and burning. The greens should not be watery.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  

   If desired, after tomatoes you may add chopped, leftover, cooked meat—beef, pork, goat, chicken—or tofu.  Traditionally Sukuma Wiki is served with Ugali, a mush of coarsely ground cornmeal, similar to polenta or stiffly cooked stoneground white grits but goes well also with Southern cornbread.  

Ruth Coulter Bentley, Sand Mountain EC

Chicken Curry

  • 1 whole chicken, cut up and breasts cut in half making small pieces of meat
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 can chicken broth

Brown chicken in hot butter, 5 minutes per side. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and keep warm. Measure liquid in skillet and add water to make 3 cups of broth.


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder, bought or homemade
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  •  2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lime peel
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice


  • 3 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 green chili pepper

In the skillet, melt butter and sauté garlic, onion, ginger and curry powder. This brings out the flavor of the spices. Remove from the heat and stir in flour, cardamom, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in chicken, reserved broth, lime peel and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Pour into large dutch oven and add potatoes, cinnamon, cloves and place chili pepper on top. Cover and cook on 350 for about 90 minutes. Serve with hot basmati rice, naan and a squeeze of lime on top.

Judy Colley, Tallapoosa River EC

The Buttered Home

Every recipe has a story. Whether they’re new or old, we all connect somehow to certain dishes. They can be handed down for generations or be new heritage recipes we create through our own lives. This month’s topic of international recipes allowed me to go back to my Scottish roots. Traditional Scottish Oatmeal Rolls are a dream dinner roll. They are easy with only a 1.5 hour rise time. The taste and texture is everything you want in a yeast roll. Made with all-purpose flour, brown sugar and old-fashioned oats, this centuries-old recipe is the perfect dinner roll! For this recipe and more, visit our website at

Traditional Scottish Oatmeal Rolls

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 ounce dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water, 110 to 115 degrees 
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon oil

   Place oatmeal in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over oats and mix well. Add brown sugar, salt and oil and mix well.

   In a small bowl, dissolve active dry yeast with 1/4 cup warm water. Test temperature of water to make sure it’s no lower than 110 degree F and no higher than 115 degrees F. This ensures yeast will activate as well as remain alive. Allow to stand for 5 minutes or until it blooms and is foamy.

   Add yeast and water to oat mixture and mix well. Add flour in stages until a sticky but stiff dough forms. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape and knead. Knead for 6-8 minutes until dough is smooth.

   Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning to oil all sides of dough. Cover and allow to rise until it doubles in size, about an hour. Punch down dough and separate into 24 balls. Roll balls until smooth and place in a lightly greased baking pan. Cover and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.

   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes until browned. You can drizzle with salted butter and bake a few minutes more to obtain extra browning. Serve warm.


Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter

Get a sneak preview of each month’s magazine when you sign up! 


While You're Here

Related Posts


Never Miss A Story

Get our Weekly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.
Cookie policy
We use our own and third party cookies to allow us to understand how the site is used and to support our marketing campaigns.

Sign up for our e-newsletter

for the latest articles, news, events, announcements and alerts from Alabama Living