Swiss Retro Recipe: Riz Casimir

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An easy meal for kids, I’ve created a dairy-free version of a popular Swiss dish from the 1950s: Riz Casimir.

I first discovered Riz Casimir at Zurich’s Hiltl Restaurant in December 2013. When I saw it on the menu, I didn’t realize this curry dish was actually over a half-century old and known throughout Switzerland. Only after trying Hiltl’s vegetarian version did I start noticing this dish in other restaurants and among the prepared meals from Coop and Migros. Finally, after I came across a simple recipe for Riz Casimir in my Swiss cookbook for public schools, Croqu’menus, I decided to try making it myself.

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According to Betty Bossi, Riz Casimir is often mentioned as a favorite dish by people of all ages in Switzerland. The founder of the Mövenpick restaurants, Ueli Prager, developed this recipe in 1952 with ingredients considered exotic for the time: curry, pineapple and banana. Ultimately, it seems Riz Casimir is the Swiss interpretation of Kashmiri Rice, a northern Indian dish.

Instead of using cream, I’ve been making Riz Casimir with coconut milk. I also added a few other ingredients, like fresh garlic and ginger, and some optional toppings, like chopped cashews and cilantro, to give it a little more flavor and texture. My 3-year old isn’t a huge fan of curry, but this is a very mild recipe.

In terms of presentation, I modeled my version after the photo in my Swiss cookbook of a wreath of rice decorated with banana, pineapple and cherries, and the curry nestled in the center. Honestly, it feels a little ridiculous arranging the fruit like this on the platter, but if it helps my finicky kids find it more appealing, I’ll continue to do it!

Riz Casimir

Recipe adapted from Croqu’menus (9th edition, 2005, p. 91).
(dairy-free, egg-free)
Serves 4-5 people


1-2 teaspoons sunflower or canola oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated or chopped
4 chicken breasts, sliced into thin and bite-size pieces
100 ml white wine or allergy-friendly chicken/vegetable broth
250 ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
salt, to taste

Optional toppings: chopped cilantro and cashews, pineapple rings and apple slices

Serve with hot basmati rice


1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, ginger and garlic for a few minutes until tender and fragrant.

2. Cook the chicken for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until its nearly done. Remove from the pan and set-aside. Add the wine (or chicken/vegetable broth) and simmer for a few minutes.

3. Add the coconut milk and curry powder to the wine in the pan, and whisk it together until well-incorporated.

4. Whisk in the cornstarch and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes more until the sauces thickens slightly.

5. Serve immediately with basmati rice and optional toppings.


Recipe: Swiss-French Red Cabbage Salad with Apples and Raisins

It’s that time of year again, when I try to serve more vegetables to my family after weeks and months of feasting on baked goods—and I’m usually the worst offender!

My latest plan involves trying to work vegetables into all three meals, and ideally in at least two dishes. For breakfast, that means scrambled eggs with spinach. At lunch or dinner, we’ll have a salad and steamed green beans with lemon, for example. With more and newer options, I’m hoping my kids’ interest increases so they actually like eating vegetables, instead of viewing them as a necessary evil.

After a recent Sunday walk, I tried out a new a new red cabbage salad recipe from a local Swiss-French cookbook. I served it as part of leisurely brunch during our last day of the holiday break. My husband, who usually HATES mayonnaise, liked this salad. Unprompted, my 7-year old said it tasted good after his first bite. My 3-year old gave it a thumbs up, but I think he really only liked (and ate) the raisins, to be perfectly honest. We’ll keep this cabbage salad in our mealtime rotation, and I’ll have to try another one I saw recently from Migros’ made with orange juice (here’s yet another salad recipe with cabbage, orange and fennel that also looks good).


Sunday walk on Mount Vully

Salade de Chou Rouge (Red Cabbage Salad)

Recipe adapted from Recettes du terroir neuchâtelois by Francis Grandjean (2002).

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free)

Serves 6-8


500 grams red cabbage (about 1 cabbage)
1-2 apples, diced
about 1/2 cup raisins (I like golden raisins)
Optional: finely chopped chives and lettuce leaves

100 ml vegan mayonnaise (use really mayo if you can!)
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons mustard
salt, to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)


1. Slice the cabbage into thin strips and place in a large bowl.

2. Prepare the sauce by whisking together all the ingredients until smooth. Pour the sauce over the cabbage and toss until well-incorporated.

3.Stir in the raisins and diced apple(s). Best served the same day. Top with chopped chives and serve with fresh lettuce leaves, if desired.

For 2015, we have lots to look forward to in terms of managing my son’s milk allergy, like a food challenge next week and starting school in August. I hope you do too! Happy New Year, and Bonne Année, everyone!

My Husband’s Dairy-Free Apple Pie

My husband doesn’t do a lot of the daily meal preparation, especially since I became a stay-at-home mom over a year ago. Even so, he’s an accomplished baker, particularly when it comes to pies. He originally picked up the talent from his mother, who as a former home economics teacher, had him baking at a young age.

Since we learned about our son’s multiple allergies over a year and a half ago, my husband hasn’t tried making an allergy-friendly pie—until last weekend.


The Impact of Food Allergies on Marriage

When it comes to managing my son’s food allergies, I generally take the lead—planning the menu, reading labels at the store and preparing the meals, for example. This works for my husband and I, but managing our son’s food allergies can add a layer of stress to our marriage once in a while, even though it’s become so much easier for us over time.

Apparently, we’re not alone. A 2010 study found 1 in 4 parents of food-allergic children reported that food allergies caused a strain on their marriage. I can’t imagine a marriage or relationship in which managing a child’s food allergies wouldn’t have some impact. I’m curious about other current research, if any, on this topic. If I find out more, I’ll be sure to share it.

Fresh Apple and Currant Pie

After my long run on Sunday morning, I came home and found my family around the dining room table making pie. It was a wonderful sight, for so many reasons. Our 5-year old was cranking the peeler/slicer/corer with apples picked up at the farmers’ market the day before. Our 2-year old was stirring a huge bowl of the sliced apples mixed with sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. My husband had made the pie crust already, which was chilling and firming up in the fridge.



My husband made his favorite pie crust recipe dairy-free with vegetable-based margarine. Other than that, he didn’t have to make any other substitutions for my son’s allergies (milk, raw egg and almond). When asked about sharing his recipe for the apple and fresh currant filling, he responded with this: “I didn’t measure, I didn’t taste. I just mixed and dumped.”



So, while my husband and I don’t always have the same approach to managing our son’s food allergies, we always make it work. He’s my partner in parenting and always has been. Among so many other things, I feel grateful for his help and support. Plus, he certainly knows how to make a great pie the whole family can enjoy. I’m very lucky.

This week, I’ve been foraging for elderberries and also working on a new Bundt cake. More to come! Hope you’re having a good week.

Super Quick: Birchermüesli sans Lait

You’ve probably heard of müesli before, right? Did you know it was invented in Switzerland over 100 years ago? Honestly, I think my initial introduction to müesli was via Kellogg’s “Müeslix” cereal in the US. Since then, I ate müesli when I traveled, but never at home. And, I didn’t know it was a Swiss thing until we moved here.

In Switzerland, grocery store shelves are lined with müesli options. Birchermüesli was the first müesli, named for its inventor, Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Brenner. The Zurich nutritionist was a major proponent of raw foods, and he developed müesli using freshly grated apple mixed with oats. The original recipe also included sweetened condensed milk (he was apparently concerned fresh milk at the time would contain tuberculosis), lemon juice and water, which were all soaked overnight to soften the oats by morning.


Using my Swiss cookbook, I adapted a recipe to create a dairy-free, single-serving of Birchermüesli. I think you don’t really need a recipe though, so this can be a loose guide for your müesli adventures.


Dairy-Free Birchermüesli

Serves 1

1 apple, grated
1 tablespoon oats
1 tablespoon soy yogurt
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
honey, to taste
Optional garnishes: red currants or other berries, ground hazelnuts or almonds

Mix together the above ingredients, and voila! A quick and healthy dairy-free breakfast.



Along with this müesli recipe, I wanted to share two other food allergy resources I came across recently:

How do you make müesli? Have you found a store-bought müesli that’s dairy, nut and egg-free? Please share your recipes and recommendations. Thanks so much!

Rainy Day Empanadas and Baked Apples

Today was a rainy Saturday, so we spent most of it indoors. I tried taking advantage of the weather by making allergy-friendly empanadas for lunch and baked apples for our afternoon, post-nap snack. With nearly all the grocery stores closed on Sunday, I try to get all our shopping and baking/cooking done on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we have more time to spend together as a family.

We’ve been reading through the Laura Ingalls Wilder books with our 5-year old, and living here almost feels like we’re back in that era when Sunday meant a day of rest. In Switzerland, we’re apparently not even supposed to do laundry on Sundays, even though we sneak in a load from time to time. For now, I’m attempting to fully embrace our new lifestyle, including my new role as a stay-at-home mom.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Empanadas

I love empanadas, and since we’ve moved here, I’ve started making them at home. My favorite empanada filling is beef with raisins, olives and hard-boiled eggs, but we’ve had to skip the eggs for now because of my son’s allergy. For today’s lunch, I made butternut squash and chanterelle empanadas with a hint of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. At our farmers’ market, a vendor always has a table piled high with chanterelles, something I rarely cooked with in the United States. Now, they’re easy to find and so delicious.

I tried using some vegan empanada dough recipes, but today I used a new recipe with flax meal as an egg substitute (1 tablespoon flax meal plus 3 tablespoons water). The dough tasted great and was really easy to handle (i.e., not sticky). It called for white vinegar, but cider vinegar worked out just fine.

My oldest son wasn’t thrilled about the mushrooms, but I filled some with refried beans, and they were well-received. You can fill empanadas with anything, and they’re easy to make in advance—during naptime, for example. The leftovers will serve as our lunch tomorrow, which may occur during an excursion to a nearby castle.

Baked Apples

At our local bookstore, I picked up my first Swiss cookbook. Most of the recipes call for lots of dairy and eggs, but this one happened to avoid my son’s allergens: Baked apples stuffed with sweetened cornmeal. It was simple to make, and we used apples from the farmers’ market. My food-allergic son wouldn’t touch it (sometimes he can be quite finicky), but we’ll definitely try it again.

I’ve started a Facebook page for Dairy-Free Switzerland. Please click the link and “like” the page to receive updates about new blog posts and to share/gather information about living with food allergies in Switzerland and beyond. Thanks so much!