Monday, March 5, 2012

Fusion Food: A Yummy Mosaic

In America, we have the idea of the Melting Pot as a means of explaining the mixture of many different cultures. This term was first used by Crevecoeur in 1782 in Letters from an American Farmer. This idea still remains to strong in our culture. Crevecoeur's idea makes me feel that the ethnic roots are lost and are not distinctive. 

However, as much as I have pride in being an American, I don't think it as beautiful as the Canadian's version the Cultural Mosaic. Which makes me think that the individual pieces remain in their own uniqueness but collectively they create a beautiful picture.

Either metaphor you like, it really doesn't matter. I think food is a prime example of cultures meeting whether its spices or techniques, they all trace back to something/ some people.  Just thought I would have a nerd moment and share that with you to open up to this recipe. 

Anyway, back to this recipe. It was first taught to be back in Santa Cruz when I was living with a woman of African and Indian decent. She was such an amazing person with a very strong spirit and very interesting background. She was fluent in French (she helped me but conversing with me), went to boarding school overlooking the Himalayas  and was super bad ass in Mauy Thai. Absolutely an amazing person

When she taught me this recipe it was a fusion of her Ethiopian and Indian background. Over the years, I have added my Vietnamese influence into this recipe.  I hope you try this out and tell me what you think.
- Tomatoes
- Spinach
- Yellow Onion
- Garlic Cloves
- Cabbage
- Chicken (other meats can be used but I think poultry has a nice palette and compliments many spices)
- Chicken Boullion ( Chicken Broth)
- Whole Cumin Seeds
- Bay Leaves
- Vietnamese Fish Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Vegetable Oil
- Water

* cut all fresh veggies into bite size pieces except spinach, leave it whole.

- Sautee Garlic and Onions until translucent then add Bay Leaves (about 3 large leaves) and Cumin (~2tbsp)
- Add in 2 tbsp of Fish sauce along with one cube of chicken bouillon (if using chicken broth wait)
- Add chicken and brown the surface
- Add dices tomatoes & 1/2 c water (if use chicken broth, substitute for water)
-Let the sauce simmer at medium low until most of the chicken is cooked
- Add chopped cabbage, add another 2tbsp  of fish sauce & soy sauce
- When the chicken is about done, add the spinach and lightly mix it in for no more than 5 min (want the spinach to hold some of its shape)

Serve with Jasmine Rice and there you have it!

P.S. I'm still getting used to writing recipe so bare with me as I play around with writing styles. 

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