If you’re currently in an interracial/interethnic relationship, or you are planning on becoming KolorBlind, one of the issues you’ll face in your relationship is the adaptation to different cuisines. This is particularly true, if your significant other is from a different culture/nationality.
Part of being KolorBlind is keeping an open mind to different cultures, looks and languages. Once you can wrap your mind around the fact that you too would be considered ‘different’ or ‘weird’ in their country/culture, I think you’ll begin to accept your partner’s culture a lot more.
One of the first steps to stepping across the line, is learning a new language or in this case acclimating yourself to a new dish. If you and your significant other are not able to agree on whose dish should be prepared, then consider incorporating some of these dishes into your weekly menu.
India – Chicken Marsala
Pounding the chicken cutlets before cooking renders them thin and terrifically tender. Deglazing the pan with Marsala and stock after cooking the chicken creates a quick, rich sauce. Click here for the recipe.
Korea – Chap Chae (Korean Noodles with Beef and Vegetables)
When I was growing up in Korea, my grandmother would make chap chae for family reunions. Whenever she started stir-frying the shredded beef and vegetables together in a big wok, I would wander into her kitchen, wondering when the party was going to begin.
The finished dish is festive and delicious. I love the combination of slippery sweet potato noodles turned golden from the cooking juices and soy sauce, crunchy vegetables, and tender, juicy beef. For my own family, chap chae is still a sign of celebration: Whenever I make it, my son walks in, asking when the party is starting. —Kyung Up Lim, executive chef of Michael’s in New York City. Click here for the recipe.
China – Hongshao Qiezi (Red-Cooked Eggplant)
When San Francisco finally gained a Shanghainese restaurant in the 1970s, my mother, who was raised in Shanghai, insisted our family try their red-cooked eggplant. I can recall the melting tenderness of the vegetable, colored a dark red from braising in soy sauce and sugar.
Mama never cooked eggplant this way at home, perhaps because my father insisted on eating Cantonese. Years later I learned from my friend Florence Lin how to prepare it. While ground pork or dried shrimp can be added, she favored just Asian eggplant cooked in peanut oil and then braised in soy sauce along with ginger, sugar, and water.
I’ve recently discovered another intriguing take on the recipe, from Danny Bowien of theMission Chinese Food restaurants in San Francisco and New York. Bowien employs ingredients—dill, chiles de àrbol, anchovies—that no Shanghainese home cook would. But the result is just as delicious. —Grace Young, author of Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge (Simon & Schuster, 2010). Click here for the recipe.
Spain – Pescao en Escabeche (Maricel E. Presilla’s Fish with Escabeche Sauce)
The cooks of Islamic Spain, or Al-Andalus, like the Romans before them, had a penchant for using vinegar-and-olive oil pickling sauces, or escabeches, to flavor and preserve everything from fish to vegetables. The technique survived the demise of Al-Andalus in Spain, as well as in many former Spanish colonies.
In my native Cuba, escabeche was synonymous with sierra (sawfish), much appreciated for its firm, white flesh. You could go to any cafeteria or restaurant and always find on the countertop a large earthenware cazuela filled with fried sawfish steaks topped with an olive oil-and-vinegar pickling sauce. Cuban escabeches often resemble contemporary Iberian models, simply seasoned with garlic, sliced yellow onion and bell pepper, and some bay leaf.
Because escabeches start with a sofrito, the iconic Spanish and Latin American flavor base subject to infinite permutations, it is not surprising to see that escabeches, too, vary tremendously across Latin America. But vinegar and olive oil remain the backbone of this singular, ocean-spanning technique. —Maricel E. Presilla, author of Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012). Click here for the recipe.
Greece – Moussaka
A good moussaka—a baked casserole of eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and minced lamb or beef under a lush layer of béchamel sauce—is one of the most fabulous things you can eat. And it takes time. In Greece, when we think of this dish, we remember our mothers and grandmothers, who often labored for hours to prepare it.
(I learned to make moussaka from my own well-organized mother, who often started the preparations the day before, frying the eggplants, preparing the meat and tomato sauce, then assembling the dish the day it was to be served.) But for a dish with such a strong grip on our memories, moussaka as we know it in Greece today has a short history: Though a similar casserole had existed previously, the added layer of Frenchified béchamel was popularized by the chef and cookbook author Nicholas Tselementes in the late 1920s.
Now, I have a hard time with Tselementes. He was an admirer of French cooking, reworking Greek recipes to fit his idea of classical cuisine, and his influence nearly wiped out traditional Greek cooking for generations. But every time I taste moussaka, with its perfect balance of flavors, I think it’s his atonement: Perhaps moussaka makes up for the rest. —Aglaia Kremezi, author of Mediterranean Hot and Spicy (Clarkson Potter, 2009). Click here for the recipe.
Germany – German Pot Roast
It was in Cologne in 1963 that I finally solved the riddle of preparing sauerbraten. What I could not achieve until then was the golden glow that shimmers over the deep brown gravy; browning flour in the conventional einbrenne (roux) never yielded that result.
But a generous chef demonstrated the secret: the addition of sugar to the einbrenne. It gilds the gravy even as its sweetness balances the sour lemon note and the zing of pickling spices. —Mimi Sheraton, author of The German Cookbook (Random House, 1965). Click here for the recipe.
Central/South America – Iraü Lau Juyeirugu (Seafood Soup)
Chicken with Rice
This simple dish is a staple of home cooking throughout Spain and Latin America.This version is mild, comforting, and brothy, almost to the point of being a soup. Click here to view the recipe.
USA – Shrimp and Oyster Perloo
One-pot rice dishes can be remarkably adaptable and easy to cook. Our favorite is perloo, from the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a cousin of jambalaya that traces its origins to the family of Middle Eastern dishes known as pilafs.
Like other rice-based specialties, such as arroz con pollo and biriyani, perloo can be made with a wide range of ingredients; in this case, we use country ham and shrimp. Click here to view the recipe.
During cooking, okra exudes a thick liquid that gives this hearty Cajun stew a sumptuous, silky texture; a little filé powder, made from dried sassafras leaves, further thickens and enriches it.
But the backbone of this gumbo, and the source of its smoky flavor, is the roux made by toasting flour in hot oil until it is a deep red-brown. Click here for the recipe.
Holiday Sweet Bread
This is an adaptation of a Caribbean cook’s generations-old family recipe. Click here to view the recipe.
Twice-Fried Green Plantains with Garlic Dipping Sauce
You can flatten the tostones between two pieces of plantain skin, but the bottom of a small pan or a flat pot lid will work, too. Click here for the recipe.
Tunisia – Casse-Croûte Tunisien (Tunisan Tuna Sandwich)
Egypt – Falafel
I have eaten my share of falafel around the world, and I love the way the simple legume patty takes on the flavor of a place, as in the dense fava bean falafels of Egypt and Iraq, Palestine’s parsley-heavy chickpea versions, and the unusual falafel I happened upon at a restaurant called Amon, on Via Palazzuolo in Florence, where the Egyptian chef Na’ama adds fresh fennel to her mash.
But any way you make it, there is nothing like falafel’s first bite: the crisp-fried exterior giving way to a creamy center of seasoned mashed beans, garlic, and parsley. —Felicia Campbell. Click here to for the recipe.
Until the next time we explore food from around the world, eat, pray and love.
- Global Cuisine Edition: Mexico (kolorblindmag.com)
- Global Cuisine: Edition 5 (kolorblindmag.com)
- Global Cuisine: Edition 6 (kolorblindmag.com)
- Today’s Recipe: Rolled Eggplant with Sausage and Mozzarella (williams-sonoma.com)
- Pickled Green Bananas – Escabeche De Guineitos Verdes (platanosmangoes.com)
- A Master of Mexican Cuisine: 4 Recipes From Roberto SantibaÃ±ez (abullseyeview.com)
- Cuisine Dreams: South Indian Bliss (earthdrifter.com)
- Ratatouille | Babble (babble.com)
- Stuffed Sicilian Aubergine (cookinginsens.wordpress.com)
- Global Kitchen: Toblerone Danish Pastry Recipe for Après-ski (skimbacolifestyle.com)