Middle Eastern Food

~ Ziyan (Angel) W. and Chongyu (Alex) Z.

MeltingPot MiddleEastern_Hanrahan - 26 MeltingPot MiddleEastern_Hanrahan - 20Friday, we made Middle Eastern Food with Chef Julie. Middle Eastern foods have a different flavor than other type of cuisine. Not too many sugars, not too many salts, but delicious. We made Baba Ganoush with Pita, Dolmas, Kefta Kabobs with yogurt dip, Basboosa cake and Cantaloupe beverage.

MeltingPot MiddleEastern_Hanrahan - 27The Baba Ganoush with Pita, which is made with mashed eggplants, chopped flat-leaf parsley, minced garlic, brine-cured black olives, a little cumin, some tahini, some fresh lemon juice, a little olive oil and a little salt. Baba Ganoush with Pita tastes delicious; it has many interesting flavors. The Dolma was made with boiled grape leaves and filled with a rice mixture. It’s a cold dish.

Dolmas

 


Kefta kabobs were made with beef and lamb and grilled. Yogurt dip was made with real yogurt and chopped cucumber.

MeltingPot MiddleEastern_Hanrahan - 14Basboosa cake was easy to make, but it amazed us. The flavor of rose water comes up after a few minutes when we eat it! The Cantaloupe beverage was made of grated ripe cantaloupe with fresh lemon juice, a little sugar and water. In the future, I would choose a Mexican restaurant again. I enjoyed making Mexican food, but it is hard to find the ingredients. However, I would love to cook Mexican food again.

Kafka

 

 

Asian Food

~ Shanshan Y.

During the first week of Field Academy, we cooked Asian food with Chef Shigeko’s help, including Spring Rolls, Mochi – Tang Yuan, Potstickers, and Teochew Beef Balls.

Tang Yuan prep2

We were assigned into four groups. My group made Potstickers. Potstickers are just fried jiaozi and they are from Northern China. We began with working on the stuffing for the potstickers. It contains chopped cabbage, pork, green onions, and diced water chestnuts. After that, we wrapped the stuffing with the wrapper of jiaozi we bought and then sealed it with some water on the edge for sticking the edges together. When this step had been done, we began to fry the wrapped jiaozi. We dumped enough oil to make the whole pan bottom fill with oil and then put all the jiaozi on the pan when oil got hot enough. We waited until the dumplings were all cooked without moving them at all. In this way, we could make the bottom of the dumplings form a nice golden layer, which tasted crispy. The potstickers tasted very delicious. The water chestnut inside it gave a nice texture.

The way we cooked Tang Tang Yuan prepYuan was very interesting. The Tang Yuan’s filling is the traditional and most common one—sesame paste. We rolled the filling into a ball first. Then, we took some of the dough we made with rice flour and a small amount of water and then wrapped the ball inside. Now, it could be cooked. We cooked in two ways, boiling and deep-fried. I have never tasted the deep-fried Tang Yuan before and it tasted pretty interesting. The outer layer is very crispy, but this cooking way still kept it tasting great.

Tang Yuan

I did not take part in the process of making spring rolls, but it came out looking and tasting very delicious. You can see it below:

Spring Rolls

Teochew Beef Balls were cooked on a different day, but it still came out tasting pretty good.

Beef Ball prep

MOFAD

~ Zhixiang (Andy) Z.

After we had lunch and purchased the ingredients we needed to make our recipe in Chinatown, we went to MOFAD, the Museum of Food and Drink. The museum was closed at that day, however, we had a scheduled tour. The museum’s theme was the history of Chinese food in America.

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MeltingPot NYC_1_Hanrahan - 41In the museum, there were Chinese-American restaurant menus dating back to 1910. These artifacts show the evolution of the Chinese cuisine in the USA. In the 19th century, Chinese people went to western America looking for gold. They did find gold originally, but after people work an area panning for gold, it eventually runs out; the supply does not replenish itself. When the gold in a certain area runs out, sometimes people tried to find other areas where there is a good supply. If they are not successful, they need to look for another source of income. For the Chinese, this was the railroad. With the development of the transcontinental railroad, there were a lot of jobs available for a short period of time. When the railroad was finished, the Chinese people again had difficulty finding work.

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MeltingPot NYC_1_Hanrahan - 38Imagine you and your friend go to another continent, and you can not eat the food you used to eat in your whole life?  The desire of eating and the miss of home motivates Chinese to cook their own food in the USA. Some of them even started restaurants. At first, the restaurants did not work well because most of the food did not match the taste Americans were used to – European type food. In 1896, a Chinese man called Li Hong Zhang came to America and he brought many chefs with him. He cooked for famous people in New York once. In order to fulfill the taste of Americans, he mixed the food that locals eat and the Chinese sauce. People who tasted the food called it “CHOP SUEY”, it means the mix of fried food in Chinese. As time went by, Chinese food in America became more like a mixture of food. Nowadays, there are more Chinese restaurants than McDonald’s in America.

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Going To Chinatown and Panna Garden II

~Brandon H.

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It was a warm, humid morning when we arrived at Chinatown for lunch. Everyone ate at a traditional, authentic small Taiwanese Restaurant, called the Taiwan Porkchop House. I had sticky rice, stuffed lotus root, salt/pepper fried chicken, and bubble tea. BrandonslunchThe chicken was my favorite of all the foods. It was deep fried and heavily seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices, then served over sticky rice in a bowl. The plate was garnished with some fresh stir-fried sour Chinese napa cabbage (the lower stem portion). This added some crunch to the soft, mushy rice texture, and gave it a sour flavor, which the bland rice took on well. The bubble tea was chilled black tea made creamy with the addition of milk, and then sweetened to taste with sugar or honey. The tea was garnished with large black tapioca pearls, giving it a chewy, slimy texture on the bottom of the glass, as well as some visual attraction. In order to “drink” the tea with the tapioca in it, a large, wide straw with a sharp point at the end was necessary.  

Bubble tea was a unique beverage to an average American like me, but I have drank bubble tea many times before. Perhaps the strangest thing I ate was the lotus root. It LotusRootwas totally new to me, and I never knew lotus root even existed. It can be served sweet or savory. If pan-fried, or fried, the lotus root is used as a mild flavored, crunchy, starchy vegetable that pairs with most flavors to add texture and starch to a dish. When boiled for long periods of time, it loses its crunchiness, and becomes mushy and easy to mash, having texture and consistency almost like a slightly hard, undercooked potato. The lotus root is bland and takes on flavors very well. It was served boiled in a sweet reduction sauce of sugar water. The naturally occurring holes in the root were stuffed with sticky rice, so that when cooked the rice expanded, filling these cavities. After boiling until soft, the root was then skinned, sliced into thin rounds, and served with a drizzle of the sweet reduction.

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MeltingPot NYC_1_Hanrahan - 17After enjoying this authentic meal, we took a walk around Chinatown. We encountered things unusual to regular markets such as huge bins of dried fish, sea cucumbers,
massive 50 gallon tanks brimming with live fish, buckets of live turtles and frogs, and interesting looking vegetables which are uncommon in this region, and unknown to the Western world, such as dragon fruit, daikon radish, rambutan, and giant grapefruits called pomelos.

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I bought some dragon fruit, which was like prickly pear, but with small edible seeds. There were huge fruits hanging in the windows of a few of the fancier markets that must have weighed 20-45 pounds!!!! They were green and spiky on the outside and mushy, sweet, and yellow fleshed on the inside. These were called jackfruits. They boasted a seriously sweet aroma, and tasted like a starchy mango.

MeltingPot NYC_1_Hanrahan - 115We ate dinner at a small hole-in-the wall Indian-American style place called Panna Garden II. It was extremely tiny with only two 12 seat tables and barely enough room to stand or walk to the very small bathroom, but the atmosphere was out of this world, and made up for there being little room to move. The whole ceiling was strung with lights and images of flags of countries around the world, and the restaurant’s recognitions on plaques from well-known foodies and chefs, cooking shows, and movies that came down to about four feet off the floor. To walk around, you had to duck your head down. MeltingPot NYC_1_Hanrahan - 112The lights blinked and flashed colors and were programmed to put on a light show, while speakers played Indian house music. The food was authentic Indian food and was very good tasting, but had some American influences. It was Indian-American fusion. The grilled naan with cheese was not authentic Indian food. It had American cheese in the middle, and was very similar to a grilled cheese. I ordered pineapple poori, but it was deep fried, and not baked in a tandoori oven, and looked more like an empanada rather than a round poori. The pineapple, American cheese, shape, and frying preparation made it very Americanized, but it was the most unique poori I’ve ever had, compared to those that I have sampled at regular traditional Indian Restaurants. I also had saag paneer with spinach, and with peas. Both were good and authentic. For dessert we had mango lassi, but with an American touch that was totally awesome to me – mango lassi ice cream. Tasted like mango lassi, but much sweeter (almost overpoweringly sweet) and less “yogurty” and made into ice cream.  

brandonsIndiandish

MeltingPot NYC_1_Hanrahan - 118All in all, it was an exciting trip, with the best of two cultural experiences, Indian, and Asian.