Thursday, July 25, 2013

Some Great New Recipes Fuel the Immigration Debate

Growing up in the 1950’s in New York, foreign food meant Cantonese, Italian, and occasionally, French or maybe Greek. There weren’t many new immigrants arriving in the USA at that time. Even though we loved to sample new foods, that was all that was available. We looked forward to having it when we did. Later on in the '60's, fulaffel came to New York and so did different Chinese cuisines. The Cubans opened some restaurants, also. Nevertheless, the choices lacked the diversity we have today.

Now living right outside of Chicago, I'm within a half hour ride from restaurants serving every cuisine imaginable from Afghani to Vietnamese. I have to say that it’s a lot more interesting and delicious this way. The influx of peoples to Chicago has made my cooking a lot more varied, also since I’ve learned new ways of cooking from people that we've met  and gotten to know. It' added a richness to our lives that I cherish. 

In Niles Township, Illinois, the participants and volunteers (of which I am one) at the English Language Learners Parent Center got together and contributed recipes from their home countries to make a cookbook. A lot of them look interesting and tasty while others sound really delectable. If you want to buy a copy of A Taste of Niles Township: Recipes from our Global Village, their website is

This week I was excited to try Kuwaiti Curried Chicken. Years ago, I never even knew where Kuwait was on the globe let alone someone who could give me one of their recipes. Although I don’t know what the real thing tastes like, my attempt came out very good. Not finding one of the ingredients (dry limes), I substituted fresh limes. I also did some short cuts.

Preparation time: 30 minutes. It serves six.


                                                            Kuwaiti Curried Chicken

About three pounds of skinned, boneless chicken breasts

1 and 3/4 tsp baharat (allspice) I spent a lot of time searching for baharat until I went into a Middle Eastern store and was told that baharat is allspice. “Oh,” I said. “Why didn’t you say so?”

turmeric, coriander to taste
a dash of curry powder
plain breadcrumbs

2 large onions chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger grated
1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup olive oil
2 limes cut in pieces
1 cup frozen okra

Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Let stand.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the baharat (allspice), turmeric, coriander, and curry powder with the bread crumbs. Dip chicken pieces in water then lightly coat with the breadcrumb mixture.

Sauté in the olive oil and remove from the pan.

Next cook the onions, garlic, and ginger in the olive oil until transparent. Add the cinammon. After five minutes, add tomato sauce, water, and limes. Bring to a high simmer. Add the chicken pieces and the okra. Reduce heat to low and cook in pot for about an hour.

It’s good served with white rice and salad.

I invite any Congressperson even thinking of voting against the Immigration bill to take a culinary tour of the North Side of Chicago with me. I’m sure he or she would change his (or her) vote. Bon appetit!



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