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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Fruit

In 1935 Highway Traveler magazine mentioned “icebox lime pie” as a specialty of the Florida Keys. The first key lime pies were made over 100 years ago in Key West with whole pelican eggs- without a meringue top. Later, Key West homemakers switched to chicken eggs and discovered that the whites ruined their pies. Since nothing was wasted, the homemakers added meringues to the pies to make use of the egg whites. Condensed milk (invented in 1856) was used because of the lack of fresh milk and refrigeration until the arrival of tank trucks with the opening of the Overseas Highway in 1930. But condensed milk turned out to be a successful necessity because it makes the pies really smooth.

Key lime pie has been traced back to the early 20th century in the Key West, Florida area. Its exact origins are unknown, but the first formal mention of Key lime pie as a recipe may have been made by William Curry, a ship salvager, and Key West’s first millionaire when his cook, “Aunt Sally”, made the pie for him. If such is the case, however, it is also possible and maybe even probable that Sally adapted the recipe already created by local sponge fishermen. Sponge fishermen spent many consecutive days on their boats, and stored their food on board, including nutritional basics such as canned milk (which would not spoil without refrigeration), limes and eggs. Fresh milk was not a common commodity in the Florida Keys before modern refrigerated distribution methods. Sponge fishermen at sea would presumably not have access to an oven, and, similarly, the original recipe for Key lime pie did not call for cooking the mixture of lime, milk, and eggs.

Today, Key lime pie is an American dessert made of Key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a pie crust. The traditional Conch version uses the egg whites to make a meringue topping. The dish is named after the small Key limes (Citrus aurantifolia ‘Swingle’) that are naturalized throughout the Florida Keys. While their thorns make them less attractive, and their thin, yellow rinds more perishable, Key limes are tarter and more aromatic than the common Persian limes seen year-round at grocery stores in the United States. Key lime juice, unlike regular lime juice, is a pale yellow. The filling in a Key lime pie is also yellow, largely because of the egg yolks.

During mixing, a chemical reaction between the proteins of the egg yolks and condensed milk with the acidic lime juice occurs that causes the filling to thicken on its own without requiring a thickening agent. Early recipes for Key lime pie were not baked but relied on this reaction to produce the proper consistency of the filling. Today, because consuming raw eggs can be dangerous, pies of this nature are usually baked for a short time. The baking also thickens the texture more than the reaction alone.

On July 1, 2006, the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate both passed legislation {HB 453} and {SB 676} selecting “Key Lime Pie” as the official pie of the state of Florida.

Key Lime Pie

Crust:
1 ½ cups almond flour or graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup powdered sugar or powdered sugar alternative (such as Lakanto monk fruit)
1/4 cup salted butter, melted

Filling:
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk or sugar alternative sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice or store-bought

Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
¼ teaspoon, cream of tartar
2 tablespoons powdered sugar or powdered sugar alternative (Lakanto)

Whipped Cream Topping:
1 cup heavy or whipping cream chilled
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions

For the crust

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sweetener, and salt. Stir in melted butter until the dough comes together and resembles coarse crumbs. Turn out into a glass or ceramic 9-inch pie plate. Press firmly with fingers onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup to even out the bottom.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Set aside on a wire rack; leave the oven on and turn the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

For the filling

In an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and lime zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, 3 or 4 minutes longer. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the lime juice, mixing just until combined, no longer. Pour the mixture into the baked crust. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the filling has just set.

Turn the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

For the meringue topping

With a mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread the topping over the filling and seal to the edge of crust. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until meringue is golden brown.

Note: Watch the oven and don’t take your eyes off the meringue, it could brown quickly. Place in the refrigerator and let it chill for 2-3 hours.

For the whipped cream topping

Whip the cream and the confectioners’ sugar until nearly stiff. Cut the pie into wedges and serve very cold, topping each wedge with a large dollop of whipped cream.

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Asian Chicken

Ingredients

2 pounds chicken (thighs, breasts- skin on or off according to preference)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons peeled ginger, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Combine the green onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, juice and chili flakes in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken. Seal and shake to coat the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

To grill:
Heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat (about 400°F) with two zones for direct and indirect cooking. Use tongs to oil the grill grates using a small folded piece of paper towel dipped in oil. Arrange the chicken over the high-heat section of the grill and cook for 5 minutes, or until you see dark, seared grilled marks. Turn the chicken and keep over the hot section for another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the indirect section of the grill (this helps avoid overcooking) and cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F for breasts and 180°F for thighs in the thickest part of the meat, another 10 to 15 minutes.

To broil:
Place the chicken on a broiling pan with a rack sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup of water to the tray underneath to prevent the fat from catching on fire. Broil the chicken on high heat, 9 inches from the cooking source, for about 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F for breasts and 180°F for thighs in the thickest part of the meat, another 10 to 15 minutes.

Bacon Fried Rice

Ingredients

4 cups cold cooked white rice
2 teaspoons peanut oil
8 bacon slices, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 green onions

Directions

Thinly slice the scallions and set aside the green portions. Bring the cooked rice to room temperature; set aside.
In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
Add the white sliced scallions and celery, and sauté together for 4-5 minutes more, turning down the heat slightly if too much browning occurs.


Add the peas, and stir to combine. Then gently stir in the rice. Let the rice mixture heat thoroughly over medium heat. Make a well in the middle, and add the eggs. Stir occasionally to make sure they’re cooking, then stir them into the rice. There should be little bits of cooked egg throughout the rice. Stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce. and green onion tops. Serve immediately.

Broccoli In Oyster Sauce

Ingredients

3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of sugar
Water
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 head broccoli (1 1/2 pounds)

Directions

Trim the broccoli and cut into long florets. In a small bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and 1 tablespoon water.


In a large skillet, heat peanut oil over medium-high. Add garlic and broccoli. Cook, tossing occasionally until broccoli is bright green, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and cook until the broccoli is tender but still has some bite, about 2-3 minutes. Add oyster sauce mixture; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Serve.


Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons room temperature butter, divided
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, divided
Powdered sugar

Directions

Cream together 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy in an electric mixer; add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large measuring cup combine the cream and water; whisk together.

Add to the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the cream liquid. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
Toss the blueberries in 1/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon lemon rind. Spoon the berry mixture over the batter.

Combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup flour and the remaining teaspoon of lemon zest.r; cut in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the berries.

Bake in preheated 375 degrees F oven for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar before serving.

Blueberry Scones

Ingredients

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon. baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling on the top

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and, using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut butter into the flour until the size of peas. Add fruit and toss to coat.
Make a well in the mixture and add the eggs and heavy cream. Mix with your hands until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and pat into an 8″ round. Cut into 8 triangles and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until lightly golden, 20 to 22 minutes.
Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the scones to a rack to cool completely.


Scallop and Prosciutto Kebabs

4 servings

You can also make a combination of shrimp and scallops if you prefer.

Ingredients

16 large sea scallops (about 1½ pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
16 large basil leaves

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.

If the scallops still have the tough muscle that attaches them to the shell, trim it off. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels.

Whisk together the lemon juice and a hefty pinch of salt in a medium bowl until the salt has dissolved; whisk in the olive oil. Add the scallops and toss until they are well coated.

Cut the prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Arrange the strips on a work surface and place a basil leaf in the edge of each strip. Top the leaf with a scallop and wrap the prosciutto around the scallop to enclose it. Thread 4 prosciutto-wrapped scallops onto each of 4 metal skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them for 20 minutes in water before threading the scallops.)

Place the skewers on the grill and cook the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until almost firm to the touch, transfer to plates and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled Summer Squash

This recipe can be broiled also.

8 servings

Ingredients
4 medium zucchini, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each
4 medium yellow squash, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each

Marinade
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped scallions, white portion only
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Directions

Trim the ends of the zucchini and the squash, cut them into 2-inch rounds.
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and add the squash rounds. Roll the bag to evenly coat in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


Preheat a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.
Remove the zucchini and squash from the bag and thread on skewers.
Place the skewers on the grate, close the lid, and grill until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the skewers over, close the lid, and grill on the second side until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes.

Grilled Corn On the Cob

Ingredients

4 ears fresh corn, husked
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

To Grill
Preheat an outdoor grill to high.
Combine butter, lime zest, lime juice, ground chipotle and salt in a small bowl
Place each ear on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose the corn. Spread some of the butter spread over each ear. Enclose the foil and seal the ends. Place on the grill and cook, turning frequently, for 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and let stand in the foil for 5 minutes
Carefully unwrap the corn.

To Bake
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Prepare the corn as above and place the wrapped corn on a baking sheet.
Roast the corn, turning once, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.


The term “Spanish-American” is used to refer to Americans whose ancestry originates directly from Spain. Spanish Americans are the longest-established European-American group with a continuous presence in Florida since 1565 and are the eighth-largest Hispanic group in the United States of America. The emigration of great numbers of Spaniards from Spain during the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century was significant enough to place Spain among the most active migratory peoples of Europe, ranking behind the United Kingdom and Italy and ranking closely with Austria-Hungary and Germany.

Throughout the colonial times, there were a number of settlements of Spanish populations in the present-day United States of America with governments answerable to Madrid. The first settlement was at St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565, followed by others in New Mexico, California, Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana. In 1598, San Juan de Los Caballeros was established near present-day Santa Fe, New Mexico by Juan de Oñate with about 1,000 other Spaniards. Spanish immigrants also established settlements in San Diego, California (1602), San Antonio, Texas (1691) and Tucson, Arizona (1699). By the mid-1600s the Spanish in America numbered more than 400,000. After the establishment of the American colonies, an additional 250,000 immigrants arrived either directly from Spain, the Canary Islands or from present-day central Mexico. These Spanish settlers expanded European influence in the New World. The Canary Islanders settled in bayou areas surrounding New Orleans in Louisiana from 1778 to 1783 and in San Antonio de Bejar, San Antonio, Texas, in 1731.

Like those aboard the Mayflower, most Spaniards came to the New World seeking land to farm, or occasionally, as historians have recently established, freedom from religious persecution. A smaller percentage of the new Spanish settlers were descendants of Spanish Jews and Spanish Muslims. Also coming to the Americas were the Basques (an ethnic group from north-central Spain and south-western France) who excelled as explorers and soldiers. A second reason for their emigration was their region’s devastation from the Napoleonic Wars in the first half of the nineteenth century. In the 1930s and 1940s, Spanish immigration mostly consisted of refugees fleeing from the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and from the Franco military regime in Spain, which lasted until his death in 1975.

Many Spanish Americans still retain aspects of their culture. This includes Spanish food, drink, art, and annual fiestas. The influence of Spanish cuisine is seen in the cuisine of the United States throughout the country. A study published in 2010 by La Caixa found that in Spain, there’s an average of 1 bar for every 129 Spaniards, thus eating and drinking are a very important part of Spanish culture. In Spain most bars are restaurants. These establishments are social meeting places where people can just have fun. A typical bar will always have a variety of tapas that vary from region to region and are usually included in the price of the drink or offered at a discount. Many bars offer a ”menú del día” (a three-course meal offered at a fixed price), “platos combinados”(one plate with different types of food), and “raciones” (large plates of food to share with the entire group). Another popular option, especially for Spanish dinner, is “irse de tapas/pinchos”, which means to hop from one bar to the next, enjoying a tapa at each place until you’re stuffed.

According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were thin slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses with between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners created a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.

Enjoying food served as tapas at home or in restaurants has become popular in the U.S. A tapa is a small portion of Spanish food. Tapas may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or hot (such as battered, fried baby squid). Tapas can also be combined to make a full meal. Here are a few recipes for tapas that you can easily make at home. The recipes make large portions, so I cut the amounts in half for our small family.

Stuffed Dates

Ingredients

24 Medjool dates
1/2 cup cream cheese
12 strips bacon, cut in half (not thick-cut bacon)
Sturdy toothpicks

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.
With a small sharp knife, make a slit in one side of each date and remove the pit.
Stuff about 1 teaspoon of cheese into the cavity.
Wrap 1/2 slice of bacon around each date. Secure with a toothpick.


Place on a rimmed baking tray lined with foil and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, turn each date over and bake for 8 minutes. Repeat this step one more time, or until all the bacon is cooked. Cook longer if you prefer crispier bacon.
Drain on paper towels. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Refrigerate leftovers.

Tortilla (Spanish Egg and Potato Omelette)

Ingredients

2 pounds of potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
8 large eggs
1 onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

Beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with some salt and pepper.

Slice the onion as thin as possible and fry in a large skillet with a tablespoon or two of olive oil for about 10 minutes until they begin to caramelize (stir often).
When the onions are caramelized, drain off any excess oil and add to the egg mixture.

Peel the potatoes and rinse them under cold water. Slice the potatoes into thin slices.
Pat the potato slices dry and put them into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well.

Heat a ½ inch of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan at medium-low heat.
When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and add more oil if necessary until all are covered by the oil.
Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes over low heat. When the potatoes have been frying 20 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon into a strainer and allow to cool off while any excess oil drips away. Save the oil to use for cooking.

After a few minutes, add the potatoes to the egg mixture and stir well. Let the egg mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
Reheat the pan where you fried potatoes over medium-low heat and add the egg mixture.


Over low heat, cook the eggs for about 6-8 minutes per side.
When you are sure that the bottom is cooked and you want to flip the tortilla, take a large plate and put it over the pan and flip it over quickly! When the second side is cooked, slide the omelet out of the pan onto a serving plate and let cool before serving.

Pan con Tomate (Spanish-Style Grilled Bread With Tomato)

Ingredients

2 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
Kosher salt
1 loaf ciabatta, split in half horizontally lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch slice
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, split in half
Flaky sea salts, such as Maldon or fleur de sel

Directions

Split tomatoes in half horizontally. Place a box grater into a large bowl. Rub the cut faces of the tomatoes over the large holes of the box grater, using the flattened palm of your hand to move the tomatoes back and forth. The flesh should be grated off, while the skin remains intact in your hand. Discard the skin and season the tomato pulp with kosher salt to taste.

.Adjust rack to 4 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler to high. Place bread, cut side up, on a cutting board and drizzle with olive oil. Season with kosher salt. Place bread, cut side up, on a rack set in a tray or directly on the broiler rack and broil until crisp and starting to char around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes.

.Remove the bread from the oven and rub with the split garlic cloves. Spoon tomato mixture over bread. Drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil and season with large flaky sea salt. Serve immediately.

Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)

Ingredients

12 cloves garlic
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, shells reserved
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch red pepper flakes or a 1-inch piece dried guajillo chili
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions

Finely mince 4 garlic cloves and place in a large bowl. Smash 4 cloves under the flat side of a knife and place in a large skillet. Thinly slice remaining four garlic cloves and set aside.

Add shrimp to the bowl with the minced garlic. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and baking soda. Toss to combine thoroughly and set aside at room temperature.

Add shrimp shells to the skillet with smashed garlic and add remaining olive oil and pepper flakes. Set over medium-low to low heat and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until shells are deep ruby red and the garlic is pale golden brown about 10 minutes. Oil should be gently bubbling the whole time. When ready, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, tossing and pressing the shrimp shells to extract as much oil as possible. Discard shells and garlic.

Return flavored oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sliced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until pale golden brown, about 1 minute. Add reserved shrimp and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until shrimp are barely cooked through about 2 minutes. Add sherry vinegar and parsley and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.


While many readers are experiencing spring at this time of year, here in the deep south it is summer – hot -90’s already! Here are some ideas for supper when it gets hot in your region.

Sliced Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

2 large slices of smoked salmon per person. Place the slices of salmon on a serving plate.
Sprinkle the salmon slices lightly with fresh lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh dill.

Cantaloupe

Slice or cube a ripe cantaloupe and place in a serving bowl.

Pasta Salad

Ingredients

Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus additional leaves for garnish
½ teaspoon black pepper

Salad

Salt
8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
½ cup shredded carrot
3 scallions, finely diced
½ cup finely chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded

Directions

Cook the penne in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
In a large casserole dish with a cover, mix together the dressing ingredients. Add the hot pasta and mix well. Stir in the vegetables. Cover the dish and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Just before serving, mix the salad again and garnish with parsley.

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

4 large eggs
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 scallion, finely diced
1 tablespoon of finely diced celery
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Paprika, for garnish

Directions

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until the water begins to boil, then cover and turn off the heat. Let the eggs rest in the covered pan for 14 minutes, then place in a pan of ice water. under cold water
When cool carefully peel the eggs and gently dry them with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks to a medium bowl, and place the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise (only enough to bind the mixture), mustard, scallion, celery, and pepper, and mix well.
Evenly spoon heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.


Immigrants to the United States from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are referred to as Asian Indians. The first Asian Indians or Indian Americans, as they are also known, arrived in America as early as the middle of the nineteenth century. By the end of the nineteenth century, about 2,000 Indians, most of them Sikhs (a religious minority from India’s Punjab region), settled on the west coast of the United States, having come in search of economic opportunity. The majority of Sikhs worked in agriculture and construction. Other Asian Indians came as merchants and traders; many worked in lumber mills and logging camps in the western states of Oregon, Washington, and California, where they rented bunkhouses, acquired knowledge of English and assumed Western dress. Between 1910 and 1920, as agricultural work in California began to become more abundant and better paying, many Indian immigrants turned to the fields and orchards for employment. For many of the immigrants who had come from villages in rural India, farming was both familiar and preferable. In July 1946, Congress passed a bill allowing naturalization for Indians and approximately 6,000 Asian Indians immigrated to the United States between 1947 and 1965.

From 1965 onward, a second significant wave of Indian immigration began, spurred by a change in U.S. immigration law that lifted prior quotas and restrictions and allowed significant numbers of Asians to immigrate. Between 1965 and 1974, Indian immigration to the United States increased at a rate greater than that from almost any other country. This wave of immigrants was very different from the earliest Indian immigrants—Indians that emigrated after 1965 were overwhelmingly urban, professional, and highly educated and quickly engaged in gainful employment in many U.S. cities. Many had prior exposure to Western society and education and their transition to the United States was a smooth one. More than 100,000 such professionals and their families entered the U.S. in the decade after 1965.

India Square, Jersey City, New Jersey, is home to the highest concentration of Asian Indians in the Western Hemisphere and is one of at least 24 Indian American enclaves characterized as a Little India which have emerged within the New York Metropolitan Area.

In general, the Asian Indian community has preferred to settle in the larger American cities rather than smaller towns, especially in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. The Asian Indian community in the United States is an ethnically diverse one. One can distinguish among subgroups who trace their roots to different regions or states within India, who speak different languages, eat different foods, and follow distinct customs. Some of the most populous Indian groups within the United States are Gujaratis, Bengalis, Punjabis, Marathis, and Tamils.

The majority of Asian Indian Americans have retained diets rooted in Indian cuisine. Indian food is prepared with a variety of spices, including cumin, turmeric, chili powder, ginger, and garlic. All Asian Indians eat a variety of dals (lentils), beans, and chaval (rice) dishes. Hindus generally will not eat beef for religious reasons, while Muslims do not eat pork.
Tandoori, the clay-baked chicken or fish marinated in yogurt and spices, is a popular North Indian dish. Biryani, or flavored rice with vegetables and meats, is served on festive occasions, often accompanied by a cooling yogurt sauce called raita (rye-tah). Southern Indian dishes like masala, dosai crepes filled with spiced potatoes, and steamed rice cakes, are also popular.
Green chutneys made of mint or coriander accompany a variety of savory fritters like the triangular, stuffed samosas. Pickled vegetables and fruits like lemons or mangoes are popular accompaniments to meals. A variety of unleavened bread like naans, rotis, and parathas are also widely eaten.

Most Asian Indian American families continue to eat freshly-prepared Indian food for the main meal of the day and the evening meal often serves as the time when the family will get together to discuss their daily activities. The average Asian Indian family tends not to eat out as often as other American families because of the importance accorded to eating together at the family table.

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dish consisting of chicken marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices that are traditionally cooked in high temperatures in a tandoor (clay oven) and also can be prepared on a traditional barbecue grill.

Tandoor cooked chicken actually dates back to the Mughal period. This delicacy was the main course at Indian feasts of that day. Other stories of its origins exist, such as the one about a man named Kundan Lal Gujral, who ran a restaurant called Moti Mahal in Peshawar before the partition of British India. Trying out new recipes to keep his patrons interested, Gujral tried cooking chicken in tandoors (clay ovens) used by the locals to cook naan bread. The tandoors are bell-shaped ovens, set into the earth and fired with wood or charcoal reaching temperatures of about 480 degrees. Gujral was able to cook the tender chickens in these ovens making them succulent inside and crispy outside. After the partition in 1947, Punjab was partitioned with the Eastern portion joining India and western Pakistan. Peshawar became part of Pakistan and Gujral found himself a refugee fleeing the upheaval by moving to India. He moved his restaurant to Delhi in a place called Daryaganj.

The dish gained so much fame that even the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru was so impressed by the Tandoori chicken at Moti Mahal that he made it a regular at most of his official banquets. Visiting dignitaries like the American Presidents Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, Soviet leaders Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev, the King of Nepal, and the Shah of Iran have all enjoyed this famous dish.

The chicken gets its characteristic red color from either a lot of red chilies or the addition of red food dye. You don’t need a tandoor oven to make tandoori chicken. You can cook it over a grill or in an oven with a broiler.

Ingredients

2 lbs skinless chicken thighs and breasts
Vegetable oil for basting
Marinade
5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder (or substitute ½ teaspoon each paprika and cayenne pepper)
½ cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
3 teaspoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
Garnishes
Thin slices of red onion, tomato, cucumber, lime, and mint leaves

Directions

Use a sharp knife to make shallow cuts in the chicken. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large plastic ziplock bag. Add the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours. I did not use red food coloring.

To grill
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high. Remove chicken from the bag using tongs and place it on the grill; discard the bag and extra marinade. Grill for about 10 minutes on each side, brushing with oil before turning. The meat should feel firm when you press it and register an internal temperature of 165 degrees F for the breasts and 180 degrees F for the thighs on an instant-read thermometer.

To bake
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and set a rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray or grease with vegetable oil.

Arrange the chicken on the rack, leaving space between the pieces. Roast for 45 minutes, turning once midway through until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through (be sure to turn on your exhaust fan as the oven will get a little smoky). Turn on the broiler and broil the chicken about 6 inches from the heat for 3-5 minutes, until lightly charred and crisp all over.

To finish the dish
Transfer the chicken to a large platter. Arrange the garnish slices over the chicken and seal the platter with foil. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes to absorb the garnish flavors before serving.

Indian-Style Basmati Rice

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced or shredded
1/2 large green chili, seeded and sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, chili, and ginger and stir for 3-4 minutes until the onion softens. Add rice and stir well to coat with the butter. Stir in stock, turmeric, peas, and salt. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is tender. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.



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