Culture

Immigrant Communities Put Their Own Unique Spin On Thanksgiving Traditions, Here Are Some Of Our Favorites

Among the many holidays celebrated in the United States (and Canada!) perhaps Thanksgiving is the one most closely related to family. Each year, hundreds of thousands of families reunite even if their members live in a different state or even a different country. Thanksgiving, in its contemporary iteration, is a celebration than is also a reminder that the land that is now the United States has been fertile ground for stories of second chances and dreams fulfilled (we should not forget, of course, that the land was never ceded by the original Native-American owners and that other than the original indigenous population everyone is a guest). 

One of the ways in which folk celebrate their own cultural identity during Thanksgiving is giving the traditional turkey and fixings a personal taste derived from the culinary traditions of their own home countries, or the part of the world from where their families originally come from. 

However, taking a liking to the very American turkey is not always an easy feat for some migrant communities.

Credit: Unsplash

As a recent article in The Washington Post wittily points out: “Many first-generation immigrants to America can’t help but eyeball the bird with skepticism, no matter how much they want to adopt the customs of their new home. Turkeys — often hulking specimens, hard to cook, rather bland — are not native to many countries around the world”. You can only imagine what a Mexican abuelita who knows how to make mole the traditional way, with about a million ingredients, must think of just sticking a big bird into an oven and lazily waiting for it to cook with butter, garlic and a bit of herbs and spices. Not for her! We are sure this hypothetical abuelita is up for a bigger challenge! 

So what about adding a bit of this? Yes, the smokey chile ancho!

Credit: Spices, Inc.

Mexican-American chef Adán Medrano recently revealed his secret to The Washington Post: the humble ancho chili, which is nothing more than a dried and sometimes smoked poblano. He created a recipe for Turkey Enchilado, channeling the culinary tradition of his family’s native Coahuila, in Northern Mexico. His recipe is spectacular in its simplicity. Medrano describes it like this in his blog: “A delicious Mexican favorite, this recipe for Turkey Enchilado, or Guajolote Enchilado, will bring mouthwatering smiles to your family and amigos, amigas.  I use only one type of chile, Chile Ancho, because I like the direct flavor and also because this is the dried chile that my mom used most often during the holidays”. Here’s the absolutely delicious and simple recetita. You are welcome. 

What about pavo con mole? Nothing screams “Mexican abuelita” like this timeless classic.

Credit: Locale Magazine

Mole is a complex sauce that, among many other things, contains chocolate, chilies and broth. This recipe is adapted for those more gringo inclined palates and has a bit of a sweet and tangy feel to it. It has plenty of shortcuts (like using Dona Maria mole instead of making it from scratch, just don’t tell your tias or they will eat you alive with chismes). This sweet and savory turkey can be the centerpiece of a good Cena de Accion de Gracias, and you can complement it with all the Mexican sides, such as papas con chorizo, nopalitos and of course a container full of steaming tortillitas. Find the recipe here

And did you know some dishes from India have a piquancy similar to the one found in some Latin American dishes?

Credit: Pink Chai Living

Have you ever tried tandoori? It is a delicious mix of spices that is used in the area known as Punjab, in Northern India. It is used to season grilled meats and make them tender and juicy on the inside, so it is the perfect fit for a Thanksgiving turkey. If you have a Latino family and want to be just a bit daring, this might be the way to go. Raj Thandhi, an Indian-Canadian woman and editor of the blog Pink Chai Living came up with an amazing recipe that honors her roots while also being the perfect hero for a family dinner. Tandoori is as complex as any mole and the paste requires a series of perfectly balanced ingredients. Just look at this list, which is enough to make your head spin!

3 cups yogurt
2 tbsp chilli powder
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp coriander
1.5 tsp chaat masala
1.5 tsp garam masala
1.5 tsp black peper
1.5 tsp crushed fenugreek leaves
2 tsp black salt
5 tbsps each ginger and garlic paste
3 tbsps oil
2 tsp red food color 2
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 cup chopped mint 

Ready to get down and dirty in the kitchen and impress all your guests?

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Mexican Mom Has Gone Viral On TikTok For Her Recipe Videos Showing You How Easy It Is To Be A Cook

Culture

This Mexican Mom Has Gone Viral On TikTok For Her Recipe Videos Showing You How Easy It Is To Be A Cook

@JennyMartinezzz / TikTok

Look, it’s no secret that cooking isn’t for everyone. It can be tiring, time-consuming, and sometimes downright difficult. Even if we’re learning from our abuelos or tíos, who are passing down a generation’s worth of recipes, the idea of cooking can be intimidating.

But one woman has taken to TikTok to demystify Mexican cooking and she’s making it look super easy in the process. And as someone who’s actually tried out several of her quick TikTok recipe videos, I can tell you, it is as easy as it looks.

Jenny Martinez has quickly become TikTok’s favorite Latina mom.

In her videos on TikTok, Jenny Martinez shares her traditional Mexican recipient with more than 1.5 million followers – and everything from her dad’s famous shrimp cocktail to her easy churros is on the menu.

Martinez got the idea to create recipe videos for TikTok from her daughter, who herself is an avid TikTok user. The duo shot a few short videos and from their things quickly escalated.

“The following morning my phone was blowing up and we couldn’t believe it that one of my videos had gone viral,” Martinez told In The Know.

Although creating video content, especially cooking content, is a lot of work, Martinez sees it as a chance to do what she already loves – to cook. For her, it’s not just about making mouthwatering meals, like conchas con nieve or chuletas abobadasit’s about preserving Mexican culture.

She learned traditional cooking from her mother growing up.

Like so many of us, Martinez grew up learning how to cook with her mother.

“For me, it’s not — it’s not that I’m giving away my secrets,” Martinez told In The Know. “To me, it’s just sharing my knowledge to the younger community so we can continue our culture, the authentic Mexican recipes that our grandmas, our mothers passed down to us.”

Food is one of the greatest bonds between a community. It helps shape traditions, events, ceremonies, and entire cultures. Martinez knows this and believes that food can unite the people within a culture while educating those outside of it. Some of her followers haven’t heard of the ingredients she uses but her explainers in English make such barriers fade away.

“The whole Mexican cooking, it’s just something that connects us together as a community and as Mexicans,” Martinez told In The Know. “Now that I see that in social media that everybody wants to learn and everybody wants to keep on the traditions, that’s what I like. That’s what I want to see.”

The mom’s recipes are great for budding chefs at all levels.

Martinez tells her followers not to get so hung up on trying something new and just attempt to do what you want with the recipe.

“You don’t have to be an expert in cooking. Just open the fridge and start following my recipes. I try to make them as easy as possible,” she said.

But at the heart of it all, Martinez is really passionate about her craft.

“I honestly see the beauty in food and in the cooking,” Martinez told In The Know. “I mean, it’s kind of like an art at the end of the day. When you’re plating it and when you see everything just combining. When you see all of those ingredients, that aroma coming out, to me it’s just beautiful.”

One of her most popular recipe videos are her sandia paletas!

Sure, summer may be over but it’s still forever sandia season in my mind. Especially the version Martinez does on her TikTok. Lathered in chamo y and tajin, you’ll never look at sandia paletas the same.

And you’re not the only one – this video has been viewed more than 1.2 million times!

This is the one that I tried to make and it turned out soooo good.

Carne asada nachos are the ultimate cure for la cruda and every time I was out at bar hoping (pre-Covid obviously), I’d almost always end up at a truck by my house for these guys. But doing them at home is just as easy and mil veces mas delicious!

Martinez teaches you how to make these bomb nachos in less than 30 seconds so it’s worth your investment. The result is everything!

Which recipes are you most excited to try out? Or h

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

5 Secret Family Recipes We Wish We Knew

Culture

5 Secret Family Recipes We Wish We Knew

Secret family recipes. We all got ‘em. It could be your abuelita’s pozole that goes back generations or your tio’s tamales that he made on accident but actually turned out pretty good. Whatever it is, each family has a dish they’re known for and that everyone looks forward to munching on.  Oh, and don’t even try to make it yourself because they will never EVER reveal the secret recipe. So, instead of sitting around trying to crack our family’s secret recipes, let’s talk to some of our friends about their family’s secret recipes and see what makes them so delicioso. 

Pernil

Pernil is a slow-roasted pork dish typically associated with the Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and is usually eaten around the holidays. Sasha Merci says, “Every time I ask my great aunt, ‘what is the recipe?’ they’ll tell me all the spices that I have to use, but they won’t tell me how much I have to use!” Been there, Sasha. Been there. 

Arroz Con Leche

Alejo Perez tells us “My grandma’s arroz con leche is undefeated.” Bold words, but c’mon, how many of us have said the same thing about our abuela’s arroz con leche? Each spoonful of that sweet, creamy, tasty rice pudding is like filling your heart with all of grandma’s love. “I don’t know what grandma does that adds that oomph,” says Alejo. Honestly, the secret ingredient is probably grandma’s love. 

Pumpkin Empanadas

The beauty of the empanada is its versatility. Sure, you can put chicken or beef in there, but why stop at meat? That’s where these dessert empanadas come in. “I’d never had a sweet empanada before, I’d always had, like, savory ones and I was like ‘Whoa, she just did something with this!’” says Carla Olivas of her mom’s famous pumpkin empanadas. Even though she doesn’t quite have the recipe just yet, Carla believes her mom will one day pass it on to her! “I feel like a lot of Latino families can relate,” she says. “Our heirlooms are recipes.”

Feijoada

The national dish of Brazil, feijoada is essentially a black bean stew. “It’s kind of like a birthright for any kind of Brazillian. So, I remember growing up in Sao Paulo, we always had it!” says Brandon Prado. Feijoada takes a long time to make, so usually the entire family gets together to share the meal. While you’re at it, might as well invite some friends over too! Like Brandon says, “If you came over and you had some of that, you’re family!”

The KFC Original Recipe

Alright, alright, I know: this isn’t exactly a family recipe. But who among us didn’t have one of those KFC nights growing up? You know, those nights when your parents worked late and didn’t have time to make something for dinner,  but still wanted the feel and flavor of a home-cooked meal? Nothing was better than hopping in the car, going through the drive-thru, and grabbing that big ol’ bucket of Original Recipe chicken from KFC. 

Even though we may never know these secret family recipes, maybe that’s a good thing? Having to get them from our loved ones means we get to spend time with them every time we get a craving for those delicious dishes!  Now if you’ll excuse me, we’ve spent all this time talking about secret recipes so I’m gonna head to KFC for their new Secret Recipe Fries. Maybe I can actually crack this one…

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com