When you travel to a foreign city, it’s frowned upon to eat at a McDonald’s while you’re there. Not just because it’s cheap and unhealthy, but one of the best ways to experience a different culture is through their food! Food is an important part of most cultures beyond just health purposes. Different items and spices can carry unique significance. At a Jewish Seder for example, every single item served has a meaning. Cultural foods are a map showing who the people are, where they’ve come from, and the area that they’re living in. When you’re in a tropical area, you will notice lots of refreshing and hydrating fruits and vegetables, citrus, tropical oils, and fresh fish. In colder areas you may find richer, fattier dishes with lots of warming spices. A single food item can be served a million different ways just by using cultural herbs, spices, and cooking practices. Take an egg for example, you can prepare it many different ways and adjust the way it tastes. The Chinese will use it in a savory stir fry, whereas the Vietnamese will whisk it into a sweet morning coffee.
Food tends to bring people and communities together, and should be an enjoyable and sensorial experience. Unfortunately, we’ve become very disconnected from our food, and the story and culture behind them. We tend to stick to the same types of foods, and the same ways of cooking those foods. At Kore Kitchen, we try to use different cuisines for different meals, as well as different days of the week. For example, you would rarely receive an Italian style lunch and dinner on the same day. This is a way to keep our clients palates stimulated, as well as introduce them to new flavors.
Spice Up your Diet
One of the easiest ways to eat more culturally, and change the flavor of the foods you’re eating is with spices and herbs. Spices are parts of plants (dried or fresh) that are used to enhance the flavor without the use of salt, fat, or sugar. Herbs tend to come from the leafy part of the plant while the spice comes more from the root. Spices wake up your taste buds, add bright colors to your dishes, and come along with a variety of health benefits, without the added calories. Cinnamon for example, is a great way to balance your blood sugar so goes well with sweet items. Turmeric happens to be a powerful anti-inflammatory herb so is good to include on animal meats and grains which may cause inflammation in the body. With ever meal at Kore Kitchen, we try to include a variety of different foods and spices which will benefit whole body health.
When cooking with spices and herbs, it’s best to use spices early on in the process, while fresh herbs tend to make a nice finish to the dish. Try to focus on one flavor, instead of incorporating too many strong spices which may overpower each other. As a general rule, it’s best to start with a small amount of spice, and increase the flavor slowly.
Moroccan Carrot Salad with spiced chickpea, millet, currents, pistachio, hemp, arugula, preserved lemon or meyer lemon tahini dressing
| INGREDIENTS |
- 1/2 cup millet, rinsed
- 1 cup water
- Pinch flaky sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground each ground cinnamon + ginger
- Pinch cayenne, optional
- 1 (15 oz.) can of chickpeas, drained
- 5 medium carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon local honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons currants
- Large handful each fresh parsley and coriander
- small handful of torn herbs (mint, parsley, cilantro)
- small handful of baby arugula
- 1/2 Cup shelled pistachios
- 4 Tbsp. maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt (Maldon)
1 | Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2 | Spread the pistachios evenly on a rimmed cookie sheet. Place in the oven for about 6 to 8 minutes. They will become very fragrant when they are done.
3 | Remove from oven and drizzle maple syrup and sprinkle salt. Mix well with spoon. If prefer more sweetness add more maple or switch for honey.
4 | Let the pistachios cool and then you can store them.
| TO DO |
1 | Rinse the millet under cold water in a metal sieve for about 30 secs. Add rinsed millet and water to a pot and season with salt. Add in salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes.
2 | While the millet is cooking, ribbon or slice the carrots and place in a large bowl.
3 | Fluff the millet with a fork, add to the carrots along with the currants, pistachios and fresh herbs (reserve a few for the final touch). Toss everything together with your fingertips or two forks and serve or refrigerate.
- ½ cup tahini
- ¾ cup warm water
- 2-3 tbsp preserved lemon (usually found in jars or use fresh meyer lemon juice)
- 1 large garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Blend all in vitamix
Meryl Pritchard is the founder of L.A.-based meal delivery service Kore Kitchen. Kore represents the essence of who you are, with a focus on nourishing your mind, body, and spirit from the inside out.