Cuisines

Award-winning chef uses recipes to share appreciation for Latin cultural nuances

Award-winning chef uses recipes to share appreciation for Latin cultural nuances
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September is Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Latin culture. In Eden Prairie, a chef educates the world about exquisite cuisine.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – September is Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Latin culture. In Eden Prairie, a chef teaches the world about exquisite cuisine, one delicious dish at a time.

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“Food is a channel for any kind of conversation and bonding in the kitchen; it’s a unifying factor,” says chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard, who also believes that recipes are a way of passing on traditions.

Chef Amalia is doing her part to keep the culture alive with her cookbooks. Her latest is “Amalia’s Mesoamerican Table-Ancient Culinary Traditions With Gourmet Infusions.” It has won four awards, including a gold medal for Best Cookbook 2022 from the International Latino Book Awards. The book has 132 recipes, including photos and notes about the history behind each dish.

“It’s also a multicultural area with indigenous people who are now descendants of people who have been there for thousands of years. They carry recipes and ideas and trade for a long time; from Mexico all the way to Panama and beyond to South America,” she said.

Chef Amalia’s story begins in Guatemala City, where her maternal grandmother raised her. “She made all the meals from scratch. She knew how to make just about everything,” recalls Chef Amalia.

That influence continued when Amalia left the house.

“I started to recreate; I tried to recreate what I learned with her and just tried to learn more about my home country, the culture, the traditional cuisine, the original cuisine and [I] just started it.”

Now Chef Amalia educates her readers on Latin cultural nuances.

“While we may share staples, ingredients and flavors, we have very distinctive cuisines depending on the country we come from,” she said. “Even our language, Spanish, has different nuances depending on nationality.”

Ultimately, Hispanic Heritage Month is about learning and celebrating our own country’s rich history.

“We are multicultural, multi-ethnic and we are growing,” Chef Amalia reminds us all.

Chef Amalia shares one of her recipes:

NOPALES CON TOMATO Y HUEVO Y TORTILLAS DE MAÍZ

Egg, Cactus and Tomato Scramble Hash with Homemade Corn Tortillas

Recipe by Chef Amalia Moreno-Damgaard, AmaliaLLC.com

½ cup diced Roma tomatoes

1 cup freshly cooked cactus paddles diced

½ cup petite diced boiled potatoes

¼ cup diced or fresh jalapeños or serranos

Kosher salt & fresh black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed, cooking for 1 minute each before adding the next ingredient.

Add the beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper and cook until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Serve immediately with corn tortillas.

Homemade corn tortillas: 1 cup masa harina (corn flour) for tortillas, 1 cup cold water. Mix to a homogeneous dough. Divide into 6 equal portions, form into balls, flatten with a tortilla maker or skillet and cook over medium heat on a dry, preheated non-stick baking sheet, about 1 minutes per side.

Note: Great combinations for this dish include black beans, queso fresco, fried plantains, Latin crema, and corn tortillas.

Check out the latest coverage of the KARE11 Sunrise in our YouTube playlist:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

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