Flavors and Cultures Collide: Dreamboat Cafe Owner Jasmine Michel Shares Guyanese-Chinese Fried Chicken Recipe | WFAE 90.7

As part of a new series, “Making a dish”, BPR sits down with local chefs to learn about the dishes and experiences that shaped them. First up: Chef Jasmine Michel, an Appalachian and Caribbean chef who owns Dreamboat Cafea short-lived cooking series and publication based in Asheville.

Do you have a chef you would like us to interview? Send an email to lhackett@bpr.org.

Guyanese-Chinese Fried Chicken is not a dish that is easily found at a local restaurant.

But for Asheville chef and writer Jasmine Michel, this dish is a childhood staple — one that reflects the complex heritage of Caribbean cuisine and the many cultures and countries that have contributed to its lineage.

Michel, who grew up in a Caribbean neighborhood in Miami, describes the dish as “a more diverse sister” to classic Southern fried chicken, common throughout the American South. In Miami, a place where Caribbean culture flourishes, it’s a common meal to order on a Friday night.

The chicken is brined in salt and citrus, boiled in a salty broth, spiked with ginger and star anise, then dredged in flour and fried. The result is a plate of chicken that is mild, flavorful and remarkably juicy, says Michel.

“I am so in love with the aromas of ginger, scallions and star anise. I never thought you could add so much flavor to a piece of meat,” she said.

The dish shares similarities with Chinese soy fried chicken, but with a distinctly Caribbean style of preparation. The traditional Chinese version uses soy sauce, while the Guyanese-Chinese recipe calls for boiling the chicken in a flavorful broth before frying.

Guyanese-Chinese fried chicken is a byproduct of the mass influx of indentured servants who were brought to Guyana by ship in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

“My family in particular was from India,” Michel explained. “Other families came from China, Portugal, Africa and brought their recipes to Guyana, which gave rise to things like this Guyanese-Chinese fried chicken.”

This dish is one of Michel’s favorites and fits perfectly into the “big umbrella” of Caribbean cuisine, which she describes as a “beautiful fusion” of spices, tropical produce, proteins and rice .

She likes to serve it with fried rice and a huge pile of cabbage.

“I’m creating controversy with this,” she joked. “Because a lot of people only like a little raw or cooked cabbage in their fried rice, but I’m a big believer in half a head of cabbage, just grated very finely on top. It’s just the most refreshing thing.

“I’m creating controversy with this,” she joked. “Because a lot of people only like a little raw or cooked cabbage in their fried rice, but I’m a big believer in half a head of cabbage, just grated very finely on top. It’s just the most refreshing thing.

Photo courtesy of Dreamboat Café

Fritters, oxtail stew and sweet corossoup tea were on the menu at this Dreamboat Cafe pop-up last October.

The past, present and future of Dreamboat Café

“Expansive, intersectional” dishes, much like Guyanese-Chinese fried chicken, serve as the conceptual anchor for Michel’s Dreamboat Cafe, a nomadic food pop-up that started in Durham seven years ago and moved to 2022 with Michel in Asheville. .

“It started because I was really tired and really sad of constantly feeling like marginalized people weren’t recognized in the food industry,” Michel says. “Yet marginalized people contribute enormously to the food and hospitality industry. This is how the Dreamboat Café was born.

“It started because I was really tired and really sad of constantly feeling like marginalized people weren’t recognized in the food industry,” Michel says. “Yet marginalized people contribute enormously to the food and hospitality industry. This is how the Dreamboat Café was born.

Dreamboat doesn’t operate like a traditional coffee shop: it currently has no physical location and sells zines and culinary products in small batches online. Recently, she and her partner, Alistair Clark, released “The Tree of Guinep,” an e-book that delves into the emotional processing told through the recipes.

Michel also hosts pop-up events ranging from window-served funnel cakes to the elaborate, multi-course “Aphrodisiac Summer Dinner Series,” which serves inventive and historic meals with a BIPOC audience in mind.

In the coming years, Dreamboat could have its first ever permanent outlet. Michel presented plans for an Appalachian and Caribbean country store at Old Fort. It is currently in the fundraising phase.

With the advent of the store, Michel hopes to create a space that celebrates the intersection of Caribbean culture.

“As a Caribbean kid from South Florida, you really grew up with a lot of intersections of different cultures. And so I had a huge amount of respect for being in the South but living among so many different Caribbean cultures and that’s kind of the essence that I want to bring to our first physical store,” he said. she declared.

During her tenure as a line cook in Maine and Vermont, she also developed an appreciation for rustic country stores stocked with local cheese, honey, flour and the occasional “trader who knits something “.

Michel envisions his future market as “a hub, an adventure and a homecoming, all in one” where families of different nationalities can meet and mingle over coffee.

“I want the ethnic section to have its own store,” she said.

Spices will of course be a key element. Some of Michel’s favorites include cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and jira (a variety of roasted cumin). She also hopes to offer an assortment of cheeses, including varieties popular in the Caribbean.

Besides spices, Michell says staples like rice and beans will be a crucial component.

“It’s really one of those things that if there’s a place that serves rice and beans – whether it’s a market or a restaurant – it’s seen as a safer, braver space and so that’s definitely a marker for me and something that I want. have available,” she said.

Guyanese-Chinese Fried Chicken

Screenshot courtesy of Dreamboat Cafe

Guyanese-Chinese Fried Chicken

Jasmine Michel’s Guyanese-Chinese Fried Chicken

Ingredients

– 2 lbs of chicken wings, can be replaced with whole quartered chicken pieces

– 3 stalks of green onions

– 3 tablespoons of coarsely chopped grated ginger

– 3 pieces of star anise

– All-purpose flour, cornstarch, potato starch or rice flour (you can use a combination of all)

– Coarse sea salt

– Frying oil

– Pressed citrus halves

Directions

  1. Start by washing your meat with water, squeezed citrus halves and salt. Dry and set aside while you gather the ingredients for the boil.
  2. In a deep saucepan filled with water, add the green onion, ginger and star anise, a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Place the chicken in the pan and boil for 3 to 5 minutes until pale but still raw in the middle.
  3. Place the chicken on a paper towel and heat the frying oil in a second skillet to 350 degrees. Dredge the chicken pieces in flour and fry for 6 to 8 minutes until crisp and golden.
  4. Finish with salt and serve with white rice and freshly sliced ​​green onions.

Watch a video of Michel preparing Guyanese-Chinese fried chicken.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *