This time in "Cuisine of the World," we explain how to make "Gumbo, a specialty of the American South. The State of Texas is located in the south central part of the U.S.A. on a territory is about double that of the entire national territory of Japan and historically became a member of the United States after joining by contract (annexation). The people who live there have a strong sense of attachment and affection for their native land and a tremendous sense of independence, and they refer to themselves as Texans before calling themselves Americans.
Shinya Furuyama spent 5 and a half years stationed for Marubeni in Houston, the central city in Texas State. Houston is a base for the oil business and space development, and therefore it is wealthy economically and the lifestyle is comfortable. Texans are said to be stern about disciplining their children and have a conservative and strict culture, but the city also has lots of little touches that make it easy to go places with your children, and according to Mr. Furuyama, it is a very good place both to raise children and spend time as a family.
Although all the states in the U.S.A. are part of the same "America," the nature of the people, their habits and education vary considerably, and having witnessed these differences for himself, Mr. Furuyama says that he can no longer think that expressions like "the whole of America…" etc., which are commonly used in Japan, are appropriate. From his experience coming into contact with the unique Texan culture, and from exchanges with people from other states as well, he says he really got a sense of the vast diversity of America, which makes it impossible to talk of "America," lumped together as a single entity.
Located next to Mexico, Texas has a unique type of cuisine which rearranges Mexican cuisine in its own Texan style, which is known as "TEX-MEX," with which you can enjoy spicy taste using chili peppers such as jalapeno peppers. Lobster dishes are also very popular, and people often eat splendid dishes of lobsters that have been stewed with spices and vegetables in while peeling off the shells.
"Gumbo" is a popular dish that is eaten widely throughout the southern states. It is a spicy soup dish made using various ingredients which are stewed together with okra, and most families eat it at home quite often. Moreover, it is also on the menu at steakhouses and sandwich bars and various other kinds of eating places. Because it is usually eaten with rice, it is also easy for Japanese people to enjoy and many people who come from Japan to Texas on business trips etc., say that Gumbo has a flavor that makes them feel relaxed and comforted.
The United States of America remains a presence that drives the world economy. The Marubeni Group covers a wide range and variety of businesses in the U.S. market, and from fiscal 2010 onward, we have been working to further expand our income base in priority areas such as resources, electricity and infrastructure, as well as cereals and agricultural material related fields. Moreover, we have introduced a Regional General Manager (RGM) system for the purpose of strengthening our regional management regime, and we are promoting the pioneering of new businesses as well as businesses and projects which are firmly attached to their local areas.
|Chicken breast (parboil in advance)||1|
|Okra (for stewing)||4|
|Broth (the cooking water from parboiling the chicken breast)||200cc|
|Tabasco (R) brand pepper sauce||some|
|Filé (spice) (*)||as required|
|Finely chopped parsley||some|
|California rice||as required|
* Filé is a spice made from the dried and ground leaves of the shrub known as the sassafras tree, which gives gumbo its aroma and its thickness. It is still possible to make gumbo even without this spice.
Step 1: Slowly heat the flour with the butter.
If the amount of time that this is heated for is not long enough, the aroma will be weak, but if this is allowed to burn at all, it will produce a bitter flavor. Heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until it turns the color shown in the picture.
Step 2: Add the onion, green pepper and celery (which have all been diced into 5mm pieces) and fry together. When they have been blended into the roux (base), gradually add the broth from boiling the chicken breast, little by little, being careful not to allow lumps to be created.
Step 3: Add the tomato purée, salt, pepper, and Tabasco (R) to season, as well as the okra (sliced into 5mm pieces) and boiled chicken breast (which has been broken up by hand), and heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until it starts to become thick.
Step 4: Add Filé to bring out the aroma, and serve over boiled white rice, garnishing with parsley and okra to add color, as preferred.
It is difficult to get hold of Filé in Japan, but it is still possible to make delicious gumbo without it. It is also possible to use Japanese rice instead when making this dish.
From: “Shareholder’s guide Marubeni,” Vol.109 (published in December 2010)