Celebrate Jewish and Asian-American Heritage Month with Matzah Ball Ramen and more.
American Jews have a special love for Chinese and Asian food. Perhaps it’s due to its proximity to New York’s Jewish immigrants who settled on the Lower East Side next to the already established Chinatown. Perhaps it is because in Asian dishes no milk is used in the predominantly meat dishes. And, of course, Chinese restaurants were the only restaurants reliably open at Christmas, creating the modern tradition of Jews eating Chinese to “celebrate” the late winter holidays.
May is Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It is no coincidence that we share our space together again.
My personal Jewish and Asian connection starts in Shanghai. My grandfather was born in Russia, but when he was little his family had to flee the pogroms, like so many other Jewish people of the time, and he settled in Shanghai before immigrating to Toronto and marrying my grandmother. Read more about Jewish history in Shanghai here.
Although my connection to Asia was short-lived, there are many Asian-American Jews trying to find their place and their identity. In addition to the well-documented rise of anti-Semitism in recent years, Asian Americans have experienced a staggering increase in hate crime and violence since COVID-19 arrived on our shores. It is an unfortunate coincidence that makes Jews and Asian Americans anxious and insecure in these troubling times.
While looking for ways to build bridges and foster greater understanding and tolerance, I was happy to discover LUNAR. MOON cultivates connection, belonging and visibility for Asian-American Jews through authentic multimedia storytelling and intersectional community programming. Here’s the first episode of LUNAR focused on food and how the Asian-American Jews connect with both their Jewish and Asian cuisine.
To celebrate our unique cultural heritage in the month of May, I’m excited to share some favorite Jewish/Asion Fusion recipes from around the web.
Combining the flavors of matcha in a beautiful green challah is the perfect way to blend the two cuisines. Download the recipe here.
If you have watched the LUNAR video, you will see that it is a good idea to combine Matzah Ball Soup with Ramen soup. Download the recipe here.
This quick and fun Jewish/Asian mash-up recipe is easy to make and can be made ahead of time. Use prepared gefilte fish to make these dumplings. Download the recipe here.
Kristin from Nourishco.com created these Japanese and Jewish recipes to make a kamaboko-inspired gefilte fish. Instead of steaming the patties, I chose to pan fry them – this browns them nicely and gives them a nice crunch on the outside. Download the recipe here.
Kristin also developed these incredible savory latkes with mochi. The addition of mochi flour makes the latkes lighter in consistency, but the chewiness it adds actually makes it incredibly satisfying addictive, she says.
Brisket is a famous Jewish dish, so this version combines it with Asian flavors. Download the recipe here.
Latkes are one of the easiest foods to play with and Kimchi takes them over the top.
Using pastrami in this traditional Sichuan recipe is pure genius and another great Jewish-Asian fusion recipe you’ll want to try ASAP.
Which Jewish-Asian fusion recipe should we work on now?