Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Western Union: Home Cooked Love From Around The World #WUHomeCooked #CleverGirls #Paid


The best part of being a food blogger is that I get to share and talk about food every day.  Food is something that connects us all no matter what part of the world you call home.   The act of eating a meal or even thinking about a certain foods can conjure up memories of family, culture and comfort.  

I came to the United States from Sri Lanka many years ago, but Sri Lanka will always be my place of birth and my homeland.  When I sit down to eat a meal that my mother taught me how to cook, it makes the world feel not so big.  I love that I can eat a Sri Lankan meal thousands of miles away from Sri Lanka and still feel the same amazing connection to my culture and my family there.

Western Union recognizes how food connects us all in the global world we live in these days.  The United States is a melting pot of cultures and immigrants who have made their way to this great country.  Western Union calls them "Dual-Belongers."  They are people that live, work and study here, but their hearts feel like they belongs in two places.  Many leave behind family members and strong ties to their birth country.   So, making a new home does not mean you leave behind the memories and loved ones you cherish so much. 

Staying connected with one another is difficult at times, but finding new resources to help bring us closer together is always welcome-- especially around the holidays.    The video below #WUHomedCooked is a heartwarming storytelling video, where Western Union surprises and delights some of their customers with their favorite meal from home with a recipe given by their families.   It shows how a simple bite of food can create a cultural connection for a person and make them feel like they are not so far from home after all. 

I know what it is to feel incredibly homesick and miss my family.  When I was pregnant with my first child I only had one mother's cooking.  My mouth would water thinking about some of her dishes that only she could cook for me. It was so comforting to receive those recipes and be able to make that food to feel like my mother was with me when I needed her most.

Western Union video:

Western Union is a lifeline to their customers because they connect them to their families and friends around the world.  A lot of customers have come to the United States to help their family back home financially by sending money home.   These "quiet heroes" send their earnings to not only give financial aid, but to show how much their family means to them even though there are great distances keeping them apart.   It's wonderful to see how much love and generosity a person has in their heart.  I was truly touched by seeing some of these Western Union customers getting something so amazing in return as a home cooked meal from the homeland. 

 Today I would love to share a beloved recipe in Sri Lanka called cutlets.

Sri Lankan Cutlets are a traditional party fare for any dinner or cocktail party.  My kids are huge fans of these savory breaded and deep fried appetizers. You can make a cutlet with any meat/seafood you wish, but I really prefer the tuna fish variety.   I have never met a person that did not love some variety of cutlets.  They are simply delectable!

3 (5-oz) cans of light tuna fish in water drained
1 medium onion finely chopped
1-2 green chillies finely chopped
2 boiled large white potatoes crushed
Small handful of curry leaves minced
Small handful of mint leaves minced
1 Tbs of ginger garlic paste (or 1/2 Tbs each separately)
1/2 medium lime juiced (about 2-3 tsp)
salt and a lot of black pepper
For breading and frying:
bread crumbs for breading
2 eggs beaten well
1/2 bottle of oil for frying (I used Canola)


Step 1:  Boil potatoes.  Peel and smash with a fork into a coarse mash.

Step 2: Cut onions, green chilies and curry leaves.  Heat 1Tbs of oil in a frying pan and add the onions, chilies, mint and curry leaves to fry.  Then add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for another minute.

Salt and pepper the onions and then add the 3 cans of tuna drained.  Then add the lime juice.

Add the boiled (mashed) potatoes and mix in well.

Mix together well and taste for the salt and pepper in the dish now that the potatoes have been added.

I like to give my cutlets a peppery kick so I'm heavy on the pepper.   Take off the stove and allow to cool completely so you can handle the mixture with your hands to form the cutlets
The breading deep frying process:

Time to form the cutlets. Grab a small handful and slowly form into balls (mine were about the size of a walnut). The most important part here is to make sure you don't have any cracks. If you have a crack then the cutlet will burst open when frying.

The egg wash: Beat 2 medium eggs together with a tablespoon of cool water for dipping the cutlets before breading.

Breadcrumbs: I made my own by grinding some heals of bread in the blender or you can buy prepared breadcrumbs.  I don't recommend using seasoned bread crumbs.

Once you have dipped the cutlets into the egg wash and then the bread crumbs, the breaded cutlets are all ready for frying. Get this all done before you move onto the frying.

Heat the oil in a deep enough pan that you immerse the entire cutlet for cooking.  I started heating my oil at a medium/high heat on my stove.  I first dropped a few breadcrumbs in the oil to see if the oil was hot enough for frying. Once they browned, I knew the oil was nice and hot. 
** you do not want the oil screaming hot where it's smoking. That will burn your cutlets.

 Once fried, drain cutlets on a paper towel.  I made about 28-30 cutlets total.  Serve hot or at room temperature. You can make large batches of these and freeze them as well.  Then you just have to defrost on the counter and put them in a warm oven to heat through.  Enjoy.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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