Soul Cocina

Eco Chef Roger Feely

Filtering by Tag: musica latina

Cocoa Coffin

Kane Kwei was born in Ghana almost a century ago. He was a carpenter who built custom coffins as well as furniture. He has made coffins in the shape of a Mercedes, Nokia cell phone, airplane, and my favorite, a spring onion. The cocoa pod coffin above is on display at the DeYoung museum in Golden gate park in San Francisco. I would want a phonograph record player coffin, or maybe a jalapeno coffin... oh I know, a phonograph record player with a ristra wrapped around it!

Coffin For Head of State by Fela Kuti
Fela is not the only one who says Waka waka waka.

Tune: Cocoa Leaf from La Clave's self titled LP
~a wild percussion suite lead by Panamanian born Benny Velarde with exciting piano work by Al Zulaica.
Maestro Velarde ebreaks down the uniqueness of the West Coast Latin scene {via Office Naps}:

“On the East Coast they were playing music that was called “Afro Cuban Jazz”. It was heavily influenced by Chano Pozo who played with Dizzy Gillespie and Mario Bauza. On the West Coast we were playing what was called “Latin Jazz” - which meant jazz standards with Latin percussion …Another difference was that on the East Coast the music was played by Big Bands like those lead by Dizzy Gillespie and Machito. But on the West Coast we did not have Big Bands but the music was played by smaller combos.”

Tune: Move Your Hands also from La Clave's La Clave LP
This is one of many great covers of the Lonnie Smith classic. This version really stands out as a unique take. Lalo Shcifrin steps in on the keys @ 1:01 and Willie Colon keeps the bass sturdy throughout!? ....not THE Willie Colon of La Murga trombone fame, but a great bass player.

Tune: Ritmo Del Corazon from Sapo's from 1974 self titled LP recorded in San Pancho, Aztlan. {AKA SF,CA}
~check the drum break at 3:12 followed by wha wha guitars then horns. Fuego.

Tune: Cocoa by Assagai from Ther self titled 1971 LP via the now defunct Captain's Crate. Check the Captain Crate crew over at Mixtape Riot for some super nice Bang Bang remixes

Tune: Bayeza also by Assagai from the Zimbabwe album
South African musical giants Dudu Pakwana and Luis Moholo, who also played together with The Blue Notes, were part of this band.

Tune: Barazinbar also from Assagai's Zimbabwe LP

Tune: Caution! by Hugh Masakela & the Union of South Africa
A cool breezer to chill the summer heat with Hugh Masekela's instantly recognizable signature trumpet groove!Tune: To Get Ourselves Together also by Hugh Masakela & the Union of South Africa

Tune: Languta from Hugh Masekela Introduces Introducing Hedzoleh Soundz
recorded in Lagos in 1973 this tune was written by Hugh Masekela.Tune: Rekpete also from Hugh Masekela Introduces Introducing Hedzoleh Soundz
This tune is a traditional song Adapted by Hedzoleh Soundz. The rest of the songs on the LP were written by the members of Hedzoleh Soundz who are from Ghana, like the coffin carpenter Kane Kwei. Inside the gatefold LP they thank Fela Kuti "without whom this album would not be realised"

Tune: Nina by Hugh Masekela from I Am Not Afraidgreatest album cover ever.

Just a few minutes late for a Miercoles de Maravilla post.. lets call this a San Jueves post with even more gems from the Soul Cocina Crates and Notebooks.

Now for a recipe from the vaults circa 2005
Warm Chocolate Cake Wrapped in Purple Mochi Crepe over Sauteed Cherries with Noyaux Ice Cream and Fried Almonds

This is one of many variations and reincarnations of the Pokemon's Purse, an old plated dessert standard at Citizen Cake. It was there before me and I am sure it lived on after me in its OG form, but I loved giving this kawaii treat different twists throughout the seasons.

Noyaux Ice Cream

3 cups milk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup egg yolks {about 6 yolks}
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup smashed cherry pits
1/2 t salt

Bring the milk cream and cherry pits to a light simmer. remove from heat and llow to steep for 2 hours. return to heat and return to a simmer. Strain and temper in the yolks, sugar and salt. Chill overnight and spin in an ice cream freezer.

It is very common to make ice cream base from 1/2 cream and 1/2 milk. French ice cream base is made like creme anglaise with more cream. Italian Gelato is made with just milk. I like this ratio of 3 parts milk to one part cream. Unlike the other recipe components in this dessert that come directly from cherry stained notebook, the recipe above is an adaptation of standard recipes off the top of my head. When I searched "Cherry Pit Ice Cream" to present some background on Noyaux ice cream, I was directed to the Eggbeater blog and found an almost identicle recipe! Same thought process went into the creation and yeild modification of this recipe by homegirl Shuna and I.

Chocolate Cake Filling

8 ounces dark chocolate from Ghana cocoa beans
8 ounces butter
6 each eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter and chocolate together. Whip the yolks with half of the sugar until light and fluffy. Whip the whites to soft peak and slowly add the rest of the sugar. Whip to medium peaks. Fold yolks into chocolate. Fold in the whites. Sift the flour and fold in along with the salt.

Purple Mochi Crepe

8 oz sugar
8 oz Mochiko rice flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t fine sea salt
2 ea whole eggs
9 oz fresh cherry juice
4 oz red wine
2 oz melted butter

whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the liquid ingredients. Whisk the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and pour onto a buttered half sheet pan. Bake at 325 degrees for ten minutes. When cooled down to room temperature, cut into 6 squares and remove from pan.

Place a small 2 ounce scoop of cake batter in the center of the mochi square. Fold in the corners. Flip over onto a parchment lined sheet pan so that the seam is down. Bake for ten minutes at 325 degrees.

Sauteed Cherries

Pit and half cherries. Melt a little butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the cherries along with half of a vanilla bean and a spoonful of sugar. Saute for a minute then add some red wine away from heat. Return to stove and reduce over medium heat until the cherries are a little soft and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with ground and whole almonds that have been fried in olive oil and salted. Finish with chocolate cigarettes or chocolate dipped poke sticks.

Cashew Harvest in Sindhudurg


I was lucky to visit Mutt in Sindudurg, Maharashtra (home of Malvani Cuisine) with Sachen, one of the students from ACE during cashew season last year. The cashew fruit is a great treat when it is ripe. You can't eat too much though because they make your mouth tingle and sting a little. There are many theories about cutting one end or the other first, or just adding salt to the fruit to take away the sneaky astringency, but I didn't find it to make much of a difference. A small price to pay for such a treat.

Where the real damage comes is from the shell of the nut. When you break the shell it lets off a bitter juice that can burn your finger... or as I found out the hard way, your mouth and tongue. There are people in the village who specialize in opening the shells of cashews. They grow their fingernails specifically for the annual process, and it leaves the fingers stained for weeks. You can see in the video above how hard it is to open a single nut.
The young greener nuts are soft and vegetablelike, almost like a fresh pea or bean. But if picked too young, the nut is bitter. These young green cashews would make a great salad. But it is the fully matured ripe nut that is highly prized. As soon as the fruit is harvested the nut is seperated from the fruit by hand and the fruit is sold to makers of Feni, while the nut is taken back to the village to be opened by hand. Everyone knows the going rate for cashews and mangoes in Sindhudurg.
Seperating the fruit from the nut is a family affair.
Tune: Family Affair by Doctor L and Antibalas from Mind Records 2006 7"

Sachen cuts the cashew fruit for an afternoon snack in the shade.
Cashew nuts, attached to the fruit at a market in Goa

Next to the cashew orchard, which has hundreds of trees, is a mango orchard just as vast. I was visiting just a month too early for mango season. These are the trees of the mighty Alphonso mango.

Tune: Wylin Out (Kutmaster Kurt Remix) by the Mighty Mos Def and Chitown's Diverse from the BBC 12" EP vol 2 from Bobby Friction and Nihal

Tune: Botallan Sharab Diyan by Bally Sagoo also from the BBC 12" EP vol 2 from Bobby Friction and Nihal

Here is a view of the well behind Sachen's family's home seen through a mango tree.

Talking a break from the heat, a cup of water from the well can't be beat.

Tune: Water No Get Enemy by Fela Kuti from the LP Expensive Shit

Tune: I Thirst by Dillinger from the album Cup of Tea

Exclusive Mix: Estoy Seco After 12:12AM Thirsty MIX in the Soul Cocina
This mix starts off with Estoy Seco by Conjunto Los Bucucos off the Salson LP then moves on to more salsa dura with La Reina Celia Cruz backed by La Sonora Poncena from the Lp La Ceiba released in 1979, the year of Chicago's great blizzard. Then the mix moves on to two modern cuts, the first is Mi Swing es Tropical by Nicodemus and Quantic then onto a song called Julieta by Oreja remixed by Seiji from Bugz in the Attic on a Candela label 12". From here we move on to the big song Magalehna by Sergio Mendes from the Brasileiro LP as the triangle takes us to the opening triangle from Willie Colon's Ghana E from the Gran Fuga LP. Then we drop a fun 7" from the glorious year of 1975. This '75 gem is a cover of Fela's Shakalao by Lizandro Meza y Su Conjunto from Colombia. The African vibe gets stronger and stronger as we cross the Atlantic to Ghana for a song from the Hedzoleh Soundz LP produced by the mighty Hugh Masakela. Then Back to Brasil for some beats from Marcelo D2's instrumental LP of A Procura Da Batida Perfeita. Next up- More beats with flavor.. this time from Spain with a little vibraphone action for all the newborns from Zeta, off of the 1999 LP Guateque. next a tune from Orishas Emigrante LP before we move into Mala Rodriguez chatting on Jota mayuscula's LP Hombre Negro Soltero Busca. Then we step into some heavy duty old school hipi hopi from Brasil by Filosofia de Rua and Duck Jam with nacao Hip Hop. The mix ends nicely with a tune from the Nia LP by Blackalicious
There are also jackfruit trees in Mutt.Jackfruit for sale in Mumbai above, and below in a market in Goa

They got chiku too!
Bells on the road back to Goa

Tune: Road to Goa from Vijay Raghav Rao's LP Festival Time
This song is typically Goan. It has that friendly childlike sound that I associate with a lot of Goan music. Similar to the instrumentation that backs Lorna or the music of Alfred Rose.

But pt Vijay Raghav Rao's music on Festival Time is not all so soft and simple.
Check out this tune from the record:
Tune: Sarod Dhun also from Vijay Raghav Rao's LP Festival Time


Papa rellena with aji verde and pickled onions. This potato fritter is filled with picadillo (garlic and onion spiked ground beef) with one or two raisins, an olive or two, and half of a hard boiled egg.
I am in the process of organizing all of my menus for Soul Cocina and decided to share my Peruvian menu here. I have never been to Peru. I have only tasted Peruvian cuisine in San Francisco. So my menu is California-Peruvian. I use the ingredients available here to recreate dishes and feelings I have learned from Peruvian friends, restaurants, and books.

1st course
Tres Papas a trio of petite potato classics
Causa de Atún
Yukon gold potato cake filled with North Pacific albacore tuna, avacado, soft boiled egg, and yellow chile (aji amarillo) aioli
Papas Rellenas
Potato fritter filled with garlic ground beef, and black olives. Served with pickled onions and aji verde (green chile sauce)
Mashed Purple Potato
A tiny purple potato mashed with sea salt, lime and extra virgin olive oil

soup course
Sopa Wantán
This light chicken broth with little chicken dumplings and cabbage is a popular Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese) dish

2nd course
Dos Pescados two classic fish dishes
Tiradito de Lenguado
Peruvian sashimi of sole with olive oil, lime salt, orange salt, and pickled hominy (choclo)
Cebiche Peruano
Classic Peruvian ceviche. Small cubes of sea bass marinated in lime juice with red onion, toasted corn kernals, tiny cubes of sweet potato, and rocoto (small, red, round chile pepper from the Andes)

intermezzo I
Leche de Tigre
A small shot of the ceviche "run-off", tiger's milk is a potent elixer of lime juice, infused with fish, onion and spice.
intermzzo II
Chicha Morada Shaved Ice
shaved ice made from a sweet purple corn drink

3rd course
Aji Gallina
A spicy chicken stew served with rice. Originally made with hualpa (a type of poultry indigenous to Peru) this dish has a unique combination of ingredients. Walnuts, boiled eggs and olives. The sauce is thickened with a paste made from bread and milk.

dessert amuse bouche
Mini Alfajores
Dulce de leche sandwiched between two crumbly almond cookies

Mazamorra Morada, Picarones, Helado Morado
Purple corn porridge with poached quince, a skinny pumpkin doughnut, purple corn gelato and a quinoa tuile.

Photo from the Comunidad del Cebiche Blog

As you can see from my menu, the cuisine of Peru has been influenced by Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, African, Caribbean cooking and more. There is even a Peruvian-East Indian connection out there. Peru's indigenous ingredients play a lead role in defining this global cuisine.

There are a lot Peruvian ingredients available in markets here in San Francisco. I can get dried purple corn, fresh purple potatoes, choclo (peruvian hominy) , huacatay is very similar to the epazote found in Mexican markets, I can occasionally find Peruvian chile peppers (aji), but not all of the time. But there are also all sorts of interesting ingredients in Peru that never leave the country.
Let's see what Anthony Bourdain eats in Peru.

Peruvian desserts have a great Spanish influence, which in turn is influenced by the sweets of the Moors of North Africa. Fried doughnuts in fragrant syrup find there way to Peru via picarones. This is just another piece in Soul Cocina's ongoing fried dough puzzle. Like the savory food of Peru, the desserts also have elements of the nations indigenous cuisine. Just take a peek at these desserts to get an idea of what I am talking about.

We have many great Peruvian restaurants here in town. Ranging from high end and fancy to down home and comforting. My favorite is El Perol. This place is inside of the Mission market near 22nd street and Mission street. It seems like more of a stand than a restaurant. The common indoor courtyard used for dinning is shared with a butcher, a produce shop, and a fish market. It feels like you are eating outside in a patio. Order from the counter. They have passion fruit juice, chicha morada, papas rellenas, and big plates of rice and fish, and meat, and yucca, and plantains. The fish soup is great.
Like the cuisine of Peru, the music has a Spanish-Afro-Caribbean feel while maintaining it's own unique Peruvian identity.

Here are a few songs by the heavy duty Peruano sonero who goes by the name of Melcochita. Great salsa music from Peru.
Tunes: Bombele , Yay Voy and A Comer Lechon by Melcochita
Of Afro-Cuban heritage, you can hear the influence of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and themes in his music.
buy his cd's here.

Chabuca Granda is on of the godmothers of Peruvian music.
Tune: La Herida Oscura by Chabuca Granda (Peru 1920-1983)
I love the use of vibes with a juice harp.

Here is a little psychadelic cumbia called Chicha in Peru
Tune: Ven Mi Dulce Amor by Los Destellos
Chicha is named after the Peruvian fermented corn drink
Chicha morada is an unfermented drink made from purple corn. From what I have tried, most chicha morada in Peruvian restaurants is sweeter than kool-aid, but you can buy dried purple corn at Latino markets and make your own. All you need to do is boil the purple corn in water with a little lemon or lime and sweeten with sugar to taste. Steep the corn for about half an hour and strain. Serve chilled. There are a lot of Peruvian dishes that use purple corn, But I have gone overboard in creating purple corn desserts. I have used purple corn and quince to make Mazamorra morada, and from this mazamorra morada I have made porridge by whisking in purple corn meal to make a sort of sweet purple polenta. I have steeped purple corn in milk for a base to make gelato. And I have also made purple corn mousse and foam.

Here is a dessert I call Purple Rain
Hot mazamorrada with sauteed corn and blueberries, purple corn gelato, puffed corn, and chicha morrada foam.

Tune: Chula Vende Chicha by Los Hermanos Flores from El Salvador.

Here are Los Destellos performing La Llorona

I love this song also called La Llorona
Tune: La Llorona by Chavela Vargas

Tune: Como una Rosa Roja by Lucha Reyes (1936-1973)from Peru from the LP La Morena de Oro del Peru

Tune: Asi Lo Quieres Tu by Lucha Reyes from Peru. This song is from the LP Mi Ultima Cancion

The Peruvian Lucha reyes is not the only Latina superstar from the 20th century. She shares her name with a Mexicn diva who also has a powerfully haunting voice.

Tune: La Tequilera by Lucha Reyes from Mexico (1906-1944)

Tune: Indian Carnaval by Yma Sumac

Tunes: Negra presunituosa, Xanahari and Valentin by Susana baca
Buy her music here.

2 excellent starting points for Peruvian music are the compilations:
The Soul Of Black Peru
The Roots of Chicha

There is a lot of new music coming out of Buonos Aires in the form of cumbia remixes by cats like . There are tons of Mexican artists who are putting out some interesting cumbia projects too. But what's the new "underground" scene of Peru? Is it TechnoChicha/cumbia!? The only post-modern Peruvian music I have is by the group NovaLima. It is aen EP record that has a few remixes from their Afro album. The beats are OK and the sound is fresh but I would like to here some Peruvian remixes done in the style of Zaman8 or JStar or Romanowski.

Tune: Candela Faze Action Dub by NovaLima