Hi guys! I’m super excited about this because today I’m going to start what will hopefully be a weekly tradition on the blog.
SOUL FOOD SUNDAYS!!!
I’m going to dedicate one day a week to doing soul food recipes! Some of you may still be wondering, what exactly is “soul food”? It has its roots in American slavery in the South, when African-American communities learned to prepare what food they had access to and make meals that would comfort and sustain their families. (I am not an expert on this, it’s just what I know from the internet, look it up and you can learn some stuff too!) The term “soul food” wasn’t coined until much later, and today its made its way into what most people recognize as classic Southern food. But soul food isn’t just “Southern” food– I think of it as any food that’s made from the heart for the people we love.
If you’ve had the pleasure of having a classic soul food meal, then you know how delicious it is! However you may have also noticed how unhealthy it usually is. This is partly because (again, just gathering from what I’ve read online) a lot of the foods and preparation techniques that were developed in the old South were intended to be high carb, high protein, and high fat meals because those things are essential to survival and especially important to those doing physical labor. It’s also partly due to the fact the ingredients they had access to weren’t what we would consider to be “healthy”. I’m going to attempt to make some of the classic recipes a lot more healthy than they might usually be.
I decided to feature fried catfish and coleslaw as the first Soul Food Sunday recipe! Why? Well as country as this may sound (and we aren’t even…seriously, we’re from California), I’ve been fryin’ fish since I was probably 12 years old. It’s kind of my specialty! If my mom ever wanted to take a break for cooking dinner, she would bring home some catfish and I would fry it up with some hush puppies and coleslaw on the side. Now you may be saying to yourself, this isn’t healthy at all…
Well my answer to that is that no, it’s not the healthiest of choices, but if prepared the right way it’s perfectly fine as an ocassional treat. And boy is it a treat, it’s so delicious! We make sure only to enjoy fried foods about once a month.
I mentioned this in a previous post, but it is important to choose the right kind of oil. The oil you choose could be the difference between something that’s fine for your body in moderation and something that will raise your cholesterol and clog your arteries. In the olden days, foods were fried in straightup animal fat. Ew. Any kind of oil has fat, but from what I understand, monosaturated fat (like the kind in olive oil and canola oil) is the healthiest kind. Hyrdrogenated or partially hydrogentaed oils should really be avoided. To make a long story short, I use canola oil, which is cheap and works well. It’s refined so it’s not perfect, but as long as its not hydrogenated then I can live with it.
- 3 catfish fillets
- 1 c. stone ground yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 t. salt
- 1 t. lemon pepper
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. onion powder
- canola oil for frying
-Combine the dry ingredients in a ziploc bag and shake around to combine.
-Rinse your fish fillets and put them into the ziploc bag. Zip the bag and shake around until the fish is totally coated in the breading.
-Shake off the excess and remove to a plate.
-In a wide pan or iron skillet, heat about 1/4 c. of canola oil over medium-high heat. I test the oil by pinching a little of the breading into the oil, and if it bubbles then it’s hot enough.
-Fry until golden brown on both sides (should be about 8 minutes for each side). Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool. Serves 2.
Healthy Southern Slaw (No Mayo!)
- 3 c. slaw mix (green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots)
- 2 T. apple cider vinegar
- 1 T. honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 T. mild dijon mustard
- 1/4 c. plain yogurt
-Combine ingredients well in a bowl and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serves 2.
(If you don’t like mayo and therefore don’t like coleslaw, you should try this!)
So so tasty! If you don’t like the flavor of catfish, then cod works well or I would recommend Basa (a Vietnamese catfish that has a very delicate flavor).
I’m glad you came around for this post and I hope you’ll join me for future Sundays! I have big plans to healthify some of my favorite dishes!
Thanks for reading!
What’s your favorite soul food dish?