Retrieving authentic recipes and tastes from Timor-Leste is the challenge of the Portuguese chef Luís Simões, who intends to contribute to “creating a genuine Timorese gastronomy” with the book “Sabor de Timor”, which is launched this Wednesday in Lisbon.
Working for five years in Timor-Leste, Luís Simões found that Timorese daily cuisine is heavily influenced by Indonesian and Portuguese cuisine.
In the book “Sabor de Timor – A Tribute to the Kitchen of Timor-Leste”, written in Portuguese and Tetum, the chef tried to “return to the origins, creating or recreating dishes that constitute a bet in the valorization of the bases or origins of the gastronomic culture endogenous use of Timor-Leste through the preponderant (and often exclusive) use of local products and ingredients, “he said in the introduction.
“It is a great step to create a genuine Timorese gastronomy based on the ingredients and flavor of Timor,” Luís Simões told Lusa.
Examples of these products are coconut, used in sweet or savory dishes, in the form of milk, oil or grated, but also ginger; the Timor coffee, “one of the most consumed and appreciated drinks” in that country; the files; the bananas, “in their multiple varieties”, and the cherry trees.
More than making a collection of traditional recipes, Luís Simões sought to use “past and tradition” as “a reference to recreate, reinvent and discover new and improbable combinations of colors, fragrances and flavors that project to the world the image of a people knowledgeable and respectful of the cultural and gastronomic legacy of his ancestors, but also bold enough to experiment and innovate in a world that is ever more eager for novelty and discovery. ”
The book proposes recipes for meat, fish, vegetarian and dessert dishes, not to mention juices and iced teas, which “help travelers who are more unprepared for the inclement of the heat to enjoy, pleasantly, the much that East Timor has to offer to whom he visits. ”
The chef seeks to promote a healthier diet, a task that has also been engaged in the cooking program “Sabor a Timor”, which has been presenting since 2017 in the first private television station in Timor-Leste, GMN Tv.
To counteract the systematic use of frying foods as a form of confection, to refuse the frequent use of flavor enhancers such as masako, which is always present in East Timorese kitchens, and to reduce the excessive consumption of sugars and sweeteners are a concern in the recipes that Luis Simões prepared.
The book has a foreword by Xanana Gusmão, former President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, who warns of the need not to lose ancestral cuisine.
“Throughout the centuries the gastronomy in the territory has also been adjusted to the natural circumstances, the external influences, the social conjuncture … Nevertheless, there is a thread that allows us, still, from far away, to hear the murmuring of old recipes and precepts … The rural and ancestral condition of many of our communities allowed these traditions to arrive as intact as possible, “says Xanana Gusmão.
Timorese historic leader warns: “There is, therefore, no time to lose. In a new time such as this, where communication and circulation begin to take place at the speed of other, more urban cultures, there is an objective risk that cultural treasures of this type will be lost because of lack of practice, sharing, contemplation that allowed to appreciate and to value the kitchen delayed and apcura of the grandmothers “.
“All peoples have their gastronomic traditions and Timor-Leste, of course, is no exception. Since always families have gathered around the comfort of the fire, where some kind of food is prepared to share among all, “he says.
And in Timor-Leste, “rice always comes to someone else,” because “few people will be as generous as the people of Timor-Leste when mealtime comes,” said Xanana Gusmão.
This is the second work of Luís Simões, 28, who two years ago launched “Flavors of Lusophony”.
The book “Sabor de Timor” is presented this Wednesday, in Lisbon, in Camões – Institute of Cooperation and Language, followed by presentations at Praia de Mira, where the author is natural, on June 8; in Porto, at the Tane Timor Association, on the 10th; in the School of Hospitality of Coimbra, on the 11th, and in the Municipal Library of Ponte de Vagos, on the 12th.
The launch in Timor is expected to be in early July.
Source: SAPOHAKSOLOK Lifestyle 06 June 2018)
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