The month of May is recognized as Asian Heritage month in Canada; there is no equivalent in Mexico, in spite of all the important connexions with the continent, both current, and throughout Mexican History. Asian heritage is considered the fourth root of Mexican heritage, along with its native, European, and African roots. There are very well documented records of Asian migrations, which began in 1565 as part of the slave trade during Spanish colonial times with the establishment of the Manila-Acapulco route via galleons; although coming from The Philippines, they were known as “la nao de China” – “The ship from China” because most of the goods transported catered to the thirst for products manufactured in China. At the zenith of the colonial operations, enslaved people were brought from all around the Asian continent: China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia, and India, often erroneously referred generically as “Chinese”. After becoming an independent country, Mexico duly signed commerce accords with Japan, and was the first Latin American country to receive organized – and voluntary – Japanese immigration starting in 1897, first to work in coffee plantations in the state of Chiapas, and later extending as a plume around the country, including an important migration of miners to Northern Mexico. Korean farmers first arrived in 1905, to cultivate henequén (Agave fourcroydesthe) in the state of Yucatan and other Asian migrants, particularly Chinese nationals, became Mexico’s fastest-growing immigrant group by the turn of the 20th century. During WWII, Japanese residents were forced to move to Central Mexico, to keep them away from ports and the US border; after the end of the war, Mexico was one of the first countries to re-establish diplomatic relations with Japan. There was an important Korean immigration to Mexico in the 1990s, and there was an estimated population of about 6,500 people of Indian descent in 2018.
Nowadays, there are important Asian communities in several Mexican states, which has influenced local cuisine. One ingredient that has entered Mexican kitchens in the last decades is soy sauce, used in stews and other dishes as a condiment for added umami (yummy flavour), but also as the main component of sauces. The recipe I am sharing here was probably inspired by ponzu, a citrusy Japanese sauce, but of course enhanced by a dash of hot sauce.
Asian Inspired Sauce – Salsa estilo asiático
¼ cup Japanese soy sauce, such as Kikkoman™
1 tsp mild vegetable oil, such as safflower
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Dash hot bottled sauce, such as Cholula™ or Tabasco™
Pour soy sauce in a non-reactive jar; add oil (photo below, left); stir with a spoon, then pour lime juice (photo below, right):
Add a dash of hot sauce (as shown at the top of the post.) Close jar and shake. Ponzu is usually served in Japan with dumplings (gyoza) and other meat and vegetable dishes, but this Mexican iteration goes great with fish and other seafood, such as octopus:
In my next post, more about the octopus taco, as shown above.
I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #489, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.