Cross Cultural Family, Exotic Flavors

Silk Road Cuisine Dan Pan Ji Recipe

Not all who wander are lost. . in the brilliant words of J.R.R Tolkien. Sometimes we’re at home restlessly wondering, floundering, worrying if we’ll ever wander again? The time in-between adventures can be the most desolate for this mama. I struggle through the hum-drum details of a daily routine.  Auto-pilot is the danger here. I adore my family, friends and home but my nomadic heart can get lost in the daily grind.

Thankfully, when my heart needs a taste of adventure I can wander as far as my local ethnic market. Thai, Indian, Nigerian, their colors, tools, meats, vegetables and spices can enliven any after school doldrums.  My kids get to wander the aisles and practice cultural sensitivity (Yes, it smells intense but this is the food of their culture, how do you think hot dogs seem to them?) and explore drinks, fruit or sweet treats.

As a bonus our finds become hospitable moments and ways to invite our friends and family into our adventures.

This recipe & a precious packet of Xinjiang Spice were a gift from friends who introduced me to their corner of the world in 2015. Spices are brilliant souvenirs that keep the memories fresh. Originally birthed from Xinjiang Province of China this has all the flavors of the Silk Road where multiple cultures overlap.

I love one pot meals but this can also be served with my Sichuan Green Beans.

Silk Road Cuisine Dan Pan Ji or Big Plate Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken thighs, boneless
  • 3 or 4 potatoes (Peel potatoes, slice into 0.5 cm thick slices)
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies and 3 green chillies
  • 1 Tbsp Xinjiang Spice (available at Amazon or see below for recipe)
  • 1 piece fresh ginger 2.5 cm (~1 in) (sliced),
  • 2 or 3 green onions (chopped),
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Wine
  • Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1Tbs Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Water
  • Wide noodles

Directions:

  1. Prepare wide noodles in a pot of slightly salted water. Boil until al dente.
  2. Heat sesame oil and olive oil in a wok or pan.
  3. Add in the spices and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken pieces. Stir fry on high heat to seal the chicken and infuse the flavours.
  5. Add the potato slices and stir to seal
  6. Add the sliced green onions
  7. Add two chopped tomatoes
  8. Stir to mix and coat.
  9. Add about ½ cup of water. Bring to the boil.
  10. Add soy sauce and 1 Tbsp Rice Wine.
  11. Simmer until the chicken is cooked.
  12. Transfer to a large serving plate.
  13. Add some freshly cooked wide noodles to the plate and mix with the plate contents.

XinJian Spice Recipe

From our table to yours. . . here’s to everyday adventures.

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  • Cross Cultural Family Exotic Flavors

    Silk Road Cuisine Dan Pan Ji Recipe

    Not all who wander are lost. . in the brilliant words of J.R.R Tolkien. Sometimes we’re at home restlessly wondering, floundering, ...
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The child of missionary parents, writing became a natural was to process my adventures across the world.

Ndjerareou means 'he who builds the road in Ngambai, Nate's tribal language spoken in Chad, Africa.

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  • The road to a friend’s house is never long.” -Danish Proverb
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Thankfully, the same is also true for family. Road trips to visit my brother and his amazing wife in Abilene have become a sweet mini-retreat in the last couple of years. We check out their latest creative endeavor—Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure at the Abilene Community Theatre @actabilene and @kacalligraphydesign latest loveliness on display at The Well.  We get some quality time and enjoy the pace of small town life. .
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Abilene has wonderful local flavor like La Popular. @lapopulartienda Don’t take my word for it, ask anyone in the line around the building and you’ll get recommendations for the menudo, breakfast burritos and pastry. Make sure you take home a stack of home made tortillas. #worththetrip #roadtrip #abilenetx #miniretreat #texas #lapopular #abilienecommunitytheatre #familymakethebestfriends #sistersinlove #changeofpace #changeofscenery #bigskycountry #neverstopexploring #neverstopadventuring #changeyourperspective #trysomethingdifferent #eatlocal
  • “I’m outdoorsy, I like to drink wine on the patio.” -Unknown .
My husband calls it “porch therapy” we love a great spot to people watch, connect and share something tasty. Magnolia Avenue just opened an inviting new spot (formerly the barbershop.) Tapas, drinks, pizza. Look for movies playing outside, coffee and churros in the evening in the cute little out building (Saint Sofia) Great for dates & families (or family playdates;) Well done @lazonafw .
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  • Dreaming together is pure romance for me. Adventure is simply a hasty, impromptu or well planned dream being realized. .
My husband is an executor, I’m the dreamer. As the stakes grow high in life and misadventures mark our path, it’s easy to give up dreaming. To lick our wounds, protect what we care about and stop working our dreaming muscles. .
Recently, as I dusted off a dream that had lost it’s luster, gotten beat up and frustrating. Nate got a far away look in his eyes. It would have been easy to think he was tired of hearing my swan song of imagination. 13 years of marriage and I’ve learned to trust that look. I hold my breath in anticipation. It’s the look of a dream being realized, a partner buttressing my hope with belief and support. .
Today, I’m grateful for the courage to keep dreaming, for a man who needs my hair brained ideas to bring his life color and still jumps into the unknown with me. From our battle weary hearts to yours- keep dreaming my friends. .
#ndjerareoujourney #adventureawaits #daretodream #adventuretogether #neverstopexploring #neverstopadventuring #neverstopdreaming #twoarebetterthanone #dreamersneedexecutors #trustispriceless #sandollarbeach #bigsur #latergram #instatravel #happyvalentinesday #fromourheartstoyours
  • “In my life I need more faucets, less drains.” -  @katytullos .
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Overheard at my beloved Awakening Creativity Writers Group sponsored by @arthousedallas. Today we discussed critics, the ones in our heads and in our daily lives. This group is my secret weapon, a place I go to be filled up and find support through the minefield of self-expression. .
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Thank you @stircrazybakedgoods for hosting us. Cozy atmosphere,  good coffee and treats. Magnolia Ave is inspiring in any season.
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#writerslife #grateful #inspiration #creativityforthecommongood #innerlifeoftheartist #writersofinstagram #writersneedcommunity #andcoffee #magnoliaavenue #fortworth #arthousedallas #findyourtribe #fortworthcreatives @shannonreneeholt @stephaniesuire @sharibower @katefriederichs
  • My parents got their first TV EVER the night of the 1984 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. Is it any wonder I believe this should be a national holiday!
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We are Olympic ready in this house! Snacks-check. Opening ceremony bingo-check. Sushi-check. Psy playlist-check Korean BBQ-check. Crafts for kids-check (thank you Pinterest) This is my Super Bowl people! .
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In recognition of this event I started listening to Scott Hamilton’s new book. Finish First. (with Allison Fallon  @allyfallon well done) . .
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  • My heart's been poured into a lime green composition book this year. On the page my morning laments morph into simple requests giving them life with pen and ink. Their stark presence on the page invite Christ in, begs for hope, simple in its naked reality. It’s an admission of need, a request for participation, a waiting. .
Restoration begins when we admit we’re broken. This year that meant very simple confessions. Repentance followed in basic prayers of need. Lord, what do I do with this? . 
Seeking renewal one quiet morning at a time has opened my heart to a tender response that is offered in unexpected places. It moves my soul because I admit I’m seeking.  My requests focus my hearing and tune my heart for the whispered word of guidance.  In a tender gathering over coffee I weep to hear I’m not alone, a friend is made, a note is written; a wise person recommends a book, a tool or a prayer. . 
Today is about keeping my promise to myself. A simple prayer to seek His face. His response has been tender, personal and relevant. Seeking restoration means walking through the wreckage of your apathy, poor choices and tainted beliefs.
It’s living honestly, bending and serving, admitting my frailty, nourishing my body.
Seeking his leading one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.
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  • “No.” is a complete sentence.” Anne Lamott.  It’s a privilege to be my children’s mom. To hold their hands, listen to their fears, correct homework, find socks, turn their dreams into piano practice and robotics camp, nudge their friendships and feed their bodies, souls and spirits. As my oldest nears her teenage years I realize time is flying and these central tasks of my life will be over in a heartbeat. This year I made a list of all the needs that were on my plate and I prayed for the courage to cross off the ones that could survive without me. Honestly, only one really got a clean line through it. One idea I’ll leave for another year and another season. But this permission to be less gave me the gift of space. A little room in the schedule to seek wholeness, find renewal.
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#breathe #ndjerareoujourney #renew #restore #motherhood #thehardestjobyoulleverlove #thebestyes #longdaysshortyears
  • Breathe . . .It’s a simple word with a powerful intention.  Gone are the long lists of resolutions, gone are the goals and the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of lists and plans. There are grocery lists, to do lists, lists of things to buy, phone calls to make and bills to pay. My lists are typically much longer than my days. .
This year I refuse to be defined by these lists. These lists do not prove my worth, my importance, my contribution. All those lists have helped me discover is that the longer my list the tighter the pain in my chest. I keep lists out of necessity because there are many demands on a day, many objectives in a week. It’s an essential part of being a mother, wife, writer, friend. .
 Restoration now sits prominently on my list. This year was birthed in a deficit and it’s very clear that there needs to be room for being filled up, being fed, caring for my soul, body and heart in ways that honors God and brings life to my family. So today I choose to simply breathe. . .
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Mathew 6:25-20 .
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 #considerthelillies #breathe #seekgod #seekrenewal #ndjerareoujourney #writersofinstagram #momlife #write #restore #faith #inspire