I'll give you a little behind the scenes look and let you know that the first idea for a recipe was to do a summer barbecue recipe, then after further discussion we decided it should be an example of the “DAO Middle Burner Diet” that we’ve been talking about as a group for nearly two years. As I thought more about this, I decided instead of choosing between the two, that it would be best to incorporate both as an example of how to easily adapt western-themed recipes to the DAO Middle Burner Diet.
The DAO Middle Burner Diet is the idea from Chinese medicine that the digestive process should consist of creating a hundred degree Fahrenheit “soup” in the stomach and that whatever facilitates the creation of such a hundred degree soup in the stomach benefits digestion and whatever impedes the creation of a hundred degree soup in the stomach impedes digestion (for more information on the middle burner concept, see my explanation in this earlier (and delicious) recipe.
My Initial Inspiration: A Summer Soup for “Warming” Digestion
My original idea for a summer barbecue recipe was to do “Jerk Spiced Grilled Chicken” with a tropical fruit salsa, a variation of a soup I used to do at my restaurant where the soup itself was the partially pureed chilled tropical fruit, garnished with warm spiced barbecued chicken. I was just reminded of this soup by a customer who called me last week on our first hundred degree summer day wishing she could have some of it. It was a crowd favorite.
Then when we internally talked about doing a recipe around the middle burner concept, my first thought was that I certainly couldn't use the summer barbecue recipe as the chilled fruits would be to cooling for the middle burner.
As I looked closer at this, I realized that most of the ingredients are neutral, warming or hot, and that if we grilled the pineapple, we could make it warmer still. Roasting the poblano would make it warmer, and adding spice to the chicken would make it warmer still, and that by pureeing the fruit, it would bring it to a more easily digestible state.
In the following recipe below, the temperature descriptions in parentheses refer to the Chinese medicine “temperature” of the food. As you can see, the majority of the food temperatures are neutral, warming or hot with only two being cool. When you add in a few of the warming cooking techniques I describe, you're left with a recipe that’s overall Chinese medicine temperature is in fact warming and ends up being conducive to the Middle Burner Diet.
It's easier than you think to adapt your recipes to a middle burner diet, and it’s fun to learn about the Chinese temperatures of food and how you can easily adjust them if necessary.
Grilled Jerk Chicken with Tropical Fruit Salsa
¼ large Pineapple (Neutral)
½ Papaya (Neutral)
1 Mango (Cool)
1-2 Kiwi (Cool)
1-2 Poblano (Warming)
0-2 Jalapeno to taste (Hot)
¼ cup or as needed Virgin Olive Oil (Neutral)
½ cup yellow Onion (Warm)
½ cup Cilantro (Warm)
3-4 Chicken Breasts Skinless (Warm)
Jerk Seasoning (purchased) to taste (Warm-Hot)
Peel, core and slice the Pineapple. Peel, remove the seeds and dice the papaya. Peel and dice the mango. Peel, quarter and slice the kiwi. Roast the poblano on the grill until the skin is charred, remove the skin and julienne. Roast, skin and mince the jalapeño if you are using any. Small dice the onion. Pick several cilantro sprigs. Marinate chicken in a jerk marinate or season with a jerk seasoning or rub, grill, slice and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the pineapple, papaya, mango, kiwi, roasted poblano and roasted jalapeno if you're using it and stir together. Remove about 1/3 to 1/2 of this mix and puree with just a bit of water and return this puree to the diced ingredients and combine. This is your tropical fruit salsa, adjust seasoning with a pinch or two of salt as needed.
Arrange the grilled jerk chicken on a tray, spoon tropical fruit salsa onto the chicken as desired and garnish with the diced onion, cilantro and drizzle with the olive oil.