By : Samin Ekbatani
Let me introduce you to a Canadian traditional dish, Poutine. You may think it’s just a kind of French fries that Canadians call Poutine. Well, you’re wrong. What makes a poutine unique from any other dish made from potatoes is it’s topping. This tasty topping is made of cheese curds and gravy. The taste of poutine is so unique that makes it difficult to put in words.
The background of this traditional Canadian dish goes back to the 1950s when it first appeared in rural Quebec little café restaurants. Canadian food researcher, Sylvain Charlebois says while Warwick is the birthplace of poutine, Drummondville’s Jean-Paul Roy is known as the true inventor as he was the first one who sold poutine with three combined ingredients in 1964. Therefore, some believe it comes from and belongs to the French side of Canada but Later Poutine was widely popularized across Canada and now I can confirm that Poutine is known as the only Canadian Traditional Dish which found its way to other parts of the world.
Many people make Gravy with Roux. Roux is a mixture of flour and fat cooked together and used to thicken sauces. Roux is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight. The flour is added to the melted fat or oil on the stove top, blended until smooth, and cooked to the desired level of brownness. A roux can be white, blond (darker) or brown. There is various common fat used in Roux. Roux is used for thickening the gravy, sauces, soups and stews. It provides the base for a dish, and other ingredients can be added after the roux is complete. A good Poutine Gravy relies more on starch so the Roux with more starch is what makes the poutine delicious.
Another main thing that makes a good poutine is the French fries. I am talking about those thick, not too crispy, not too soggy, solid French fries. Fresh potatoes will taste better than the frozen French fries found at any super
market. Sometimes you see bits of skin on some parts of the potato, that’s to get a crunchy corner bite every once in a while. The cut potatoes fried in fresh frying oil will taste better. No special seasoning is used for the fries; the taste is all about the topping.
By this point I assume you would agree with Canadians when they say Poutine helps you get warm. Well, the starch and fat in the Poutine can help with feeling warm during the long and freezing winters of Canada.
Last but not least ingredient is the cheese curds. Simply solid pieces of curdled milk, that can be either eaten alone as a snack or as Canadians do, it can be added to fries and with the gravy, you will enjoy a delicious poutine. Cheese curds can be found in white or yellow color. For poutine we want white cheese curds. We also want the cheese to melt. Another way to describe the cheese curd is to say it’s just a young cheddar. Why young? Because it was not kept long to age so the taste is different from what you normally get from a supermarket. It tastes so fresh. The good healthy part of the poutine is the cheese which is a good source of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B12, phosphorus and zinc. It also contains milk protein that helps to neutralize plaque acids and it is very good for your teeth. Poutine can be counted as a main dish on its own or it can be served as a side served with other food. Stuffed chicken or Turkey are suggested to be served with Poutine. Poutine is always served at festive occasions. Canadians will always have Poutine on their tables at their special family gatherings.
Some people add cranberry sauce to the topping. These people say it will just take the taste to the next level (so delicious). This dish has been popular among kids and adults as long as its remembered. You can ask for extra gravy or add other ingredients such as meat bites, extra cheese or hot pepper to spice up your poutine. Some people even add nuts to their poutine. You can rarely find a menu across Canada with no poutine on its list. You can even order poutine in McDonalds throughout Canada.
It can easily be made at home so I suggest you try to make your own Poutine. After a few times you can make some changes according to your taste in food until you get a chance to actually order a Poutine in Canada!
Although Poutine is not as popular as sushi around the world but Canadians love Poutine and they sure are very good at making the best ones in the world!