Celebrate National Native American Heritage Month With Cactus Stir Fry, Acorn Porridge!

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(credit: sanmanuel-nsn.gov)

(credit: sanmanuel-nsn.gov)

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STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — What’s the best way to celebrate National Native American Heritage Month? Make Native American food with a modern twist for Thanksgiving!

Kim Marcus, representative of the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and Noli Indian School, stopped by KCAL9 to show viewers how to make cactus stir fry and acorn porridge!

Cactus Stir Fry

  1. Pick new growth cactus pad
  2. Remove spines from pads
  3. With the pad laid flat on a table pass a knife over the pad, removing the glochids. (The glochids grow in clusters in the skin of the cactus)
  4. Cut cactus in thin strips
  5. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes
  6. Strain
  7. Boil and strain for 3 times or until bitter taste is removed.
  8. Cactus is ready to eat plain or you can fry 2 cups of cactus with bell peppers, yellow pepers, onions for 10 minutes or just add eggs, etc.

Acorn porridge

Harvest Season – October

Acorns: Black Oak, White Oak, Canyon oak, Live Oak

  1. Dry whole acorns for 4 months
  2. Crack acorn, remove seed.  Let seeds dry in sunlight for 8 hours (preferable in 80 degree temperatures).  Remove skins from seeds
  3. Grind acorns into fine powder.
  4. Leaching process: place a cloth (preferable cheese cloth) on a basket; place fine powder in cloth, spread acorn powder evenly in cloth; run water over powder for leaching, continue leaching with water for period of 6 hours or leach until it no longer taste bitter.
  5. Remove cloth with powder and squeeze to drain all water content.
  6. Remove acorn meal from cloth.
  7. Boiling method: place very ¼ cup of water in pot, heat until boiling.
  8. Reduce fire to simmer.
  9. Place acorn meal 4 cups in heated water and continue to stir meal for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve

While some of these traditional ingredients such as the Pinion nuts and Chia seeds take some searching in local mountains, some of these are readily available in your local grocery story. Everything used today for the cactus stir fry can be found at a local Hispanic grocery store. For more information on traditional California Native American foods and history of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, click here.

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