ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And now a Valentine's Day found recipe, one that blends flavors, cultures and of course love.
BRYANT TERRY CHEF: It's called Afro-Asian jung.
SIEGEL: That's Chef Bryant Terry, author of "Vegan Soul Kitchen."
JIDAN TERRY-KOON: Jung, J-U-N-G, is the Cantonese version of a portable meal. Basically, it's wrapped in bamboo leaves. It's a triangle shaped pocket.
SIEGEL: And that's Bryant Terry's wife, Jidan Terry-Koon. She's an artist. She enjoyed eating jung as a child in San Francisco.
TERRY-KOON: And if you peel back the leaves, inside you'll find just a glistening pyramid of sweet rice. And as you eat you'll find in the middle of the jung there will be hunks of pork fat, yellow mung beans, peanuts, shitake mushroom. And if you're lucky you'll find a small hardboiled quail egg or even a salty duck egg.
SIEGEL: Jidan Koon and Bryant Terry live in Oakland, California. Her family emigrated from China and he's originally from Memphis, Tennessee. Their relationship evolved over cooking. So when they got engaged in 2008, they created a special dish to celebrate, Afro-Asian jung.
CHEF: Afro-Asian jung blends our respective cultural foods but we also wanted to have a dish that reflected our own values around cooking and, you know, thinking about eating whole foods. And we both were vegan at the time and so we wanted to have a jung that's devoid of animal products.
TERRY-KOON: So we just kind of went down the list of the common ingredients and we began to research what they mean and also which ones occur in both the African and African-American cooking tradition as well as the Asian cooking tradition.
CHEF: Typical jung would be composed mostly of white glutinous rice but ours had a combination of black forbidden rice, brown glutinous rice and white glutinous rice.
TERRY-KOON: The next thing on the list was peanuts. We're like, hey, you know, that's a common staple, that stays. The jung would have some kind of beans, and in my family we use mung beans. He suggested that we substitute the mung beans for black-eyed peas, which are often symbols of good luck in African-American tradition.
CHEF: In the traditional jung, one might use pork fat, so we decided to caramelize onions in order to kind of add just a rich, fatty flavor. We thought that'd be a good substitute. Finally we added shitake mushrooms. We really wanted to use our engagement party as an opportunity to bring our families to get to know each other. And we thought, what better way to do that than by kind of collectively making the jung.
TERRY-KOON: Jung is kind of like tamales. You don't just make six of them. You don't go through all that trouble. You have to make them in big batches. So we essentially tested our recipe through our engagement party. And we were able to wrap and feed I would say almost 100 people. And it went over so well. I mean, people thought it was delicious. So when we started planning our wedding, it was just a no-brainer. We were like, let's do the jung again.
CHEF: We haven't actually made Afro-Asian jung since 2010 and we have a two-year-old daughter now. And we would love for her to try this dish, which in many ways symbolizes who she is, you know, kind of a confluence of us and everything that we are.
TERRY-KOON: She's our little Afro-Asian jung.
SIEGEL: Jidan Koon and Bryant Terry. You can get the recipe for Afro-Asian jung, and, yes, there's a diagram, too, at the ALL THINGS CONSIDERED page at NPR.org.