I often find myself thinking what exactly IS fusion cooking. The official definition is: Fusion cuisine is cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions. Cuisines of this type are not categorized according to any one particular cuisine style and have played a part in innovations of many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.
Seems Fusion is nothing new even though it’s all the rage and the NEW BUZZ TERM in cooking now days. But is there something new happening now that hasn’t in the past? I don’t know that there really is. If you have ever eaten at an traditional American Chinese restaurant then you have been eating fusion cooking. Heck I grew up in a culture that was steeped in fusion cooking .. TEX MEX food is its own cuisine. Ask any native Texan and they can tell you Tex Mex is not mexican and it isn’t ranch food it’s a mash up of something truly uniquely regional to texas and really fantasticly special. Heck I could go on and on about the nuances of Tex Mex, so much so that it would warrant its own chapter in a cook book.
SO what do I think FUSION COOKING IS ? I think it has become a way to describe taking the tastes and the textures from one type of food and blending it into another. Sometimes the foods are totally different – flavors or styles across from the color culinary wheel so to speak. Two things that you would not normally think of being put together sometimes gently merging seamlessly, while other times with the force of two colliding trains ramming head into one another. But it is for sure the combination of two different styles into a NEW thing. It is the biracial baby of the cooking world. Have I mentioned I LOVE LOVE LOVE fusion cooking and I love my racially diverse kids as well … no we are NOT having a Paula Dean moment here.
Most of my fusion cooking is born from my CRAZY cravings. I had same wild cravings while pregnant with all four of my kids. Only thing is that after the child made its exit from it’s occupation of my body/ mind take over, the cravings did not go with them. I have for years now still gotten the most bizarre cravings and they don’t let up until I satisfy them. It’s my monster that must be fed. It’s usually a blend of two or more very specific food styes. This week it was Mexican and Indian. Specifically the texture of indian, the flat bread for dipping and scooping up the thick sauce that is a good curry. However I was craving the flavors of a rich spicy mexican flavored dish. Indian and mexican both share some similarities in seasoning and cooking styles. I got to work making a dish that is in essence MEXICAN CURRY !!! It worked fantastically well. I even went a bit rouge on the rice substituting out the traditional indian basmati rice from what I would normally use in the mexican rice a regular grain rice. Let me tell you that I think this is going to be a permanent change from now on. the texture was far superior and the cook was perfect. I sometimes, even after cooking the rice the other way for over 20 years, still have an occasion where things just don’t turn out as they should.
I can’t give you the recipe for the Mexican Curry quite yet ( I wish I could belive me I do) I’m holding it back for a little competition I’m working towards. But once I can I promass I will share it be it in a cookbook or on here …. so just stay tuned (shameless plug to get you to subscribe NOW) But what I will give you is the RICE:
Indian Mexican Rice
3 cups basmati rice dry
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion rough chopped
1 can diced tomato or 3 roma whole tomatoes
1 can green chili ( optional)
1 small can tomato sauce ( if you don’t have that 1/2 cup catchup because it’s food not life or death)
1 tbl cumin powder
1 tbl onion powder
1 garlic clove diced or 1 tsp minced or 1 tbl powder – just add some dang garlic
5.5 cups of water or chicken broth ( if you have broth powder use it !)
GET EVERYTHING READY AND LAID OUT – chop your onion rough, out it in the blender or food processor to fine chop it. Add the can of tomatoes or tomato you have, add the tomato sauce, add the green chili. blitz blend until liquid. Get a heavy pan / pot with a lid tight seal – put it on high heat. Put the oil in the pan and get the oil screaming hot. Once oil is hot put the onions in. It should sizzle and be making a lot of noise in the pan if it is not then your heat is not high enough. TURN THAT HEAT UP … fry the onions until they start to turn sort of see through. Now add the rice. turn down the heat… you want to stir the rice don’t let it burn or pop ( yes rice will POP LIKE POPCORN … whole different post ) Once the rice is slightly brown and toasted add the spices and garlic … fry them for just a moment no more than about a min – don’t burn them you can’t undo or cover the taste of burnt spices! Now add the tomato liquid from the blender … it will sizzle and spit this is normal. STIR scraping all the tasty bits off the bottom and sides of your pan. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice add the water or the broth. Stirr it all in making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat back up to bring to a boil. Once you see the liquid boil turn the heat down to simmer. COVER AND DO NOT PEAK for 24 minutes. After time is up turn the heat off. Let it sit for another 5-7 mins with the lid on … after that take the lid off and fluff your rice. let stand if it’s wet inside a warm oven 300* for 10 mins but you shouldn’t have to do this is for that rare case things for whatever reason don’t work out on moisture. This will make 6 generous cups of rice cooked.
I ended up serving this with the Mexican red chicken curry, a roasted acorn squash, mashed beans, grilled onions and a guacamole, and fire toasted tortilla as the flat bread. There you have it for a Mexican / Indian Mashup fusion meal. it has the mouth feel of Indian food and the taste of Mexican food. For me it was exactly what I was craving.