Today’s post is a little different. I usually write this column about a specific kitchen skills; but today I want to talk about something a little more general. specifically I want to talk about the art of fusion cuisine. Fusion is a style of cooking where you combine 2 or more cuisines.
So how do you get started preparing fusion dishes?
The key to a successful fusion dish to to think about complimentary flavors. If two flavors don’t work together, the meal will be a disaster. Both cream and lemon are great with hot tea, but not together!
The easiest way to create an ethnic fusion dish is to combine a food common in one cuisine with a spice or flavor from another. If a dish traditionally gets a spicy seasoning, try the spicy seasoning from another part of the world. Long before ethnic cuisine fusion was cool, or possibly even invented as a concept, my mother was doing this with “sloppy Jose’s,” in which she replaced the can of Manwhich with tomato sauce that had been seasoned with a packet of McCormick taco seasoning.
The next level of fusion cuisine would be to substitute an ingredient from one culture with a similar one from another. There will be foods that have analogs in different cuisines. Pretty much every culture has bread. A quick way to spice up a meal would be to swap out the bread that traditionally goes in one dish (say pizza dough) with one from a different culture (such as Indian naan, Mexican tortillas, or Arabian pitas).
When you are comfortable with these techniques, the next step would be to combine flavors that aren’t usually considered together. You could pair Italian noodles with Thai curries. Or add taco seasoning to a French sauce. Experiment and see what works and what doesn’t.