You all know, I really don’t know what I’m doing. I have some kitchen knowledge. Some is learned from watching cooking shows, reading cookbooks and mags, frequenting the farmers’ market, eating at a variety of restaurants and cooking a majority of my meals. I know I have a lot to learn.
My mom, who is an avid NOT-COOKER, recently asked me what my favorite part of cooking is. It took me a second. Of course I love to eat. I also love to be in the kitchen. And I love the act of feeding my friends and family. But right now, what excites me in the kitchen, is cooking with ingredients from other cultures and countries.
And this is where I go back to not really knowing what I’m doing. Now, that doesn’t mean I can’t make my food taste freaking awesome. I just don’t know the proper, the correct, way to pair spices from a certain country. (One reason that we have a tag as “Asian” is because we don’t yet know the nuances of each individual country. Sure, fish sauce is Thai and wasabi is Japanese. But ginger—how do you categorize?)
This post is a good example of why people hate fusion food. And love. It was really delicious, but totally not accurate. Please excuse my ignorance.
Recipe post jump.
I threw two sweet potatoes (pricked with fork) into a 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes.
While that was going, I diced up 2 small chicken breasts and coated it in a monstrosity of African-Indian-Asian-ness. I grated lots of ginger into a bowl and then smashed it into curry powder. I added in harissa (maybe a tablespoon), salt, pepper, lemon juice and just a tincy bit of oil. This was pretty thick, more paste-like than marinade, and coated the chicken in it.
I put a dab of oil on a hot pan and warmed up chickpeas. Actually, browned the chickpeas. And holy crap—they became really creamy. Will definitely be heating and browning my c-peas from now. When they were browned, I dumped in left over bulgur wheat and toasted that up and kept everything warm.
I threw the chicken on a hot pan, no more oil needed. And simply cooked them through, flipping once.
I de-skinned the sweet potato, because I find the skin gets weird and hard. Anyone have tips? Should I oil the skin? Is the skin that good for me that I should care about saving it? So after de-skinning, I sliced the potato into rounds and served everything with a homemade version of Tzatziki sauce. (yogurt, shredded cucumber, salt, garlic, pepper.)
But the problem is, Tzatziki is a Greek sauce. NOTHING to do with this region. Well, ish. But still far away. I was pretending this was the Indian raita (yogurt,tomatoes, diced cucumber, minced onion, salt and chilies or chili powder.)
I really like fusion food, but I am an avid categorizer and I always need to know what specific things I am fusing.
wow I totally don’t feel any of these compulsions to play by the rules – pour that greek stuff on that Indian – why not??? that chickpea method sounds delish- gonna try!
Throw caution to the wind! If I can eat cover my gyro with sriracha then your tzatziki can cross any cultural border it likes.
well, im kinda thinking about this in an old school way. i guess i feel like i should learn the authentic way before i go and screw it all up.