Sabor Latino: Easy-to-prepare Latin Fusion Dishes
If you’re tired of the oldies you’ve been cooking for years, now is the time to scan the globe for palate inspiration. Popular ingredients in Latin dishes are joining forces with those from Asia, India and France to create flavorful dishes with an exotic twist. Las Fabulosas serves up cooking tips and secret recipes for multicultural food from chefs and restaurateurs at Latin fusion restaurants.
“Mexican and Indian food are very similar,” says Alex Nagal, General Manager and partner at Tandoory Taco in Texas. “They utilize many of the same ingredients with great health benefits.” Nagal shared a “Tandoory Taco” recipe that blends the best of both worlds.
Chicken Tikka Tacos
Marinade for chicken:
½ cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poked with a fork, cut into large bite-sized chunks
Marinade the chicken for one hour. Set oven to 375 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes or until well cooked. Slice cooked chicken into thin strips.
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 tablespoon ginger-garlic Paste
1 Serrano pepper, minced
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup water
½ cup heavy cream
Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
Add oil and butter to pot, and heat until melted. Add onions and Serrano pepper, and cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add ginger garlic paste and cook for three minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until soft. Add the garam masala, paprika and salt and cook for three minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it darkens for about five minutes.
“Latin and Asian foods complement each other with their similar repertoire of base flavorings such as onion, garlic and chilies,” says Eric McKamey, Chef de Cuisine at Masa 14 in Washington, D.C. McKamey shared a tasty recipe that incorporates the best of east and west.
Crispy shrimp and potatoes with chipotle-sesame aioli
1 cup mayonnaise (preferably Japanese Kewpie, but any will work)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons chipotle en adobo, chopped fine to a puree
1.5 teaspoons sesame oil
For sauce, whisk all together.
Canola oil (as needed)
1 pound shrimp, peeled, de-veined
¼ pound potatoes cut into pieces of similar size to shrimp
½ cup rice flour
½ cup cornstarch
Cold water (as needed)
Fine sea salt to taste
Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain, and cool to room temperature.
Heat oil in a high-sided pot to 350 degrees. Whisk rice flour and cornstarch together. Add cold water to bring to the consistency of heavy cream. Divide into two bowls. Add shrimp to one bowl to coat, potatoes to the other bowl to coat.
Using chopsticks, gently place items in hot oil, cooking in batches (about two minutes). They will be crispy to the touch, but because of the type of flour, will still maintain a very pale color. Transfer to paper towels to drain, seasoning with salt.
Serve the shrimp and potatoes as soon as it is coming out of the fryer. Pass along with the Chipotle-Sesame Aioli, with lime wedges and kimchi.
At French-Mexican fusion restaurant Paloma, in Philadelphia, “French sauces become exciting when made with chili peppers or mamey; filet mignon is served with a cappuccino-chipotle-red wine reduction sauce,” says Barbara Cohan-Saavedra, dessert chef at Paloma. Cohan-Saavedra shares a Mexican haute cuisine recipe.
Wild mushroom flan
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup cooked sliced wild mushrooms
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely chopped epazote (an herb, available dry or fresh in Mexican groceries)
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms in a little olive oil until cooked, for about five minutes. You should have about one cup of cooked mushrooms. Add heavy cream and epazote. Bring to a boil. Simmer for four to five minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside. In a small bowl, add eggs and egg yolks. Beat with a whisk until well blended. Add the cream and mushroom mixture. Mix until well blended. Correct seasoning.Set four medium-size ramekins in a bain-marie. Spray each ramekin with nonstick coating. Divide mixture among the ramekins. Add water to the bain-marie and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. If serving immediately, unmold onto a warm plate and drizzle with cilantro pesto. To hold for later serving, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove plastic wrap and reheat in bain-marie or in a microwave at low to medium power. Then unmold, drizzle with the pesto, and serve.