I love fusion cooking because it allows me to mix different culinary traditions and ingredients to create dishes that are full of tummy-smiling goodness.
The whole idea of fusion being a recent trend is wrong; it is as old as the spice trails that gave different areas of the world a look into the traditions of traders and the wafers that brought us these exotic ingredients from all over the world.
Whether it is Tex –Mex, French-Vietnamese or something closer to home, such as Indo-Scot, the basics must be kept in sight so your fusion is not con-fusion on the plate and palate.
The understanding of your palate is all important and, once you have that, you can head off on your merry food adventure.
Sweet, salty, sour, spicy and what they call umami (mouth feel) are used to effect in all cuisines. However, how they are obtained is where culinary techniques and styles vary and this is where the fun comes in.
Take salt, for example, many dishes use soy or fish sauce instead to create similar tastes and flavours. With palm sugar you can use jaggary, honey or strap molasses, for citrus, you can use gooseberry, and so on.
During your trip into food fusion you will be able to use your travel experience, food memories and inspired hunches to create great dishes.
Personally I love using fusion cooking to mix and match non-traditional methods and ingredients to create something different. As a result, I have decided to make Gobi, a wonderful dish which mixes easy Chinese cooking with a dash of Indian spices! It is one of my all-time favourite recipes.
Califlower gobi with a twist
Here are the ingredients that you will need to make gobi:
1 medium-sized cauliflower broken into florets
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of green birds eye chilli, finely chopped
Half a tablespoon of cornflour mixed with 8 tablespoons of cold water
Salt (to taste)
A quarter of a teaspoon of ground Szechwan pepper
2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons of chilli bean paste
150ml of water
Fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped (for garnish)
3 spring onions, finely chopped (for garnish)
For the batter:
100g of plain flour
50g of cornflour
A quarter of a teaspoon of red chilli powder
Salt (to taste)
Oil for deep frying
1 Combine the flour, cornflour, chilli powder, salt and a little bit of water to form a batter thick enough to coat each cauliflower floret
2 Heat the oil in a pan and deep fry the batter coated florets until they are golden brown
3 Season the florets and put to one side on some kitchen roll
4 Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan and add the chopped onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies
5 Fry for a minute until fragrant and then add the pepper, soy sauce, chilli paste and salt
6 Add the water and cook for a minute then add the cornflour and water mixture
7 Simmer until the sauce becomes thick
8 Add the fried cauliflower florets and toss
9 Garnish with chopped spring onions and coriander leaves and serve.