Creating Complementary Flavors: An Indian-Mexican Fusion Buffet
Just like the lawful and love-filled marriage of two totally unique humans, the marriage of two distinct cultural cuisines is a thing of beauty. “Fusion foods” are globally-inspired dishes and buffet spreads that seamlessly combine flavor profiles and cooking techniques from countries around the world. In this case, East meets West. We’ve thoughtfully cultivated a menu bursting with international flair that incorporates both Indian and Mexican traditions. Our goal is to maintain the integrity and the unique qualities of the cuisine of each culture, while creating a blended buffet that caters to all. Here’s how we here at EC do Indian-Mexican fusion.
Drinks for All
One of the wonderful ways the Indian and Mexican food cultures are linked is through spice! Both are known for inventive and flavorful use of tamarind, coriander (cilantro in Mexico) and a variety of chillies. So, we begin our fusion menu with generously-spiced drinks. Roast jalapeño pepper heats up Mexican mezcal margaritas. Geographically, both Mexico and India have incredibly warm, moist tropical weather for most of the year, resulting in abundant native fruits. Our watermelon raspberry mocktail satisfies the sweet tooth of anyone in the party. Plus, alcohol-free drinks are suitable for both children and adults who abstain.
Classic Cultural Dishes Recontextualized for a Global Crowd
While there are vegetarians and vegans in nearly every pocket of the world, we know there are many Indian folks who abstain from either red meat alone or meat altogether. Tamales are a Latin American staple thought to have originated around 5000 B.C. or earlier! To pay homage to the age-old tradition, we serve red pork tamales, the classic style. We balance the meat dish by serving alongside vegetarian green chile and cheese tamales. Similarly, we pair al pastor (pork meat) tacos with vegetarian fried avocado tacos in corn shells.
Next, we make the most of a protein often enjoyed by both Mexican and Indian families—chicken, the most commonly-consumed type of poultry in the world. As an hors d’oeuvres, we send out coriander chicken “lollipops,” which are crispy flavor bombs topped with a house chimichurri sauce. To enjoy chicken in a more Western-influenced way, we honor a green chicken enchilada recipe passed down through the family of the mother of a future bridal client! It may not date back to 5000 B.C., but it’s a generational crowd-pleaser.
Finding Common Ground in Fusion Foods
The possibilities to create innovative Indian Mexican fusion menus are endless. Some simple common staples can serve as the basis of any fusion dish. Rice and beans are a must-have in both cultures’ cuisines. On the South Asian side, the top choices of rice variety are jasmine and basmati. Here, we have an option of plain basmati rice, as well as a dressed-up version, complete with zucchini, green peppers and chickpeas. We spice it up with garlic, ginger, chili and fresh coriander. South of America, the rice of choice is, of course, Mexican rice. We make ours with tomato sauce and spice it similarly with garlic and chili. Swap out the chickpeas for black beans and voilà! Rice and beans two ways.