A great way to come up with a new and exciting meal is to mix ingredients or techniques from two or more cultures together.Â Certain key ingredients can bring the flavor of one culture and then be combined with ingredients or techniques from another.Â The results can be good or bad, but if you also keep in mind ingredients your family likes, you’re unlikely to come up with something they won’t eat.
As usual, I had some things in the fridge that needed to be used up.Â The items I started with were red snapper filets, cooked red and yellow quinoa, 1/2 a small onion and some mushrooms.Â A few more ingredients and I ended up with a very nice Sunday lunch.
Red snapper with cajun spices isn’t exactly unique, but it sure is tasty!Â Cajun spice mixes are inexpensive, but contain mostly salt and sugar, which is even cheaper.Â I make my own:
Cajun spice mix
- 1T paprika
- 1T garlic powder
- 1t salt
- 1t cayenne pepper
- 1t dried thyme
- 1t black pepper
Because I use less salt that regular cajun seasoning you can lay it on thick for more flavor.Â You might need to play withe ratios to get something just right for you.Â This would also be great on chicken or mixed into flour for fried chicken.
I mixed this with some whole wheat flour and then dredged and fried the snapper filets in olive oil for about 5 min on each side.
The quinoa side was really the fusion part.Â Quinoa is a common staple in South America- especially Peru.Â I then combined some flavors of Spain like olives and smoked paprika.Â The result was very unique, tasty AND healthy!
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 5 mushrooms, sliced
- 8 olives, mixed green and black, chopped
- 1-2t olive oil
- 2t Spanish smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
I sauteed the onion in the olive oil until starting to soften, about 5 min then added the mushrooms and cooked for another 5 min.Â I then added the olives, quinoa and paprika until everything was hot, about another 5 min.Â This made about two servings.Â I think some fresh cilantro would have made a tasty garnish.Â I need to write that on my shopping list!
You could go in all sorts of directions with this.Â I love to pull in Asian flavors like ginger and miso.Â You could marinate the snapper in miso and soy sauce and then flavor the quinoa with ginger, garlic and sesame oil- heck, you could change the quinoa to couscous or rice!
I’d love to hear any combinations you come up with or ideas to make this better.