Mixing too many ingredients, flavors, cooking methods, etc. can very easily result in a horrific meal. Luckily, this experimental Pan Asian Fusion Meal I created for Lasang Pinoy 12 , turned out remarkably good. I didnâ€™t go to the market that day with a specific list in hand. Instead, I just bought things that looked good, sounded interesting or I thought I might be able to use. I didnâ€™t even have a menu in the morning and it evolved as the day went by and I looked at what was in stock in the fridge along with market purchases. By 4 p.m., I decided on several dishes, looked up some recipes, decided to modify where I thought appropriate and by 7 p.m. this meal was on the tableâ€¦
The idea was to create a “fusion” meal with dishes from several Asian countries and possibly even some more western ingredients. I wanted more of â€œtasting menuâ€ where you could get â€œhitsâ€ of flavors but not have to eat everything in succession, like courses at a formal meal. So here was the menu that evening. We had a Spicy black bean mussels, recipe mostly inspired by that Chinese/French fusion king Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger Fame. This dish was an absolute home run. The delicious mussels came with a highly intense, flavorful broth which had white wine, black beans, tomatoes, fish sauce, chicken stock, herbs such as basil and chives. I had never made this before and was absolutely shocked by how good it turned out. Guests ate every single mussel served. How fusion was this? Huge green lipped New Zealand mussels, French white wine, Chinese black beans, Thai fish sauce, and Mexican Jalapenos were just some of the ingredients used!
Next up was a salad of Pako (Fiddlehead Fern) Salad with a simple Vinaigrette. I bought several bunches of pako which are plentiful at this rainy time of the year and cut off only the tips which were blanched for a minute or so and then immediately plunged into ice cold water to stop the cooking and to brighten the color. This was then drained and kept in the fridge until just before mealtime. I dressed the ferns with some excellent Italian Extra Virgin olive oil, French champagne vinegar and a generous sprinkling of some pink Himalayan salt that I picked up on our recent trip. This was a bracing, refreshing and sharp crisp salad that was a perfect counterpoint to the rich meat and the intense mussels. How fusion was this? Fiddlehead ferns from local forests were matched with Italian Oil, French Acid and Himalayan sodium!
For the meat, I went a bit over the top. At the market I purchased 1 kilo of locally grown Wagyu (Kobe style beef) beef, yakiniku cut. About 30 minutes before dinner, I marinated the beef (which had to be patted dry as almost no meat in the Philippines seems to be aged properly and always has a very high water content) in chopped garlic, Kikkoman soy sauce, sugar, mirin (Japanese rice wine) and a touch of sesame oil, some hot chilli powder and lots of sesame seeds. This is a classic yakiniku preparation which I always thought was a Japanese dish but is otherwise referred to as Koren beef barbecueâ€¦ At any rate, this was grilled over high heat for just seconds on each side and brought to the table just as it was cooked. There were several waves of yakiniku delivered to the dining tableâ€¦ The meat was tender, tasty and wickedly rich. The yakiniku marinade was perfect and though I loved the wagyu, you could only eat so much. I had planned on 200 grams per guest but they only consumed about 100 grams each. In addition to using the marinade for the beef, I took some of the leftover marinade and I brushed it over some chopped leeks, red bell peppers (capsicum) and some fresh asparagus and also threw those on the grill briefly. The grilled vegetables tasted great as well though I have to admit that of the four dishes so far, this was the least distinct or memorable.
All of this was served with a bowl of steamed Thai Jasmine rice. Overall, I thought the meal rated quite high and it is something I would definitely do again. Considering that there were ingredients from the seas, rainforests and fields, perhaps the only thing missing was some fowl or flying beingsâ€¦maybe some fried crickets will do the next time around! And dessert was brought by our guests… a delicious homemade tiramisu! Please visit other Pinoy food websites with entries to Lasang Pinoy 12!