Pan-Asian fusion has established itself in Canada and is becoming increasingly trendy. Its popularity here is an indication that cultural boundaries around the world are becoming more flexible, and that Canada’s growing population of Asian immigrants have transported their cuisine and cooking traditions with them.
Many Asian Canadians have been assimilating into Canadian culture, and so has traditional Asian food. This transformation, years ago, applied only to the mixing of Asian and Canadian food, but today, Pan-Asian fusion is the result of combining different components and methods from various Asian cultures and cuisines, including Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Hawaiian Pacific Rim cuisine, (based on American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Portuguese origins). They are now being fused together to create fresh, flavourful and exotic ethnic-inspired dishes that we Canadians crave.
Although most of us have never had the opportunity to visit Asia, we can create wonderful Pan-Asian fusion dishes at home. The secret is to research and use authentic Asian ingredients while bridging these new flavours with foods that you already know and enjoy. Open yourself up to the pure pleasure of savouring these dishes with an entirely new fusion flare.
PACIFIC RIM STYLE MEATLOAF
A delicious fusion meatloaf with a tropical twist.
1 1/2 cups panko Japanese bread crumbs
1 14 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained, reserve 2 tbsp. juice
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh coriander, chopped or 1 tsp. dried coriander
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
2 lb. ground chicken
4 tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. pineapple juice
1 can pineapple rings for garnish
Prepare 2 Pyrex loaf pans by spraying them with canola oil. In a large bowl, combine panko crumbs, crushed pineapple, eggs, chives, ginger, garlic, coriander, salt and hoisin sauce.
Fill loaf pans with an equal amount of the chicken mixture. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl, divide it in half, and spoon over the top of each loaf. Bake in a 350-degree oven for one hour. Let stand 5 minutes and, using an offset spatula, go around the edges and loosen the meat loaf from the loaf pan. Place a flat plate over the loaf pan and invert, draining off any juices. Place on a serving platter. Slice and garnish with pineapple rings.
These tangy dumplings are wonderful served hot right from the pot, but are equally delicious the next day warmed up in the microwave or served cold over a bed of fresh Napa cabbage.
1 package wonton wrappers
1/4 lb. ground chicken
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. finely chopped carrot
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp. chopped green onion or chives
1/4 cup Napa cabbage, finely shredded
1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp. green onion, minced
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
In a small bowl, combine chicken, soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, chopped carrot, ginger and green onion. Line a tray with parchment paper. Place wonton wrappers in a single layer on parchment paper, a few at a time. Spoon 1 tsp. of chicken mixture onto each wrapper. Moisten edges and fold into a half-moon around filling, squeezing to seal. Then gather up the flat side of the fold toward the centre and pinch – dumplings should look like small pouches. Continue until all wrappers are filled.
In large pot, bring water to boil. Gently put in wontons, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes or until filling is no longer pink. Drain well and put in large bowl. Add Napa cabbage, red pepper ginger and green onion. Mix together the sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Toss dumplings with mixture. Serve immediately.