Blending Flavors

I often shy away from food fads or the idea that there are new trends to be followed in the kitchen. If food was delicious last week, it doesn't matter if there's some new thumbs-up or thumbs-down happening with one of its ingredients or not. Changes in understanding of health implications might mean something doesn't get enjoyed as frequently as prior or there might even be a substitution in an extreme case, but food and cooking is something to be savored and enjoyed and I tend to leave fads and trends to the fashion industry.

As a result, I've been somewhat wary of food described as "fusion" because, at least for a while, it seemed to me like an excuse to kit-bash ethnic cuisine without a lot of thought given to how flavors blend. That said, there have definitely been some nice results of those efforts and one of them is presented here today. I've long enjoyed seeing how Tex-Mex and Asian cuisine can be combined and the Spicy Fusion Fried Rice below is a great example that is incredibly easy to prepare.

I like putting fried rice on my menu when I know I'll have leftover rice on hand. It's rare that I ever make rice for fried rice, but I do often make more rice than I'll need for a different dish, knowing I'll have the makings for fried rice later. I like to pack the leftover rice lightly, so that it can be separated easily when it's time to cook and I tend to store it in the very back of the refrigerator so that it will be very cold when I add it to the skillet for frying. That leaves me with rice that crisps up beautifully.

Since it's such a quick dish, I wanted to pair this with another quick dish to make a flavorful dinner in under 20 minutes. Since the rice is a fairly spicy dish, I opted to make simple quesadillas filled with creamy cheddar cheese. It's a great way to offset the heat in the rice. I didn't have any on hand, but bias-sliced green onions would have been a nice addition to the fillings in the quesadillas as well. You could always sprinkle a few on top of the rice before serving, too!

Spicy Fusion Fried Rice

  • 8 oz. pork chorizo, casing removed
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked white rice, chilled
  • 1/2 cup diced roasted red bell pepper
  • 2 T. Sriracha
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1 T. honey

In large skillet (a wok would also work well), cook the chorizo over medium heat. When it is finely crumbled and mostly cooked, add the diced onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté until softened.

Add the rice to the veggies and chorizo in the skillet and stir fry until the rice is coated with the drippings from the chorizo (add a small amount of bacon fat, oil, or butter if the rice isn't coated) and lightly fried. Add the diced roasted red bell pepper and toss to combine. Combine the Sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey in a small bowl. (If needed, heat the honey slightly in the microwave to make it easier to stir into the mixture.) Add the Sriracha mixture over the top of the skillet and stir well. Stir fry for about 5 more minutes, or until rice is crisp.

Serve immediately along side additional Sriracha, for those wanting an even spicier dish.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes