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(NC)—Summer is almost here, which means backyard entertaining and patio parties with family and friends. As cross-cultural cuisine continues to gain in popularity, guests will be craving foods with more intense, diverse flavours this season.
The standard fare associated with the much anticipated barbecue season can be easily enhanced by adding Caribbean, Mexican or Asian influences to your summer meals. There are many ways to perk up the flavour of simple favourites such as adding unique spices to a light pasta salad, incorporating mouth-watering marinades to meats and vegetables or utilizing fruits, nuts and dips.
Asian Adventurer. Asian cuisine incorporates a diverse set of flavours, ranging from mild to very hot, and from sweet to savoury. Asian sauces often incude sweet, spicy and sour flavours such as: lemongrass, plum paste, sesame oil, chilies and ginger. Asian cooking generally uses small bites of lean cuts of meat, flavourful marinades, quick cooking over high heat and dipping sauce accompaniments.
Caribbean Crusader. Caribbean cooking is the essence of fusion style as the islands were first settled by the Spanish, then the Dutch, French, British and Danish – the combination of these flavours developed the nature of the cuisine. Caribbean flavours tend to combine ingredients such as curry, allspice, lime, thyme, ginger, chilies and tropical fruits. A unique blend of spices and fruit components such as papaya, mango and guava can bring the vibrancy of an island sunset into any kitchen.
Mouth-watering Mexican. Descended from the food of the Mayans, authentic Mexican takes advantage of the varied food sources in Mexico with small meals often served wrapped in a fresh tortilla. Mexican and Central American cuisine incorporates beans, corn, tomatoes, jicama, chocolate, avocado, papaya, vanilla and chili peppers.
Experimenting with presentation, spices and seasonings, and flavourful rubs and marinades can bring a world of flavours to your own backyard:
- Create bite-size appetizers. Satays, small wooden skewers threaded with bite-size chunks of meat, are a popular street snack food in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and make wonderful starters.
- Use marinades to infuse flavour. Marinades are fantastic for tenderizing, enhancing flavour and preserving food. New Knorr® Spicy Caribbean Marinade with Papaya Juice or Knorr® Sesame Ginger Marinade with Mandarin Orange Juice spice up meats, vegetables and tofu for a glorious taste experience.
- Incorporate spices to traditional offerings. The chili pepper has become the single most widely used spice in the world, except for salt. Chili peppers vary in strength and flavour. Give your barbecue sauce or salsa a little zip by adding chili peppers into the mixture.
- Experiment with fruit. Try pairing new and unusual fresh fruits from your supermarket produce aisle such as mango, avocado, star fruit, pineapple, coconut, guava and papaya with your meals. They are full of vitamins and flavour and can be used in entrées or desserts.
- Jazz up a family favourite. Dry soup mixes have many uses and have become a widely used ingredient in hundreds of recipes. To attain a delicious, savoury flavour in traditional hamburger recipes, sprinkle a package of Knorr® Onion Soup Mix into the meat mixture.
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