How to Riff When Cooking

How to Riff When Cooking

I like to cook. I have favorite recipes that we make again and again. But I also like to make up new ones, especially when I discover other cuisines. Here’s how I mix and match.

  • Pick two or three countries.
  • Identify ingredients their cuisines share, and also ingredients that appear only in each.

Looking at India, Spain, and Mexico you might get this:

For a new dish,

  • Use a recipe from one country that is based on ingredients common to all, but includes uncommon ones.
  • Add one or more not-in-common ingredients from one or more of the other cuisines.
  • Use a cooking technique of the other cuisines.

Some dishes to invent:

Mango Gazpacho   –    Cauliflower Enchiladas    –   Lemon Pickle Salsa
Curried Plantains   –    Chickpea paella    –   North Indian Curtido
Cardamom Flan    –   Figs in Mole Sauce


Dishes invented with this technique usually go well together, too … Make a feast for friends!

~~~~ MENU ~~~~

Mango gazpacho

Cauliflower Enchiladas
with corn-radish bread, lemon-pickle salsa, sour cream raita

Curried plantains with coconut
Gujarati paella
with chickpeas, green peas and cinnamon
Cabbage slaw
with hot pepper, coriander chutney dressing

Cardamom flan
Figs in mole sauce


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