I’ve always been fascinated by fusion dishes, but it always seems to me to be a hit or miss affair, no matter what cultures are force-collided in a pan or bowl. What follows is the melding of two flavors I’ve been playing with since we got married. An early dish I perfected was my turkey tacos, which Ron went crazy for when we still lived in his tiny bachelor apartment. This is how I brought that dish to Morocco.
I love making tacos, whether beef, fish, vegetable, turkey, etc. It’s a fun way to experiment with flavors. I have made turkey tacos many times and wanted to switch things up. This dish features spices used in eastern cuisine.
Cumin, turmeric, paprika and coriander can be found at your local supermarket. I recommend having these spices as a part of your pantry staples. I use them all the time when I cook, and they can add a nice kick to certain meats and vegetables.
I also made a yogurt herb sauce to top these international tacos, along with a radicchio and cucumber honey slaw. This dish may seem like it has many parts to prepare. It actually was simple, and the only cooking to do was the turkey mixture.
Yogurt & Herb Sauce
- 1 cup of fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons of fresh dill, chopped
- 1 lemon, zest of whole lemon and juice of half
- 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
In a medium size nonreactive bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped dill, and parsley. Mix ingredients well and cover. Refrigerate.
Radicchio & Cucumber Honey Slaw
- 1/2 Radicchio head, shredded
- 1/2 large cucumber, shredded
- 1-1.5 tablespoons of honey
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- pinch of sea salt
In a medium non-reactive bowl, shred the radicchio and cucumber. Add in about 1.5 tablespoons of honey, a pinch of sea salt and juice of half a lemon. Cover and set aside.
- 1 package of organic freshly-ground turkey, lean
- 2 tablespoons of cumin
- 2 tablespoons of turmeric
- 1 tablespoon of coriander
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup of dry white wine (good, drinkable chardonnay)
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- package of corn tortillas
In a large nonreactive bowl, add the ground turkey meat. Using your hands mix in the cumin, turmeric, coriander, paprika, a pinch of sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper. Set aside at room temperature while you are sautéing the red onion and garlic.
In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of light extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Thinly slice half a large red onion or whole small red onion and the five garlic cloves. When the oil is ready, add the sliced red onions and a pinch of sea salt. Mix it and cook for about five minutes until it is soft, then add the garlic. Keep the onions and garlic moving so they do not brown.
Now add the turkey meat by breaking it up with your hands. Make sure to stir the meat regularly to cook evenly and through. After one minute, add the white wine and turn the heat up to medium-high. Let it cook at this setting for a few minutes until some of the wine evaporates. Stir the meat some more and turn the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes. Once the turkey is no longer pink and it is brown, it is cooked.
Place the yogurt herb sauce and radicchio cucumber honey slaw on the table, along with the corn tortillas (either steam or deep fry into taco shell shape) and a bowl of the cooked turkey meat. Let your guests make their own tacos. It’s a fun way to entertain!
The radicchio cucumber honey slaw has a slightly bitter taste to it. Don’t let it scare you off. It’s best eaten by forking it onto the taco along with the yogurt herb sauce. If you don’t like radicchio, then substitute it with red cabbage. This will essentially eliminate the bitterness.
Cucumber is naturally juicy, so the slaw along with the lemon juice and honey will create a lot of juice in the bowl. The best way to get it onto your taco is to grab a fork and pick up the shreds to minimize extra juices.
Enjoy this fiesta of international fusion with your friends. It’s a fun dish for a group to share together, and conversations really get started when you see how other people build their tacos. And to continue with even more international flavor to this post, bon appétit!