EatDrinkJax.com shares their interview with Chef Ashley Amin of Fusion Food Truck.
6. Can you tell us about some of your recipes? What’s Tikka Masala?
Tikka Masala is a very popular north Indian curry dish. It’s typically based on a tomato curry sauce that has fresh cream and butter mixed in to give a wonderfully rich, creamy flavor. Tikka Masala is usually served with chicken that has been marinated and grilled. I make the the dish from scratch so I give people the option of having it with chicken or tofu. Later on I’ll add fish and shrimp as options. It’s one of my staple dishes and I make it with bell peppers and certain Indian spices that give it my own special taste. Interestingly, Tikka Masala was introduced, not by the Indians, but by the British. I grew up in England and there are a lot of Indian restaurants there.
Tikka Masala with rice and pita
7. What’s Panang Curry?
It’s a coconut based Thai curry. It’s made with kaffir leaf, which is one of the main ingredients that influence it’s flavor. It’s also got a red curry chili paste in it and I add a little Indian Masala to give it a slightly different taste.
8. Can you describe your Chana Masala?
Chana Masala is a garbanzo bean curry. It’s made with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and lots of cilantro.
9. What are Drunken Noodles?
It’s a Thai dish and one of my favorites. They’re wide, rice noodles that come with a combination of 3 different sauces - sweet, sour and spicy. The combination of all 3 sauces together gives the Drunken Noodles an interesting and unique flavor. I like to add Thai chili’s, but because a lot of people don’t eat spicy food I’ll ask before putting them in.
Drunken Noodles. Photo courtesy Jacksonville Restaurant Reviews.
10. What are Yuca Fries?
It’s pronounced You-ca, although there are different names used, such as cassava and mogo, which is a Swahili word. It’s a root vegetable that looks like a potato and has that starch element to it. We decided to offer Yuca Fries instead of standard french fries because they’re different and I grew up eating them. I was born in east Africa and yuca fries are very popular there. Growing up my mom would make us yuca fries and yuca curry.
They’re a little fatter than a normal french fry and I serve them with a tamarind sauce, which is how I grew up eating them. Tamarind sauce is a sweet and sour sauce. The tamarind tree produces a fruit that looks like a nut that you boil and add sugar to so that it has that sweet element. You can eat our Yuca Fries with ketchup as well but the tamarind sauce is more authentic and a little different too.
11. Can you tell us about your vegetarian options?
I was vegetarian for almost 30 years and I know that a lot of people want to eat vegetarian, so we’ll always have those options. I currently offer tofu as a protein alternative in some of the dishes. I have another ingredient called mock duck that I’ll introduce later on. It looks like meat, but it isn’t, it’s soy based. Some of our vegetarian dishes, like the Panang Curry are also vegan and gluten free. Other of our vegetarian dishes use cream and butter so they’re vegetarian, but not necessarily vegan.
12. You describe your Mango Mousse as your signature dessert. Can you tell us about it and why it’s special?
I grew up in London and we used to have a dessert called Angel Delight. It was one of our favorite desserts. It came in a packet and you added milk to it and whisked it up to create different flavors of mousse. About 15 years ago I was cooking in one of our restaurants and started craving some mousse. I didn’t have any Angel Delight so I decided to make my own. I pureed some fresh mango and added some cream and a little sugar before blending it all up. It tasted really good! We had a buffet at our restaurant over lunch so I decided to add the mousse to the buffet. It became very popular and people would start calling to make sure we were serving the mango mousse before them came. It just took off from there. You don’t really find mango mousse in Indian restaurants - I’ve never seen it anywhere - it’s just something I came up with that people really love.