The spice trade

In the West, Indian's the new fusion
Kate Washington

Cumin-Mint Raita Salad

Fennel-Crusted Trout with Lemon-Ginger Vinaigrette

Creamy Basmati Rice Pudding

At restaurants from Vij's Restaurant and Rangoli in Vancouver, B.C., to Crossing the Bar in San Francisco and Tantra in Los Angeles, chefs are creating a new hybrid of Indian-French cuisine. This style plays with contrasts of sweet and sour, hot and cool, and adds Indian spice to classic French flavors.

In this menu, a raita-inspired chopped vegetable salad plays cumin's warmth off of cool mint and cucumber, making it a great partner for grilled lamb, chicken, or even all-American burgers. Sautéed trout with fennel and lemon-ginger vinaigrette highlights bright flavors in a dish that's simple enough for weeknight dinners and elegant enough for entertaining. And creamy basmati rice pudding folds mascarpone into aromatic cardamom rice, a delicious shortcut that loses nothing in translation.