A Fusion Thanksgiving Table

Note: This blogpost was originally published in 2014. We received so many comments that we decided to share it with y'all again. Let us know what you think. Happy Thanksgiving!

It began with Ismail Merchant's Passionate Meals. Looking through sample menus at the end of the book for a dinner party at my house, I realized such a menu was much needed for a Thanksgiving feast! After much research and culinary experiments, I came up with several dishes that incorporate American food and South Asian flavors.

Thanksgiving dinner at my house has become my family's tradition. I always keep various eating preferences (yes there are some picky eaters in my family) and dietary restrictions in mind. So here's a sample of what to expect this year: turkey infused with lots of spices with a generous caraway seed rub (I usually get this from one of the many Pakistani restaurants in Houston. It saves a lot of time). The side dishes include thinly sliced potatoes sprinkled with crushed red pepper and roasted mustard seeds; cauliflower baked with tikka masala; corn cooked with some salt and crushed red pepper; rice with peas and caramelized onions and mini rotis stuffed with white poppy seed paste. Cucumber raita and cranberry chutney compliment the meal as condiments. Carrot Halwa cheesecake and tea conclude the traditional meal.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Find your culinary inspiration at the library!

P.S. Here's an updated list of cookbooks from our collection. Recipes include options for side dishes, desserts, large gatherings and vegan/vegetarian. 

-Saima K., Librarian at HPL


Hi Saima! Thank you soo much for posting! I'm having an international crowd over for thanksgiving, and I've been thinking about how to combine flavors! This gives me some ideas : )

You're welcome Laura. That's wonderful. Let me know if you'd like recipes. I didn't include them in the blogpost because I didn't want to make it too long.

I also like the ideas about the side dishes..... Cauliflower with Tikka Masala.... Hmmmmm..... Nice

Thanks Muniza.

Hi Saima, Thank you so much for the ideas.Can I please have the recipes or the resources where you got them.Thanks again.

Hi Uzma, Thanks! Most of the recipes are my own concoctions, just putting some ingredients together. I can send you the carrot halwa cheesecake recipe. There are several very good recipes for cranberry chutney. Was there something specific that you liked? Saima

Hi Uzma and others, Here is the recipe for the carrot halwa cheesecake. Try it and let me know how it worked out for you. I incorporated some of the traditional carrot halwa ingredients such as ricotta cheese, saffron and cardamom. Ingredients: Crust: 1 ½ cup finely crushed cinnamon graham crackers seeds from 2-3 green cardamom pods (optional) 3 T packed brown sugar 5T melted butter 3 T all purpose flour Filling: 3 14.5 oz cans of sliced carrots 3 T flour 4 eggs ½ t cinnamon ¼ t salt 1/8 t nutmeg 1/8 t allspice 1 T cardamom essence ½ c crushed almonds ½ c crushed pistachios 1 t saffron 1 ½ c brown sugar 1 15oz package of ricotta cheese 2 8oz. packages of cream cheese Pulse graham crackers and cardamom seeds in a food processor. Add butter, sugar and flour. Pulse until mixture is homogenous. Press into bottom of a 9” springform pan and bake for 10 minutes at 250⁰ F. Remove from oven and let cool. Drain or strain any liquid from sliced carrots. Puree in a food processor. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a medium bowl. With a wooden spoon, mix in the salt, pureed carrots and cardamom essence. Beat in the eggs. In a large bowl, (helps to use a mixer for this step) combine the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and brown sugar until fully creamed and smooth (no lumps). Gradually add the carrot mixture until fully incorporated. Finally add the almonds, pistachios and saffron. Mix well. Add this mixture to the springform pan with baked crust. Place baking pan with some water on the middle rack of the oven to prevent cheesecake from cracking. Bake the cheesecake at 250⁰ for about 3 hours. Once the cake has cooled, you can place it in the refrigerator for several hours. Remove the cake from the springform pan and serve.

Great job Samia. Love the fusion of Pakistani and American food.

Thanks Naghma. Glad you liked it.

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