Tuesday, 2 July 2013

With a Pinch of Desi Tadka

Imagine a traditional French recipe cooked with spices used in an Indian curry or a Mexican taco stuffed with tandoori chicken instead of its authentic beans. Sounds interesting?
Chicken Tandoori Taco
Fusion cuisine is not just experimental but fun as well and gives you an opportunity to experience different flavours on the same plate. A different kind of cuisine in itself, it blends the culinary traditions of two or more nations to create innovative dishes. The roots of fusion food are drawn back to ages as humans have been exchanging culinary heritage for centuries, but the concept popularized in the 1970s. French chefs began blending a lot of traditional French recipes with the Asian cuisine, mostly Vietnamese and Chinese. The concept quickly spread across Europe and to the American coast as well. Good fusion cuisine combines ingredients and cooking techniques from several cultures in a way which pulls together well, creating a seamless and fresh dish. Confusion cuisine, on the other hand, throws ingredients together like confetti, and sometimes causes an inevitable clash.
Talking about India, our country is known to have accepted various cultures and made them her own, the Indian cuisine does the same. It has absorbed and assimilated a number of influences and has still managed to maintain its own unique flavour.
In a rapidly shrinking world, fusion is inevitable. Urban India is gleefully infusing Italian pastas, pizzas, cheesecakes and Mexican enchiladas with the familiarity of a desi tadka. Gujaratis have been tossing around the definitive, pure vegetarian Jain pizzas, Jain pastas, tacos and enchiladas for decades. Chowmein stuffed samosas are a huge hit across Punjab and Ahmedabad. Thrilled with the new mood, top chefs are now coming with never seen before sights like Gulkand Cheesecake, Khubani ka Crème Brule and much more. Delicious Chinese flavours have been adapted to suit the Indian palate. And all of us eat and enjoy it almost on a daily basis. The Chinese bhel, Chinese dosa, Szechuan idli are all examples of the Indo-Chinese cuisine. As a matter of fact, Chinese restaurants across India use more spices to match up to the Indian taste than the authentic Chinese cuisine which is known to be bland.
The gastronomic mix that first started in the French cuisine is now the future of India. The desi palate has for long had the advantage of multiple cuisines, local as well as those brought in by various invaders and traders. Fusing food began long ago and is now taking the form of a culinary genre of its own in India.

Dabeli is a hugely popular street fare rumoured to have been 'invented' in the Kutchi port city of Mandvi in 1960. Dabeli, meaning 'pressed', is a Kutchi burger in Mandvi, a bun-tikki in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, and simply a desi burger everywhere else. It has for long, been the staple food for students. A spicy potato cutlet sandwiched in a bun and pepped up with tamarind, jaggery and mint chutney with anaardana and peanuts.

Chinese Bhel & Szechuan Vada Pav: Classic Maharashtrian bhel puri using chop suey instead of puffed rice. Szechuan sauce and melted mozzarella on grilled vada-pav. It is certainly not fine dining but costs under Rs.50 and is very popular