MIRCHI AT THE TABLE
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Paneer stake or Marinated River Sole with Tropical Salsa—Indian flavours now ignite global cuisine
At Cocoparra, located in Kharadi, Pune, the Sticky Spicy Wasabi Chicken Wings has been a dish that has stayed on the second season of their menu this year. The reason being its popularity. Combining the Americanness of the Wasabi sauce with the chicken, it packs an Indian twist. Amar Jog, COO, SNS Entertainment, who manages Cocoparra says, "We use Imli ki Chutney to Indianise it. The result, it has the stickiness, the sweetness and the spice of the chutney and yet retains the flavour of the Wasabi sauce."
Last year, when Mumbai-born chef, Floyd Cardoz, who specialises in India-inspired food, won Bravo's Top Chef , it was a harbinger of things to come. This year has been internationally hailed by food magazines across the world as the year when Indian food comes to the forefront of global dining. From haute new fine-dining restaurants (New York's Tulsi was one of the first Indian restaurants in North America to be awarded a Michelin star recently) to the infusion of Indian ingredients such as turmeric and tamarind into Continental fare - India's never been hotter.
Jog agrees that Indian food has been a forerunner of sorts with its popularity rising in the West. "There is a curiosity on both sides. They want to experiment with dishes native to India, while we here, are Indianising European and American dishes." Another first that they have at their restaurant is the Layered Cottage Cheese Stake with creamy Pasanda sauce. "We serve the Paneer stake with English vegetables and plums to fuse the English idea with Indian ingredients," he adds.
Ravish Arora, owner, Incognito, located at Phoenix Mall, Pune, says, "There are two different types of fusion. One, where two dishes are merged and the other, where two ingredients from different areas are merged. It is really about getting just the right the proportions. That is also a reason why there aren't many restaurants that serve fusion foods. They have a short shelf life. So you need to be very smart with what you create." Incognito too has its own fair share of fusion dishes that are popular with the customers.