Marriages made in the kitchen

Creative combos

Many cafes, restaurants and food joints in the city are serving dishes with quirky names and strange combinations. From Pizza Omelette to sweet kulche and Butter Chicken Gol Gappa to Paneer Tikka Quesadilla – chefs are innovatively and creatively serving customers.

“Marriage between two known names like Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai is news, but it’s their daughter who is a curiosity for everybody. The same analogy fits for food as well where the outcome of combining two known dishes, like gol gappe and butter chicken will be intriguing for the consumer,” says celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor.
According to him, “there is no limit to how much one can experiment with food.”

“In India, there are certain barriers which are created in consumer’s mind about the taste of some basic dishes, and chefs have the ability to break those barriers,” he tells Metrolife.

In a similar attempt to serve his customers different types of chakna( bar bites), Hemant Singh, head chef at Cafe Dalal Street, introduced Butter Chicken Gol Gappe’ “People generally prefer street food with drinks. One of the most popular street foods in Delhi is golgappe. So I thought, ‘why not put butter chicken gravy instead of khatta paani?’ Similarly, we have keema pav being served in almost every corner of the city, but here we serve a keema pie to make it different and innovative,” says Singh.

Along with these combinations, chefs also play with the names of the dishes which further add to the curiosity.

“Nomenclature not only adds to curiosity but it is also a part of the branding of the restaurants,” says Satyajit Mukherjee, a food and beverage consultant.

“However,” he says, “Food fusion must not be abused. Knowing the palate of the customers and keeping in mind the dining culture of the restaurant, one must innovate accordingly.”

So while one might always be suspicious about the taste of such combinations, the chef has to be careful about “not to abuse the dish”.

“Keeping the basic taste of the dish in mind, we have to marry ingredients in such a way that the combo doesn’t spoil the charm of the original dish. For instance, I once made butter chicken with green tomatoes, instead of red tomatoes. The dish looked different and tasted different, but at the same time I didn’t go too far in creating something new,” explains Kapoor.

Agrees Mukherjee who feels chefs have to be creative, but at the same time they will have to respect the original taste of the food.

But the charm of classical dishes is here to stay. “One will always go back to the classics after trying these quirky combinations, and chefs have to take care of that.”

This experimentation is not limited to restaurants only. “When we have a ‘salted caramel chocolate’ and a roadside dosawallah in Mumbai is selling spring dosas with noodles in it, we see how far we have come in trying different combinations with food.So go out, create! Try it on yourself, and if it pleases you, serve it to others as well,” says Kapoor.


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