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Wasabi kairi panna, anyone?

india Updated: Jan 29, 2011 00:21 IST
Shara Ashraf
Shara Ashraf
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Food purists may snide at this, but a growing number of chefs in the Capital are pushing boundaries to create quirky dishes that are a melange of two different cuisines. Meant to tickle your taste buds with novel flavours, this adven turous fare comes garnished with a generous dollop of the chef’s creativity. “Fusion is quirky, trendy and lots of fun. It’s about taking your taste buds to the next level. It’s the experience of a chef that helps him decide which two cuisines will complement each other,” says chef Devraj Halder, The Suryaa.

Chefs need to pick up ingredients with a lot of caution while inventing a fusion recipe, Halder says. “I can’t put onions in lassi and pass it off as fusion. But when I make a rasmalai mascarpone, I know these two would go well with each other despite rasmalai being Indian and mascarpone typically Italian,” adds Halder.

Chef Tarun Kapoor of The Metropolitan Hotel agrees, “You can’t go over-the-top with fusion. What makes fusion quite tricky is the fact that there’s no hard and fast rule and what guides you is often your intuition.”

Here are some fusion delicacies whipped up by some of our city chefs to add a punch to your palette.

Ciabatta for you
This Italy-meets-India delicacy is made with Ciabatta (slipper in Italian. It’s called due to its shape). It’s soft, and has a crunchy crust. Into the dough goes wheat flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water. “If I require 1 kg of dough, I add 250 gm of extra flour so that there’s some dough left to be added to the fresh dough next day. This way, the dough goes on getting older to lend a distinct sourness to the bread,” says chef Tarun Kapoor of The Metropolitan Hotel. Once baked, the bread is sliced and filled with paneer tikka and onion rings, tossed with mint-flavoured mayonnaise. Try a tamarind mocktail Kache Imli with this dish. Ciabatta is priced at R600.

Chicken Tikka Sushi
This Indianised version of sushi comes liberally filled with juliennes of chicken tikka. “I cut chicken tikka cubes into juliennes, mix it with pickled onion and lettuce. The filling is then flavoured with mint and green chilli chutney and wrapped in nori rolls,” shares chef Vijay Sharma, Jaypee Vasant Continental. “I invented this dish for those who may find the authentic sushi a tad too bland for their tastebuds. Since the time we introduced it on the menu, it’s a hit among the kids who often are not too inspired to try the real thing,” says the chef. The dish is served with a tangy mint chutney. Chicken tikka sushi is priced at R595. Wash this spicy dish down with Tapas sushi for the samurai, another of the chef’s creation — a delightful mix of vodka, rose water, sugar syrup and lime juice, peppered with a dash of wasabi.

Prawn mousse samosa
The aloo or keema filling you find in the Indian samosa has been replaced with prawn mousse.
“It’s the typical Indian samosa that’s made with flour and deep-fried in ghee. And the filling it typically British — made with prawn mousse that’s cooked in a white milky sauce,” shares chef Ajay Chaudhary, Courtyard by Marriott. The chef uses handpicked 6-inch long Tiger prawns for this dish. The prawns are simmered in white sauce that’s lightened by adding whipped egg whites. The samosas are served with mint, coriander and chilli chutney. Make the best out of this dish by pairing it up with virgin mohito, says the chef. Prawn mousse samosa will set you back by R350.

Wasabi kairi panna
Who says fusion is confined to food? Here’s a fusion mocktail that is flavoured with wasabi — a Japanese horseradish that’s used in the form of a green paste as a condiment for sashimi and sushi. “Wasabi lends a certain chilli-hotness to your sweet and tangy aam panna, made with roasted raw mango pulp, zeera powder, sugar syrup and black salt. I always felt there’s something missing in aam panna. The addition of wasabi has given it a distinct taste,” says chef Devraj Halder from The Suryaa. The drink is priced
at R140.

Mysore pauk baklawa
“This is the result of my ever demanding ‘to the hilt’ sweet tooth”, confesses chef Halder. The dessert is made with a thin, flaky Middle Eastern pastry, baklawa. It’s stuffed with Mysore pauk (a sweet dish from Karnataka made with ghee, besan. “Mysore pauk is mashed and drenched with rose syrup and filled into baklawa pastry roll,” shares chef Devraj Halder. The chef picked up Mysore pauk and baklawa to create this dish as both are famous and rich desserts and scored high on the compatibility scale.It is priced at R250.

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