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Thepla tacos, anyone? Instagram has made fusion tacos popular in the Capital

Chefs in the city believe that the rise of Instagram-worthy quirky dishes foods has led to the popularity of fusion tacos.

more lifestyle Updated: Jun 30, 2017 19:58 IST
Abhinav Verma
Abhinav Verma
Hindustan Times
Tacos,Fusion Tacos,Tacos in Delhi
It seems as if foodies these days are in search for a new culinary experience. They want a dish that’s not just new, but Instagram-perfect.

From Chinese to Italian — every cuisine that has entered the Indian culinary market, has been given a desi twist. The latest in line is tacos. Tacos made an entrance few years ago when the popular Taco Bell, an American fast food chain,opened in Bengaluru in 2011 and 2015 in Delhi. However, it’s only now that tacos have been given the desi fusion treatment, with fusion tacos becoming a favourite with the foodies. We got in touch with Delhi chefs who explain how fusion tacos came to be and why they’re so popular.

So what are fusion tacos?

Mexican in origin, tacos are rolled or folded tortillas filled with ingredients such as beans and chicken. Fusion tacos are made by using elements of different cuisines. Here are a few examples- Thepla tacos made with beetroot bhaji, Boti tikka tacos – containing tandoori chicken marinated with various flavours, smoked chicken taco served with citrus salsa, laal maas phulkas and cone taco- containing butter paneer.

Pepper Chilli chicken, Ajwaini Tawa Parantha Tacos by Chef Harangad Singh of Prankster, Gurugram. He says, “These fusion tacos bring the nostalgic taste of Ajwaini Tawa parantha of your grandmother taste. The chilli chicken used is tossed with pepper and spices”.
These cone tacos being served at Too Indian in Rajouri Garden are perfect as pint sized party snacks. Fillings such as butter paneer or mutton pepper fry can be used.
Another fusion taco creation made from ingredients such as shredded jackfruit dusted with cornflour, deep fried tossed in bar be sauce, served with tomato salsa and kasundi sour cream at Naile pe Dehla, CP.

Here’s what chefs think

Chefs feel that the popularity of fusion tacos is not because of the similarities between Indian and Mexican cuisine, but because they are just Instagram-worthy food (dishes created and presented with a purpose to increase their social media appeal and their marketability). “Fusion tacos have become popular because of Instagram, and I am not impressed by it. These days chefs are experimenting just for the sake of it,” says Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, adding, “One needs to think before attempting fusion. I can just wrap a few ingredients in a roti and call it a taco as well. I also think because of fusion, a dish loses its authenticity. There is also a question mark on the restaurant providing these fusion tacos. We don’t know if they are using fresh ingredients or just mishmashing frozen tacos and calling it fusion”.

Laal Maas Phulkas tacos served at various Monkey Bar outlets. Ingredients used are red chilli and spice braised lamb with mirch achaar, ker sangri, onion and white radish slaw and garlic- coriander chutney.

However, fusion when done right can bring the best of two cuisines together. “The essence of fusion only comes when you recreate the taco by using ingredients that are native to India and are fresh. If you are going to use frozen ingredients or import stuff, then it doesn’t make sense. This time, tacos seems to the flavour of the season. Fusion tacos like bajra taco with lamb gosht, waffle taco and quinoa taco are in demand,” says Chef Nishant Choubey.

Jamaican Jerk Spiced Pork served at Arriba-Mexican Grill & Tequileria, Khel Gaon Marg. “The fusion tacos were designed to give customers an insight into the numerous ways into which flavours from different cuisines could be incorporated to give them a mesmerizing experience” says Chef Noah Barnes.

It seems as if foodies these days are in search for a new culinary experience. They want a dish that’s not just new, but Instagram-perfect. This demand has pressurised chefs to experiment with various cuisines and tacos are no exception to this. “We were the first ones to come up with fusion tacos. In 2011-12, we created pulled kathal phulka taco with roasted almonds. The new-found popularity of fusion tacos can be explained by the fact that now foodies are always demanding new dishes to taste, they get bored of eating the same old thing. However, I also believe that fusion of any dish should make sense, there has to be thought behind it. For example, tacos like ‘malabari Paratha in taco’ don’t make sense,” says Chef Manish Mehrotra.

First Published: Jun 30, 2017 16:44 IST