Skip to main content

Accomodating the Indian Palette


When KFC opened an outlet in Chandigarh, it must have dreamt of cash registers ringing almost instantly; after all,  Punjabis are known to relish their chicken. Unfortunately though, the outlet found it a wee bit hard to attract customers, owing to the very typical taste of American fast food. Eventually things — rather ingredients — had to be toned to suit the Punjabi palate and now if you go into the same branch located in the Sector 8 market, you will hardly find a place to sit.
This is a case in point that in India we know our taste buds very well. A huge range of fast food coming from various countries has had to be adapted to suit us.
Look at the innovative pizzas that are available right, left and centre. Pizza Hut recently came up with as many as 15 variants of the Italian dish where flavours were derived from regional preferences. The names of these offerings were as sumptuous as the dishes themselves. You got to pick between Chettinad Paneer, Nimbu Mirchi, Sev Puri, Chatpata Veg Masala, Chicken Do Pyaza and Chicken Achari, just to name a few. Any bakery irrespective of its size will have a wide range of pizzas to offer to its discerning customer.
Pasta has also found devotion from the food-lovers of this country and you might find your chowmein wala bhaiya now diversifying into this. Pasta is another staple food from Italy. It is an essential part of traditional Italian cuisine. Pasta travelled with the immigrants crossing the border from Italy into Canada and America. It soon became a popular fast food owing to its versatility. It could be the main dish, have a soupy avatar or be simply part of a baked dish. We generally refer to all our pasta as macaroni but there are quite a few types of pasta available. They fall mainly in two categories — dried and fresh pasta. The macaroni, fussili, penne and farfalle are the most visible variety whereas spaghetti, which resembles noodles, is also gaining popularity.
McDonald’s had to take into consideration the local flavours of the country. The result is its most loved product, the McAloo Tikki Burger. A spin on our shammi kababs and you have the McGrill. Both these products are unique to Indian markets.
The most popular of our fast foods is chow mein or stir-fried noodles.
Offered at every market along with other preparations like a fiery soup or momos, the chowmein is available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian form. You also get an American twist introduced to this Chinese dish. To add a unique spin and to may be Indianise it further, some stall owners will often add chaat masala to the dish before it is placed in front of the consumer on a paper plate.
The dumplings, from our neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and China, are also available at many evening markets. Steaming hot momos, coming out of round tins, are often served with a paste-like chilly sauce that has a hotness quotient equalled by few others. Momos are available in a fried form as well. Momos are an extremely light preparation and have very subtle flavours to offer.
The Nepali noodle soup called Thupka has also transcended the border and found a niche place at stalls in our markets.


(And here is the link to the article in my Food column in The New Indian Express first published on August 24, 2012)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A case for non-fiction or better understanding of kidlit

If you are a parent there are more chances than one that YOU have handed your child a book to read. Or you have chosen to bring home the books that you think that she might like to read. If any of these hold true then we are almost alike and no this is not an article that tells you how wrong you have been all along in bringing your child the books that you choose. This is just a few of my thoughts on this very subject
that I gathered today morning as I wrote an Instagram post.

Let me begin at the beginning.
Today my soon to be 4, son sat down with a book and was at it for good 10-15 minutes. No, it wsn't a tome. It wa a small picture book on trucks. My friend gifted him this book on trucks on his first birthday. The chap was fascinated with it from the moment he got it. You could flip pages and see bright pictures of different types of trucks and then you could open little sliding screens to find out men in uniform who drove a certain kind of truck.

Unsurprisingly his first words …

Reusable cotton pads: My first experience

I had been trying to bring changes for a sustainable living for a while now and using reusable cotton pads for Aunt Flo's monthly visits was an idea that appealed massively to my senses. After searching here and there I found a Kolkata based manufacturer- Shomota- who were also involving women from underprivileged background in manufacturing these pads as well as sharing the profit from sales to make these pads available to girls and women in interiors of West Bengal. BONUS point- I have also come to realise that sustainability is more efficient and worthwhile if you choose local. Also the fact that we are dumping non biodegradable waste on the planet and that is equal to some sort of violence in my head and I have been brought up on the beliefs laid by the Arya Samaj movement, I needed a better option than the mass marketed sanitary pads. I looked and examined a few option that I realised were available to me before making up my mind on the reusable cloth pad.

Why I chose cloth p…

Of new resolutions and newer authors

The year has started on the right note. I have already read two authors whom I had not read before falling hard for the one being hailed as Japanese Steig Larrson- Keigo Hagashino.
That is what got me thinking about new year resolutions  (I know we are done with the first quarter) which I haven't made in years. So here is a list of authors that I would like to sample this year.
-
1. Manu Joseph
2. Pico Iyer
3. Anthony Horowitz
4. Margret Atwood
5. Toni Morrison
6. Chimamanda Adichie
7. Jo Nesbo
8. Neil Gaiman
9. Terry Pratchett 10. Alice Munro
But I also realise the futility of making a list like this as there are just so many authors, poets, writers and just so many works coming to fore everyday. A book group might help, you would think but let me tell you that it complicates things further. New recommendations, fantastic and not so fantastic reviews, pictures, blog posts and what not really makes matter well,complicated.
All said and done, it is but human to try and so I shall …