Not just North In­dian

Will ‘ pan In­dian’ be the next big thing for In­dian restau­rants? As Neel In­dian Kitchen + Bar joins the club of din­ers keen to show­case In­dia’s re­gional food di­ver­sity un­der one roof, traces the roots of this promis­ing trend Back from Canada, Avril Ann Br

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE -

Owas con­cep­tu­alised to “cel­e­brate In­dia through its space, food and even drinks, which we serve as chota, bada and Pa­tiala, the kind of thing we grew up with. But we also wanted to make it rel­e­vant and con­tex­tual to peo­ple today. So while some dishes are au­then­tic recre­ations of tra­di­tional recipes, oth­ers are our ver­sions in­spired by state cusinies.’’ In its one- and- half years, The Bom­bay Can­teen has served cuisines from 16 states.

Still heady with the re­cent open­ing g of Neel InIn­dian Kitchen + Bar, Chef Jayadeep ‘ JD’’ Mukher­jee says, “Peo­ple have al­ways been re­cep­tiveive to com­mu­nity eater­ies. The de­mand was there, but restau­rants didn’t take it up as they’ve been play­ing safe.’’ But Kar­makar, Jain and Seth unan­i­mously dis­agree that such con­cepts would be e re­ceived with such en­thu­si­asm 10 years rs ago. “Today, peo­ple are far more cu­ri­ous us about the food be­cause of ex­po­sure— e— through food shows, trav­el­ling and so­cial cial me­dia’’, Seth says.

In fact, hav­ing litti chokha on a trip ip to Bi­har is what in­spired Nishenk Jain in to start a veg­e­tar­ian diner that would serve cuisines from 29 states. Jain adds, “Peo­ple are tired of eat­ing the same old things ngs rerepack­aged as new. They know the ne­glected glected north- east­ern states have a lot to of­ferr in the culi­nary space and the nov­elty of Ital­ian, Mex­i­can, Le­banese has worn off since one can look up recipes on­line and make them at home’’.

While it is a joy to see a Bengali mochar chop next to an Ut­taran­chali bu­ransh on the same menu, those like Kar­markar rightly ask, ‘’ What’s the need for all In­dian cuisines on one menu? I pre­fer go­ing to places that do one cuisine well’’. The so­lu­tion? Us­ing au­then­tic in­gre­di­ents and chang­ing menus fre­quently— while at Neel In­dian Kitchen + Bar it will mean a to- bein­tro­duced ‘ Day’s spe­cial menu’, 29 States serves cuisine- spe­cific menus for four weeks, in ad­di­tion to the reg­u­lar menu. And at The Bom­bay Can­teen, it’s sim­ply about chang­ing the menu ev­ery sea­son. “Litti chokha should be cooked un­der earth and mixed with cow dung, but 29 States is near a hos­pi­tal, so I can’t do it,” Jain can­didly shares. “For such rea­sons, I man­age to stay 60- 65 per cent true to the roots.’’ That said, th­ese restau­ra­teurs, who be­lieve the pan- In­dian wave is here to stay, are just as keen as Kalyan Kar­makar to see restau­rants spe­cial­is­ing in a sin­gle re­gion’s cuisine.

The de­bate of spe­cialised- ver­sus- multi- cuisine spa­ces can go on, but it’s al­most a his­toric time for In­dian food. We are fi­nally ac­knowl­edg­ing and cel­e­brat­ing our food di­ver­sity, and broad­en­ing the def­i­ni­tion of In­dian food to be in­clu­sive. In this re­gard, pan- In­dian cuisine re­minds us that we are in­di­vid­u­ally beau­ti­ful and are yet part of a whole. And the in­flu­ence of one re­gional cuisine over an­other is proof that there’s an or­ganic unity in our di­ver­sity. nly two days are left for the end of my Canada hol­i­day and I haven’t yet tasted BeaverTails. It’s my sec­ond trip to the home of the Rocky Moun­tains and Ni­a­gara Falls— af­ter 16 years! Who knows when I’ll be back, so I can’t risk not try­ing it. How I re­gret hav­ing pro­cras­ti­nated, more so be­cause I didn’t get to try it at the orig­i­nal BeaverTails stand at By­ward Mar­ket in Ot­tawa, where even Barack Obama stopped dur­ing his first of­fi­cial visit to Canada! But as luck had it, as we walk along Clifton Hill af­ter our hec­tic day- trip to the Ni­a­gara, there stands my chance to snack on the Cana­dian pas­try.

Sim­ply put, a BeaverTail is a fried dough pas­try gar­nished with top­pings of your choice. Made with whole wheat, the dough is hand- stretched to re­sem­ble the tail of a beaver — Canada’s na­tional an­i­mal. As per the BeaverTails web­site, “The pas­tries are then float- cooked on high qual­ity canola oil and served pip­ing hot, topped with but­ter and a choice of de­lec­ta­ble fla­vors”, in­clud­ing cin­na­mon and su­gar, maple, ap­ple cin­na­mon, choco­late ba­nana, peanut but­ter, choco vanilla, choco­late hazel­nut, kil­laloe sunrise ( cin­na­mon, su­gar and lemon) and triple trip ( choco­late, peanut but­ter and Reese’s Pieces). I’m torn be­tween try­ing cin­na­mon and su­gar, ap­ple cin­na­mon, choco­late ha­zlenut, and maple, but go for the maple flavoured spread ( could we get more Cana­dian?)

A short while later, my or­der — wrapped in the red BeaverTail pa­per pack­age — is in my hands. Warm and crispy with maple syrup ooz­ing, it’s love at first bite; the per­fect com­fort dessert af­ter an ex­haust­ing day! Gulp it down as quickly as you can, be­cause it tastes best when it’s pip­ing hot and more im­por­tantly, that way you won’t have to share it with any­one!

Pooja. bhula@ dnain­dia. net; @ Poo­jaBhula

Ma­ha­rash­trian Dal­im­bichi Usal at 29 States Bengali Bhappa Aloo at 29 States Goan B** f Olives by The Bom­bay Can­teen Bi­hari Litti Choka at 29 States From Ram­pur, Kareli Ka Ta­matar Korma by Neel In­dian Kitchen + Bar Sukka Squid from Ker­ala by Neel In­dian...

Avril. bra­ganza@ dnain­dia. net @ AvrilBra­ganza

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.