THEPLA TA­COS, ANY­ONE?

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Ab­hi­nav Verma ab­hi­nav.verma@htlive.com

From Chi­nese to Ital­ian — ev­ery cui­sine that has en­tered the In­dian culi­nary mar­ket, has been given a desi fu­sion 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 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.

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 taco­con­tain­ing but­ter pa­neer.

CHEFS’ SPEAK

Chefs say 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.”

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.

It looks 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,” says Chef Man­ish Mehro­tra. “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’ doesn’t make sense.” ■

Pep­per chilli chicken, Ajwaini Tawa Paran­tha Ta­cos by Chef Harangad Singh of Prankster Gu­ru­gram Fu­sion ta­cos are made from channa Pun­jabi, non veg prepa­ra­tion has achari murgh and same sauces An­other fu­sion taco cre­ation made from shred­ded jack­fruit dusted with corn­flour

Ta­cos have got a fu­sion makeover. Here’s what chefs have to say about the trend

Ja­panese Soy Chilli Prawn Th­ese cone ta­cos are per­fect as pint sized party snacks Ja­maican Jerk Spiced Pork Laal Maas Phulkas ta­cos

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