Indian cuisine is infamous for big bowls, copious portions, messy hands and more-than-full stomachs, contains the treasure of flavours that beg that the game be changed. A new genre of the cuisine has come to life that not only elevates the essence of Indian cooking, but also showcases the dishes in new light.
With guests craving new bites, ever-expanding dietary restrictions and a need/desire for fresher, healthier plates, people are now looking for change as salmon on crackers has become an hors d'oeuvre of the past.
Taking delicious Indian staples and creating them into a bite-sized wonderland is easier than most people imagine. Think chana masala crackers, chicken keema sliders, gobi tartare, fishcakes with chutney and cardamom kheer pots. Think seasonal. Think sophistication. Think extraordinary. And (try to) think...Indian.
My quest for innovation in the cuisine led me to start my own private dining business in New York City. With limited knowledge acquired from less than average restaurants, it's time people were given a chance to experience Indian food in a totally unique way.
Focused on basic home-style cooking techniques, I marry everyday dishes with locally available ingredients and seasonal produce, thus creating elevated Indian-inspired appetisers, tasting menus or passed small plates. The result–a dining experience that provides variety along with taste, gourmet along with savour, stories along with tradition, and without that undesirable need to unbutton the pants after. And not to forget, the presentation. Indian bowls are notorious for a bunch of cilantro untidily thrown over everything. Not too appetising is it? Why not bring the global finesse to the cuisine that deserves so much more than just that.
Just like most new trends, change is hard. It's difficult to fathom that 'curry' can be in bites, or 'sabji' could be innovatory. But that leftover aloo masala in the fridge need not be eaten for infinite consecutive meals. Why not mash it up, add a bunch of veggies, throw in an egg and make it into delectable little potato cakes? Serve it with a spicy mint chutney for that little extra oomph. And that chicken vindaloo from the weekend? It's begging to be transformed. Scoop out the pieces of meat, chop them up with fresh celery and carrots and serve it atop little pieces of toasted bread and a dollop of cumin yoghurt. Delish! Of course, you can start fresh too. Blend your regular daal into healthy soup shots or serve your mum's favourite kadhai paneer in appetiser spoons rather than a bowl. The options are endless. All you have to do is not be afraid.
So next time you're struggling for party ideas, don't ignore the charisma of Indian bites. With a little practice, and a whole lot of tasting, your platters will transform into a plethora of lip-smacking deliciousness. And admit it, we all like those extra praises flowing in from our unsuspecting guests. And if you're still stuck in an idea roadblock, drop me a line. I might just give you a hand....