The myriad of flavors that the world remains besotted with, it’s indeed no less than a boon that there exists a wide variety of fusion foods. Mingling the continental with the Mediterranean, the rustic with the urbane, the most simplistic flavours with the extra exotic ones, fusion foods are a wonder in themselves. No wonder then that they appeal so diversely, to people with tastes as diverse as chalk and cheese. Here’s the best ever Indian foods that generously embraced the fusion tradition to emerge as double delights for every foodie of the world-
Perhaps the most commonplace of fusion foods that is so integrated within the mainstream cuisinal ambit that it does not even feel even a wee bit not Indian is the forever favorite dish of chilli chicken. An essentially Indo- Chinese dish of Hakka Chinese heritage, this though mildly sweet and savory dish exerts such a prominent flavour and taste of its own that it becomes instantly decipherable. Of course it isn’t only chicken that takes on the Chinese ting, other popular variations now happen to be chilli fish, chilli egg, chilli aloo, chilli gobhi- even chilli tofu- and whatever you choose to make it with! Versatile in essence, adaptive by nature and relishing to the taste, this interpretation is definitely one of the most loved of all fusion foods ever!
Even when it is a very innovative- read mindblowing- combination, there is no dual thought about what this one might encompass. Naan+pizza- that’s what makes for a naanza. Easily the most visible among ‘food crosses’ across culture, countries and continents, the naanza is a case of classic Italians and Indians coming together. A pizza alright but on a naan base that which comes with toppings of your choice- of course expected stuff like tomatoes and olives and meats and corns or if you are even daring, then pineapple of course!
It perhaps helps that the dough for a pizza base as well as a naan are strikingly similar which means that even as a fusion dish you get the flavours intact. Of course the cooking method needs to be strictly biased towards the naan after which however it needs to go the Italian way as well. Either way, it is a true blue fusion dish that appropriately imbibes the influence of both names in ingredients, preparation, cooking et al.
There’s perhaps no love greater than what the greater Indian snack- the ubiquitous samosa commands in its three coned avatar. Deep fried dough sheets filled with the very classic aloo- matar sabzi, occasionally with some badam and other fancy stuff to cater to whims, samosas are the simplest of savories yet the most sinful of indulgences. It might be bizarre to even think that something as dominantly Indian as the samosa seems to be isn’t a true desi after all! But keeping aside its already obscure origins, even the samosa has been infused with Chinese elements at least in the ingredients. Think of the noodle samosa and you will know what we are talking about!
Surprisingly however the noodle samosa isn’t even an aberration! It is very much standard stuff in a wide number of food joints and is exactly what it sounds like. Fried noodles stuffed inside the samosa dough and deep fried again- noodle samosas are as basic as that. There’s no denying our love for Chinese food and specially of noodles which is why we are honestly more than happy with this interpretation of the samosa. Not to say that we don’t cherish our humbler veggie samosa as much- we are generous foodies enough to heart both!
For lovers of all things sweet, Indian mithais are no less than an euphoria with their wide variety and taste, and their enticing shapes and offbeat flavours. There’s perhaps no dessert on earth that bears similarity with the Indian platter of the same. Which is exactly why it becomes so easy to come with dishes that pair polar opposites mithais and desserts. And one such very decadent match arising out of heaven happens to be the many mithai cheesecakes!
Because cheesecakes are not generally overtly sweet and the Indian preference for the sweetness goes way beyond just mild, it was indeed necessary to improvise on the foreign slice of fancy. Barges onto the palate therefore not just exquisite flavors like red velvet and raspberry but also far exotic ones like motichoor and rasmalai! Imagine the soft texture of cheesecake making way for the juicy sweetness of some motichoors or rasmalais- with so much sweetness in one bite, we just can’t stop drooling. Heaven we say!
Also aptly called the Chinese dosa or the spring dosa, the Schezwan dosa did what few could have conceived of. While we were happily tearing into our plain dosa or at best a masala one, really ‘food-on-their-mind-forever’ souls tried out this Chinese version of the dosa that soon became a mainstay. No guesses though with what might go into this dosa- loads and loads of schezwan sauce obviously along with some noodles. There’s no beating the chilli quotient when it comes to Chinese food and with spring dosa on the menu you know what to expect out of a humble plain south Indian staple.
Now whoever on earth doesn’t like a good, thick paratha? There are very few things on earth that match up to the Indianness of a plate of piping hot parathas loaded with ghee and/ or butter and done up with curries or sabjis or teas or sweets or curds and anything and everything you want whatsoever. The versatile that the Indian bread happens to be, it goes well with virtually anything. Stuffed or plain, gourmet or classic, there’s no beating paranthas when it comes to hearty taste. Think then parathas with something as sinful as nutella and you would be thanking the universe for coming up with such a novel idea!
There’s no duality to nutella paratha- parathas stuffed with the rich spread of gooey indulgent nutella make for a fusion combo that remains unbeatable any day. It does not need any telling how jars of nutella can be done with just like that. Imagine that spread with a paratha in tow and you would understand the taste explosion we are talking of.
Pav Bhaji Fondue
Spicy and indulgent like many Indian foods are, pav bhaji is a much loved fast food that makes for a delicious snack and can well double up as a meal in couples. And with pav bhaji fondue on the horizon, think no further about going all out with the gastronomic experience. There’s something about the sizzling creaminess of fondues that has us drooling over its very texture. Pair that with the unmatched spicy zing of the very Indian pav bhaji and you have a dish that spells scrumptious all through.
Taste apart however, fondues also are served in very unique pots and are devoured just as uniquely. And while the presentation itself is appealing, the whole way of eating is no less charming. With pav bhaji fondues, the spicy bhaji comes with the fondue essence- imbibing the cheesy deliciousness and served also in the traditional pot like outlay. While you would perhaps be salivating at the mere thought, I am here sitting enamored by just the mention of the mere experience!
It’s hard to think of something as common a snack as tandoori momos of being a fusion food. Not that it’s unbelievable that momos indeed aren’t our own but they are so integrated into the mainstream snacking scene that we simply don’t have the heart to acknowledge them as fusion. In fact, tandoori momos tend to classify as fusion cuisine only in the method of preparation. Momos made in a tandoor- that’s how very simplistic this snacking staple is.
When it comes to hardcore soft drinks, coca cola or coke is the ultimate choice. And yet this universally appealing product churned out by a multinational conglomerate did not manage to escape the bandwagon of Indian fusion influence. Coke went the Indian way with the addition of a wide array of masalas that works not just for the taste factor but also for being a potent cure for indigestion. The flavour however is unmissable, with the zing of spices enhancing the taste and morphing it into a different drinking sojourn altogether.
Butter Chicken Pasta
You have heard of white sauce pasta, arrabiata pasta, red sauce pasta et al but ever heard of pasta in a gravy? That too, with a butter chicken gravy in the offing! The Italian staple pasta comes in a very prominently Indian butter chicken gravy rendering the dish with a taste that is disinctive to say the least. The exotic flavour of pasta and the rich creaminess of butter chicken- every spoonful would be an explosion of taste so blissful that you would be left craving for more and more of such fusions.
The Indian love for panipuri transcends barriers of even preferences and desires- that’s how versatile these crunchy balls are! Cracked and filled with a mixture of spiced potatoes and stuff and then dipped in tangy tamarind water, panipuris are no less than any addiction. Introduce vodka into the mix and you can be guaranteed of a double dose of addiction. Fusion perhaps have never been as intoxicating as this one yet!