Fusion food fest focuses on Indian delicacies with an American twist

The limited edition menu is carefully crafted in partnership with Taste of America. The menu features seven dishes that are prepared in the Indian style of cooking that uses US-origin ingredients including California almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cranberries, blueberries, duck, pinto beans, and much more.
Almond tikki chaat with US cranberry chutney
Almond tikki chaat with US cranberry chutney

CHENNAI: Imagine adding US cranberries to the spicy street-style aloo tikki chaat. If you are keen to taste it, head to Social in Royapettah for their fusion food festival. The limited edition menu is carefully crafted in partnership with Taste of America. The menu features seven dishes that are prepared in the Indian style of cooking that uses US-origin ingredients including California almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cranberries, blueberries, duck, pinto beans, and much more.

We sat down for a dinner to know more about the collaboration and of course, to relish the dishes on the menu. When chef Saurabh Arora served us aloo tikki chaat with a tangy US cranberry chutney, we wondered what it would taste like. Well, this fusion dish did taste good and is a must-try on the menu. The simple chaat is coated with California almonds and also has cumin chutney, mint chutney and yogurt.

Before serving us the next dish, chef Saurabh explained the reason for the fusion food fest. “United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in New Delhi approached Social for collaboration — to find out how Indian delicacies can be made using a few American ingredients, mainly focusing on fruits, nuts, lentils and meats from the US. We did a lot of trials before finalising the experiential innovative menu,” says Saurabh. Another innovative dish on the menu is the desi cowboy beans served with herb rice. The beans used are the highly nutritious US pinto beans. It’s made using Indian spices and bell peppers and also can be customised with bacon, sausage and tenderloin. The other two main courses are the US duck pepper fry with Malabar paratha and smokey white chicken paired with California pistachio and US cranberry naan. Two desserts on this limited menu are US pecan nut pie with kulfi ice cream and smokey California pistachio baklava.  

An official from the agricultural marketing specialist of USDA, points out that this creation not only enriches the flavours but also enhances the significance of flavours emanating from both vastly different regions. “California almonds, walnuts and pistachios, US cranberries, blueberries American Pecans and US duck are available in Indian market and many are consuming them regularly. These nuts are versatile and we thought why not use them in Indian-style cooking? We wanted to create awareness that these ingredients are not just for European or the US style of cooking, but also can be incorporated into Indian delicacies well. We have kept the taste very authentic because we didn’t want to meddle with the authentic Indian taste. The chef has just elevated the existing taste of the dishes by adding US ingredients,” says the official.

The food fest is on till October 12.

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