Indian twist to international cuisines
From using chicken instead of beef to replacing fish sauce with soya sauce - Pune restaurants that serve international cuisines are trying their best to fit in and appeal more to the Indian taste by tweaking the flavour of their authentic dishes
Not many moons ago, several Indian foodies just had Chinese dishes or pizzas to dig into in the name of international cuisines, but with an influx of restaurants serving diverse cuisines including Thai, Mexican, Japanese and many more, the international culinary experience has become more elaborate and exclusive for patrons. However, most eating-out joints tweak few of their recipes to suit the Indian palate and to reach out to a wider client base, reveal chefs of various restaurants.
“We import and use only authentic ingredients to offer our patrons the real flavours of Japanese cuisine. But, on request from our guests, we often make the sushi spicier to suit the Indian palate. While strictly vegetarian dishes are rare in Japan, we offer a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan options to meet the needs of our guests in India,” says Chef Alex of Harajuku, The O Hotel Pune.
Chef Pensiri Pattanachaen, who was in the city recently for the Thai Street Food Festival echoed similar sentiments and had revealed, “We don’t have vegetarian food at all in Thai streets but I made it with the local vegetables here so that the vegetarians in India would also enjoy it. We have fish sauce base in most of the dishes, but here while cooking for the vegetarians I use the soya sauce. Also instead of beef we use chicken here. We also make the sauces mild, since we feel that if we retain the original taste, Indians might not like it that much.”
While chefs maintain that they do make adjustments for the local market, they stress that they don’t compromise on the originality of the cuisine as much as possible. “Our aim is to only serve authentic cuisines. However, we make certain alterations we make, keeping in mind the local flavours and tastes and the expectations of our guests.
For example, for our Jain community we make separate sauces without ingredients like onions and garlic which otherwise are one of the key ingredients in Italian cooking. We also include locally grown vegetables which add to creating some locally appreciated flavours,” informs Christian Huber, Chef de Cuisine at Alto Vino.