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Contemporary Indian Cuisine


M65
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I was just curious as to what different perceptions people have about Contemporary Indian Food, what foreign elements may be allowed, how much identity in terms of visual appeal it must retain, how much breakaway from non family style service is acceptible when eating at restaurants and etc. Your views people. :)

thanks

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux

makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." Brillat-Savarin

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I doubt that anyone in America and many in England who have not been to Zaika (first Indian restaurant to receive a Michelin star) can even begin to appreciate what modern, interpretative Indian cuisine can be like. Heritage of India, our best, does not even begin to approach it.

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Hey joe,

Theres people like me who make a living off of entirely the topic, i appreciate your concern, but you know what America rules, LOL, watch out

I like your comment

Edited by M65 (log)

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux

makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." Brillat-Savarin

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I absoultely ADORE Indian food, and I make my living in the restaurant business, however, I have never thought of Indian cuisine in the "modern sense". I don't know if that is lack of education or exposure?? Detroit has some amazing Indian cuisine, but I do not feel it's breaking any boundaries in the food world.

(does that help?????!)

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Would this topic be better on the Indian Board? You would probably get a much broader array of opinions.

As for my opinion, I think a place like Heritage India, which I do really like, is a very traditional place. For more modern Indian, I would think someplace like Indique here in DC or Tabla in New York is more along the lines of 'updated' Indian. But even those don't really take things too far from the tried and true.

I am curious if modern restaurants in India (and I guess England as well) are following a similar path to modern restaurants here in the US - inredients and technques from all over the globe - with restauants that could feature Italian, Japanese or African elements all on the same menu.

Bill Russell

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I'd have to agree that Indique and Heritage Indian are basically serving high level quality traditional Indian, pulling in some dishes from other areas of India and perhaps taking a new twist on a couple dishes.

I love eating and cooking Indian food. If I was asked to pick one cuisine that I could only eat for the rest of my life it would probably be Indian. I wish it had a broader reach in America.

However, M65, what are is your take on Contemporary Indian...taking Indian spices/flavors and applying them to other foods...using techniques of Indian cooking and applying to to other foods...or updating traditional recipes...

As a side note, I think in Memphis, TN there is a chef who does Indian/French fusion...apparently she's won a James Beard Award...anyway, I've always wanted to roadtrip to Memphis to try her restaurant, and perhaps a bit of BBQ ;)

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Have you guys seen m65's website -- the food -- contemporary Indian looks awesome and he is only an hour away from DC.. If people are game, why not do the next eGullet gathering there. I would love to go and try the food

http://www.BistroM.com

Edited by Monica Bhide (log)

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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Have you guys seen m65's website -- the food -- contemporary Indian looks awesome and he is only an hour away from DC..

http://www.BistroM.com

i looked at the website--i'm having trouble seeing how it is "contemporary indian"--can someone explain? is it because garam masala is used in one dish?

Mongo, I thought the same... but one has to look deeper into the menu.

Would hate to shoot from the hip and react prematurely.

I shall spend more time browsing the site this weekend.

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yes, but is this a contemporary indian menu or euro-standards jazzed up a little with asian-inflected sides?

Your guess is as good as my unintelligent one.

I need to do far more research before I make any comments.

The home page does make reference to Eurasian and also has chopsticks and a rich Chinese Red plate. I think Indian is not what I read in first glance. I do find Indian inspirations and also some Indian dishes, as those Monica mentioned.

But would I think of this restaurant as Indian or even as a next step in Indian dining???? :blink::unsure::wacko::shock::huh::hmmm::hmmm: Not sure... again, need to do more homework on my end.

Gotta run... see you all soon... :smile:

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yes, masala potatoes are real contemporary.

personally, i look at amma's menu and i think yes, this is an indian menu that is different but is still an indian menu. when i look at something like this menu i think here's someone who is cooking some things with indian ingredients and combining indian sides with euro-standards--it may be good but why call it indian any more than anything else? that's a genuine question, by the way.

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and, as i've asked in other threads, why does indian food only become "contemporary" if it involves non-indian ingredients or if it is "fused" with something else?

I would not be shy of asking that myself.

Indian food has been contemporary for generations.. for ages...

Madhur Jaffrey and my own family, have had contemporary Indian food for as long as our communities history. We are both Kayasthas, and it is fascinating as we delve into the history of our community, we discover the many foreign influences they accepted and embraced and changed and added into their own.

I hardly believe any cuisine becomes contemporary by losing what it has in its own closet. We do well, if in all things we do, we never have to worry about hiding in the closet. If Indian cuisine wants to become contemporary, it only need to look beyond its own limitations if any. I do not think we have even explored a very tiny percentage of what Indian cuisine has in its outrageously rich culinary landscape.

It is premature for Indian cuisine to worry about borrowing richness.... at least in the US.... for now, we ought to first re-discover what we have in India, and have never seen here, then find ways of refining those elements to their necessary glory. And only then, and that will take a long time, can we worry about how we can change ourselves by adding what we do not have. It is all there, it only needs to be found, understood and shared.

I cannot agree with you more.

But I am also for change, movement and discovery. All I am suggesting is that it is premature to think we have become stagnant. Yes we are stagnant in the world of Indian cuisine in the US, but go back to India, leave the homes of family and friends..... go to those of people you hardly know.. or of family and friends of those you never really knew to well, and certainly another India will come alive. One which will enrich quickly and fully with new ideas, inspirations and new departures.

India is most compelling to me when I can see it both as ancient and contemporary at the same time. It is only that India I crave and love and indulge in. India like all countries and cultures, has its own share of lethargy, complacency, fanatic beliefs and idiocies, but certainly those do not help in making India contemporary. They only push us way back into time, and rob the essence of what India really was and always is. Something beyond the limitations of time, mood and any one social norm.

In India's plurality is India's biggest asset.

In that plurality, being contemporary is easy and certain.

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when i look at something like this menu i think here's someone who is cooking some things with indian ingredients and combining indian sides with euro-standards--it may be good but why call it indian any more than anything else? that's a genuine question, by the way.

He does not call it Indian -- I believe I did. He calls it Euro Asian, I believe. It looked like a good menu and I thought we should try it. That is all.

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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M65

Your menu is definitely Eurasian as described on your website. It's my kind of food and I'd love to try out the degustation menu, unfortunately your restaurant is a little far for me. I'm quite intrigued by the Lentil Tuile, please describe it.

I've been experimenting with similar cuisine but with more Indian influences. To give you a small example: Thandai Creme Brulee, Herbed Paneer Steaks.........

The funny part is that there are no takers for avant garde Indian cuisine here in India, many people find it intimidating.

M65, What is your restaurant's customer profile?

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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when i look at something like this menu i think here's someone who is cooking some things with indian ingredients and combining indian sides with euro-standards--it may be good but why call it indian any more than anything else? that's a genuine question, by the way.

He does not call it Indian -- I believe I did. He calls it Euro Asian, I believe. It looked like a good menu and I thought we should try it. That is all.

monica,

i'm not attacking you or m65--merely posting my thoughts as evoked both by the menu and by the initial conversation in this thread. it seems to me that since m65 begins this thread by asking people for their definitions of contemporary indian food and then says in a later post that what he does is going to be it, that it wouldn't in any case be too much of a misinterpretation if one did think that he was calling it contemporary indian cuisine. either way, i think this is a valid discussion--fusion cooking involving asian cuisine is all the rage in the u.s: it is interesting to get different people's takes on it.

regards,

mongo

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Thank you for your diverse responses people, two things, firstly the menu is just a sample menu to show the diversity of our food, secondly we also have a Indian restaurant of our own a block away, so it would be foolish to compete, the menu is written with a very barest essence of ingredients yet i can assure you that Indian nuances are widely felt when the dish is presented to you and when one tastes it, suttle elegant Indian accents and wine freindly food.

If anyone is interested i can email them one of our menus with a deeper Indian influence.

I will get back with some more points on this topic later, in the meantime, keep the topic hot, :smile:

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux

makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." Brillat-Savarin

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