One tends to feel a bit wary of the word ‘fusion’ in food, especially given the recent gigantic leaps in misplaced creativity that have gone into creating Maggi dosa and momos ice-cream. However, fusion, when done intelligently, while keeping intact the essence of two cuisines coming together, can reveal some interesting results. Kalakaari, an Indian-fusion cloud kitchen brand in the National Capital Region, seeks to achieve exactly that. The founders, Sanchit Gupta and Shruti Jain of Kitchen Science Foods have brought together Moroccan, Malaysian, French and Italian flavours with Indian dishes in ways that are not jarring or absurd.
The mint caviar works beautifully with the chicken malai tikka, the Malaysian flavours go well with the malai chaap and there is a subtle Moroccan touch to the tandoori chicken. The highlight, however, is the jalebi churros, which feature smooth coconut rabri and mix mawa. There is also the green apple jalebi, which is thinly-cut apple slices dipped in batter and fried in desi ghee, and then immersed in sugar syrup. This is served with pan-flavoured mousse and saffron rabri.
Kalakaari is an interesting choice of name for the cloud kitchen, literally meaning craftsmanship. “Indian food is rich in flavours and has interesting colours and regional variations. The idea of Kalakaari was entirely built on these thoughts. We are not just curating food but art on a plate, that too in the comfort of the customer’s home,” Gupta and Jain elaborate. “The idea is to give the classics a twist, while maintaining the overall sanctity of the dish.” So, you find gajar halwa filled between the flaky layers of the baklava and pizza made on khamiri roti.
It took them six months of research, which also involved speaking with veterans of the food and beverage industry, conducting surveys among consumers, and then finally testing the flavours in the kitchen. There were certain dishes that didn’t work during the trials: take, for instance, the tandoori tomato shumai, hot basil chicken paddu, and more. “We are now working on experimental rolls and beverages as well, which should be ready for launch before the summer hits us,” they say.
The biggest grouse, when it comes to delivery of Indian food is that the packages get soggy, and the food cold by the time it reaches the customers. Kalakaari has tried to address that by sending the dals and the curries in glass jars. “This is our small contribution towards reducing the carbon footprint, by saying no to plastic in the packaging,” state Gupta and Jain.
Also read: The magic of steaming food in a banana leaf