Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Next-Generation Curry U Food Grill | based in Burlington, Mass.


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Indian flavors are starting to take a more assertive position in menu development. At U Food Grill, Philip Kafka, Director of Culinary Innovation and R&D, was looking to extend the use of a tikka masala sauce beyond a bowl platform. “The tikka sauce has rich layers of flavor with allspice, clove and a distinct curry note,” he says. “It had me thinking of other opportunities. I remembered my grandfather, George Thierry, who opened the Boston Copley Statler as executive chef, used to make a fantastic curry chicken salad.” Inspired by this, Kafka decided to give the tikka sauce a go in a salad application, but he needed to thicken it a bit for this use. “We offer roasted sweet potato wedges as a side, and I realized they would be a perfect natural thickening agent.” He blended the sauce and the sweet potatoes with fresh basil and brown sugar. “What an incredible vibrant sheen, and the complexity and marriage of the flavors were an instant hit,” says Kafka. But the base curry sauce was still very intense. “To cool it further, I folded in plain nonfat Greek yogurt,” he adds. “Wow. Now I have achieved a yogurt-based curry sauce.” The salad combines grilled chicken breast, red seedless grapes and the tikka masala sauce.

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