Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Mash-up Menu Hits Indian cuisine mash-ups are an ingenious way to introduce bold, unfamiliar flavors in approachable, loved formats

At Pub Royale in Chicago, the Chicken Tikka Kati Roll features caramelized onion, cilantro, cotija cheese
PHOTO CREDIT: Martha Williams


Indian cuisine has landed on our shores via the mash-up, an ingenious way to introduce bold, unfamiliar flavors in approachable, loved formats. Think tikka masala fries or keema pav sliders. We asked our culinary experts to weigh in on the best way into this trend:

“Operators can leverage Indian flavors by incorporating them into common, everyday American foods. The distinct aromatic flavors of cumin, cardamom, mustard seed, turmeric, and tamarind are ideal flavor complements to burgers, burritos and pizzas.”
MEREDITH DACA, VP of Culinary Marketing, Marlin Network Culinary Arts

“I would start by looking at India’s many diverse regional cuisines. There is so much potential for innovation. Consider dishes like biryani, idli, jalebi, kulfi, various dals, lassi, dosa, samosas, saag paneer—and how they could be incorporated into the U.S. mainstream either through modification or by combining with other ethnic influences.”
CHRIS KOETKE, VP, Strategy and Industry Relations, Kendall College

“The mash-up embodies what it means to be a modern consumer – combining favorite flavors with exotic new adventurous ones to comfort and tantalize all at the same time. Time-honored tradition served up in a bowl is fueling consumer interest in exploring uncharted flavor territory with a safety net. A mash-up also frees creative chefs from the constraints of delivering authenticity that is rarely clearly defined in a country as large and diverse as India. Using the country of origin as an inspirational theme and combining favorite flavors, formats and cooking methods from around the world creates a new array of options.”
SHARON OLSON, Founder & Executive Director, Culinary Visions Panel

“Take advantage of Indian flavors on vegetables, appetizers, side dishes, salads or center of the plate dishes. It’s all about versatility. Look at something like a loaded fries presentation, with tater tots or roasted fingerling potatoes, for example, with an Indian-style gravy topped with crumbled cheese and chopped herbs.”
CHARLIE BAGGS, Executive Chef/Founder of Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations


  From the Jan/Feb 2018 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.

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