Food Pairing, What’s That?

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Have you ever wondered why certain food dishes pair well with the other? For instance, chocolate and strawberries, cheese and bacon, chips and guacamole, French fries and ketchup, these feel like matches made in heaven. But these did not happen just by chance, there is a whole lot of science behind it. 

Food pairing theory is the idea that the more aromatic compounds two foods have in common, the better they will taste together. There are hundreds of combinations of foods that work superbly well together that we all know and love. And the world over, chefs are constantly working towards bringing to us new and interesting pairings. Salted caramel, strawberry and basil and chocolate and chilli are some of the recent pairings that have fast gained popularity.

But research suggests that these tastes that we all love and know actually make sense only to people in North America and Western Europe. In many Asian countries and especially India, the pairing of common ingredients with common flavours is not a practice. In fact, when it comes to food pairing, Indian cuisine breaks all the traditional rules. The molecules in Indian food clash dramatically and use many more ingredients and flavours in comparison to western cuisine. 

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Indian food has a unique characteristic that can be attributed to its spices, but the spices are the very reason that defies all the rules of traditional pairing, as per the research. Now that’s quite an interesting thing to know, isn’t it?

In fact, the researchers note that our cuisine exhibits a strong negative food pairing pattern. The result is that Indian recipes include ingredients with very little or no common taste compounds, as well as ingredients with contrasting tastes. 

The spices used in our cooking do not follow the pairing rules and I think it’s our rebelliousness that gives our dishes a unique flavour that the Westerners can never think of.

Paired or unpaired, today Indian cuisine is loved by the world. It’s our gravies, kebabs, and other delicacies that have extensive use of spices and unpaired ingredients & flavours that makes the world drool. So kudos to all our Indian cooking that breaks all the rules and follows its own path.

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Do let me know what you think about our cuisine and its uniqueness.

AditI Malhotra
AditI Malhotrahttps://foodandhospitality.incrediblegoa.org/
Having covered more than 1000 restaurants and hotels across the country and globe, Aditi found her passion for food and travelling right in her childhood. At a later stage, travelling for work only fuelled this passion further and she started documenting her experiences as a food and lifestyle blogger 12 years ago and since then there has been no looking back! A woman who wears many hats, she holds a dual MBA degree in Mass Communications & Event Management from NIM and has 22+ years’ experience in marketing. She specialises in designing and executing marketing campaigns for brands, content management and digital media. Aditi moved to Goa 5 years ago after quitting her high profile job as AVP Client Servicing with Candid Marketing & DGM Strategy with Percept before that. Today she successfully manages social media and marketing for a handful of brands and enjoys planning events & weddings too. Experimenting in the kitchen and trying her hand at mixology is what she loves and in fact, it’s the combination of both that made her win the title of Mahou Maestra Chef in 2019 where she had to prepare a dish using beer. Single mother to a smart 18-year-old boy, you will either find her at home in pyjamas, working on her laptop and spending time with her family or all decked up to check out the new restaurant in town!

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