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