Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Indian Cuisine Invades America’s Kitchens

In the 1980’s with everyone eating Italian, the nation’s shirts and blouses were splattered with spaghetti sauce. Then came nouvelle cuisine; visually striking but hardly filling. More recently, sushi became the fashionable dining ticket, but that too has waned in the public’s affection.

Following a couple of boring seasons, a new food trend is emerging to fill the void – Indian cuisine.

Indian fare, which dates back thousands of years on the sub-continent, has grown to be fabulously popular in Europe during the last half-century. Now, it is finally set to take America by storm.

India is the seventh largest country with the second highest population, making it the most populous democracy in the world. The country is also geographically diverse; from the forbidding Himalayan Mountains of the north to the bustling city of Mumbai (née Bombay) in the west. Having to cater to such a large, free-thinking society has resulted in the development of a cuisine that is extremely diverse.

Indian dishes are guaranteed to tantalize everyone’s taste buds; from the sweet and creamy korma, to the fiery and piquant vindaloo, Indian food comes in limitless variations and combinations. Even the pickiest of eaters can find something to enjoy, and one could enjoy Indian for a month without ever being served the same dish twice.

Indian food also tends to be healthy. Grains and pulses are featured in most meals, as are richly-flavored vegetables. Because most Hindus don’t eat beef, the Indian kitchen favors other meats -- chicken, lamb, or fish. (portion about unhealthy meats deleted here.)

But if it is so popular in Europe, Asia and Australia, why has it taken so long for Indian cuisine to be recognized on these shores?

“Indian cuisine is served with naan – a traditional flatbread,” explains respected food critic Jim White. “Until now, naan has not commercially been available in North America because it’s baked in a particular, small clay oven – called a tandoor.”

White explains that the availability of naan in the supermarket was the missing piece of the puzzle, “Obviously you can eat Indian food without flatbread, but to us it would be like having a hamburger without the bun.”

“Most Indian restaurants have a tandoor oven but only make a few dozen naan each night. Until we figured out how to make authentic naan on a commercial scale, supermarkets have been unable to offer consumers real, tandor-baked naan for home use,” explains White.

A few years ago, White teamed up with an entrepreneurial baker-friend, Sam Ajmera, to found FGF Brands. They invented and built an industrial-size tandoor oven capable of baking one million naan a week. The advent of the commercial tandoor means that hand-stretched, preservative-free, traditionally-made naan are now available for home consumption. The brand they have brought to market is Fabulous Flats, now available in supermarkets across the country and in specialty food stores.

“At last, anyone can prepare authentic Indian meals in their own home and take pleasure in what millions around the world have been enjoying for centuries,” White proclaims.

Indian cuisine is now on track to explode as the hottest new food trend because of the unlimited menu and recent home accessibility. As White notes, “We love trying the flavors of the world without having to leave our own kitchen.”

White also notes that naan are extremely versatile – can be served with appetizer dips, can be lined and rolled and served as wraps, can even be used as the base for a tasty pizza. “We find Fabulous Flats Naan are being served across all sorts of cuisines, not just Indian,” notes White.


About Jim White

Jim White is an official spokesperson for Fabulous Flats Naan. A respected food critic with over 30 years of experience, Jim has written for, directed and appeared on countless TV shows and radio broadcasts throughout his career. He has produced and directed films for the National Film Board of Canada and been a columnist in Canada’s largest newspapers. Jim White’s website can be found at

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