When I was first introduced to the concept of what would become Hot Indian, I took my commitment to study the cuisine very seriously. I read and read, and practiced and practiced, just to understand where to begin building basic flavors of this fare. I began simply. Tasting raw whole spices, then toasting them, then grinding them, and toasting them again dry. I’d add them into different oils to see how they cooked and developed, tasting each step of the way. I would simmer different combinations of spices in water to see how they flavored into subtle fusions. I was truly fascinated by this process and how many spices were used in different dishes, some were simple and few, and others elaborate and layered. After trying many dishes, and failing at times, I started getting more comfortable and understanding why spices were added at different times and in different forms. I then focused on bringing in heat. I wanted to use a balance of peppers, chills, and powders to round out our curries into a deep flavorful heat that would satisfy the tastebud’s desire to burn but not linger long after.
We wanted to keep the menu simple and approachable so that we could keep it tight and do it right. Once it was decided that Hot Indian Foods would deliver traditional Indian flavors in a familiar format the Indurrito was born. All the flavors of an Indian Thali (a plate of various dishes) rolled up into one convenient package! Along with our diverse selections of traditional curries, we added a fresh bright slaw. A mix of ingredients widely found throughout India: crisp cabbage, sweet mango, creamy coconut milk…it was a perfect compliment. After a year of searching to source an Indian-style flatbread for our beloved Indurritos that was both large enough, thin enough and not a tortilla, we took on the challenge ourselves. We now mix our own blend of chickpea and wheat flours, roll out, and press our signature Roti. Indian style “pickle” was also something that our menu needed. It’s not pickled in the same sense of brining something in a vinegar liquid, but by seasoning and salting and left in the sun to ferment. This style adds what I consider to be an element of funk that adds yet another layer of distinct flavor. We built our HI Heat chutney with this in mind, and fanatics have been craving it since. We have now expanded our scratch-made chutneys to six and each have their own personality and following. Our Indi Frites were also created in our first year. They were an experiment gone horribly RIGHT! Wanting to use ingredients more unique to India, I experimented with a variety of potatoes and flours. What came from these tests is an addictive blend of russet potatoes and yams fried with a crispy batter of light flours and lingering spices - improved only with a side of our smooth and spicy Pickled Aioli made from our HI Heat and house-made aioli. Our menu and my quest for knowledge on the topic have only grown over the last four years. I hope that my commitment to discovering and learning more about the Indian cuisine and culture will continue to result in more interesting approachable deliciousness from your sherpas at Hot Indian!
Hot Indian Executive Chef