I have lived in Switzerland for over two years and been pleasantly surprised by the variety of Indian food available over here. Of course, you can get the common Indian dishes that you find on any Indian restaurant menu, such as chicken tikka masala and a garlic nan to go with it. But what about Chettinad cuisine? And pure vegetarian methi dhingra (mushroom)? And last but not least, how about contemporary variations on traditional Indian cuisine? Well, all these tastes can be indulged quite easily in Switzerland.
But what is Chettinad cuisine? It is a South Indian group of dishes, named after its place of origin, full of stronger spices and warm tastes, much warmer than the subtle and sweeter nuances of North Indian cooking. I think that Chettinad cuisine is the perfect body-warmer on one of the colder days in Switzerland, so consider restaurants serving this food during the winter months.
Coming to my point about vegetarian cooking, I am a happily converted veggie who was also surprised to see the overall number of vegetarian dishes available here in Switzerland. And I don't include fish in the list of ingredients! It is interesting for me to feel the subtler nuances of the traditional Indian tastes as they appear in vegetarian recipes. At the same time, these dishes do well on less adapted tummies!
Going further, when one combines vegetarian cuisine with contemporary forms of cooking, the innovations are quite tasteful to both the eye and the palette. For instance, avocados are not very much used in Indian cooking, but I found an exciting chutney made of the same in one of the restaurants here – healthy and smooth, a good accompaniment to any poppadum. Quite often I have a mind to take some of these innovative ideas home, especially with the new varieties of lassi that i have tasted here.
Switzerland has always had close ties with India, and now those ties extend to its food choices and innovations. I am looking out for the next culinary adventure to try, and to enjoy!