Elon Musk's 5 Favourite Indian Foods
Image Credit: Elon Musk not digging into a plate of Indian food.

TECH BRO turned cyberspace overlord” Elon Musk recently sent social media into a tizzy because he expressed appreciation for Indian food. “Expressed appreciation” is perhaps a bit of a stretch here — a Twitter user shared a photo of their meal (butter chicken with naan) and enthused over how “basic b*tch Indian food is insanely good”, to which Musk responded with “true”, and that was apparently enough for us ever-eager-for-validation Indians to run with it and crown him the undisputed Chief Fan of desi cuisine.

Here at Slurrp, we have our own theories about white folks who are ever-eager to share their Indian food non-opinions on social media just because these invariably get so much traction. Even by those standards, Musk’s terse little “true” seems particularly low effort — making the self-congratulatory tone of a section of those responding to his seal of approval for Indian food seem out of all proportion. 

Anyway, the chain of events did inspire us to come up with our own list of the top-five Indian foods that would be quite likely to earn several more “trues” from Musk, were anyone to nudge him with an “isn’t this insanely good?” prompt. And, to embody the bare minimum ethos of Musk’s expressed opinion, we’ve kept this list as basic b*tch as it gets.

1. Butter Chicken 

Also known as “Murgh Makhani”. This global favourite — seen as something of a synonym for “Indian food” — features tender chunks of chicken marinated in a blend of aromatic spices and yoghurt, and cooked in a rich tomato-based gravy that is enriched with butter and cream. Fresh naan or steamed rice serve as equally compatible accompaniments. Try these recipes.

2. Palak Paneer 

Possibly the nicest way to get someone to consume a goodish quantity of spinach without giving them a spiel about the health benefits of eating greens. Fresh spinach leaves, paneer and a harmonious blend of aromatic spices come together in this ubiquitous Indian vegetarian dish. The standard recipe requires you to blanch the spinach, puree it, and sauté it with onions, garlic and spices. Cubes of paneer are gently stirred in, allowing the cheese to absorb the flavours of the dish. Like butter chicken, palak paneer is also best accompanied by naan or steamed rice, preferably basmati.

3. Chicken Biryani  

Aromatic, delicious, irresistible. Is there anyone who can resist a well-made chicken biryani? Then what chance does a mere mortal like Elon Musk have against its numerous charms? While there are myriad methods of preparing chicken biryani, it typically involves marinating the meat in a blend of yoghurt, spices and lemon juice, allowing the flavours to infuse. Separately, basmati rice is prepared: cooked with aromatic spices to impart a distinctive fragrance. Onions, ginger, garlic and a medley of spices are sautéed in a pan, then cooked with the marinated chicken until the meat turns tender. The partially cooked rice and chicken are then layered in a pot, and steamed together, to truly harmonise their flavours. A garnish of fried onions, fresh herbs and a drizzle of saffron-infused milk make for the finishing touches. 

4. Keema Naan

To make keema naan, dough is prepared using all-purpose flour, yoghurt, and yeast. For the filling, minced meat is cooked with a mix of spices, onions, ginger, garlic and herbs. The dough is rolled out, a portion of the meat filling is placed in the centre, then the ball of dough is sealed, rolled out again, and cooked on a griddle until golden brown. The result is a soft and fluffy naan filled with savoury minced meat, offering a rich burst of flavour with every bite. It’s delectable enough to wow even Musk.

5. Gulab Jamun

What would Indian cuisine be without its desserts, right? If Musk were to dwell a little bit more on the desi sweets he indulges in on occasion, his street credibility would certainly skyrocket. We do know that he’d love the gulab jamun, in which mawa/khoya (or milk powder), flour and a little ghee are kneaded into a soft dough and then shaped into small balls that are deep fried until a warm and deep golden-brown in colour. They are then removed from the oil and immersed in a fragrant sugar syrup redolent with cardamom and rose water. The result is a dessert that will satisfy both adults and children, even if the child in question happens to be Musk. 

(Butter chicken image courtesy Prasanna Hede/Flickr)