Chef Gita Kantrow, who opened her Gita pop-up at Wink & Nod in August, found the perfect entry point to introducing her native Nepali cuisine to Western diners: fried cheese. “I’m putting a twist on something familiar to home and, at the same time, the food I kind of grew up with here,” she says. For her paneer with chana chaat, Kantrow batter fries a block of the Indian curd cheese and serves it atop a traditional cold salad of chickpeas, puffed rice and crunchy noodles. Spices and a yogurt cilantro sauce bring some heat, but the dish finds balance with a date chutney that provides just the right amount of sweetness.
Paneer with chana chaat, $9 at Gita at Wink & Nod, 3 Appleton St., Boston (617-482-0117) winkandnod.com