Italian-Indian fusion

Italian-Indian fusion to pop up at Kozy Korner July 23

Pam George Food, Headlines

Italian-Indian fusion

‘Chopped’ chef Reuben Dhanawade will sell his butter chicken sando at the Kozy Korner Italian-Indian fusion pop-up.


Fusion cuisine is nothing new, but Nick Vouras of Kozy Korner and Nick’s Pizza in Wilmington and “Chopped” alum Reuben Dhanawade are taking it to the next level.

The friends will hold a “Pizza and Sandos” popup Saturday, July 23 featuring Vouras’ Detroit-style pizza (either red or white) and Dhanawade’s fried butter chicken “sando,” short for a sandwich.

The cuisines will collide on the special Detroit-style butter chicken pizza.

Kozy Korner konnection 

Dhanawade’s dish is a riff on the well-known butter chicken, or murgh makhana, which has a rich, creamy tomato sauce and is usually served over rice.

Kozy Korner Italian-Indian pop-up

Reuben Dhanawade

The chef, who recently appeared on a finale of the Food Network’s “Chopped,” was inspired by the Buffalo fried chicken sandwich.

Instead of buttermilk, however, he uses yogurt to marinate the chicken before giving it a crispy coating made with flour and Indian spices.

The spicy butter chicken sauce replaces Buffalo sauce, and cilantro lime cream provides the cooling counterpoint that blue cheese normally provides.

He also adds pickled onion.

“Because in my opinion, every sandwich needs a pickle component,” he explained.

Dhanawade gave the sandwich a trial run at a popup in Pittsburgh.

“A good friend and restauranteur is out there — Ivan Silva of Mi Empanada,” the University of Delaware chef said.

“We had been talking about collaborating, and it evolved into me doing my own thing for him.”

Italian-Indian fusion

Nick Vouras’ Detroit-style pizza will be available at the July 23 pop-up at Kozy Korner.


Dhanawade is basking in newfound fame after starring on the “Chopped” special. The winner could take a job as a sous chef with one of the three judges: Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant or Chris Santos.

Chauhan, the Indian American chef, would have been a natural choice for Dhanawade, who has been exploring his family’s culinary roots. However, he was eliminated in the entrée round of the finale.

Nevertheless, the chef has received several offers and has invited fans to “stay tuned” for his next step.

Dinner and dessert

The first is the July 23 popup, which lets Dhanawade introduce his cuisine to the public. In addition to pizza and sandwiches, the duo will offer a rice pudding called kheer.

The price is $12 for the red pie, $13 for the white pie and $17 for the butter chicken pizza. The sandwich, which comes with chips, is $15, and the dessert is $6.

Customers can preorder by texting Vouras at 302-547-0380 or messaging him on Instagram, @nickspizza302. Pickup is between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on July 23 at Kozy Korner, 906 N. Union St., Wilmington.


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