When you travel through India, you will not only be mesmerized by the breath-taking natural beauty of this country, you will also learn a lot about it through its food. India is a vast and a diverse country, which is reflected in its cuisine. Every region you visit here has its own story and specialty. So you can expect to be greeted with some mouth-watering local fare when here. Whether you have a taste for the rich and the spicy, or the mild and the sweet, you’re sure to be spoilt for choices in India. Mentioned ahead are a few Indian foods that you must sink your teeth into when in India.
1. Butter Chicken
Let’s begin by getting a taste of North India. One of the most delicious offerings that are sure leave you licking your fingers is Butter Chicken. This dish is a huge hit with almost all Indians who eat non-vegetarian food. As the name suggests, it is made with butter and cream, which gives it a rich texture. The addition of the aromatic spices and roasted chicken will bring you nothing but bliss. Of course, all these elements need to be amalgamated in perfect quantities to create this magical dish. Dig into the melt-in-your-mouth butter chicken with naan or tandoori roti, and I’m sure you won’t be able to get enough of it.
2. Meen Moilee
Moving down south, when in Kerala, you cannot afford to miss the meen moilee, which is a lip-smacking fish curry. So all you seafood lovers, rejoice! It is cooked to perfection with coconut milk, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves and served with steamed rice, a combination which is sure to transport you into another realm. It is light on the stomach, easy to make, and cooked using the fresh catch of the day.
Chaat is something that no Indian can do without. In fact, your visit to India would be incomplete if you miss gorging on chaats. They originated in Uttar Pradesh and are served as snacks all over India, particularly the northern, central and western regions.
There are a variety of chaats you can try like aloo chaat, paapri chaat, bhelpuri, dahi wada, pani puri, and so on. They are meant for immediate consumption, lest they should become soggy (which makes them no fun to eat). Here are some of the most popular chaat options:
Pani puri / Gol Gappa / Puchka
Known as pani puri in Mumbai, gol gappa in Delhi and puchka in Bengal, it comprises a small, rounded, crisp thin bread with a hole in between. The hollow portion is stuffed with little portions of boiled potato, chickpeas, and onion, and dunked into a tangy liquid. Eat this and enjoy the thousands of flavors as they burst into your mouth.
This consists of puffed rice tossed with mashed boiled potatoes, chopped onion, tomatoes, raw mango, to which spicy and tangy chutneys are added to balance the flavors and texture.
Tuck into this and you’ll finish it in just a couple of minutes. You’ll find it looking like a savory tart shell stuffed with mashed boiled potatoes, tomatoes, onions, whipped yogurt and fiery/tangy/sweet chutney (as per your preference).
These are fried dumplings made from lentil paste, which are dipped in spiced yogurt and served with tamarind and date chutney. They can be eaten as a snack and also served as an accompaniment with any of the main meals.
Although the lovely samosa originated in the Middle-East, it is widely eaten all over India. This tasty snack is triangular in shape and can be baked or fried. The outer shell is crisp and golden-brown in color. It is made of flour, and the stuffing includes mashed boiled potatoes, onions, and boiled peas. Although samosas taste very good with a variety of chutneys, it tastes exceptionally wonderful with the mint variant.
5. Chhole Bhature
Another gem from north India, chhole stands for a thick, spicy and tangy gravy made with chickpeas, and bhature implies a fried flat bread made with flour. Together they make for one of the most delightful Indian foods that you will have ever eaten. It may prove to be quite heavy for the stomach, so do indulge in moderation.
6. Masala Dosa
This South-Indian dish involves the combination of two elements as well – the dosa and the masala. The dosa is a crisp, paper-thin crepe made by spreading a thin layer of batter prepared from lentil and rice over a pan. The masala is necessarily a stuffing, which is made using boiled potato and spices. Masala dosa is served with sambar and coconut chutney.
7. Rogan Josh
This dish comes from Kashmir and is a treat for meat lovers. It is a rich curry made with braised boneless lamb cooked in a mixture of caramelized shallots, yoghurt, Kashmiri red chillies and other spices. This amazing and fragrant gravy gets its gorgeous red color from these chillies.
8. Hyderabadi Biryani
Considered a gift from the Mughals to India, the exotic Hyderabadi biryani is a non-vegetarian rice dish. It teases the tongue with its fieriness and striking flavors. Although it is served in almost all parts of India, the one prepared in Hyderabad continues to be unbeatable in taste, aroma and texture. It is made with basmati rice, lamb, vegetables, yogurt, dry fruits, and spices. Traditionally, this biryani is prepared in earthen pots by layering rice and vegetables, alternately.
One of the most well-known Indian desserts is the Rosogolla, which has its roots in Bengal. Made of chhena (an Indian variety of cottage cheese), it is white in color, round in color, and spongy in texture. After being prepared it is soaked in sugar syrup which it absorbs, thereby becoming sweet to taste.
10. Gulab Jamun
Another Indian dessert that amply satiates your craving for something enjoyable and sweet is the gulab jamun. These are small balls of dried milk which are fried and dipped in hot sugar syrup. They soak in all the sweetness and turn into something that’s absolutely heavenly.
Indian food is known to be delicious and varied. And while India will always amaze you with its rich history, culture, and traditions, its foods will leave you asking for more as well. To a great extent, exploring the different parts of India is fun and exciting because the food keeps changing to reflect the region’s grandeur. It can safely be said that India has something for all food-lovers. So do explore, experience and enjoy the various flavors of India when in this magnificent country and rest assured that you won’t be disappointed.
About The Guest Blogger
Korie Cantor has been working as a freelance writer and travel blogger. She loves to share her travelling experiences with like-minded readers. She is also a great cook and loves spending some quality time with her friends and family.