India is a land with thousands of years of rich history, centuries of foreign influence and diverse cultures, and food is the true manifestation of it all. In fact, it is certain a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, each ethnically and culturally distinct from the other, would boast diverse foods, cooking styles and taste. There are umpteen dishes in this South Asian country that will give you ‘foodgasm’, so we’ve whittled it down to the 13 meals worth travelling to India for.
Basmati rice, saffron milk, onion, spices, a pinch of lemon and vegetables or meat marinated in yogurt, when combined with hours of cooking in a dough-sealed earthen pot over charcoal fire, produces Hyderabadi Biryani that will leave you hankering for a second helping. It is, indeed, a wholesome meal, in itself! Drooling already?
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It’s a butter-rich gravy dish of tandoori cooked chicken marinated in tomato gravy and spices, with a hint of cream that enhances its taste and makes it drool-worthy. Savour with Indian flatbread (naan or roti) to get the best out of it.
Just like pizza is to Italy, dosa is to South India. It’s a fermented paper-thin rice and black lentils pancake with fillings of tangy spice-filled mashed potatoes, or simply plain. Served with hot lentil-based vegetable stew (sambhar), coconut chutney and piquant tomato chutney that gives it an acidic flavour, dosa is a perfect pick for a scrumptious breakfast. You’ll find spicy, sweet and sour flavours, all in one meal.
Rogan Josh is the crowning food jewel of the Kashmir cuisine. It’s a lamb dish cooked in yogurt rich gravy, Kashmiri red chillies and spices that will tease your tastebuds for more. Relish it with Indian flatbread (naan) or saffron rice.
A trip to India is incomplete without sampling its assortment of chaats that are mouthwatering as well as visually appealing – be it crunchy aloo tiki, gol gappa, pani puri, bhel puri, papdi chat, raj kachori or dhahi bhalla. These tangy, sweet and spicy delights are found in roadside portable carts and food stalls installed in every nook and corner of India, winning the hearts of millions of food lovers.
If you’re nutrition conscious, Thali is for you. It is a wholesome and balanced melting pot of flavours, colours and variety. It is served on a single plate that has tiny bowls filled with different dishes, including vegetable, lentils, rice, breads (roti or naan), pickle, crispy wafers (papad), curry, curd, salad and a dessert. Each state in India has its own take on the ‘Thali’, and every one will take you on a gastronomical journey of the place.
Chole Bhature is a street eat staple in India which takes the form of fluffy, soft deep-fried wheat-flour bread and spicy chickpeas, along with dollops of chutney, onions and a tangy pickle. Pair it with a cold lassi (buttermilk) to make an appetizing combo. Though high in calories, it is super high on deliciousness and indulgence.
If one snack had to rule them all, it has to be Momos – steamed or fried dumplings made with flour and stuffed with vegetable, cheese, tofu, chicken or meat fillings of your choice – along with fiery red chilli sauce poured on the sides. A perfect and utterly delicious dish that will keep you hooked!
Makki ki roti and sarson ka saag
Makki ki roti and sarson ka saag is a go-to Punjab meal, especially perfect for winters. Makki ki roti is Indian flatbread prepared from corn flour, and sarson ka saag is a scrumptious vegetable curry encompassing mustard greens and spices, and topped with butter and jaggery. Don’t forget to pair it up with cold buttermilk (Patiala-peg lassi) – this mouthwatering combination will more than satisfy your appetite.
Dal Baati Churma
Dal Baati Churma is a classic signature dish of the northern Indian state of Rajasthan. It’s a wholesome delicacy with dal made from lentils and spices. Baati are hard round whole wheat dumplings roasted over firewood or tandoor that gives it a relishing taste and churma is the crushed baati doused in desi ghee and mixed with sugar or jaggery. The three together – Dal Baati Churma – make for a sumptuous meal and scream indulgence.
Galouti (Galawati) Kebab
Galouti literally translates to the thing that melts in the mouth, and this Nawabi meal does exactly that. It is a minced meat delicacy cooked in a green papaya paste and a mixture of spices that taste celestial with every bite.
Straight from Goa and the result of Portuguese influence in India, vindaloo is curry dish made from either pork, chicken, beef or prawn. Whatever your choice, along with vinegar and chilli pepper the flavours are livened. It is delicious and filling at the same time!
Thukpa is a popular noodle soup dish in north-east India, Bhutan and Nepal, and made from whole wheat noodles, spices, and meat, vegetables or eggs – bursting with flavours and colours, thus making it crave-worthy.
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