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India's food is as colourful as its streets | © Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
India's food is as colourful as its streets | © Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
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Would You Consider These The 10 Most Famous Dishes In India?

Picture of Aditi Mukherjee
Updated: 13 October 2017
If you are on a trip to India, one of the most significant parts of your travel is likely to be the food. A mixed bag of culinary ethnicities, India’s cuisine is just as colourful as its streets! There are some dishes that every traveler has been recommended and tried. Here’s our list of Indian dishes we think, are the most famous.

Chaat

ChaatSev puri, bhel puri, dahi puri, pani puri – these tangy, flavourful snack items are popular on the streets. Any Indian would devour a plate of these layered snacks, made of several fried items, chutneys (sauces) and, sometimes, yogurt.

Chaat is a popular street food available everywhere in India
Chaat is a popular street food available everywhere in India | © vm2002

Butter chicken

This creamy, buttery heaven-in-a-dish is typical of Punjab (north India) and very famous throughout the country. It is a rich chicken gravy made with tomatoes, onions and lots of cream and can be had with rice or flat breads.

Butter chicken is a North Indian preparation
Butter chicken is a North Indian preparation | © Calgary Reviews / flickr

Vada Pao

This item is synonymous with Mumbai. Call it a slider if you like, this dish consists of a bun cut into half and a potato fritter patty flavoured with tangy and spicy chutneys. Often called the ‘lifeline of Mumbai’, Vada Pao is the on-the-go food for Mumbaikars and their busy lives!

Vada Pao is synonymous with Mumbai
Vada Pao is synonymous with Mumbai | © Anish Palekar / flickr

Machher jhol

Machher jhol is a typical West Bengal recipe of fish (ideally Ilish) cooked in mustard oil with grounded black and yellow mustard seed. It’s not for everyone, but if you have a taste for it, you will really like it. Quite a few green chillies go in too! If you happen to visit Kolkata you mustn’t leave without trying this one.

Machher jhol is a popular East Indian (Bengali) preparation
Machher jhol is a popular East Indian (Bengali) preparation | © Kingsly

Bhang milk

Bhang has been made of cannabis since the Vedic ages in India. During festivals, especially Holi, bhang is mixed in a saffron flavoured milk beverage. In Varanasi, sadhus have it frequently to attain an advanced level of meditation. Although, bhang (at least the good quality ones) are not available everywhere, the place to taste it will be Varanasi.

A man preparing bhang thandai in a shop in Varanasi
A man preparing bhang thandai in a shop in Varanasi | © Culture Trip

Rogan Ghosht

Rogan ghosht is a Kashmiri dish and one that you must try if you eat meat. It’s a braised lamb curry made with shallots and lots of clarified oil (ghee). It’s a delicacy in the beautiful mountainous region of Kashmir and recommended to anyone who visits the place.

Rogan Ghosht is a Kahsmiri dish usually made with lamb
Rogan Ghosht is a Kahsmiri dish usually made with lamb | © vm2002 / shutterstock

Tappa meen curry

In Kerala, Tappa (tapioca) meen (fish) curry is a staple. Mashed tapioca is served with a tangy fish gravy. You will come across this dish in every restaurant in the state and it’s a must have!

Tappa (tapioca) and meen (fish) curry is a staple in Kerala
Tappa (tapioca) and meen (fish) curry is a staple in Kerala | © sta / shutterstock

Falooda

Falooda is a Persia origin dessert brought by the Mughal emperors who missed the cold sweet dish in the country. It is typically made of milk, sabza, vermicelli, jelly, rose syrup topped with a dollop of ice cream. Falooda is a popular Indian snack dessert found on the streets of almost all parts of India.

Falooda is a cold dessert very popular with Indians
Falooda is a cold dessert very popular with Indians | © KartikMistry / Wikipedia

Cutting Chai

The most famous Indian tea is the ‘cutting chai’. It is the tea of the streets because you won’t see it being made in homes. Usually labourers and workers gulp down several cups a day to keep themselves hydrated and energized. So, the concept of cutting chai (half a cup) evolved so that even with many cups in number, one wouldn’t drink too much in one go. Typically, cutting chai would have lots of sugar and milk, boiled for a long time.

Cutting chai translates to ‘half cup of tea’
Cutting chai translates to ‘half cup of tea’ | © Raghavan Prabhu / flickr

Jalebi

This round, deep fried goodness is a dessert and a very famous one in India. It’s made with raising flour batter and later dipped in a sugar syrup to make it sweet. Jalebi has its origins in West Asia (Persian or Arab) and was brought to India by the kings who invaded and ruled for centuries.

Jalebi is a deep fried dessert in India
Jalebi is a deep fried dessert in India | © MishuHanda / pixabay