Content advisory 14+ India is a country which is unique in every aspect. It offers a plethora of choices in all areas of life and, quite purely and simply, has something for everyone.. The most fascinating thing that we offer, however -- at least in my opinion -- is food.
Indian food is celebrated all over the world as being among the most mouth-watering cuisines, exhibiting sweet to salty to savoury and spicy and which manages to reach every corner of your taste buds. Each state and every region is unique in the cuisine it offers, and each showcases a distinct complex display of flavours.
Let us start with North Indian food.
North Indian cuisine is prevalent in the states of Punjab, Kashmir, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and more. It is more of a meat-based cuisine, with a mix of savoury spices and smoked meat. Punjab is the home of paranthas, which are crispy fried flat round breads, sometimes stuffed with onions, potatoes, minced meat or any other vegetables served along with spicy pickles and sour curd. Moving on to Delhi and Haryana, it is more of a meat curry based palates celebrating the famous “butter chicken” and naan. Places like Lucknow and Kanpur offer “Nawabi” food, right from the Mughal Durbars. Nali Nihar, a famous meat on the bone curry is a typical breakfast in the streets of Lucknow. The best thing that Uttar Pradesh offers is the world renowned “biriyani”. It is a flavoured rice cooked in a beautiful blend of spices along with the meal. In fact, various parts of the country offer their own version of the Biriyani. Places such as Jammu & Kashmir represent typical Muslim cuisine, comprising of rich meat curries, bread and rice.
Eastern Indian cuisine is more fish based and displays a distinctively different blend of spices from those of North India. Bengali cuisine sees a liberal use of mustard, especially the famous “hilsa curry”. Bihar offers a unique dish called “Lith Chokha” which consists of deep-fried small potatoes, mashed and served with fried bread.
South Indian cuisine does not present a wide spectrum of choices but is sharply different from all others. The most famous of South Indian dishes is the Dosa. It is thin crispy fried batter of fermented mashed rice, served with a spicy, sour dal called sambal and a sauce of pureed spices. Other common Soth Indian delicacies are the uttapam, idli and vada. The temperature in South India is on the high side and therefore their cuisine is mostly light and healthy.
Western Indian states like Gujarat and Rajasthan have an exclusively vegetarian diet featuring “Phapras”, which are crispy fried flour, batter with spices, “Thaplas”, a kind of crispy flatbread with ghee on top. Rajasthans’ famous dish is the “Dal Batti”, an interesting ball of lentils, crispy fried served with dal on the side.
Foreign influences are seen in the North Eastern states of India, with Chinese flavours being predominant. Momos, noodles and soups make up the bulk of the diet.
Some street food famous all over India are samosas and jalebis. Samosas are crispy pyramid shaped batter with spicy potato stuffing and deep fried. The jalebis are also rings of crispy batter but dipped in a sugar syrup. Nor should we forget about the famous golgappas which have entered even the most celebrated kitchens due to their popularity.
Indian food and its massive diversity is a topic which can go on and on, and is very difficult to comprehend in such a brief discussion. Culinary experience in India can be extremely fascinating and it is one of the most beloved and recognized cuisine all over the world. Famous for its liberal use of spices and fantastic curries, this country is a food heaven which you just can't get enough of.