Updated: May 21, 2022
India besides being a culturally and linguistically diverse country, it's heaven for a gourmet. With a cauldron of savory and sweet delicacies, the Indian culinary world offers a wide range of cuisine. From exotic and authentic delicacies to calorie-loaded platters. Let's tantalize our taste buds with some must-try foodstuffs in India.
Savour the culinary delights of India!
Rogan josh meaning "stewed in ghee", is a culinary delight and signature recipe of Kashmiri cuisine. The valley of flowers not only sensationalizes the olfactory nerves but also tingles the taste buds with its chilly flavor. Rogan josh is imbibed with pieces of lamb or mutton, slow-cooked in a gravy flavored with ginger, garlic, caramelized onions, and yogurt.
Aromatic spices like clove, bay leaves, cardamom, and cinnamon garnish the dish. Its characteristic deep red color comes from dried flowers or roots of Alkana Tinctoria (ratan jot). Liberal amounts of dried, deseeded Kashmiri chilies gives it a paprika flavor. Besides non-vegetarian food, Dum Aloo and Lyodur Tschaman (cottage cheese in rich creamy gravy) are some finger-licking vegetarian delights.
Sarson ka Saag with Makke ki Roti
Sarson ka Saag originated from the land of five rivers, Punjab, and became a nutrient-laden delicacy throughout the Sub-continent. It is a mustard greens curry-spiced and cooked with other green leafy vegetables like Palak, Methi (fenugreek), Bathua (pigweed), and turnip leaves. These greens are pressure cooked with lots of ginger, garlic, green chilies, and salt till they turn soft.
It tastes best with a blob of homemade white butter upon crispy Makki ki roti (maize flour). Sarson ka saag being rich in antioxidants and essential phytonutrients keep them warm during chilly winter months. Punjab is also famous for its Handi Chicken made in a traditional clay pot and slow-cooked in the oven for 5 to 6 hours. The tempting taste of Handi Chicken will allure the taste buds for a long time.
The all-time favorite, Butter Chicken or Murg Makhani, is a curry prepared with chicken, tomatoes, and lots of creamy butter. This high on calorie count curry was "made by chance " by blending leftover tandoori chicken in tomato gravy and butter. The founders of Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi were the original developers of the dish. Nowadays chicken is marinated for several hours in an assortment of lemon juice, yogurt, red chilies, salt, ginger-garlic paste, and a whole lot of condiments in the kitchen.
The marinated chicken is slow-cooked in a tandoor or traditional clay oven. It is then amalgamated in a gravy of tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and cashew paste. Various spices are seasoned into the buttery delight to give it a unique creamy and tangy flavor. Besides this, "Delhi ki Chaat " is a mouth-watering chatpatta delight that is a must-try because without tasting it your visit to the capital is incomplete.
Native to the state of Gujarat, Dhokla, is consistently eaten at breakfast or as an anytime snack. Dhokla is conveniently prepared from a fermented batter of legumes like Chickpea, Pigeon pea, Urad dal, and rice. The batter is embodied with spices like chili pepper, coriander, finely chopped ginger, and baking soda.
The batter is steamed in a flat pan over medium flame for 15 minutes. Mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chilies, and asafoetida are tempered in oil and tossed over the steamed Dhokla. Small bite-size morsels are cut and served with green coriander chutney and grated coconut. This calorifacient savory snack is a foodie's delight.
Tunde Ke Kabab
Tunde ke Kabab or Buffalo Meat galouti kebab is a part of Awadhi cuisine, Lucknow. Tunde ke kebab means "one-arm man's kebabs", as the Khansamah or chef Haji Murad Ali made it single-handedly for the then Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. The kebabs are incorporated with finely minced Goat meat seasoned with roasted condiments like clove, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, etc.
To enhance its flavor rose water, dried mint leaves, saffron, a dash of vinegar, sugar, and lime juice are added to the kebabs. The fusion of all these ingredients when roasted on Tawa (flat iron plate) with desi ghee, emits an aroma that has an enticing effect and taste never to forget. Served with small onion rings, lemon, and yogurt, Tunde ke Kebab from the city of Nawabs never ceases to have a charming effect.
Idli-Dosa-Sambhar, the trio is an eminent culinary delight of Deccan India and has captured the taste of millions around the world. The Indian pancakes, Dosa's, are made by fermenting the batter of Urad dal, Channa dal, and rice. The crispy Dosa is made by spreading the batter on a griddle pan and rolled over with spicy onion, tomato, and potato stuffing.
Served with hot, peppery Sambhar (a blend of Toor dal and finely chopped vegetables steamed together), is a piquant meal. Idli's or the rice cakes are a breakfast staple in southern India. Served alongside Sambhar, coconut chutney, or spicy fish curries. With time Dosa and Idli have evolved into various shapes, sizes, and flavors so that there is one for everyone.
The irresistible Hyderabadi biryani, a culinary gem of the Mughal empire, is an amalgamation of Hyderabadi and Mughlai cuisines. Hyderabadi biryani is prepared by layering Basmati rice with soft and supple chicken or meat pieces. Pakki or Kacchi biryani are the two main versions of the biryani. The former is an assortment of meat or chicken layered with parboiled rice and steamed together.
The latter is raw marinated chicken or meat placed at the bottom of the earthen pot garnished with partially cooked rice and steamed together. The aromatic flavor of the spices is trapped by slow cooking the biryani in a closed vessel. Fried onions with ginger, garlic, saffron, and other condiments and the right amount of yogurt give it a delectable taste. It is typically served on festive occasions in the south with Baghare Baingan (eggplants in a rich sauce), Mirchi ka salan (chilly peppers in a creamy sauce), and yogurt salad or raita.
Batata vada or Vada Pav in Marathi means "potato fritter in bread". Vada Pav, an Indianized version of a veg burger, is a finger-licking street food of Mumbai, Maharashtra. It consists of fried potato dumplings coated with gram flour (besan) placed between a bun.
Earlier Vada pav was catered to the cotton mill workers because of its ease of making and low cost, and that's true even today. The tangy flavor of the snack is enhanced by serving it with peppery chutney and green chili.
Macher means "fish" and Jhol means "curry or gravy". Macher Jhol (in Bengali) or Machha Khola (in Odia) is a spicy flavored fish curry in tomato gravy. Bengal and Odisha are famous for their Piscean cuisine. It's a typical Odia and Bengali household peppery hot fish curry served with rice. Tomatoes impart a red color to the gravy.
Generously seasoned with turmeric, garlic, onions, grated ginger, and a lot of spices available. Mainly fishes like Hilsa, Rohu, and Catla are used to adorn the dish. Besides being friendly and jovial-natured Bengalis and Odians believe in hand-cooked simple food that ornates their dining space and handicrafts that decorate their living areas. Relish this simple piquant delight to feel cultural & culinary diversity and simplicity in India.
No Indian cuisine is complete without a sweet dessert. Jalebi, "the National sweet of India", ornates almost all the sweet shops in India. The batter of Jalebi imbibes all-purpose flour (maida) fermented with yeast.
The batter is twisted and whirled like a coil, deep-fried in oil, and then soaked in a hot sugar syrup, scented with saffron. Sweetened jalebis are also served with curd or Rabri. It's a must-try sugary delight for a person with a sweet tooth.
Indian cuisine is as diverse and extravagant as the country itself. Well, it is impossible to try and cover the huge diaspora of food items it has to offer but you can always start with this list above.
Kaamik brings to you "The Great Indian Snackbox" to try and squeeze in some of the must-try snacks from across the nation in a single box. Try the distinct flavors and relish the traditional snacking with our exclusive snack boxes.