Everything in India revolves around food. And with such a diverse people and culture, it is understood that the food will be as diverse and steeped in tradition and history and just pure unadulterated flavor. Here are some delicious foods from India you should probably try at some point just to experience something new.
1. Butter Chicken
The one Indian dish that has international fame, Butter Chicken is deliciously prepared by marinating chicken in yoghurt and spices and then cooking it in a yummy tomato, onion and butter sauce (with at least a dozen other spices, of course). Best eaten with fresh naan or roti.
2. Pav Bhaji
A very popular street food in Mumbai, Pav Bhaji is literally the combination of buttered bread (a special kind of bun) and veggies cooked with tomato and a special spice mix to form a thick curry that is served hot with a generous dollop of butter, chopped onions and lemon.
3. Masala Dosa
A dish originating in southern India, dosas are essentially crisp, thin, savory crepes made from a batter of fermented rice and lentils. The ‘masala’ is a filling, usually made of cooked potatoes. The dosa is usually served with sambhar, a spicy lentil preparation, and coconut chutney.
4. Chhole Bhature
A thick curry of chickpeas (that is soooo yummy) and a fried bread (that emerges as a puffed up golden ball) that come together to make this awesome Punjabi dish.
A dish that appears on all Indian restaurant menus outside India, samosas are little deep fried triangles of dough stuffed with a mix of potatoes and peas. You also have samosas with different fillings like chicken mince, peas etc.
A very popular snack, bhel is puffed rice tossed with chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, and coriander and tamarind chutneys. It has to be eaten as soon as it’s made so that it retains the crunchiness that is the fun of the dish.
7. Dahi Vada
Dahi = curd. Vada = lentil dumplings. Combine the two, top with salt, roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder and coriander and tamarind chutneys and you have an explosion of flavor and texture in your mouth. One of my personal favorites, I can never stop at just one.
8. Bhapa Ililsh
A fish preparation from Bengal, this is Hilsa fish cooked in a mustard paste. Rich in flavor and quite intense, this is best eaten with steamed rice and a healthy appetite!
9. Rogan Josh
A dish from Kashmir, Rogan Josh is a beautiful preparation of lamb in a gravy of yoghurt and assorted spices that include Kashmiri chillies that lend the fiery red color to the curry. Finger licking good, this is.
10. Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani
A fragrant and gorgeously spiced rice and mutton preparation, the dish gets its name from where it originated – Hyderabad. You can eat it with crud or even by itself.
These are succulent pieces of meat that are marinated and threaded on a skewer and grilled over a coal fire. Incredibly delicious, chicken and mutton kebabs are usually the most popular. Pairs beautifully with alcohol!
12. Dal Makhni
Typical of Punjab, Dal Makhni is a slow cooked dish of lentils and beans, flavored with a tomato, onion and garlic paste and of course, butter or cream that adds an unbelievably awesome level of yumminess to it all. Best eaten with rice or naan.
13. Stuffed Paranthas
These are flat breads that can be stuffed with whatever suits your fancy – potatoes, cauliflower, paneer (cottage cheese) or radish – and cooked by roasting over a flat pan with oil/ghee/butter till crisp on both sides. Very popular as breakfast in north India, stuffed paranthas are usually eaten with curd and coriander chutney.
14. Rajma Chawal
Comfort food at its best, rajma is a gorgeous kidney bean curry made with a tomato onion gravy and pressure cooked till perfection, and chawal is rice. No better combination of foods exists. I don’t know any Indian who doesn’t love this. Yummy!
15. Neer Dosa
Super thin (almost translucent) rice flour savory crepes, neer dosas are super tasty and pair well with almost all coconut based curries. And they’re so thin that you’ll probably lose count after 3!
16. Machher Jhol
No Bengali feast will be complete without this fish preparation. Yummy fish in a tomato gravy and tempered with mustard seeds and cumin, machher jhol is best enjoyed with steamed rice.
A dish of Portugese origin and cooked mainly in the western coastal regions of India, including Goa, Sorpotel is a tangy preparation of meat (lamb, mutton, beef and even offal). The distinctive flavor of the curry is usually the vinegar that is used in the cooking. This is usually eaten with rice or bread.
18. Beef Fry and Malabar Parotta
A spicy dry roasted beef dish (not fried like the name suggests) eaten with a layered flatbread is the stuff you dream of. Seriously yummy, this dish is super popular in parts of southern India.
19. Tandoori Chicken
Ending the list with another internationally popular Indian dish, tandoori chicken is chicken marinated in a variety of spices and condiments and then roasted at high temperatures in traditional stone ovens called tandoors. Oh so yummy!
Now, I could go on and on with this list but I’ll probably end up writing till the end of the month because there is definitely no shortage of delicious foods in India and no list could ever be exhaustive! Have you tried any Indian foods? Any favorites?