Indian cuisine can be both thrilling and daunting, with its exotic ingredients, unexpected recipes, and tongue-tingling flavors. The great number of options offered is one of the most enticing characteristics of Indian cuisine or Indian food. They are all indigenous to the country and were developed there. India is a region with a wide range of soil types, climates, and occupations, thus its food differs greatly across the country. Other factors that impact cuisine include spices, fruits, vegetables, and herbs, all of which are readily available in each locale. Even the climate varies from one region to the next, which is a significant factor. Indian cuisine is continually evolving now as a result of the country’s continued adoption of new concepts from various cultures.
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Indian cuisine is supposed to be enjoyed socially until everyone is pleased. On a thali plate, all of your courses will be served at the same time. Some foods are gentle and sweet, while others are hot and spicy. Most dinners are given later in the evening because many Indians eat several smaller meals during the day. The menu includes everything from simple vegetarian meals to complex non-vegetarian delicacies with layers of texture and flavour. Meals, no matter how simple or complex, are planned and prepared with great care.
Here is a compilation of best dishes of India one must try at all costs!
Biryani is a timeless classic that requires no introduction. In terms of cuisine, India has a lot to offer, but one dish that all Indians agree on is the exquisite biryani. One is spoiled for choice when it comes to savouring this melting pot of flavours since local and hyperlocal variations have blossomed into unique biryani types.
Biryani isn’t something you can throw together in a hurry. To get the best-tasting result, it must be made in a very exact process. It is nothing short of a piece of art when properly prepared. The intertwining of the white and coloured rice grains, as well as the bits of meat or vegetable, is a sight to behold when layers of freshly cooked biryani are gently mixed together.
Biryani is a full meal on its own. Apart from the Hyderabadi, there are several versions of this popular meal. Awadhi (or Lucknowi), Kolkata, Ambur, Dindigul, Thalassery, Donne, Bhatkali, and many others are among them.
Dosa is a highly regarded South Indian dish that can now be found all throughout India. Just one taste of those thin, wafer-like crepes stuffed with flavorful masalas whisks you away to another world.
It is a delectable rice pancake that originated in the southern part of India and is usually eaten for breakfast. It’s the perfect way to start your day because it contains the proper amount of carbs and protein while avoiding saturated fats and sweets. The Dosa looks like a thin crepe and is made of fermented rice and lentil batter. It’s frequently served with sides like sambar (a tangy lentil soup with veggies) and various chutneys (coconut, tomato, tamarind, mint).
The beauty of dosa is that it can be used in so many different ways. You can alter the fillings, condiments, and base flour used to make it, and it can rival any fast food.
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3. Pav Bhaji
These two words are music to any Mumbai resident who eats this meal from street vendors on a regular basis. Despite the fact that it is devoured on almost every outing or chance, the flavour lingers long after the food has been eaten, inviting again and again. Pav Bhaji is Mumbai’s most popular street food item. A spicy, soupy, crunchy medley of veggies, pan-fried or Tawa-fried in a special blend of spices, served with two or three servings of the city’s famous laadi pavs drenched in butter and chaat masala — this is a joy for any passionate foodie.
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4. Chole Bhature
Punjabi Chole Bhature is more than just food; it’s one of the most tempting delicacies to thoroughly satisfy your taste senses. We’re confident you won’t be able to stop yourself from eating more chole bhature after just one bite. If you’ve ever travelled to India’s northwestern states or lived in Delhi, you’re well aware of the spicy and wonderful cuisine there. Treating your stomach with the goodness and warmth of some of Punjab’s spice-laden delights is not only an obligation but a necessity. Chole Bhature is one such delectable and flavorful dish from Punjabi cuisine. This delicacy combines fried flatbreads with zesty chickpea curry. Many people in Northern India consider it to be one of their favourite breakfast/snack foods.
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5. Butter Chicken
Butter chicken has a certain allure. It’s those silky, creamy, and melt-in-your-mouth lines. The colours of the sunset are reflected on the plate. The dish, which is also known as Murgh Makhani in Hindi, is without a doubt India’s most popular cuisine; it may also be one of the world’s most popular dishes. If you’re visiting an Indian restaurant for the first time, your friends are likely to suggest it as a good place to start. Its moderately spicy, creamy, savoury flavour is not only wonderful but also approachable to practically any palette. The dish’s distinct taste comes from a specific blend of spices that has been refined over time. In an Indian restaurant, the chicken is typically marinated for hours in yoghurt with spices like garlic, coriander, garam masala, ginger, cumin, and others — but this varies by location. The meat is then cooked (tandoori-style) and boiled in a mild curry sauce with butter, cashew paste.
6. Fish Curry
Indian cuisine is as diverse and as specific as its population. The cuisines of India are extensively impacted by the country’s history, invaders, trading partners, and religious and cultural customs. Fish curries, with their fleshy pieces drenched in a creamy stew with a hint of spice and a heavenly scent, may satisfy even the pickiest eaters. King Fish, Pomfret, Sea Bass, Indian Mackerel, White Snapper, Malabar Trevally, Pearl Spot, Katla, and Hilsa, to name a few, are drawn to India’s wide coastline. You’re perplexed not only by the variety but also by the range of different ways of cooking. Indian cuisine is well-known for its huge array of fish curries.It’s a mainstay in most coastal communities, where the populace is as diverse as the flavours, cooking skills, and local resources.The core of the country’s seafood delights are West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and the North-Eastern states.
Khar is an Assamese dish with a particular astringent flavour derived from an indigenous alkaline substance. An Alkaline extract is typically made by charring the sun dried peel of humped feather back bananas (locally known as ‘Bhim Kol’) and, in some cases, the root. Khar is made from charred peel (near to ashes) dipped in water and filtered extract.
While there are many variations of a Khar dish, most of which are based on the ingredients used (some popular ones include raw green papaya, various types of gourds, lentils, greens, or fish head), the most popular one that is an indisputable part of a traditional Assamese thali is the ‘Omitar Khar’ or ‘Raw Green Papaya’.
The Khar dish is so essential to the Assamese that the word “Khar Khuwa Axomiya” (Khar Eating Assamese) is used to describe an Assamese who lives by and embodies all of the characteristics and traditions that constitute the Assamese culture.
Vindaloo is a popular Indian dish that has its origins in the Goan area of India. It’s a spicy dish that can be vegetarian with tofu or contain meats such as pork, chicken. Indian vindaloo is scorching hot and spicy thanks to the chillies!
The word vindaloo is a mispronunciation of the Portuguese meal ‘carne de vinha d’alhos’ (marinated pork in wine-vinegar and garlic), which was introduced to Indians by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. The meal was updated to suit the local climate. Caramelised onions, curry paste, coconut milk, vinegar, ginger, chillies, jalapeño, garlic, chickpeas, lentils, and additional spices including garam masala, salt, pepper, paprika, and turmeric are used to make vindaloo sauce. Depending on how spicy you prefer your cuisine, you can alter the number of chilies and jalapeno you use!
Littis dripping in pure desi ghee, along with baingan and aloo ka chokha, evokes the Bihari gastronomic experience. Litti-Chokha is a unique Bihar dish that is well-known throughout India. The flavours are representative of Bihar’s earthiness, and they may be found at street stalls as well as fine-dining establishments. Litti is a stuffed dough ball baked until cooked before being dipped in pure desi ghee to improve the flavour, whereas Chokha is a mixture of baingan (eggplant), potatoes, tomatoes, and a variety of spices. Chokha is a roasted vegetable mix that is not cooked like a standard sabzi. To acquire that pungent flavour, some people choose to roast Litti Chokha in mustard oil.
Litti is also available in a dry form. Chokha is a grilled eggplant dish with onions, tomatoes, cumin powder, coriander, and turmeric powder. Litti Chokha’s best feature is that it is nutritious in the sense that both dishes are roasted and grilled. Of course, excluding the desi ghee, there is no frying involved.
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10. Dal Bati Churma
In Rajasthan, India, Dal-Bati-Churma is a complete dish that is quite popular. It’s traditionally served by finely mashing the Baati and then pouring pure Ghee on top. It’s accompanied by daal (lentil) and spicy garlic chutney. The term “Dal-Baati-Churma” refers to a dish that combines three different foods: daal (lentils), baati, and churma (Sweet).The baati, the initial component of this culinary puzzle, dates back to Bappa Rawal’s reign as the founder of the Mewar empire. It was a popular wartime dinner at the time. According to legend, Rajput troops would cover little dough balls with a thin layer of sand and bake them in the sun. After returning from the fight, wonderfully prepared baati, coated with ghee and frequently eaten with curd, would be ready. When traders from the Gupta Empire arrived in Mewar, they brought the Dal with them. The Guptas introduced panchmel dal, a blend of five different dals — moong dal, chana dal, toor dal, masoor dal, and urad dal – and it was an instant hit. Churma, the dish’s third component, is a sweet crumb brought by Mewar’s Guhilot dynasty. According to the tale, a cook poured sugarcane juice on several baatis by accident, making them even softer. This technique was adopted by the women, who began soaking the baatis in water to keep them soft for their husbands. This was eventually changed to a cardamom-flavored baati combination.
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11. Dal Makhani
Non-vegetarians all across the country owe a debt of gratitude to the inventor of the Butter Chicken for giving the ever-so-creamy and scrumptious treat upon mankind. On the other side, vegetarians have similar feelings about Dal Makkhani. Butter Chicken and Dal Makhani, being a staple at every ‘north Indian restaurant’ around the world, have retained their allure. Traditionally, this dal was cooked slowly over charcoal for hours. It had a creamier texture as a result of this. It was flavoured with’malai’ (cream) or fresh butter. Lentils and beans were soaked for at least 8 hours before being gently cooked with ginger, garlic, and a few additional spices on low heat (garam masala). In Punjab and most of Northern India, it is a lavish dinner and a staple diet. It goes well with roti, rice, and naan chapatis.
Kerala’s traditional food is known for its varied lip-smacking delicacies, in addition to being one of India’s most attractive places to visit. The spicy stir-fries and meat roasts, nourishing curries, biryanis, and airy appams are all full of flavour. Even the simplest dishes, such as the Avial, the most popular comfort food among the inhabitants, leave an indelible memory. Avial is a creamy vegetarian curry cooked with coconut milk and curd, as well as a variety of seasonal vegetables. Before serving, tadka of curry leaves fried in coconut oil is drizzled on top to enhance the flavour.
The kebab is one of the most versatile foods ever, having originated in the Turkish kitchen, been transported to India by the Afghans, and then popularised by the Mughals. The word kebab literally means “to roast.” A meat patty combined with spices is another name for the word. There are many different types of kebabs, with shish kebab being one of the most well-known. Doner kebab literally means ‘spinning kebab.’ On a vertical revolving spit, it is roasted or grilled. The genuine form of doner is lamb meat, however, the type of doner meat varies by area and depends on personal preferences. Chicken, lamb, goat, cattle, and fish are examples of other meats. Though, in India, kebab refers to more than only meat. In fact, some of the most delicious Indian versions, such as Hariyali Kebab, Paneer Tikka, and Dahi Ke Kebab, originated in India.
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14. Gajar ka Halwa
Gajar halwa is a traditional Indian dessert that is enjoyed by many people in India and beyond. This dessert is not only delicious but is also healthful due to the presence of several nutritious elements. Gajar halwa, also known as Gajrela, is a delectable North Indian cuisine, particularly Punjabi. People in North India enjoy eating Gajar ka halwa after a hearty lunch or in the evening with a soothing cup of masala chai during the winter season. Carrots, ghee, milk, khoya, sugar/gur, almonds, and cardamom are all used in this traditional Indian dessert. It’s a famous Punjabi meal that can be served cold or hot.
15. Ras Malai
Ras malai is an Indian delicacy made with white cream, sugar, milk, and chhana, a cardamom-flavoured paneer cheese. Almonds, cashews, and saffron are widely used as garnishes. Ras malai, a West Bengali dish is sometimes described as a luscious cheesecake with no crust. The dessert’s name is a mix of two Hindi words: ras, which means juice, and malai, which means cream. It’s usually served chilled, with cardamom seeds or dried fruits on top. It is a popular milk-based delicacy in India that originated in the state of West Bengal. This Bengali delicacy is spongy, supple, and aromatic, and it’s traditionally offered at the end of a meal.
India, with its rich and diversified cultural legacy, is recognised as the country of condiments and spices, which are utilised in the preparation of cuisines all over the world. To comprehend a country’s culture, one should look for the people’s living conditions and eating habits in the way they prepare, serve, and enjoy food. Food has a far deeper meaning for Indians. Food, according to Indians, can nearly be seen as a form of providing identity to an individual or group. Food also plays a role in rituals and customs, religious beliefs, and the reunification of families.