If India were an artist and food its masterpiece, there would be no art better than the duo. As is well known all around the globe, India has an extremely wide expanse of culture and traditions. Whether it may be a local art or a traditional dish; you’ll find that the number of fascinating things to witness in India will run up to millions. And while I do understand that millions are a large number to achieve, you can start by putting your taste buds to the task – by trying out the Indian cuisine. Each state in India has a unique something to offer and trust me when I say (without a hint of an exaggeration) that once you try these dishes, you’ll savor its flavors throughout your life. Moving on, allow me to take you on a tour across the 29 states of India so that when you’re here the next time, you’ll know what to look for. Bon voyage and Bon Appétit!
1. Maharashtra: Puran Poli
Starting off our tour with the birthplace of one of the greatest kings in the world, Puran Poli is the answer to all your sweet cravings. This amazing Maharashtrian food is essentially a whole wheat flatbread. The bread is stuffed with a sweet lentil filling, and a drop of ghee is usually added to the top to elevate the dish. You can have it with a side of lukewarm milk for breakfast, lunch, or snacks. A true delight, indeed!
2. Gujrat: Khandvi
The love of a Gujrati person – Khandvi is a must-try dish from Gujrat. These tightly rolled yellow snacks are small in size and are usually consumed as snacks or appetizers. Served with flavorsome garlic chutney or tea, you’ll fall in love with this melt-in-mouth deliciousness. And the cherry on top is the fact that Khandvi is extremely healthy. Not often do you get deliciousness and health in the same package, isn’t it?
3. Andra Pradesh: Pootharekulu
Pootharekulu (alternatively known as Poothareku) is a highly renowned sweet dish originating from Andra Pradesh. The name ‘Pootharekulu’ means coated sheet and this is exactly what the dish is. Wrapped in a thin wafer-like sheet, this sweet dish is stuffed with dry fruits and nuts. Andhra Pradesh traditional food Pootharekulu is very popular in Tamil weddings, festivals, and parties.
4. Goa: Goan Fish Curry
A little treat from the seafood packet of Indian cuisine, the Goan Fish Curry is the favorite dish of Goan localities. This tangy dish is made with garlic, ginger, tomato, and coconut, in addition to an aromatic blend of spices. The Goan fish curry is enjoyed all over Goa by both children and adults alike and I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it too.
5. Manipur: Kangshoi
This Manipuri vegetable stew is every foodie’s dream! Although it is lesser-known, you’re sure to fall in love with the exquisite flavors of this dish. The Kangshoi is extremely healthy as it is made with freshwater fish, carefully selected vegetables, and sometimes, dried meat. Preparing the dish is easy and is a great source of nutrition for your body. Bon Appétit!
6. Meghalaya: Jadoh
Meghalaya is not just famous for its rolling hills; I must tell you. The Meghalian cuisine is no less spectacular! The word Jadoh comprises of ‘Ja’ meaning rice, and ‘doh’ that is meat. Therefore, Jadoh is a unique rice dish prepared by adding various indigenous spices and pork/chicken blood. The addition of blood gives the dish a unique taste that is rarely found elsewhere. This strange, yet the fascinating combination is consumed during the Khasi festivals. Given the description, this dish is not for the faint of heart for sure!
7. Uttarakhand: Bhang ki Chutney
Straight from the mountains of Uttarakhand, the Bhang ki Chutney is highly popular and recommended while traveling to the state. Prepared using a variety of seeds and spices including bhang seeds, cumin seeds, and tamarind, this dish is in the form of a thick liquid and can be consumed as a sauce. The tangy recipe of Bhang ki Chutney is sure to take care of your savory cravings!
8. Telengana: Biryani
Famously called Hyderabadi Biryani, I bet every one of us has had this royal dish at least once. Having originated from the Nizams, Biryani is a lip-smacking product of the Mughlai cuisine. The traditional recipe consists of goat meat and basmati rice is cooked in dum pukt style. Every occasional call for the joy of a bowl of steaming hot Biryani!
9. Bihar: Litti Chowkha
Born in the magnificent state of Bihar, having the Litti Chowkha is an experience of a lifetime. This traditional dish of Bihar is extremely popular and the litti is commonly made by rolling a ball out of wheat flour and stuffing it with pulses, gram flour, and several other elements. This is followed by baking the balls over coal or wood. These tiny balls of delight are often served with chowkha, which is a curry made with eggplant, tomato, and potato. Moreover, this amazing dish is eaten not only in India but also in countries like the UK, Mauritius, and many more.
10. Assam: Masor Tenga
One of the most popular seafood in Assam, Masor Tenga is made by slow-cooking the fish in a special broth or curry prepared from lemon, outenga, and Tomatoes. This dish is extremely refreshing and the tangy flavor will give a spicy twist to your appetite.
11. Kashmir: Rogan Josh
Another splendid addition to our non-vegetarian cuisine of India is Rogan Josh. Made with lamb or goat meat, the Rogan Josh is enhanced by adding Kashmiri chilies as well. Work up your appetite before having the Rogan Josh – you’ll need it!
12. Tripura: Chakwi
Chakwi is a wonderful dish from the bosom of the magnificent North-eastern state, Tripura. It is highly healthy and delicious, and you’re sure to have a wondrous time having this dish. It is made using some indigenous herbs and elements such as Green Papaya and Bamboo shoots. Sounds delicious, no?
13. Kerala: Appam
Well-known across all of India is the pride of Kerala, Appam. This soft, spongy preparation is an ideal breakfast dish enjoyed all over Southern India. It is low in calories, and thus provides an energetic, jumps start to your busy day. Have the Appam with a delicious vegetable stew for a perfect blend of flavors!
14. Rajasthan: Dal Baati Churma
Arguably the star of Rajasthani cuisine, Daal Baati Churma is a must-try dish in Rajasthan. Made with rolling wheat into hard balls, the Baati is equivalent to a sort of bread. The Baati is had with the famous Rajasthani dal and Churma (sweet dish made with semolina, wheat, and bajra flour). This dish is extensively enjoyed during Makar Sankranti and the famous festival of Diwali, but can also be prepared for parties and celebrations.
15. Sikkim: Thukpa
The Indian noodle soup that India is proud of – Thukpa is food at its best! This glorious dish is shared by several regions other than Sikkim, such as Nepal, Ladakh, and Tibet. This is a clear indication of how beloved and delicious this dish is. Thukpa generally has a spicy flavor. It typically consists of any soup of your choice with a bowl of noodles added to it. Although there are numerous variations to this dish, it is equally enjoyed in every region.
16. Madhya Pradesh: Bhutte ka kees
When we talk about Madhya Pradesh, street food is bound to pop up in our minds. This amazing street food is everything you could wish for! Made with grated corn, this dish is ideal to consume during a cold winter evening or even as a snack. With various spices and a dash of lemon on top, Bhutte ka Khees is worth every delicious bite!
17. Haryana: Bajre ki khichdi
If you want to know what home tastes like in Haryana, you’ve come to the right place, my friend. Bajre ki khichdi is a staple food in the cuisine of Haryana. This dish is simple to make and hassle-free. Moreover, the nutritional values to it are a bonus. Have this comely dish on a chilly winter evening to feel its warmth and comfort.
18. Karnataka: Neer Dosa
Karnataka is definitely the land of historical heritage, but did I mention its food? Neer Dosa is one of the most popular and widely consumed food in Karnataka. It literally translates to Water Dosas due to its fluffy and soft texture. Neer dosas are easy to prepare and are essentially thin crepes made up of rice batter.
19. Chhatisgarh: Chila
Indian breakfasts are nothing if not fulfilling and healthy. Case in point – Chillas. This mouth-watering breakfast dish can be defined as savory pancakes. Chila is a staple in many Indian families because it is high in nutritional value and constitutes a light, on-the-go snack as well. The preparation process is simple enough and can be made by anyone.
20. Mizoram: Misa Mach Poora
Apart from its scenic beauty, the North-eastern part of India is widely known for its non-vegetarian dishes. Misa Mach Poora is a brilliant dish from Mizoram and comprises shrimp. With the addition of an assortment of local spices, this dish is truly heavenly!
21. Arunachal Pradesh: Pike Pila
Pike Pila is a famous dish from Arunachal Pradesh (mostly made by the Apatani tribe). This mouth-watering dish is a beautiful variation of a pickle, made by Pork fat and Bamboo shoot. Pika Pila is moderately spicy but the spiciness depends from region to region.
22. Jharkhand: Dhooska
A sort of street food found in Jharkhand, Dhooska is deep-fried and consists of Chana dal, potatoes, powdered rice, and bread. This is a local snack and is served with tomato ketchup or any type of chutney.
23. Odisha: Chenna Poda
Chenna Poda meaning ‘baked cheese’ is exactly what its name means. This is a cheese dessert and no, it is not exactly similar to a cheesecake. Instead, this dessert is made from chenna cheese and numerous dry fruits. A great way to tickle your sweet tooth, indeed!
24. Himachal Pradesh: Kangri Dham
Dham is a festive meal prepared for lunch in Himachal Pradesh. The traditional meal consists of several dishes such as Madra, Kale Channe ka khatta, Mukund wadi curry, rice, Panner, and several more. Dham is usually made for a huge party or ceremony. The extensive use of spices and dairy products gives a pleasant twist to the dishes. Each dish is complementary to the other and ties in the flavor brilliantly.
25. Tamil Nadu: Pongal
Every one of us has heard of Pongal, haven’t we? This special rice preparation from Tamil Nadu is extremely famous across the country and is typically made during important festivals. The main ingredients of the dish include rice, moong dal, cumin, and black pepper. Have the rice once you visit Tamil Nadu, you won’t regret it at all!
Suggested Read – Delicacies of Tamil Nadu Food that You Must Try!
26. Uttar Pradesh: Tunde ke Kebabs
Originated in the city of street foods, Lucknow, Tunde ke Kebabs is a savory kebab dish from the Awadhi cuisine. It is commonly made with minced meat and 160 spices (yes, 160 spices!). This dish is easy to find in Lucknow and is sure to make your taste buds happy.
27. Nagaland: Pork with Bamboo Shoot
Pork is an important part of Nagaland cuisine which is evident from this dish. With huge chunks of pork fried with Bamboo shoots and mixed with a lot of chilies, this dish is your ideal match if your love for pork is infinite.
28. Punjab: Amritsari Kulcha
The most famous, and definitely one of the tastiest dishes from the Punjabi cuisine, Amritsari Kulcha yells deliciousness. This spicy flatbread is slightly different from the Mughlai naan that we all enjoy in restaurants. Moreover, the number of variations to this dish is likely to make your head spin. Try Amritsari Kulcha along with a side of chole to make the best out of the dish!
29. West Bengal: Kosha Mangsho
Kosha Mangsho is a meat curry that is made with goat meat. This iconic dish is slow-cooked over a light flame and is served with a side of parota or rice. Even though making the Kosha Mangsho is a time-consuming process, the end product is worth every bite!
There you have it! The highly recommended, unique dishes from each of the 29 states in India. Even though traveling seems like a distant dream in this pandemic, do let me know if you get to try any of these dishes. After all, food is the only thing that unites mankind, isn’t it?