The land of India is known for diverse culture, colorful festivals and a variety of scrumptious food. The country has such a wide range of cuisines that it is almost impossible to put it in a single blog. All the Indian states have their own authentic dishes and recipes which have district taste and flavor. Here is a small account of all the delicious food and drinks that we got to taste in India.
1. Curries And Indian Thalis
Indian thalis are a composite and wholesome meal which comes in a multitude of regional versions, packing small portions of a range of dishes on to a single plate. They have a variety of curries, vegetables and breads in a plate. Indian thalis are both filling and delicious as you get to taste a number of dishes in the price of one.
There are both veg and non-veg type of thalis for both kinds of preferences. Traditional Indian thali has a variety of curries which may include vegetable, dal (lentils), meat or fish. There are a variety of rice and breads such as chapatti, naan, parantha along with a form of yoghurt, chutney and pickle. Usually there is an Indian sweet dish which can be either gulab jamun or rasgulla. In short traditional Indian thali offers a wholesome delight which no single dish can give. There is a striking similarity between Indian Thailand Nepalese daalbhat and Sri Lankan ‘rice and curry’.
Thalis never fail to please anyone as one can never get bored of them. There are a range of small portion dishes which can be cooked in different styles, therefore, each thali differs from the other in taste to some extent. The use of spices gives them a unique flavor which appeals the taste buds.
2. Tandoori And Chicken Tikka
Tandoori dishes are particularly famous in North India as it is a traditional aspect of Punjabi cuisine in undivided Punjab. Tandoor is a term used for an oven made of clay and is used to cook tandoori dishes over intense flames. Tandoori chicken and chicken tikka are two of the most popular tandoori dishes which no Punjabi function is complete without.
Tandoori dishes are dipped in the flavored marinade to give them a distinct taste and aroma. Tandoori Chicken and Tandoori Tikka are marinated in a variety of creams and masalas, grilled in a tandoor. Tandoori chicken is whole or boneless pieces of chicken marinated in yogurt and spices and cooked in the prominence of the tandoor. Chicken tikka is boneless chicken smoldered in a mild spiced creamy tomato sauce. Both the dishes have an attractive bright red hue and spicy taste. The famous chicken tikka masala dish is served with spicy sauce and it was created in the UK, not India.
3. Paneer, Heavenly Indian Cheese
Paneer or cottage cheese is another popular ingredient in North India which is used to cook a variety of dishes and curries. It is a major favourite among vegetarians and Punjabi families. Mutter paneer, Kadai paneer, shahi paneer, palak paneer, paneer burjee, paneer butter masala are some of the most delicious paneer dishes that we had in India. Mutter paneer is cooked with peas and palak paneer uses spinach as an additional ingredient to compliment cottage cheese. The term karahi refers to a pan in which the curry is cooked therefore the dish is named karahi paneer.
SOUTH INDIAN FOOD
South Indian states have plenty of coconut trees which is why almost all the South Indian dishes use some or the other form of coconut as a base ingredient. The spices popularly used here are different in taste and flavour from those used in North India. For example, mustard seeds replace cumin in South Indian cuisine along with tamarind and curry leaves.
4. South Indian Breakfast Curries
Almost all South Indian dishes have coconut chutney and tangy, flavored curry which is comparatively thin in consistency. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner a curry is always there in the platter along with dosa, idli, vada or rice. Dosa I a type of pancake cooked with rice/lentil dough and idlies are made with pressed rice. Chutney serves as a dip.
Another popular breakfast dish, particularly in Kerala, is Puttu (or Pittu).
Puttu is one of the most popular traditional dishes served in breakfast. It is prepared with rice flour and coconut, usually served with kadala curry. It is made of steamed cylinders of ground rice layered with coconut. It is a type of rice steamed cake.
5. Barfi, Indian Sweets
If you have a sweet tooth then India is a place to be at. The country has a countless variety of sweet dishes such as rasgulla, Gulab Jamun, halwa, barfi etc. Barfi is a dense milk based sweet confectionery in the shape of a diamond. Condesned milk and sugar are two main ingredients used to prepare barfi. There are different types of barfi made of badam (almonds), pista (pistachios) and kaaju (cashew nuts).
OUR FAVOURITE INDIAN DRINKS
Lassi is a yogurt based drink which is an inseparable part of the cuisine of Punjab. The best thing about Indian dishes is that they have a number of variants which satisfy everyone and anyone. Lassi can be both salted and sweet and additionally flavoured with spices like ground cumin. They are very similar to popular Turkish and Arabic Ayran which is salted yogurt drink.
Stefan enjoyed a salted lassi with Gujarati girls who were also travelling to Rajasthan. While salted lassi is flavoured with spices and salt, sweet lassi has a lot of fruits to enhance the flavor. Banana and mango lassi is the most popular form of sweet lassi which tastes more like smoothies.
We tried a number of lassi shops in Indian states but there is no place that serves the kind which is available at The Blue Lassi shop in Varanasi. Bhang is another popular type of lassi which is prepared with cannabis buds and leaves as main ingredients. Cannabis buds and leaves mixed into a paste with milk, ghee, and spices to prepare this unique lassi which is quite legal in India.
7. Chai, Indian Tea
Tea or chai is an inseparable part of Indian routine which is quite obvious as India is one of the world’s largest exporters of tea. Chai is an Indian and Greek term used for Tea in the respective countries. Indian tea is usually prepared with milk and sugar but there are many other variants of tea popular in India such as Masala chai which also uses spices like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon to add to the flavor. Chai masala is one of the most delicious variants which is a must try in India.