Indian food is feast for the taste buds. The variety of food you can find in India is countless. The Indian cuisine is as diverse as India itself. Here in India the food can be categorized mainly as North Indian and South Indian food. It can be further divided into region sub-groups such as Punjabi, Rajasthani, Sindhi, Guajarati, Chettinad, Bengali, Mughali, Kashmiri and Hyderabadi. I will not be surprised if you add a few more regional cuisines to the list!
India is a land of festivals and every festival has its own special menu; every occasion also has a special menu and these are vary from region to region. Now, are you getting the idea of how many other varieties of cuisines you can expect in one cuisine called the Indian cuisine?
Most Indian dishes are full of spices hence the flavour and the colour. The most common spices and ingredients used in Indian cuisine include mustard, cumin, curry leaves, green coriander, garam masala (a masala made of select range of spices), tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger, along with the main ingredients such as the vegetables or lentils that go into it.
Do you know why did I am giving you this insight about the diversity and variety of Indian food? Because I find it very difficult to come up with the just top 10 amazing dishes which I can recommend to you on your visit to India. Yet here I am with my list of top 10 foods you cannot miss when in India.
The top 10 foods you must try when in India:
Thali is not a dish in itself but it is a combo of meals which comprises of a sweet dish, two or more curries, dal (lentils), usually steamed rice, pickle, puri/naan/chapatti (one of these Indian breads), papad (poppadoms), butter milk, one raita, one or more chutneys, and more or less depending upon whether you opt for the north Indian thali or south Indian thali and also the place you eat.
Thali, according to me is the best way to relish Indian meals as you get to taste a variety of dishes in one go and the added advantage of this is you pay less and taste more. In this concept of thali you need not order different dishes for one person and end up wasting more food and also spending more money. Just order a thali and you are done, no side dishes, no dessert…just the thali (by the way thali means plate, in this case, its means a thali or plateful of food).
9. Dam Aloo
It is a side dish prepared with the so called baby aloos (potatoes) which are simmered in the gravy prepared with tomatoes, onions and variety of spices. It goes will with rice or nan breads. If you love curries, you’ll love the dam aloo.
8. Stuffed Paratha
Stuffed parathas are a kind of Indian bread which are made of either whole wheat flour or white flour and stuffed with a variety of stuffings. The stuffings can be potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, paneer (cottage cheese), and any other vegetables that you can think of.
7. Paalak Paneer or Sag Paneer
Paalak means spinach and paneer means cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is either boiled in salt water or pan fried a little and added to spinach gravy. The spinach gravy is prepared by blending the slightly boiled palak along with ginger, garlic, green chilli and onion.
This is one of the favourite snacks of every Indian! You can’t come to India and not try the somosas out. It is a deep fried snack prepared by rolling the dough of white flour and then filling it with the mixture made of potatoes, green peas, garam masala, onions, chilli powder, fennel and salt. You’ll love it.
5. Chole Batura
Chole batura can either be your breakfast, lunch, evening snack or dinner. Yes, you read it right. That is the beauty of this dish. Though it is a heavy meal, Indians do not hesitate to relish the flavours of chole batura any time of the day. Baturas are deep fried round Indian breads made of white flour. Chole is the side dish prepared with chick peas.
Birayani takes many forms and can be vegetable biryani or non-vegetarian. Either way, it is a dish you must give a shot. It is a rice preparation served with raita (yogurt with onions and shredded salad mainly cumumber).
3. Masala Dosa
It is form of thin pan cake prepared with the batter which is fermented over night. The batter is made of rice and white lentil (something called the udad dal). It is severed with potatoes, chutney and sambar.
2. Rasgola/Gulab Jamoon/Jalebi/ Gajar ka Halwa
When in India, sweets and deserts cannot be left behind. But I am sorry I cannot really suggest just one dessert out of the hundreds of choices. These are the 4 desserts that made to my top 10 list. “Gajar ka halwa” is prepared with carrots, Jalebis are the deep fried gram flour savouries which are then dipped into the sugar syrup, Jamoons are deep fried balls made of condensed milk called “khoya” which are then added to sugar syrup. The Rasgola is a Bengali sweet prepared by boiling “paneer” in sugar syrup.
The king of all dishes! They are mostly had as starters or evening snack. Chaat is not the name of one dish but include a variety of other dishes mainly pani puri, sev puri, pav baaji, to name a few. Tamarind, chilli powder, curds, onions, tomatoes and sev (vermicelli) are the key ingredients that go into most of these chaats famously known as street food.
If you have travelled to India or if you live in India, I would like to hear your favourite Indian dishes. Don’t be shy; leave the name of your favourite Indian dish in the comment box.