If you are planning a visit to India, then you may want to ‘pack’ this blog post or list with you. You can enjoy Indian cuisines in any part of the world today, but being an Indian myself, I guarantee you that something will always be missing in Indian cuisines abroad. Only in India can you enjoy the real taste of these mouth-savoring and watering cuisines.
People often say that the Indian cuisine is mostly made of rich and spicy curries. While I totally agree, many other dry varieties of Indian food can often be overlooked.
Health conscious travellers might also be hesitant to try most of these Indian foods. Some of these are indeed calorie bombs. But we believe it’s absolutely OK to indulge when the visit is only for a short duration or period of time.
Let me tell you that on a daily basis Indian cuisines are never as rich and unhealthy as you might find during festivals or in restaurants. Only for the enrichment of taste do people tend to add a lot of oils and creamy ingredients.
There are two major categories of Indian food – north Indian and south Indian. Their further sub categories are – Rajasthani, Punjabi, Mughlai, Kashmiri, north eastern food and so on. It is rightly said that- you can also explore and feel the spirit of India via your taste buds. So don’t spoil your precious visit over belly sized worries.
Here are our top recommended foods you must try on your next tour of India!
10. Butter Chicken
This has been one of the most popular Indian dishes over the world. No other chicken gravy can beat this Punjabi comfort food. It’s not-so hot & spicy gravy paired with some garlic naan (Indian flatbread) makes it a perfect combination.
These web shaped crispy cakes are usually eaten during celebration times. This street food is also eaten in breakfast with some Kachoris (fried round bread with stuffings) in Varanasi. Its prepared from wheat flour batter, which is deep fried in coil shapes and then soaked in sugar syrup. Always enjoy it hot. You must try them if you are visiting Delhi, Agra or Varanasi.
You might be judgemental about the hygiene standards of this irresistible street food. No worries on that, we suggest you to explore them in well known restaurant chains like “Haldirams” or “Bikanerwala”. Then you won’t regret anything. The term “chaats” consist of a collection of spicy and sour savoury snacks like Aloo-chaat, Aloo-tikki, Bhelpuri and Panipuri or Gol-gappa. Believe me, Indians themselves get addicted to them and it’s so difficult to even resist.
7. Malai Kofta
Here comes another Punjabi dish. In this dish, mashed Potatos and cottage cheese balls are deep fried, coated with cream and then added to the onion-tomato curry. You are most likely to find this dish in parties and will never be bored of them. The Koftas or the balls themselves are super tasty that you can easily enjoy them as tea snacks.
6. Pav Bhaji
This Maharashtrian food is now enjoyed in every little part of India. It is basically served with buttered buns (Paav) and thick vegetable gravy (Bhaji), garnished with lemon, onions and coriander. It is no more considered a mere snack and makes for an ideal lunch. Though oily & spicy, you are bound to become its fan.
5. Tandoori Chicken
Another popular delicacy is Tandoori Chicken, which can be a perfect starter for a north Indian meal. The dish is not so spicy but enjoyed when hot. The chickens, which were marinated overnight with yogurt and spices, are basically roasted in a traditional clay pot grill called Tandoor. The dish goes well with Rumali Roti or Naan.
4. Rogan Josh
You will fall in love with its aroma. Its an iconic delicacy of the Kashmir state. The traditional multi-course meal (wazwan) of Kashmir would be incomplete without a Rogan Josh. It’s a must try dish for people who like lamb or goat meat. Lamb shank or shoulder is slow cooked and spiced with some Kashmiri spices and yogurt. Although considered rich & royal, the dish is indeed healthy with low fat. You can enjoy its thick curry either with flavoured rice recipes or naan.
With Biryani, immediately we think of the symbolic “Hyderabadi Biryani”, which is inspired from the Mughal era with an Indian twist. This biryani can either be made of vegetables or chicken/mutton. But on your trip, we recommend you try the non-veg variety. The dish is prepared with rice and marinated meat in caramelized onions, spices, mints, yogurt and saffron milk. It really has a royal taste and the aroma can intensify your hunger. It’s a complete meal in itself but try adding “raita” (spiced yogurt) to it for even more enhanced flavor.
Thali is one particular dish that you can not miss during your Indian trip. Having Thali will let you get the taste of foods from north India or south India. Simply put, it’s a platter that consists of multiple side dishes, bread and rice and desserts. The best part is that you can enjoy so many meals in one go. You can chose any of the two thalis– south Indian or north Indian. My favourite restaurant chain is Saravana Bhavan, which is famous for “thali” and other south Indian foods. Their branches are located in every big city and even abroad.
1. Chole Bhature
Who can forget our beloved street food – chole bhature. A tasty meal for lunchtime or dinner. Punjabis often eat it for breakfast. It consists of deep-fried wheat flour bread (bhature), which is served with hot chickpeas curry (chole). This dish comes on a red alert for calorie conscious people but it’s worthwhile for its once-in-a-while indulgence. Indians relish their taste buds with this meal by having it in a restaurant or just by standing near a road-side stall. It’s a heavy meal, so better finish it with a south Indian filter coffee or some lemon water.
Try escaping the menu in your hotels which will be costly and sometimes bland and rather explore the local recipes. It’s a good idea to discover India on an empty stomach, this way you can offer yourself the above mentioned dishes. Happy food journey!