Indian food is not limited to Butter Chicken from the local takeaway store. Yes, you can find some great Indian cuisine at the Indian restaurant on the corner but this amazing country has so much to offer in the way of food. There are also two “types” of Indian food, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. It is quite common if you are visiting a family in their home to be asked if you are vegetarian or not.
It is well known that the food that comes out of India is some of the best in the world. From Kashmir in the north, Rajasthan in the east, Gujarati in the west to Kerala in the south of India, you will find each region has it’s own variety of food – all of them being equally spectacular.
Cooking methods are varied as well as ingredients used. Spices are generously used in foods from each area and it must be remembered that every single spice which is used in an Indian dish has nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Reflecting a Central Asian influence, Kashmiri dishes are generally based around rice as the main course which is plentiful in this region. Saag which is a curry made from spinach and mustard greens is spectacular. Still in Northern India, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab seem to consume Indian breads as their staple food. Naan and chapattis are just two of the various types of bread that you will find here.
Southern Indian cuisine uses a lot of fish and coconut in their cook. Tamil Naidu uses fresh tamarind which can add a sourness to their dishes which puts them apart from other regions. The dishes of Kerala are often made from Lamb, fish, prawns and sweetened coconut milk.
In the West of India Dhal and achar – known as pickles- are used a lot in Rajasthan and Gujarat. This desert cuisine is totally unique in it’s flavour and varieties of foods due to fresh vegetables not being as readily available in these areas. Being on a coastline, Mumbai has access to a wide variety of seafood. Bombay prawn is definitely one of the most well-known dishes from this area.
Staying in the west but heading further south, Goan cuisine has been influenced by Portugese cooking styles. Vindaloo and Sorpotal which is a very traditional meal in this area are just a couple of delightful dishes from this area.
East Indian cuisine is well known for it’s use of rice and fish along with bamboo shoots. Hilsa is a delicious meal of Hilsa fish which is wrapped in a pumpkin leaf and then cooked, traditional and tasty.
Lets take a look at just a few of the amazing types of food that you will find in India.
Many of us have heard of or tried this dish. A curry that can be made with lamb but is often made with goat meat in India, this curry is very popular in Kashmir.
Another popular dish, chicken which has been marinated in yoghurt and spices for hours and then roasted in a tandoor which is a clay oven. The spices give this dish it’s signature red colouring.
Cooked with Saffron and other spices, this aromatic dish generally contains marinated mutton or chicken and is a very popular food in India and in the west.
Baingan (eggplant) is roasted and mashed along with other spices and vegetables. This dish is the perfect vegetarian meal when dished up with flatbread.
Bhindi Masala Fry
Otherwise known as Okra or Ladyfingers, Bhindi is stuffed full of spices and then fried to make an exciting vegetarian dish.
Tamarind, chilies and garlic alongside other spices are made into a spicy pungent paste and then massaged into the whole fish and fried. Seafood and spices make this an ideal summer dish.
Rice batter served up with lentil sauce and different chutneys. This flatbread is like a crispy crepe and is perfect for breakfast.
Coming for Chettinad in South India, this dish is made up of anchovies which are slathered in a paste of red chillies and turmeric and then fried to make an ideal crunchy snack.
Kati Roll or Roti Parcel
A wrap which uses paratha or roti and contains spices, eggs and vegetables. This is a popular street food throughout India as well as abroad. If you need to eat and run then this is the meal for you. It is also a way that families use up their leftovers.
The food that you can eat anywhere and at anytime. Served up with tamarind and mint chutney, this snack contains potato, peas and onions and can be baked or fried.
Onion, cauliflower, potato, chillies and eggplant are used to make this snack. They can be cooked together or alone to make a deep fried fritter.
Is a taste sensation. This small piece of round, hollowed out bread is filled with onion, potato, chickpea and tamarind and will tantalize your tastebuds.
Curried chickpeas which will be served with roti, paratha or flour bread which is fried is usually eaten as a satisfying breakfast.
Found throughout the North of India, this dish is made from Kidney beans and accompanied by rice. A dish for winter due to its thick, flavoursome gravy and hearty flavours.
These foods are only the tip of the Indian cuisine iceberg. The many different types of Indian food available is immense and an attempt to try a lot of them should be made as your tastebuds won’t be disappointed.