The traditional Indian food has been globally cherished and appreciated for the excellent use of herbs and spices, along with the medley of so many interesting ingredients which reflect its regional and cultural diversity is why the Indian food outranks that of other country. The food in India restores the ethnic and Dharmic believes and is shaped mostly by vegetarianism.
A very large and important role in shaping the Indian cuisine to what it is today is played by the various historical events such as foreign invasion, colonialism and trade relation. For example, the potato, a staple food in India was introduced by the Portuguese who also brought Chillies and breadfruit.
Each region of India has its own manner of cooking and well defined flavors. With Tandoori and Korma dishes from the North, hot and spicy from the south, chilli curries from the east, coconut and sea food from the west here is a list of five exceptional Indian dishes you need to savor and hold on to.
Photo by Rahulpandey308, CC BY-SA 3.0
This quintessential cuisine is from Bihar, one of the most fertile place and a region which has hosted three well known religions- Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. LittiChokha can be served for any of the three meals and is even appreciated as a snack. The main ingredients are wheat and sattu (powdered gram or lentil) formed into small oval shapes with spices and filled with ghee (clarified butter). It is usually served with baiganbharta (a dish made from Aubergines and different spices) or alubharta. The littis are baked and flavored mainly with mustard oil, garlic, ginger and red pepper. Littis blend vibrantly and so they can also be served with different curries, preserving its traditional taste.
- Rogan Josh
Photo by stu_spivack, CC BY-SA 2.0
One of the most aromatic lamb dishes with Persian origins has established itself as one of the signaturedishes from Kashmir. The name holds a very intriguing meaning to it. In the Persian sense roughan means “clarified butter” but it is also known as rogan which means red in color and other half of it is “josh” meaning heat or passion. Rogan Josh has been a part of the Kashmiri multi cuisine “Wazwan” whose preparation is considered to be an art and appoint of pride in Kashmir. It consists of braised lamb pieces which are rinsed in strong aromatic and mouth-watering flavors like garlic, ginger and spices like cloves, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon. The fierce red-color is due to the dried Kashmiri leaves which are treated to reduce the original heat. For people who enjoy having spicy flesh in extremely cold places, you are in for a splendid treat.
- Hyderabadi Biryani
Photo by Garrett Ziegler, CC BY 2.0
Hyderabadi Biryani came into existence as Mughlai and Telgu cuisines blended and has been the staple food for the place ever since and is now acknowledged and appreciated worldwide. The main ingredients are Basmati, mutton, onions, spices, lemon, saffron and coriander. Some variations of this dish may include Chicken instead of mutton and is usually accompanied by Dahi chutney(yogurt and onions) and mirchikasalan- a green chili curry.
Photo by proccers, CC BY-SA 2.0
A dish whose origin can be traced back to the 1850s, PavBhaji is an Indian street food which originated as a Maharashtra cuisine. “Bhaji” is traditional Marathi name for any vegetable dish while “Pav” got its name from the Portuguese language which means small bread rolls. With a vibrant blend of vegetables, either whole or mashed, lavish dose of fresh tomatoes, a blob of butter and an optional choice of cheese and other toppings like dry fruits, the Bhaji is served with warm bread or pav usually fried in butter. PavBhaji is one of the most versatile meals in itself usually enjoyed in the evenings between lunch and dinner. So if you are looking for something that will keep you going till dinner, get your hands on this and you are good to go.
Photo by Tom Ipri, CC BY-SA 2.0
Originating from Odisha this is one of the most famous desserts of the country The name RasMalai is taken from two Hindi words, “Ras” meaning juice and “malai” meaning cream. One of the most appropriate ways to describe this beautiful dessert is “a rich cheesecake without crust”. It surely sounds luscious doesn’t it? The basic ingredients include sugary white, cream or yellow colored balls (flattened) flavored with cardamom, making it almost irresistible. If you are looking for exquisite dessert after a satisfactory meal, RasMalai will be a blessing in disguise.
There are still much more delicacies out there for you to get enthralled by, as almost all Indian cuisines are exclusive and special for their own authenticity and strong cultural background but these dishes mentioned in the list above will give you a glimpse good enough for a trip back to India to explore the widely acknowledged and praised Indian Cuisines.
Rohit Agarwal is an anthropologist by profession and blogger at www.Transindiatravels.com.He likes toexplore different places and has also done research in the widely distributed cuisines all over the world and writes about food on various blogs.