Indian cuisine: 5 dishes worth trying
For those who think that in India they only eat vegetable curry with rice or naan bread, a trip to this country can be a big surprise. The wealth of India is manifested in a stunning mosaic of magnificent landscapes, traditions of different peoples, reflected not only in architecture, but, above all, in cuisine.
Indian cuisine is very diverse, due to cultural differences that are characteristic of different social groups. This is a centuries-old mix of different cultures, including Tibetan, Afghan and Persian. The cuisine of the northern part of India was significantly influenced by Muslims, so it is rich in lamb and poultry dishes.
In turn, the south is dominated by fresh vegetables and extremely hot spices, too hot for tourists who are not used to them. As befits a former British colony, tea in India is brewed in English, but otherwise, there is no influence of English cuisine. In addition to cultural and historical factors, Indian cuisine is influenced by its geographical location and climate. The mountainous regions, located in a cool climate, are distinguished by a much softer and less aromatic cuisine.
Spoons and forks are, of course, available in restaurants for tourists, but those who want to experience the true taste of India should definitely try eating the way Indians have done for centuries. At first, this may seem strange, because how can you eat rice with vegetable sauce with your hands? But it’s really possible and it can be amazing. There is only one rule: always take food with your right hand only. Use left hand – insult the cook.
whole grains, cereals and rice, as well as nuts, sprouts, fruits, fresh vegetables and honey – develop creativity and increase efficiency, relieve stress and keep the body in excellent condition;
Indians love to eat well and eat a lot. The portions are so huge that they can easily feed several people. One of the dishes worth trying is the southern thali. This dish is served on a special tray with notches, in the center of which is rice and dal, bean sauce. Small bowls with various snacks are placed around it.
It can be stewed vegetables, pickled cucumbers, spicy raita sauce. In the south of the country, the metal tray is often replaced with fresh banana leaves. There is no single recipe for thali; depending on the region and the chef, different versions of this dish are prepared.
Its only constant feature is that it always contains rice, dal, vegetables, pickles and bread. You can choose between vegetarian, meat and… sweet thali. In a word, it will be delicious for everyone. Thali is usually served with masala chai, an extremely sweet tea with milk and spices that wonderfully softens the spicy taste of the dish.
There is no Indian cuisine without dal – a thick sauce made from legumes: peas, lentils, beans or chickpeas.
Easy-to-cook dishes made from legumes are the basis of the daily diet of Hindus, regardless of region. They are variously flavored with various spice blends and fresh coriander. Among the countless versions, mahani dal and rajmah masala deserve special attention.
Dal mahani is a Punjabi vegetarian dish made with whole black urad dal beans and red rajma beans. Due to the complexity of preparation (the beans must first be soaked and cooked for a long time), this dish is traditionally prepared for special occasions, but it is almost always available in restaurants. In turn, rajma masala is a vegetarian dish based on red beans in a thick aromatic tomato sauce, most often served with rice.
This dish occupies the throne of South Indian cuisine. South of Mumbai, the most popular dish, available both in restaurants and in countless street stalls, is dosa in various forms, plain dosa, mysore dosa, rava dosa and masala dosa.
Dosa itself is a type of pancake served with various fillings. The most popular and, according to many, the most delicious masala dosa is a large pancake with a very interesting potato filling. It sounds trite and simple, but thanks to the unique mixture of spices, this ordinary dish will be remembered for a long time.
Dozens of ways to cook rice
The basis of the diet in India is rice, which is eaten every day and on holidays. Of the dozens of different types, the noblest in taste is basmati rice, which grows at the foot of the Himalayas.
or served as a separate dish, such as plain fried rice. This is rice fried with soy sauce, vegetables, meat or egg. Extremely tasty and extremely cheap rice-based dishes include vegetarian or meat-based biryani and pulao, as well as plov, that is, rice cooked in a broth with vegetables, meat, and nuts.
What you need to remember while in India?
Those going to India will often be told to be careful with their food, because the only memory of this trip will be stomach problems. It is said that it takes about a week for the stomach to adjust to food and spices, but if you do not eat something stale.
health problems are unlikely to bother you. Of course, you should avoid drinking water of unknown origin and remember to wash your hands thoroughly before eating. These basic precautions should be enough to enjoy your holiday and explore the different flavors of India.
Briefly, in order to understand the complexities of Hindu cuisine, we present a conditional division into northern and southern culinary traditions, largely determined by local social and religious rites. Here are the main differences that can be observed in local cuisines:
in the north, a lot of wheat is grown, various breads and pancakes are made from flour, mainly naan and roti, and rice and lentils predominate in the southern cuisine;
meat dishes, mainly chicken and lamb, are more common in the northern regions, while the south serves mainly vegetarian and seafood dishes;
yogurt is widely used in cooking regardless of region, but in the north, ghee is used in most dishes, while in the south, coconut milk is more often used;
North Indian dishes are richer and thicker, while South Indian dishes are lighter and spicier.