Now that you have applied for your India Visa online, you really need to know about some of the many gastronomic options you will get to enjoy while visiting India. Indian food is very much a cultural funfair, and it depends on where in India you find yourself, what your fare might be.
Food in India up North
Let us start at the top where the prominent dishes are largely an assortment of bread and curries. Curries are typically thick and moderately spicy with creamy gravies. Dried fruits and nuts are everyday additions, and dairy products like milk, cream, cottage cheese, ghee are important. Northern India has an abundance of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables and is strongly influenced by Central Asian, with Mughlai and Kashmiri styles of cooking prevailing. The dishes and fare commonly found in Western Indian-style restaurants are mostly from the North:
- Naan bread – this unleavened flatbread is usually baked in a tandoor or cooked on a flat griddle. Served hot, brushed with ghee, it is best used as a scoop for other delicacies.
- Roti’s – unleavened round flatbread, also known as chapati by some, is a great carrier for vegetables and curries in any Indian meal.
- Samosas – fried or baked with a savory filling, it is usually in a triangular shape.
- Aloo ghobi (potato and cauliflower) – a vegetarian dish of potatoes, cauliflower and Indian spices, predominantly turmeric.
- Palak paneer (spinach and cheese) – Indian cheese with a thick paste of puréed spinach seasoned with ginger, garlic, and garam masala.
- Garam masala is predominantly used as the preferred spice mixture.
- Sour ingredient – sourness is prevalent, and Amchoor (dried mango powder) is used for this purpose in curries.
- Dried herb – sauces are typically accented with dried fenugreek leaves.
- Hot drink – to finish the meal, enjoy chai or tea.
Westward for Food
Western India has the most diverse styles of food in India. Rajasthani food is mostly vegetarian, typically spicy, but offers a few delightful meat dishes such as Laal Maas (red meat curry). In the region of Gujarat, the cuisine is traditionally wholly vegetarian and has a regional sweet touch with sugar finding its way into most dishes. The Gujarati style of dining is the Thaali (a large plate) where a meal is made up of as many as 10 vegetable dishes, rice, chapati (Indian bread) and sweets. They incorporate man snacks, collectively known as Farsan. The coastal regions of Maharashtra enjoy Malvani cuisine (fresh coconut-based hot and sour curries with fish and seafood). Interior regions of the province tend towards more frugal, Vidharba cuisine with dry coconuts aplenty. In Goa, the Portuguese influence means piquant, rich food flavored with coconut, red chilies, and vinegar.
East is Delicious when it Comes to Indian Food
Greatly influenced by Chinese and Mongolian cooking influences, fresh ingredients are crucial, as is the maintaining of the natural flavors. Bengali cuisine concentrates on rice and fish, using the five-spice mix for flavoring, comprised of nigella, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, and mustard. Jharkhand and Bihar use garam masala and similar spices in abundance, while the flavors of Odiya cuisine are subtle and lightly spiced. Very few locals hereabouts are vegetarian, and seafood is prevalent.
Food Down South
South India is renowned and celebrated for its varied range of spices, most importantly cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. Availability of a vast variety of fish, root tubers, and coconut fresh green chilies and dried red chilies greatly influence the regional dishes. Rice, lentils, and stews take the center stage down South, with these firm favorites:
- Dosa (lentil and rice crêpe) – a pancake of fermented rice and lentil batter, served hot with sambar and chutney
- idli (steamed lentil rice cakes) – steamed cake of fermented rice and black lentils enjoyed with sambar and chutney
- saaru/rasam – tamarind-based soupy dish prepared with tomato and spices and a combination of vegetables and lentils.
- huli/sambar – stew prepared with lentils, vegetables, and tamarind.
- Huli pudi (sambar powder) is the spice of choice
- Sour ingredient – Tamarind in stews
- Dried curry leaves are the preferred flavoring in many soups
- Hot drink – finish the meal with a special type of coffee made with chicory
All in all, various constituents comprise any characteristic Indian meal, and they may be grouped into:
- Indian bread: naan, chapati, roti, paratha, or idli
- Side dishes: salad, papad, pickles
- Main dishes: meat and/or vegetables
- Daal: lentil dish
Knowing how to partake in the enjoyment of Indian food is of utmost importance and entails how to eat these components. Dish up a little of each main dish and whatever you choose of the side dishes and pick a little up of each with a small piece of Naan, using your right hand. Fold the bread over the food and pop it into your mouth, followed with finger food from a side dish. When the bread is finished, move onto the rice and daal which are traditionally eaten together. Work the rice and main dish or rice and daal into a ball and flick it into your mouth using your thumb. It is messy, so make use of the small bowl of water with the slice of lemon.
No Indian food encounter is complete without drinking an authentic lassi.
Visit Indian Visa online and then prepare yourself for a delicious gastronomic journey through India, sampling the unique foods and regional tastes.