Best Foods to Try in India & Where to Find Them
The foods of a country give an insight into both the cultural as well as the culinary identity of that nation.
If you are looking to travel and also experience some of the tastiest foods in the world you will be spoiled for choice in India.
From mutton bathed in hot curries to hearty kebabs served with chutneys and bread, the cuisine of India is as diverse as the country itself. The historic mix of religion, language and customs ensure that after every hundred miles, in any direction, the culinary menu changes rapidly like the landscape.
The heavy dose of intoxicating spices might seem overwhelming at first, but this creative mix of ingredients has made Indian food the most sought after in all corners of the world. You can get really tasty cheap street food and also dine at luxury restaurants
If you would like to really experience the highlighs of India, and taste the best foods along the way then some local and international companies offer India tours that curate itineraries for foodies highlighting local delicacies of each state.
You can embark on customized culinary food tour, from short trips lasting several days, to longer adventures covering multiple amazing destinations in India.
Here are some of the most popular regional dishes you should try in India and also some of the best places to sample them.
1. Kathi Rolls (West Bengal)
This really tasty street food staple originated decades ago, from the narrow alleys behind New Market in Kolkata.
This Indian wrap is cooked using a fried egg on a piece of flatbread, adding shredded mutton or chicken and finally topping up with sliced onions, chillies, powdered spices and an assortment of sauces.
For vegetarians, cottage cheese is used as a filling instead of meat. A bite of this doner type roll will blow your mind.
Best place to eat: Nizams, Taltala, Kolkata
2. Masala Dosa (Karnataka)
Originating from south India, the masala dosa today is enjoyed throughout the country. In fact it is presumed that no trip to India is deemed complete without tasting this mouthwatering dish.
It requires artful preparation by spreading a paste of lentils and rice into a very thin pancake paste of about one foot in diameter, on a large pre-heated metal plate.
The middle of the dosa is then filled with mashed potato and spices and the whole concoction is then delicately rolled to perfection. Unlimited servings of steaming hot spicy lentil stew, called Sambar, with mind-blowing coconut chutney add to the flavour of this exceptional snack.
Best place to eat: Hotel Janatha, Malleswaram, Bengaluru
3. Rogan Josh (Jammu And Kashmir)
This aromatic blend of tender meat and fiery red curry made from Kashmiri chillies is closely linked with the North Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Said to have its origin in Persia, the local version has been doing the rounds since centuries.
The dish consists of marinated pieces of lamb stewed with fried onions, ginger, chillies and a range of hot spices allowed to heat over a slow fire. Rogan Josh is served either with flatbread or spiced rice on the side.
Best place to eat: Mughal Durbar, Landmark Mall, Srinagar
4. Tandoori Chicken (Delhi)
In terms of food, nothing can beat this authentic chicken which was first introduced to the world in 1920.
Tandoor(clay) chicken has its origin in the state of Punjab, but the restaurants of Delhi have mastered the art of making this extremely popular appetizer.
This mouthwatering delicacy is made by marinating a full chicken with yoghurt and spices for at least six hours and then grilling it with help of skewers in a pre-heated clay oven. Served with naan, onion and slices of lemon.
Best place to eat: Moti Mahal, Daryaganj, Delhi
5. Galouti Kebab (Uttar Pradesh)
This old legendary kebab recipe is said to contain over 150 different spices!
Some of the ingredients which go into making this incredible kebab include black pepper, star anise and cardamom among others. The spices are mixed with yoghurt, papaya paste, gram flour and blended with minced mutton. The mix is moulded in the shape of small cakes which are then shallow fried over charcoal.
Highly patronised by the erstwhile Nawabs (Princes) of the state of Lucknow, the royal chefs were specially trained to cook this exotic preparation for their rulers. Rigorous practice and skill has enabled this amazing Galouti kebab recipe to be passed on over generations.
When in Uttar Pradesh you must also include the stunning Taj Mahal in your itinerary. This is one of the most incredible monuments to see in India.
Best place to eat: Tunday Kababi, Aminabad, Lucknow
6. Chicken Chettinad (Tamil Nadu)
This fiery chicken curry from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, is one of the most popular dish of the small Nattukotai Chettiar community.
A variety of spices like star anise, dried red chillies, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, bay leaf, cloves, peppercorn and Fenugreek are mixed with a secret ingredient derived from flower pods.The curry is made thick by adding tomatoes, ginger, garlic and ground coconut.
The chicken is then slowly cooked and when ready served with rice for a hearty meal.
Best place to eat: Ponnusamy Hotel, Anna Salai, Chennai
7. Karimeen Pollichathu (Kerala)
The Southern state of Kerala, with its beaches and backwaters is more popular as a tourist haven than a culinary destination. Having said that, some of the traditional dishes here are very tasty due to the marked foreign influence.
One of the must try delicacies is the fish dish known as Karimeen Pollichathu, made from a variety of speckled spot fish, found only in the backwaters of the state.
Originally a Syrian and Christian dish, it has now become an integral part of the cuisine of Kerala. The fish is first marinated in a mix of lemon juice, red chillies and spices, wrapped in plantain leaves and then baked to get a special flavour. The fish can also be enjoyed fried or cooked in coconut gravy.
Best place to eat: Karimpumkala, Kottayam
8. Dal Baati Churma (Rajasthan)
Don't leave Rajasthan without trying this signature dish. The food here is greatly influenced by the harsh climate, as a result the preparation here is a bit innovative.
Products which reduce the need of water are largely used. Baati, is a hard bread which is prized for its long shelf life, especially in this desert state. It is relished with lentil curry (dal) while the churma is a mix of coarsely ground wheat cooked in jaggery or sugar.
Best place to eat: 1135 AD, Amer Fort, Jaipur
9. Khaman (Gujarat)
Very much like it's well known cousin- Dhokla, this healthy steamed snack is traditionally served on a large green leaf called Kesuda.The fluffy dish is made from a mix of chickpea flour and freshly ground lentils.
When cooked, it is cut into cubes and garnished with mustard seeds and coriander leaves. Khaman is usually served with spicy sauces and pieces of green chilly.
Best place to eat: The Das Khaman Shop, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad
Plan a Culinary Break to India
There are so many reasons to visit India and food is one of them.
We hope our list of regional treats to sample in India which have been gathered from all four corners of the country, has adequately reflected on the delicacy of each region. Get ready to dive into a unique countrt, packed with flavour and fragrance and fall in love with the aroma of Indian food, people and locations.
Have you ever been to India? Do you have any favourite foods to recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.