India is known not only for its splendid beauty, but it has a rich cultural heritage and provides the tourist with the tastiest palate. Such is the variety in India that 28 states and 8 Union Territories have various specialities that one must taste if you are visiting that local area of a particular state. So, let’s take this virtual journey that would leave your taste buds wanting for more.
Let’s start with North India
A layman who hears the word ‘North India’ will have the first vision of the place as ‘Chole Bhature’, ‘stuffed parantha’, or ‘Butter Chicken’. Let’s see all the hidden gems (dishes) present in North India that we might not have heard about, but we need to taste at least once. We all have heard about ‘Dum Aloo’ as one of the specialities of Jammu and Kashmir but what you might not have heard is the mention of dishes like ‘Gustaba’ (meatballs cooked in yoghurt gravy) and ‘Haak or Karam ka Saag’ (Saag prepared with spinach leaves).
When we talk about Ladakh, the magnificent beauty of Leh mesmerises us. Imagine visiting Leh and relishing a hot bowl of ‘Thupka’ (noodle soup), veg/non-veg ‘momos’ (dumplings having a mouth-watering filling, served with the chilliest sauce) and last but not the least ‘Tigmo’ (fermented bread served with veg/non-veg stew). Won’t visiting Ladakh present an altogether a different experience?
Honestly, won’t you love visiting ‘Himachal Pradesh’ and taste about dishes like ‘Siddu’ (bread served with ghee, lentil broth and green chutney), ‘Aktori’ (a cake made by mixing buckwheat and flour), ‘Babru’ (stuffed kachoris), ‘Sepu Vadi’ (urad dal dumpling in spinach gravy). Most of us have visited parts of ‘Uttrakhand’. Still, it is only the natives who have tasted delicacies like ‘Aloo k Ghutke’ (potatoes made in mustard oil), ‘Chainsoo’ (a pahadi dal made of black lentil), ‘Jhangroo ki Kheer’ (a dessert prepared using millets). So, the next time you visit these places, you have a list of delicacies you want to taste.
Now, let go over to ‘Punjab’, ‘Delhi’ and ‘Chandigarh’. They have an array of the yummiest dishes like ‘Dal Makhni’, ‘Makki ki roti and Sarson ka Saag’, ‘Chana Bhatura’, ‘Butter Chicken’ and ‘Mutton Pulao’. When we talk about North India, we can’t forget the land of Nawabs (Uttar Pradesh) as it gives us ‘Kebabs’, ‘Biryani’, ‘Bedmi Aloo’ and ‘Kachori’.
Cuisine in the West
From the lands of forts (Rajasthan), one can taste royal dishes like ‘Dal Batti Churma’, ‘Ker Sanri’ and ‘Laal Mass’. However, Gujarat provides us with meals that are an amalgamation of spice and sweetness and consist of ‘Thepla’, ‘Dhokla’, ‘Khandvi’, etc. What a contrast and yet both the states have a rich cuisine heritage. No trip to India is complete unless and until one has visited ‘Maharashtra’ and ‘Goa’ and eaten their delicacies like ‘Srikhand’, ‘Vada Pao’, ‘Modak’ and ‘Chicken Vindaloo’, ‘Bibinca’ (cake of Goa), and ‘Prawn Balachao’ of Maharashtra and Goa respectively.
What about South India Cuisine?
The cuisine of South India is a beautiful amalgamation of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Whenever we talk about South India, we think of crispy ‘Dosa’, piping hot ‘Sambhar’, light yet delicious ‘Idlis’ ‘Rasam’, ‘Chettinad Chicken’ (Tamil Nadu), ‘Bisi Bele Bhaat’, ‘Mysore Pak’ (Karnataka), however, even the non-vegetarians can take the delight in South Indian cuisine by feasting on ‘Mutton Biryani with Mirchi ka Salan’ (Andhra Pradesh), ‘Hyderabadi Biryani’ and ‘Gongura Ghosht’ (Telangana).
The coastal area of Kerala has a very distinct cuisine that includes rice, fish curries, vegetable curries and even stir-fried vegetables that is prepared both with and without coconut. So, dishes like ‘Malabar Paraotha’, ‘Payassam’, ‘Irachi Stew’ are dishes that need to be on the checklist. Last but not the least if you want to taste one of the finest fishes, lobsters, prawns and crabs; one should visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Delicacies in East India
States like West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar comprise the delicacies of East India. States like West Bengal and Odisha are rice and fish staple states. It is due to this that dishes like Fish Orly (crunchy fried fish) of Odisha, Ilish Bhapa of West Bengal (Hilsa fish steamed in yoghurt gravy) are something that needs to be tasted. On the other hand, desserts like Mishti Doi of West Bengal is a milk and curd dessert that is famous not only in West Bengal but also all over India. At the same time, Rassogulla (West Bengal) and Rasabali, a famous Odisha dessert are also used as bhog in Shri Jaganath temple. Now if we talk about Bihar, Litti Chokha, Sattu Parantha and Khubi ka lai (laddus made of khoya and sugar) are dishes that one can not afford to miss.
This cuisine comprises of smooth dishes found at the place of the seven sisters. Dishes like Thupka, Momos (Sikkim), Rice Beer and Cherry Wine (Nagaland), Chinese Cuisine (Arunachal Pradesh), Iromba and Kabok (Manipur) are worth mentioning. North Eastern cuisine is a perfect combination of Tibet and Nepal cuisine. Rice and meat (fish, pork, chicken, beef, etc.) are staple dishes of these seven sisters.
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and bask in the beauty of this country. Get yourself clicked but don’t forget to have a different dish in your hand every time. After all, we have a responsibility towards our taste buds too, don’t we?