What to Try in India

India’s national must-try dishes

In fact, if you prepare material on the topic of Indian cuisine, you will get an impressive multi-volume edition. The local cuisine is so multifaceted and varied that it is hardly possible to try at least a tenth of the national dishes in one visit to India. Each state has a huge variety of dishes that can be tasted only here. Only at first glance it may seem that Indian dishes taste the same – just spicy, but believe me, there are many treats without spices, exquisite desserts and drinks in the national cuisine.

Indian cuisine

General information about Indian cuisine

The country has preserved certain national features and traditions of Indian cuisine – here they give priority to vegetables, a huge variety of spices, along with this you will not find beef on the menu. A vegetarian will certainly feel in a gastronomic paradise in India. The locals don’t eat meat or even fish.

Interesting fact! About 40% of the residents eat only food of plant origin.

In the past, various recipes were introduced into Indian cuisine by the Mongols and Muslims. Besides, the peculiarities of national dishes of Indian cuisine were influenced by the religious views of the inhabitants – more than 80% of the local population profess Hinduism, which excludes any violence. The essence of religion is that any living being is spiritual, containing a divine particle. That is why most people in India are vegetarians, but at the same time Indian national dishes have a rich, bright taste, spicy, oily.

Rice, beans, and vegetables

Since we are talking about vegetarianism within a particular state, a huge variety of treats from cereals, vegetables, legumes appeared in the local cuisine. The most famous is sabji, a vegetable stew with lentils seasoned with various spices. It is eaten with rice, bread flatbread.

Good to know! In India, it is customary to use long-grain basmati rice. As for legumes, there are more than one hundred varieties of peas alone, chickpeas, lentils, mung bean, dal are also popular.

A separate volume in the encyclopedia of traditional Indian cuisine must be devoted to spices and flavorings. By the way, it is not only a spice, but also the name of an Indian dish with bright orange color. It is this spice that gives the treat a thick aroma and a unique taste.

There are many spices mixed in the curry and it would be very difficult to list them all, probably the Indians themselves would not be able to name the recipe exactly. It is known for certain that the composition includes: cayenne, red and black pepper, cardamom, ginger, coriander, paprika, cloves, cumin and nutmeg. Although the composition of curry may vary, turmeric is invariably present. It is noteworthy that Indian families have a personal recipe for making curry, it is carefully passed down from generation to generation.

Scones, India

It is not customary in India to bake bread the way it is baked in Europe. They serve flatbread or thin pita bread. The traditional Indian dish is called chapati and accompanies every meal from the first course to dessert.

The recipe is simple enough, every housewife can repeat it – mix coarse flour, salt, water, fry tortillas without oil (if cooking outdoors, use an open fire). The finished tortilla resembles a ball, because it is bloated, vegetables, legumes are added inside, eaten simply with sauce.

Another common type of pastry in India is samosas – fried triangular cakes with various fillings. They are most often prepared for the festive table. With real national samosas, the dough is tender, crispy, melting, and the filling must necessarily be evenly heated.

Interesting fact! If there are no bubbles on the dough, the patties are cooked according to the original recipe and with compliance with the technology. You do not need to overheat the oil too much for this.

In India, many dishes are made with milk. Yogurt is no exception, fruits, berries are added to it.

Good to know! Natural yogurt is customary to flavor the first dishes before serving them to the table.

Sweet yogurt

Besides, yogurt is the basis for a cool drink and dessert – lassi. Water and ice are added, and the yogurt is whipped until it becomes a thick froth. The result is a refreshing drink in hot weather. They also add fruit, ice cream or cream to the drink.

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A few helpful tips:

  • almost all food in India is very spicy, so if you do not like peppered dishes, tell the waiters – no spice, the spice will still add to the treat, but much less;
  • In restaurants, and even more so in markets, do not always adhere to the rules of hygiene, so it is strongly recommended not to try raw fruits and vegetables before buying;
  • In India, there is an acute shortage of clean, potable water, it is strictly prohibited to drink water from the tap, you must buy bottled;
  • It is also better to refuse to use ice, because it is made from tap water.

Traditional Indian dishes

As noted earlier, the national Indian cuisine is very diverse, and it is almost impossible to cover all the dishes worthy of tourists’ attention. We decided to simplify the task and prepared a review of the best 15 national dishes of Indian cuisine.

Curry dish

There is documentary evidence that curry, an Indian dish, was first cooked several thousand years ago. This is the name of not only a popular spice, but also the national dish. It is prepared from legumes, vegetables, sometimes adding meat and, of course, a whole bouquet of spices. In the finished dish can be up to two dozen spices. Ready meal is served with rice.

Good to know! Together with curry, betel leaves are served, they are eaten at the end of the meal. The leaves are wrapped with crushed betel nut and a set of spices. It is believed that such a set of products improves digestion.

There is no single recipe for curry, the technology varies depending on the region of India and the culinary preferences of a particular family. It is noteworthy that curry is an Indian dish, but has become known in many countries around the world. Today there are Thai and Japanese curries, and it is also cooked in Britain. In India, the dish can be spicy or sour-sweet.

Dal soup

A typical example of a combination of vegetables, pulses (peas), rice, curry in one Indian dish is dal. Soup is a must for an Indian lunch and includes legumes or peas, eaten with rice, bread flatbread.

Indian soup is called not just a national dish, but a folk dish, because it is necessarily prepared without exaggeration in every family. The first dish is served both hot and cold. The locals say that there are so many methods of cooking soup that it is easy to cook it all year round, without repeating itself.

The main ingredients are onions, garlic, tomatoes, a set of spices, and yogurt. The dish is boiled, baked, stewed and even fried. Depending on the set of products and method of preparation, the treat is served for breakfast, lunch, or dessert.

Malai kofta dish

Another well-known national Indian dish is fried small balls of potatoes and paneer cheese. Greens, spices, and nuts are also added.

The name means – meatballs (kofta) in cream sauce (malai).

Useful to know! Paneer is a soft, fresh cheese common in Indian cuisine. The finished product does not melt and has a low acidity. The basis of the cheese is cottage cheese from milk, lemon juice and food acid.

Locals call the dish capricious, because it requires careful handling. If you cook it without the proper delicacy, malai kofta will turn out to be unpalatable. By the way, even in India, not everywhere it is prepared successfully. As a result, tourists do not pay proper attention to the meal. If a true master cooks it, however, you will be captivated by the delicate taste of vegetable balls in sauce.

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Palak Panir

In the list of the most famous dishes of Indian cuisine includes spinach and cheese soup, spices and vegetables are also added. Actually, palak means spinach, and paneer is a type of soft cheese similar to Adigean cheese. The Indian dish is delicate, with a pleasant creamy taste. Served with rice, bread tortillas.

Tip: Newcomers who are just getting acquainted with Indian culture and national cuisine, it is recommended to order palak paneer with a minimal set of spices, so that you can feel the real, creamy taste of the dish.

Biriani dish

To make it clearer, the finished national dish can be called Indian pilaf. The name comes from the Persian word which means fried. It is prepared according to the following technology – basmati rice is fried with the addition of ghee oil, vegetables, spices. It’s noteworthy that each region has its own composition of spices and cooking algorithm, most often saffron, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves are used.

Interesting fact! Biriani can not be called a truly Indian dish, because its recipe was brought to the country by Persian merchants.

Pakora dish

The name of the Indian street dish combines vegetables, cheese and meat fried in batter. Slavic cuisine has a counterpart, but the only difference is that in India they use chickpea flour instead of wheat flour – they grind chickpeas (hummus beans). As a result, the crust is tender and crispy, and the dish gets extra nutritional value, because beans are high in protein.

The most common pakora is made of vegetables, and different bases are used – pumpkin, yams, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and potatoes. The finished dish is served with a seasoning of apples or tomatoes.

Tip: If you want to cook pakora on your own, the main thing is to choose and maintain the right temperature.

Dish Thali

In translation, the name of the Indian dish thali means a tray with treats. In fact, it is so – on a large dish they put small plates with different dishes. Originally, it was served on a banana leaf; by the way, in some regions it is still served like this today – the old-fashioned way.

Rice is an essential ingredient of the thali, as are stewed vegetables, papad (lentil flour flatbread), chapati (bread flatbread), chutney sauces, and piculi. Traditionally 6 dishes are prepared at home, while a cafe or restaurant serves a maximum of 25 dishes. The set of treats varies from region to region.

Dish Chapati

Perhaps the most famous bread flatbread in India is chapati. The dish is made very quickly because it requires a minimum of products – whole grain flour. In the Indian dish uses a special flour – atta. The flatbreads are baked on a dry pan, without adding oil. Thus, tortillas are great for those who do not want to gain extra calories.

Tip: Chapatis should only be eaten hot. Many tourists do not know this and restaurants take advantage of this – they serve yesterday’s dish. It is recommended to order the flatbread as needed, so that the table is served freshly baked dish.

Naana dish

One of the most beloved dishes in India is naan flatbread. Yogurt and vegetable oil are added to the usual yeast dough. The tortillas are baked in an Indian tandoori oven.

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There is a wide variety of scones in India, experienced tourists recommend trying naan butter (with butter), naan chies (with cheese), naan garlic (with garlic).

Naan can be tasted at any Indian café or restaurant; the tortillas are served as a meal by themselves or with a filling of meat, potatoes, or cheese.

Tandoori chicken

To be in India and not taste tandoori chicken is like not having been to this exotic country. So, a tandoor is a traditional Indian roasting oven. Before the chicken is marinated in yogurt and, of course, spices (the traditional set – cayenne pepper and other hot peppers). After that, the bird is baked on a high heat.

Good to know! In India, you can buy special sets of spices for marinating chicken and cooking chicken tandoori. In the original version, aimed at locals, the dish turns out too spicy, and for tourists the amount of ground pepper is reduced. The chicken is served with rice and naan tortillas.

Alu Gobi

The composition of the Indian national dish is clear from the name – alu – potatoes, and gobi – cauliflower. Additionally, tomatoes, carrots, onions, spices are added. It is eaten with rice, traditional tortillas, drunk with Indian masala tea.

Why has this dish become national and popular? Products for its preparation can be purchased at any market, regardless of the season.

Navratan Korma

The dish is a vegetable mixture cooked in a sauce of cream and nuts. The national dish traditionally has nine ingredients, as the name means nine jewels and korma means stew. The treat is served with rice and unleavened tortillas.

Tip! For the sauce instead of cream you can use coconut milk or natural yogurt.

Jalebi Meal

Indian national cuisine has a large selection of sweets and desserts. Jalebi is a pretzel with a rich orange color, it is known in every corner of India. The treat is made from liquid dough, it is poured into boiling oil and then soaked in sugar syrup. The national treat is crispy, juicy, but turns out greasy, sweet, hence very calorie-dense.

Traditions and customs of Indian cuisine vary, primarily depending on the region. But in general we can note several features – spicy, spicy, vegetarian.

Indian cuisine is one of the most colorful in the world and if you want to explore the culture of the country, be sure to pay attention to the gastronomic aspects.

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What to Try in India

What to Try in Goa

A great overview of the highlights of the national Indian cuisine! Find out what you should definitely try in India.

India is a vibrant country that will give you an unforgettable experience. The national cuisine of India evokes contradictory feelings among tourists, so it is advisable to learn as much as possible about it before your trip. Our review will help you in this.


Features of the national cuisine of India

Unprepared traveler food in India can be a little shocking. First, it is customary here to eat a lot, because Hindus believe that a beautiful person can not be thin, and a mountain of food on the plate – it is their style. Secondly, the locals use a lot of spices and herbs, because of which all food is spicy and tangy. Food combinations in traditional Indian cuisine can be the most unexpected: mango with beets and garlic or fried bananas and cucumbers with chili peppers.

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The basis of the diet is rice, pulses, vegetables and tortillas. Vegetables with spices – sabji and curry vegetables are very popular. Many recipes for dishes made of unleavened cheese (paneer). It is used to make soup, pâté with boiled vegetables or simply stuffed with nuts and garlic.

A cow is a sacred Hindu animal, a pig is an unclean animal for Muslims, that’s why poultry, mutton and goat meat are eaten in the country. Seafood and meat are also cooked with spices; however, fish, shrimps, and lobsters are best tasted on the coast.

Desserts in the national Indian cuisine are based on dairy products, nuts, honey, rice, flour, fruit and spices.

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Marar paneer is a popular Indian dish: green peas and white paneer cheese in a tomato paste. Photo: wikimedia.ru / Sonja Pauen – Stanhopea. Lassi is a refreshing yogurt-based drink with ice, water, spices, fruit and sugar and salt. Photo: pxhere.com.

What to Try in India

Food in India is delicious and hearty, but often very spicy – so ask for “no spicy” if you’re not a fan of spicy. The most popular vegetable dishes are curry vegetables, alu gobi – potato and cabbage stew, dal – bean soup with tomatoes, onions and kurd, thali – rice with dal (there are many variations). At least 9 ingredients are used to prepare navratan fodder (vegetables in a creamy sauce with nuts). Naturally, spices are added throughout.

The local fast food, pakora, is often prepared during various mass events. Vegetables or fruit are dipped in a batter made of pea or chickpea flour and cooked in boiling oil.

Pickle lovers can try pickles . These are vegetables and fruits marinated in oil and spices, usually cabbage, chilies, carrots, onions, mangoes, garlic, and limes.

The people of India also like cheese and dairy products. A very delicate dish with a pleasant taste of cheese, butter and spinach is palak paneer . If you ask for it to be cooked “no spicy”, even those who dislike exotic cuisine will like it.

In the heat, it is good to try raita – a traditional Indian dish, which is analogous to the Russian okroshka. It’s based on fresh vegetables, mint, cilantro, spices and yogurt (kurd). The most common combinations are cucumbers with mint or tomatoes with cilantro. Fruit, most often pineapple chunks, is added to the sweet raita.

In India, you must try roti, which you will really enjoy. They are very simple to make, but they are surprisingly tasty. Rotis are eaten by tearing off slices and dipping them in sauce. Often they sell roti with fillings, including sweet ones.

According to tourist reviews, the surest way to try several dishes at once is to order a thali. On a tray or a banana leaf, several plates are brought out: rice, dal, sabji, kurd, achar sauce, roti or chapati tortillas. Each place has its own version of thali: the homemade version includes six dishes, while the restaurant can offer up to three dozen.

Pretty interesting variations of cooking chicken meat with spices and various sauces:

  1. Chicken tandoori – meat marinated in yogurt and spices is baked in an oven. It is a very spicy dish, but the amount of spices is reduced for tourists.
  2. Chiken masala – chicken meat roasted in an oven and stewed in cream and tomatoes with spices.
  3. Chiken sagwala – non-spicy chicken in spinach sauce.
  4. Chiken kebab – made from minced chicken, rice, and spices, cooked in a tandoori (analog of a tandoor).
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Indian variant of pilaf – biriyani – consists of basmati rice with lamb (chicken) or vegetables. Tibetan dumplings Momo are made with vegetable and meat fillings, also a good option for those who do not like spices.

Finally, being on the coast, be sure to order fresh fish and lobsters, and for desserts try fruit salad, sweet puddings, cookies and fudge, gajar ka halwa (carrot halwa with almonds). Also inimitably delicious are dosa (a crispy pancake with a filling, usually not sweet) and samosas (triangular-shaped cakes).

Thali – several dishes on a tray or banana leaf. Photo: bionicgrrrl / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license. Palak paneer. The name reflects the main ingredients: palak is spinach, paneer is cottage cheese. Photo: arsheffield / flickr.com. Rice, boiled potatoes, or fresh vegetables are used as a side dish with pakoras. Photo: ArtificialOG / pixabay.com.

Drinks and Alcohol in India

You can wash down all this abundance with freshly squeezed juices, tea (try masala tea – with spices) and lassi – sour milk drink with fruits, nuts and candied fruits. There is also “special lassi” – bhang lassi where hemp is added.

Alcohol is not sold everywhere in the country: for example, in Goa you can easily buy it, while in some other states it is not. Popular wines include cane and fruit wines, Old Monk rum, Kingfisher beer, Aristocrat whisky and Sula wine. Be careful when choosing wines – some tourists report that there are not very good varieties.

Kingfisher, according to tourists, is an excellent Indian beer. Photo: unsplash.com / @suvirs. Workers at a tea plantation in Munnar. Photo: unsplash.com / @iwagg.

Food reviews and tips from tourists in India

The impression of India’s traditional cuisine will remain good if you follow a few simple rules.

The main rule for a traveler in India is to wash your hands more often and drink only purified bottled water. Tap water is not good even after boiling. In institutions, it is better to refuse to add ice to the drinks.

In order not to be disappointed on the first day of rest, do not immediately rush to explore the local delicacies. Too great is the risk of getting caught on the most fire-breathing dishes, because even in the masala-tea contains black pepper. That’s why it’s better to order a European meal first and ask for “No spicy” – no spices.

If your stomach refuses to accept spicy food, you can always choose neutral Indian dishes like omelettes, flatbreads (roti or chapati), dal nou spicy, grilled fish, rice, momo, fruit and sweets.

You can chew fennel seeds after a meal, it is good for refreshing your breath and improves digestion in general. Small plates are usually at the cash register or at the exit of a catering establishment.

Put medications in your medicine cabinet to help with stomach problems.

If after a few attempts failed to imbue the love for the national cuisine of India, move on to the familiar European dishes. The most adapted in this sense Goa – local cafes offer a huge variety of dishes, including Russian cuisine, though with a slightly modified recipe. In addition, the state of Goa has an abundance of fresh seafood, which in Russia is too expensive and not available to everyone.

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What to Try in India

Roti are unleavened flat cakes, cooked in a pan without butter. Photo: avlxyz / flickr.com.

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