If you enjoy a plate of chicken tika masala, you might be surprised to learn that this popular dish isn't even from India. It's not worlds removed from anything you might find in India either. A visit to India promises dozens more on delectable dishes on the menu with authentic and bold flavors and recipes passed down through generations.
To top that, there are seven unique regions in India, each with its own culinary pride and joy. From street food to fine dining, Indian food is a delight for foodies and there is seemingly no end to what you can expect from the art of food in India. But here is a little taste of the must-try dishes, street food, and experiences waiting for you in incredible India.
Butter Chicken: Butter Chicken, many people's go-to order at their favorite Indian spot is just about as authentic as it gets. But fair warning, this seemingly harmless dish gets ramped up a few levels on its home soil so expect more heat than you might be used to. It originated in New Delhi but can be found all around the northern parts of India. The dish consists of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, cooked in tomato and butter-based gravy. It is best served with naan bread or steamed rice, the most universal sides in Indian cuisine.
Masala Dosa: Masala Dosa is a popular dish from South India, particularly from the state of Karnataka. This is the Indian answer to savory crepes and honestly, you won't want it any other way after trying this appetizing version. It is a thin, crispy crepe made of rice and lentil batter, filled with a potato and onion curry, and served with coconut chutney and sambar (a lentil soup with vegetables and spices).
Biryani: Fussy eaters will love a good Biryani thanks to its basic textures and visual appeal. Biryani is a fragrant rice dish that originated in the Mughal era, and it is now popular across India. It is a dish made with rice, spices, and meat or vegetables, layered and cooked together to infuse flavors. Although it may look and sound basic, the combination of flavors is out of this world.
Chole Bhature: Don't think Indian cuisine only extends to lunch or dinner. You will also have your fill of delectable food at the breakfast table. Chole Bhature is a Punjabi dish that consists of chickpea curry served with deep-fried bread made of refined flour. It is commonly served for breakfast in the Northern region of India.
Pani Puri: Pani Puri is a popular street food from North India, particularly from the state of Uttar Pradesh. It consists of a hollow fried crispy ball filled with spiced potato and chickpea, served with tangy tamarind water.
Pav Bhaji: Pav Bhaji is a popular street food from Mumbai, Maharashtra. It consists of a vegetable curry made of potatoes, tomatoes, peas, and spices, served with a soft bread roll.
Aloo Tikki: Aloo Tikki is a famous street food from Delhi, the capital city of India. It is a shallow-fried potato patty seasoned with spices and served with chickpea curry, tamarind chutney, and yogurt.
Vada Pav: Vada Pav is a popular street food from Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is a deep-fried potato patty sandwiched between a soft bun, served with mint and coriander chutney and red chili garlic chutney.
Cooking classes: Many places in India offer cooking classes, where you can learn to cook authentic Indian dishes from the locals. Attend a cooking class hosted by a local family in their home for the most authentic and unforgettable experience. You can learn to cook dishes such as Rajasthani Laal Maas, Gatte ki Sabzi, and Ker Sangri.
Food tours: India has a diverse food culture, and a food tour is an excellent way to explore the local cuisine. One of the popular food tours is in Delhi, where you can explore the street food scene of Old Delhi, sampling dishes such as kebabs, jalebis, and paranthas.
Spice plantation tours: India is known for its spices, and a spice plantation tour is a great way to experience the process of growing and harvesting spices such as cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Visit a spice plantation and learn about the history, cultivation, and uses of various spices. You can also participate in cooking demonstrations and taste some traditional dishes made with the freshly harvested spices.
Although Julia Roberts prayed for 3 months in India, she might have been better off eating too. She would have probably found love at the bottom of her plate of butter chicken. So pack your bags, bring your appetite, and get ready for a culinary adventure in India!
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