For a Foreigner, there is no better way to gain knowledge and appreciation of the multifariousness of Indian foods than by traveling. Most outsiders are acclimatized with North Indian food, specifically Punjabi for its renowned Naan and chicken tikka masala but are blissfully unaware of the food from other regions. You could sample them in restaurants or in an Indian home which shouldn’t be a bother because most Indians are warm, hospitable and will graciously invite you to their homes without a second thought. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive in.
Punjab and North India as a whole
Punjabis are predominantly bread eating people. They tend to experiment with various rotis like naan, kulcha, phulka etc. These are of course mechanically made today with high tech gadgets like Rotimatic which has been customized to produce an assortment of breads. Rotimatic reviews are rather impressive, considering that it mixes, kneads, flatten and cooks the roti!
Some of the popular Punjabi dishes include roti, naan, chicken tikka(pieces of chicken cooked with spices), chole(chickpea curry), butter chicken, alloo muttar (curry that uses both potatoes and peas), Rajma (curry made with red kidney beans), Samosa (puff patry stuffed ideally with potatoes, peas, raisins and spices),Dhal makhani (Yellow lentil dish cooked in butter).
Kashmiri cooking can be sampled by many restaurants in Delhi and other North Indian cities because many of them have migrated to bigger cities in hopes of chasing big dreams.
South Indian cuisine
South Indians and rice are inseparable. They simply cannot do without it! Rice is to South Indians as roti is to North Indians. Hmm, it has a nice ring to it.
The different regions in South India have their distinctive features. For example, in Kerala, oil and meat like fish is largely consumed. In Karnataka, the foodstuff is more sweetish which is a stark contrast to native Tamil Nadu cooking which is strictly spicy like the Chettinad cuisine. Udupi cooking in Karnataka would easily fit the bill of Western standards as the food is mild. Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh is famous worldwide for their Hyderabadi Biryani.
Some of the popular dishes include rice batter meals like idli and dosa, boiled rice, uttamapam, neer dosa, appam etc. Masala dosa is loved by most people. It is dosa with a stuffing made from potato and onion.
Goan food being largely influenced by the Portuguese is mostly composed of meat. Since they are largely Christians, beef and pork which is forbidden in Hinduism and Islam respectively is eaten in bountiful portions. Goans also celebrate Christmas with desserts like cakes, puddings and muffins. Vindaloo (duck curry), Goan chourico (sausage), Goan pao (bread) are just some of the meals. They also have a proclivity to drinks like beer, even more so during festive occasions.
Gujarati cuisine is a culinary delight for vegetarians and people of sweet tooth disposition. Most Gujurati foods tend to be sweetish. Mumbai has plenty of Gujurati delights like dhokla (cake made with fermented rice and chickpeas), thepla, khandvi (a pastry made primarily with buttermilk and gram flour) etc.