The Asian culture is one that puts a great emphasis on their food and the ingredients used. In the same way, Indian cuisine blends spiritual values with the foods they consume. Much of India’s population is vegetarian, and this trend it is steadily growing. In terms of meat, however, the Indians prefer chicken or pig, avoiding beef (cows are consider sacred animals there). If you get through India, here are the dishes that you mustn’t miss!
Samosa is an appetizer, and it is usually vegetarian, or stuffed with meat in a pastry dough sheet that is then fried or baked. The most used filling is a mixture of seasoned potatoes with onions, peas, lentils and pasta or noodles.
This appetizer is originally from Central Asia, but has spread throughout the Indian segment of the continent and is either triangular or tetrahedral. It can vary in size and is usually served with chutney or mint sauce. Samosa has also spread under other names in countries near India such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal.
The most famous type of chutney is mango chutney, often used in Indian cuisine. The different types of this sauce differ from region to region and can include coriander, tomatoes, curry leaves, radishes, cucumber, carrots, beets, chickpeas, chili, garlic, coconut, mango, onion, ginger, mint, peanuts, eggplant or papaya.
The Tandoori chicken is named so because of the way it is prepared. The chicken pieces are marinated in yoghurt, spiced with a spice mixture called Tandoori masala (containing various spices, including red chili), placed on large roast sticks and cooked in the tandoor oven (a cylindrical metal or clay oven, where the charcoal and the fire are inside, along with the food), which gives the Tandoori chicken an intense reddish color. If the less seasoned recipe is chosen, the chicken will be seasoned with turmeric, a natural food color, to give it a slightly orange color.
A milkshake-like Indian drink made of yoghurt mixed with water and spices. There are different types of lassi such as lassi salt (yoghurt mixed with water, salt and spices), sweet lassi (yoghurt mixed with water, sugar or honey), fruit lassi (yoghurt mixed with water and the pulp of a fruit, usually mango).
Ladoo is the most popular Indian desert, a sweet dish made usually during holidays (such as religious events, weddings). The main ingredients used are flour (usually chickpeas, minced meat or coconut), sugar and milk, but other ingredients are added according to preference. The tiny doughs are then fried in ghee.
Idli is usually eaten for breakfast and consists of l loafed linden loaves and rice or oats and cooked on a steamer. They are served with different types of chutney.
Pani Puri means bread with water. That’s because the recipe is actually a kind of bread, empty on the inside, that is fried until it becomes crisp, then filled with aromatic water, chutney, chili, masala, potatoes, onion and chickpeas. It is usually consumed as a snack.
Used to describe a variety of snacks and fast food that are usually purchased from street vendors. The word “papri” refers to a crunchy paste with a chocolate texture made of flour and oil. “Chaat” comes from “chaat masala” which is a mixture of potatoes, chickpeas, chili, yogurt and sauce.
Chicken Tikka Masala
The origin of the Tikka Masala chicken is uncertain and may even have not have been invented in India. Some people say it was discovered in Scotland by British colonists. However, it is associated with Indian food and Tikka means small pieces.
Tikka masala refers to small pieces of chicken mixed with sauces. It is usually creamy, orange colored and spicy. The chicken is first added to the yogurt and spices and then placed in the tandoor oven and mixed with masala (spice sauce mixture including curry and turmeric). The sauce also contains coconut cream, sweet cream or mashed tomatoes. Usually eaten on rice.
The most popular Indian drink is definitely this tea, which is a combination of black tea, spices and milk. The tea is usually added to a mixture of spices called Karha, which contains ground ginger, green cardamom, anise, cinnamon, cumin seeds, nutmeg and cloves. Other spice mixtures can include saffron, black pepper or chili. Then milk is added (in India they usually use buffalo milk) and the drink is boiled.