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Whether Indian specialties are a favorite for you internationally or not, it is a whole new game park when it comes to actually trying these dishes in the remarkable country of India. Coming from a very ‘picky’ eater, Indian food across North America seemed too spicy and filled with one ingredient – curry. When I first arrived in India my stomach dropped reading all the dishes on the menu: curry chicken, mutton curry, vegetables in curry sauce… you get the idea. To my wonderful surprise in India the use of the word ‘curry’ isn’t to define one spice but a blend of difference spices. This blend isn’t a fixed recipe, it really is just a magical blend of any spice you decide to throw in the dish. I am now a fiend when it comes to cooking Indian at home and can only dream about how mouth-watering and delicious the dishes were in India. Here were 8 of my favorite dishes throughout India:
If you’re looking for a way to experience the most of India in one dish, well this is the just plate to choose. Indian Thali can be from the North or the South of India and is a variety of local cuisines all on one massive plate (and when I use to word ‘massive’ I mean MASSIVE). You can expect the base of your meal to include white rice, chapatti and roti. The remainder of the dish differs among local restaurants but usually includes some sort of vegetable curry, paneer curry, yoghurt cup and dal (beans).
Rice, vegetables, meat (optional) and spices, sounds like a pretty basic dish right? Well, to my surprise Biryani is something quite frequently prepared for celebrations and festivals across India and is often considered a traditional cuisine. Despite the basic ingredients seeming rather bland, this dish is filled with flavor and delicious spices.
Here is your Indian lesson for the day: aloo = potato. This is a key word to take with you to India as most dishes on the menu will include ‘aloo’. The way I tried to explain aloo paratha to other western tourists was a chapatti stuffed with delicious potato chunks and spices. Though our cook often got frustrated by the comparison, it is the easiest way to get a mental picture. Aloo paratha is a blend of potato and spices which are then mashed up and folded into a mixture of dough. The dish can then be baked or fried but is more often than not fried on a pan.
If you’re thinking of a curry dish from home already, I’m going to stop you there. Egg curry in India is nothing like you will experience outside of the country. It is a dish that can be eaten with rice or bread (chapatti, naan, etc.) and is made up of more spices than you can count, boiled eggs whole, tomatoes, onions and much, much more!
This is one of my personal favorite dishes as it is not spicy and has a creamier base than most Indian dishes. Paneer is another word you should learn before departing to India, it is similar to cottage cheese but is formed into a block (looking similar to feta). This is a vegetarian dish made up of many spices (of course, right?), paneer, onion, ginger, garlic, tomato and fresh cream. Mmm, mmm, mmm!
You may have heard of mutton before, and it is commonly used across Asia as another term for goat. This dish is a popular choice on almost all restaurant menus and is an ‘easier to make’ dish than most Indian cuisines. Curry mutton is small bits of goat, onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and a whole load of delicious Indian spices.
This what most people will eat for breakfast. It is an experience popular morning dish across Bangalore and is often served with a yogurt dish and some type of dal (bean) dip. Idli is a very easy to make and basic dish compared to most on the Indian menu, it is beaten rice that is then cooked and puffed up for easy dipping.
Lastly, but certainly not least is the masala dosa. If you think of your hometown and what you would consider to be the easiest and fastest thing to buy on the side of the road and run with it, this is what masala dosa is to Indians. It is commonly eaten for breakfast, and then lunch and can also be made for dinner (cool, huh?). It looks similar to a crepe but is made from rice and beans and then smothered in butter. The ‘masala’ part to this dish is the dip or filling that comes with it. The masala consists of boiled and chopped potatoes, onions, chili and more spices.
Have any more suggestions to add to the menu of mouth-watering Indian dishes? Comment below, share you favorites!