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15 Fantastic Foods from India

India is a culturally and lingually diverse nation, with over 19,500 languages or dialectsspoken and 22 official languages, including the most spoken language- Hindi- to the less well known languages such as Malayalam.

From Marathi to Punjabi- one thing is clear… the Indian language is very diverse. Nevertheless, one thing seems to unite the nation… the love of good food!

From creamier dishes in the North of India to the spicy sambars of the South, India has fantastic food offerings.

However, many of the now well established and loved Indian dishes, both abroad and domestically, incorporate ingredients introduced by foreign nations. With potatoes seemingly introduced by the Dutch and chillies- the spice most associated with Indian cuisine- brought from Mexico by the Portuguese, India truly seems to be a nation whose cuisine has adapted and evolved for the better.

With India’s cuisine offering deliciousness across all courses- it is only fair to work our way through them!

Top 5 Indian Starters or Snacks

  1. Pani Puri or Gol Gappa is a traditional Indian street food found on the bustling streets of many a town and city in India. Small round discs of pastry filled with a sweet chutney and spicy Indian water (or pani), these delicious morsels go down a treat.
  2. Aloo Tikki are delicious spiced potato cakes often served with spiced chickpeas. The perfect snack for Indian afternoon tea served with a cup of chai.
  3. Onion Bhajis or Vegetable Pakoras, a dish made of chickpea flour, onions and potatoes. Add in some vegetables like spinach and you have a lovely vegetable pakora.  After all- everything does taste better with batter!
  4. Amritsari Fish Pakora is an Indian battered fish speciality famous in the North of India. Covered in a light spiced batter, these fish pakoras could even possibly rival the all-time British classic of Fish and Chips. Definitely a dish you need to try to believe in the tastiness!
  5. Pav Bhaji isa dish of a spiced and buttered vegetable mash with buttered bread rolls. This dish is one of the most popular Mumbai style street snacks and is a must if you want to eat authentically. 
Top 5 Indian Main Dishes

Chicken Tikka Masala is arguably one of the most popular dishes in Indian restaurants… well at least in England. A dish which incorporates a plethora of ingredientsfrom tomatoes to cream, Chicken Tikka Masala has gained a reputation as one of the best marinated Indian dishes… that is- at least for meat eaters. But with India ranked as the nation with the most vegetarians- an impressive 38%- what does this proportion of the nation like to eat?

Rogan Josh is a seemingly ‘Indian’ lamb dishfound in most English restaurants that actually has Persian origins. Roughly translating to mean a hot dish containing clarified butter, the Rogan Josh is most closely associated with the region of Kashmir in India/Pakistan. However, this curry like many other Indian curries borrows its’ ingredients from across the globeand incorporates chilli powder to give it a subtle yet delicious taste.

Aloo Gobi is another dish incorporating the Dutch introduced potato.Aloo Gobi or cauliflower and potatoes is a main vegetarian course to be served alongside flatbreads. Simple yet satisfying.

But it would be wrong to end our tour of Indian food without mentioning some of the less well-known dishes from India.

Idli is a heavy south Indian breakfast food. Made predominantly through the fermentation of steamed rice and lentils, Idli may be less well known than its’ wheat-based counterpart the chapatti or roti, but it is nonetheless delicious.

Chole Bhatureh- or chickpeas and fried flatbreads. Although seemingly heavy- the fried flat breads are often made with yoghurt which gives them a light aerated texture. The melodious mix of spices and flavourings makes Chole Bhatureh a must try vegetarian dish. 
Top 5 Indian Desserts

  1. Gulab Jamun are Indian dough balls soaked in a super sweet water syrup. Flavoured with saffron or rose water- the syrup infiltrates the light dough of the Gulab Jamun and makes for a sickly yet satisfying dessert.
  2. Kulfi- a conical shaped Indian ice-cream flavoured with either pistachio or cardamom or kept plain and simple. This dessert is perfect for those hot Indian summer days when all are sorely in need of a cooling treat.
  3. Gajjar ka Halwa is a carrot-based dessert, much like the well-loved carrot cake. Gajjar ka Halwa is a sweet Indian dish packed with fruits, nuts and spices. Although this may not be everyone’s go to dessert, it’s worth a try to see what the fuss is about!
  4. Ras Malai-is a cheese- based dessert popular in India and across the globe. However, this cheese-based dessert is far from the cheese and crackers of the west. Instead the light spongy cheese is soaked in a cardamom and saffron infused milk mixture which saturates the cheese to make a delicious dessert. 
  5. Payasam is another milk-based dessert only originating from South India. However, this versatile dish has many variations- from vermicelli Payasam to a rice Payasam -resembling a rice pudding which is equally as delicious. Whether you like rice pudding or not, Payasam is definitely worth a taste!
So, whether you speak the language or not- it’s worth knowing about India’s food offerings. After all- a love for good food unites individuals across the globe!
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