Explore the diversity of Indian cuisine through these 7 desi foods
Special occasions like Independence Day remind us of how diverse India is – be it festivals, languages, food, or the dressing sense followed across the country. But the true diversity of Indian states is particularly represented by the traditional food of that place. We are all aware that food is the thickest and strongest thread that binds our country together, and the gourmand in us can’t thank our fortune enough for having taken birth in India. Let’s get on the voyage to discover the distinct cultures, traditions, and heritage, and learn what each state has in store for us in terms of food.
This popular recipe acquired an out of the ordinary status as a healthy and delicious Indian breakfast in almost every household. The famous Maharashtrian poha is cooked with potatoes, green chillies, and finely chopped onions, with an addition of roasted peanuts. While, the Indore version is prepared with peas and potatoes, and is lightly fried. The poha in Tamil Nadu contains coriander paste and aromatic flattened rice, and the one in Chhattisgarh includes jaggery to give a hint of sweet flavor.
Whether the weather is rainy, cold, or warm in India, pakoras act as a catalyst to refresh everyone’s mood. A plate full of potato, onion, or baingan pakora from UP, sprinkled with some black salt or chaat masala can always put our cravings to rest. While, the fondness of Bengal for fish makes for the scrumptious fish pakoras there! Jaipur’s version of pakoras can be found in the form of churu, medu vada in Andhra and Tamil Nadu, and batata vada and bhajjis in Maharashtra.
Kadhi is one of the favorites of Indians – whether they are vegetarians or non-vegetarians. The kadhi in Gujarat and Rajasthan is simple and prepared with yoghurt, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and dried red chillies. It’s slightly sweeter in taste due to the addition of jaggery or sugar. The North Indian kadhi is made up of yoghurt and besan, and spinach pakoras are added to the gravy. The Sindhi kadhi replaces yoghurt with tamarind pulp to acquire the sour taste. Coming to the South, the kadhi is seasoned with asafoetida, mustard, fenugreek, curry leaves, and cumin seeds.
The North Indians use a lot of vegetables like potatoes, green peas, and cauliflower in their khichdi, while those in Maharashtra, particularly on the coastal region, make use of prawns. The Bihari khichdi is full of crunchy vegetables and is generally runny in texture. In Bengal, the bhoger khichuri has a subtle sweetness and is loaded with vegetables. Lastly, the Odisha khichdi consists of moong dal and is mostly served with papad and pickle.
There’s not a single Indian household where mornings start without freshly made tea. From Assam to Darjeeling, Karnataka to Munnar, the cultivation and availability of tea is just as diverse as the country’s culture. The popular masala chai in Gujarat is prepared with green cardamom and ginger, while in Maharashtra, tea is preferred with grounded cloves, pepper, and ginger. One of the classic variants of tea is the one from Kashmir, known as Kahwa. It makes use of cinnamon sticks, saffron strands, and cardamom pods to release the perfect aroma. Not to forget, Ladakhi’s like their tea with yak butter, salt, and water.
Biryani, as we know it, is one of the most versatile food items and is made in umpteen number of ways throughout the country. The Awadhi biryani uses the steam or dum to cook the meat and rice, while the Chettinad biryani is packed with loads of spices. In Kashmir, the biryani is popularly called as Zarda, which is sweet in taste, and the Hyderabadi version uses raw meat and is commonly termed as Kacche Gosht ki biryani. The Bengali version is the most unique one, since it is prepared in mustard oil, with generous amount of fish.
Indian food is an experience in itself. It’s hard to understand the history and customs of India by just visiting a few states or cities, for each have their own speciality, traditions, and uniqueness.