INDIAN FOOD 101: EAT LIKE A LOCAL

Feb 5, 2020 | Food & Drinks, India, Travel Tips

When it comes to history, culture, and natural beauty, India’s got it all! But without a doubt, one of the best ways to get to know this amazing country is by exploring its unique food scene.

Because India is such a large and geographically diverse country, the food varies massively between its regions, and the food you find on your plate in one corner of the country will look drastically different from what you would find in another area.

Compared to other parts of the country, Indian food dishes in the north comprise some of the most popular and prevalent food styles found both in and out of the country. With their use of clay ovens called tandoors and unique command of dairy and spices, exploring popular Indian food in this region is one of the best ways to get to know the country, not to mention – it is an absolute paradise for foodies.

If you find yourself in northern India, here are our top 10 recommendations that will leave your mouth watering long after you’ve left the country.

 

BUTTER CHICKEN

Of all popular Indian food, butter chicken is the one that made its mark way past the borders of India. This delicious chicken dish is comprised of a tantalizing spice mixture that includes garam masala, ginger, garlic, lemon, pepper, fenugreek, fresh cream, and yogurt. Best enjoyed with a side of naan, you can find butter chicken anywhere across Northern India!

TIKKA MASALA

Like butter chicken, tikka masala is another chicken-based dish that’s taken the world by storm. Comprised of small pieces of boneless chicken that are skewered and brushed with ghee while cooking in a traditional clay oven, this traditional meal is typically eaten with both green coriander and tamarind chutney, as well as onion rings and lemon. Undoubtedly many people will have had this dish at the Indian restaurant nearest them, but that can’t compare to the tikka masala you can try in the streets of old Delhi. Jump on a rickshaw and head to Mutton Street for your fix.

CHAPATIS

Although you can often find rice-centric meals in Northern India, bread reigns supreme in this part of the country, and one of the most common types of bread you can find here is the chapati. Also known as roti or phuka, this is a type of unleavened flatbread that is often combined with different meals like tikka masala and used to scoop up delicious sauces. Join us on our 14-Day North India tour to see how the pros make thousands in a day!

BIRYANI

While rice-based dishes are more abundant in Southern India, they’re still prevalent (and extremely popular) throughout the north. A delicious fusion of spices and carefully cooked meat, served on a bed of steaming basmati rice. Throw in a simple side sauce called raita (a tasty concoction of yoghurt, cucumber & mint) and this is absolutely a fan favourite – search for it in cities like Jaipur or Pushkar!

LASSI

One of the most popular treats in and out of the country, and easily a staple food of India, a trip to Northern India would be remiss without a delicious cup of lassi. This traditional refreshment comes in a variety of flavours and is served cold, so it’s best enjoyed in the summer. A unique blend of yoghurt and tons of flavours from mango to saffron, this will be a refreshing treat while you’re on any street food tour.

LITTI CHOKHA

Another delicacy that comes out of Northern India is the litti chokha. This dish is comprised of dough balls that are stuffed with sattu (roasted chickpea flour mixed with herbs and spices) and then roasted over coals before being tossed in ghee. Served with chokha, chutney, and even creamy chicken curry, this feast is best enjoyed after working up a huge appetite from a long day of sight-seeing.

KASHMIRI DUM ALOO

Tucked away into the Kashmir Valley, Kashmiri dum aloo is another must-try delicacy. Although Kashmiri cuisine typically uses meat, this vegetarian meal is a favorite of locals and travelers alike. Made with baby potatoes that are fried a glorious golden-brown color and cooked with a unique combination of spices, it’s the dried Kashmiri chilies that give this dish its unforgettable flavor profile. If you’ve ever wanted to test your spice tolerance, believe us – this is the dish to do it!

SAMOSAS

You’ll have to take our word for it, there is no better place to try samosas than in Northern India – especially in Jodhpur, where this tasty snack originated. A samosa is a triangular piece of fried dough that is stuffed with peas, carrots, potatoes, and a lot of spices. If you find yourself in Jodhpur, be sure to grab yourself a sample of this iconic Indian finger food during your stay!

RABRI

Of course, like many other cultures, Indian cuisine has its own command of unique sweets and desserts. Served cold, with a sprinkling of saffron to give it its beautiful colour – this is a delicious combination of condensed milk, sugar, spices, and nuts. If you find yourself in Varanasi, Agra, or any of the other amazing cities in Northern India, don’t forget to give this dessert a try!

PALAK PANEER

Dairy plays a huge role in Northern India’s cuisine, and one of the most popular ways it’s used is in paneer – a soft cheese that has an incredibly unique flavour and consistency. While paneer can appear in a variety of northern dishes, one of the most popular ones is palak paneer. This vegetarian delicacy is a combination of paneer served in a thick paste of pureed spinach, ginger, garlic, garam masala, and other spices that will make your mouth water.

If you’re planning a trip to northern India, this food guide will help you navigate the diverse and delicious food experience that awaits you — just know that whatever local dishes you try, you’ll be in foodie heaven! If you’re interested in exploring India’s culture more in-depth but need some help, travel with us! Check out our 14 Day tour to India here.


WRITTEN BY: AMANDA WHITE

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