The food is one of the main reasons people visit India. Just the thought of enjoying the varied flavors of the Subcontinent, whether it’s in the North or the South, can make one’s mouth water.
If you’re planning a journey, below are some things to consider, as well as some Indian food you absolutely must try.
When to Go
Plan your trip to India around the weather. Winter months are best from the south up through most of the north although you’ll find extremely cold temperatures in the mountainous north in December and January. Summer months throughout the country will be sweltering hot (except for the mountain ranges) and might be accompanied by rain.
How to Get There
Start pricing flights well in advance of your departure. When you’re looking for flights to India, Emirates offers very reasonably priced fares from North America to many cities in India (though some routes are not daily).
Once you get there, you’ll find there are many regional specialties and below are some of the best foods of India:
Naan, chapati, paratha, and roti – Bread is a staple for most Indian meals and some are unleavened. These yummy flatbreads are made from wholewheat flour and are used for dipping the often-served savory and spicy side dishes.
Remember to rip the bread apart with your right hand and the scoop up your meal, enjoying one delicious bite at a time.
Poppadoms or papads – These thin, flat, round-shaped crispy wafers are usually served on the side with chutney. They are served as an appetizer or snack and are delicious plain, too.
Thali – This is a full meal comprised of a variety of dishes. It is usually served in a round metal tray or a banana leaf, with small bowls or compartments containing chutney, curries, vegetables, and other items. The main dish is rice and it’s also served with some style of Indian bread. A Thali is a sampler tray and a full meal in itself with savory, spicy, and cooling foods.
Biryani – A typical Indian food known worldwide, this is a rice-based dish usually made with basmati rice mixed with spices, chicken, mutton, and eggs. There is also a vegetarian variety.
Vindaloo – This curry meat dish includes lamb, goat, or chicken and is well-loved by those preferring spicy hot dishes.
Tandoori chicken – This Punjabi dish is cooked with curry and yogurt in a traditional earthen oven called a tandoor, thus the name. Nicely spiced, you can find this served throughout the country.
Idli with sambar – Idli is a steamed rice cake made from fermented lentils that are served with a delicious vegetable stew called sambar. Fermented lentils may not sound good, but once made into one of these savory rice cakes – yum! Sambar is a mixture of pigeon peas (toor dal) and tamarind. You’ll most often find this served for breakfast in South India.
Lassi – This famous Punjabi drink is made with yogurt blended with water and Indian spices including ground, roasted cumin. There is a refreshing sweet variety that uses sugar or fruits in lieu of the spices.
Gulab Jamun – This is a very popular dessert created from spongy balls of flour, milk powder and spices. Once cooked the balls are soaked in flavored sugar syrup. Hold on to your tooth, these are quite sweet!