Cuisine of India
“Age cannot wither…. nor custom stale the infinite variety”. These very lines of Shakespeare can be perfectly used to describe the Indian Cuisine. Indian food is as varied and diversified as the country itself, with every region having its specialty. India has an immense variety of not only non-vegetarian but also vegetarian food. One will be surprised to know that the styles of cooking and commonly used ingredients differ not only from region to region but from also one household to another. The dishes that have gravy are normally called curries but are prepared with a combination of different spices and seasonings that bring altogether different flavors. A traditional meal commonly served in India on a large metal plate is called a ‘Thali’ along with several small bowls used to serve the gravy dishes or different curries and bread (naan or wheat-based roti) in the North, or rice in the South.
Drinks and Beverages
In most parts of India, people do not usually drink alcohol with a meal but with a glass of salty or sweet buttermilk or maybe a soft drink. But many hotels and big restaurants with liquor licenses will have no problem in serving you a drink at your table if you want one.
Tea or chai as called by the locals is the most widely consumed beverage in India. The famous “Masala Chai” is prepared with milk, sugar, and blend of ginger, and some spices like cinnamon and cardamom. India also grows good coffee, and South Indians drink a lot more of it than North Indian tea lovers.
An example of a common cold Indian drink is “lassi”, a yogurt or a buttermilk drink that can be sweet or salty or flavored with rose, mango, or served plain depending on individual preferences.
The cuisine of Punjab has an enormous variety of mouth-watering vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes. The tandoori style of cooking is the best Punjabi contribution to Indian cuisine. In this style, large earthen ovens called tandoor, are used to cook different types of meat, breads, or vegetable dishes, which gives food a distinctive flavor and seals in the aroma of the item.
Milk products such as yogurt lassis and fresh cottage cheese are also an important part of the Punjabi diet. Punjabi food is very popular in North India.
The Gujarati food is mainly vegetarian with high nutritional value. It has a sweet touch in all its dishes. The food is usually served in a traditional thali style, in which all items are served at once on a large plate.
Bengal is known for its fish and sweets. Located on the eastern coast of India, fish is a staple diet of Bengali. Many famous sweets originated in Bengal like rasogulla, gulab jamun, and sondesh, are eaten all over India.
South Indian Cuisine:
The South Indian dishes are known for having low calories. The traditional South Indian food is mainly rice-based. Coconut is widely used in preparation of the food and is also served as a chutney (sauce) along with the famous idli(rice cakes), dosa, vada, and uppam. In Kerela, food is served on a large banana leaf.
Gujarat is the only dry state in India but foreigners can obtain liquor permits.
Water from the tap is not purified for drinking in India. So, to be safe use your bottle of mineral water and check the seal of the bottled water if it’s intact.
Avoid eating salads and cut fruits sold by roadside vendors and small restaurants.