India, an expansive nation comprising 28 states, boasts a plethora of distinct culinary traditions in each region. The cuisine also varies from one area to another, presenting an awe-inspiring array of flavors and cooking techniques. It’s astonishing that Indian cuisine has a history dating back thousands of years.\
Some of the oldest known cookbooks in the world, such as the “Manasollasa,” originated in early 12th-century India. Even today, India is often called the “Land of Spices.” It produces and exports various spices, including black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric.
The richness of Indian cuisine is not limited to its diverse flavors and techniques; however, it also encompasses the land’s cultural, historical, and social aspects in its preparation. And you can’t just whip up a dish with some random ingredients. Indian recipes are complex and demand numerous spices, extensive preparation, and cooking time.
Indian cuisine is a sensory delight that offers a burst of flavors to your taste buds. You may encounter the richness of creamy curries, the smoky essence of tandoor-grilled items, the crispiness of fried snacks, and the sweetness of delectable desserts—all on a single culinary journey.
Having said that, we have compiled a list of mind-blowing Indian dishes you must try to soothe your taste buds.
Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhni)
Paneer makhni is a popular North Indian dish. It sounds delicious with the combination of paneer and a creamy tomato-based sauce. If you’re looking to try these tender chunks of paneer in a tasty curry, you can look at a simple paneer butter masala recipe that you can nail the first time you cook it.
Paneer makhni is a cherished vegetarian dish, appreciated by many for its rich, creamy texture and delightful blend of spices. You can serve it hot, accompanied by Indian flatbreads such as naan, roti, paratha, and sometimes with steamed rice.
Masala dosa, a well-loved South Indian delicacy, has garnered widespread fame both within India and globally. It’s a thin, crispy rice and lentil crepe (dosa) generously filled with a delightful and aromatic potato filling (masala). You experience a variety of textures combined beautifully.
Masala dosa is a versatile dish and offers different kinds of fillings:
- Vegetable masala
- Paneer masala
- Mushroom masala
- Egg masala
- Cheese masala
- Spinach and cheese
- Chutney filling
- Tofu masala
- Schezwan masala
- Mutton/chicken masala
When you see the dish coming towards you, it can envelop you with the alluring aroma of spiced chickpea curry. The combination of Indian spices such as cumin, coriander, and garam masala imparts a luxurious and aromatic fragrance. This popular North Indian dish includes a spicy chickpea curry (chole) served with fluffy deep-fried bread (bhature).
Here is a list of ingredients to give you an idea of how it must taste:
- Chickpeas (Kabuli chana)
- Onion and tomatoes
- Ginger-garlic paste
- A blend of ground spices, including cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, and garam masala
- Tea bags (optional)
- Amchur (dried mango powder)
- Tamarind PasteFresh Coriander to garnish.
Dhokla boasts a soft and spongy texture created by steaming a batter of fermented gram flour (besan). Seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies, Dhokla delights with its distinctive tangy and mildly spicy taste. You can also track your calories if you are diet conscious.
Dhokla tastes delicious with green chutney or tamarind chutney for extra flavor. It is a popular snack for breakfast and tea time, or you can use it as an appetizer at gatherings and parties.
A true Indian would tell you biryani makes them happy. Biryani stands as one of India’s most cherished and extensively savored dishes.
The main ingredient of biryani is basmati rice, meat/chicken, and spices. Not everyone can master the art of making the perfect biryani. Biryani is prepared by carefully layering partially cooked rice with marinated meat or vegetables in a pot, allowing the flavors to blend together through slow cooking.
This technique infuses the dish with a delightful aroma and taste. Additionally, biryani is commonly garnished with fried onions, cilantro, and mint leaves, enhancing both its visual appeal and flavor.
The infamous dish also has types, and none will disappoint you:
- Hyderabadi biryani: Traditionally, you use the “dum” cooking method, where the pot is tightly sealed with dough to retain steam and allow the flavors to meld together.
- Lucknowi biryani (Awadhi biryani): Originating from the Awadh region in North India, this biryani is known for its delicate flavors and the use of fragrant spices like rose water and kewra water.
- Kolkata biryani: this biryani is lighter and less spicy than other varieties. It is different from the others because of its use of potatoes along with meat (often mutton or chicken), and the aromatic spices add flavors to rice.
- Sindhi Biryani
Don’t forget to add something to sweeten your taste buds. Rasgulla is a delectable dessert originating from the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a soft and spongy cheese-based sweet soaked in a light sugar syrup.
When eating Rasgulla, expect a delightful experience of softness and sweetness. The spongy texture melts in your mouth, while the subtle sugar syrup adds a light, refreshing sweetness. It’s a moist and juicy dessert, perfect for celebrations, showcasing the cultural richness of Indian cuisine in just one bite.
Chhena is the main ingredient used to make Rasgulla. It is a form of cottage cheese made by curdling milk and then straining the whey.
Rasgulla is typically served chilled and is a favorite dessert for festivals, celebrations, and special occasions.
Indian cuisine has ranked 5th in the world by the TasteAtlas, and this pretty much sums up how loved and delicious it is. The global popularity of Indian cuisine is evident from the extensive presence of Indian restaurants worldwide. It is safe to say that Indian cuisine has impressed more than it has disappointed over the years, so dive into this cuisine’s unique flavors, and let us know what your favorite Indian dish is.