One word that aptly describes India is ‘diverse’. As a democratic country in South Asia, India witnesses a progressive mixture of modern and traditional values with a mutual survival of more than 1.25 billion people communicating under 720 dialects and believing in 10 different religions.
Such kind of simultaneous existence is indeed commendable and widely showcased through the clothes people wear, festivals they celebrate and more importantly, the food they eat.
Indian food is popular for its rich spices and flavours, its captivating and distinct aroma and exquisite taste. Here is a list of the top 5 ‘desi’ Indian dishes that you must try at least once in your lifetime.
Meaty Rogan Josh
Starting off with this famous Persian-origin lamb dish from the beautiful, serene valley of Kashmir, Rogan Josh is very popular amongst Indian meat lovers. The name is derived from two Persian words, ‘rogan’ meaning oil and ‘josh’ meaning intense heat.
The dish is cooked in high temperature with a wide range of spices including bay leaves (tez patta), fennel seeds (saunf), cardamom (elaichi), cumin (zeera) and cloves (laung). The dish is best served with boiled rice.
The Fan-Favourite Vada Pav
To curb your untimely fast-food craving, here comes Bombay’s favourite desi fast food dish, the people-popular Vada Pav! A delicious fried potato filling is put inside a bun along with garlic, ginger, tamarind and mint paste. It is best served with green chilly chutney and red chilli powder.
Crossing the financial barriers of the rich and poor, the dish is cherished by people all over the Indian region!
Along with classical dance and music, clear beaches and the action-hero Rajnikaant, South India has blessed us with the tantalising food-blockbuster, masala dosa! Dosa is a desi version of fermented crepe made of rice batter and lentil.
Even though it comes with a wide variety of mouth-watering flavours, the most popular filling is potato and onions. The item is best served with vegetable stew and coconut chutney.
The Ritualistic Samosa
Almost all cuisines have their share of pocket-sized alternatives – be it Cornish pasties, bao or empanadas – India has its own, dainty version of a portable triangle, popularly known as the Samosa.
The only way to describe this tasty little treat is that it’s like a crispy pastry filled with meat or vegetables such as peas, onions and potatoes. The Indian Samosa has inspired western pastry enthusiasts to sell their own versions of ‘desi triangles’ to their local and South Asian visitors.
The Legendary Pakoras
If you have a knack for exotic foods such as fried okra, vegetable tempura or any other fried spicy veggie dish for that matter, you will probably love pakora. It’s usually battered with vegetables inside but it can often surprise you with a spicy meat filling. Look for spinach, cauliflower, onions and potatoes as the standard fillings of the legendary pakora.
Thanks to the abundant use of spices and herbs, it is now a ‘globally accepted’ fact that Indian food tastes fantastic! When you visit India, don’t forget to sink your teeth into the must-try basics mentioned in this article. You won’t regret it!
By: Erica Silva