When you think of typical Indian cuisine you probably think of tandoori chicken, beef jalfrezi, lamb korma as well as vindaloos, curries and tikkas. The reality, however, is that most of these originated in one Indian province, Punjab. And the dishes that weren’t created in Punjab weren’t even created in India but don’t let that put you off your Friday night takeaway – the ingredients are still Indian, it’s just the way they’re prepared and the name that they’ve been given most definitely are not.
So, what is true Indian food all about then? The first and most important thing about Indian cuisine is the diversity among dishes. Well there are two ingredients which you are guaranteed to find in every meal depending on which part of the country you are visiting - rice if you’re visiting the south of the country and bread if you’re in northern India. As well as this most cuisines are related by the use of similar spices, albeit with different ingredients.
Apart from this, however, you are in for a real culinary adventure. Dishes in the south tend to be a little hotter and spicier than their counterparts in the north so you might do well to bear this is mind when ordering. Southern specialities as already mentioned are always accompanied by rice. Coconut is also widely used and seafood is also quite common.
In contrast, however, coconut is rarely used in the north but milk products including curd, cream and cottage cheese are very popular. As well as this northern Indians usually used vegetable oil in cooking while the southerners use a nut or sesame based oil.
Seafood is particularly popular in western Indian as is the internationally renowned Bombay duck which is also a type of fish for those of you not already in the know. Salmon is also a common vabourite. Even within the western provinces there are many specialities. In Rajasthan meat delicacies are widely consumed while in Goa, the fish curry with rice is a big favourite and is usually washed down with some of the local alcoholic concoction called Feni.
Finally, eastern cuisine is best known for its wonderful collection of sweets made from milk and curd. Gulab Jamuns, Chena Murkhi and Anarkali are just some of the names you will encounter on your travels in the east of the country. Seafood is also wonderful here, for those of you who need a little more than sweets to survive, and is usually cooked using a large variety of spices making it some of the tastiest you will come across.