India — a tour of culinary bliss

As India is known for its cultural melting pot, it’s no surprise to find a high variety of delicious food cooking in several pots all over the country. We’ve taken the liberty of putting together some of the best dishes but feel free to explore by yourself — sampling out the regional delicacies is half the fun.

Most Indian dishes are full of spices which accounts for the enticing flavours and the rainbow of colour you’re very likely to find on your plate. The most common ingredients used in include mustard, cumin, curry leaves, green coriander, garam masala (a masala made of select range of spices), tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger, along with the main ingredients such as the vegetables or lentils that go with it.

Chole Batura

Chole batura is a versatile dish as it can be your breakfast, lunch, evening snack or dinner — that’s the beauty of it. Although it is a heavy meal, Indians do not hesitate to enjoy the flavours of chole batura any time of the day. Batura is a deep fried round Indian bread made of white flour. Chole is the side dish prepared with chick peas. The image covers the rest — if only there was an app where we could convey smell over an internet connection!

Stuffed Paratha

These are a kind of Indian bread which is made of either whole wheat flour or white flour and stuffed with a variety of vegetables and other ingredients. The stuffings can be potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, paneer (cottage cheese), as well as any other vegetables that you can think of. The result will undoubtedly leave you wanting more.

Masala Dosa

Predominantly a dish from the southern part of the country, masala dosa can also be found across Northern India. It is a pancake made of rice and black lentils served with coconut or groundnut chutney, sambhar and fried potatoes. It is commonly used for breakfast in south India and its popularity is a true testament to its deliciousness.

Samosa

This delicacy was always going to make the cut, as samosas are one of the favourite local snacks. You can’t visit India and consider leaving samosas out. This simple deep fried snack is prepared by rolling the dough with white flour and then filling it with a mixture made of potatoes, green peas, garam masala, onions, chilli powder, fennel and salt. You can’t go wrong with it.

Thali

This is more a combo of meals, rather than merely one dish, which comprises of a sweet course, two or more curries, dal (lentils), steamed rice, pickle, puri/naan/chapatti, poppadoms, butter milk, one raita and one or more chutneys. This variety of flavours will guarantee your satisfaction, as you pay less but sample and eat more, leaving more money in your wallet to be spent on more delicious food.

Chaat

These are mostly enjoyed as starters or evening snacks. Chaat is not the name of one dish but of a variety of dishes including but not limited to pani puri, sev puri, pav bhaji, just to name a few. Tamarind, chilli powder, curds, onions, tomatoes and vermicelli are the key ingredients that go into most of these chaats traditionally known as street food. You’re welcome to start and end your day with these treats!

This article was written as part of an ongoing collaboration with Volunteer Invest, a London-based social enterprise at the forefront of several organisations advancing human rights, child development, child therapy and HIV/AIDS treatment across the world.

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