Monday, May 23, 2016

A foodie tour of India through five favourite dishes

Even if you are a self-proclaimed lover of Indian cuisine, the menu of the sub-continent is so diverse, there are bound to be certain regional specialities that tickle your tastebuds more than others. From the flame-grilled meats of the Punjab to the coconut curries of Kerala, each state offers its own signature dishes and preferred ingredients and cooking techniques.

Indian cuisine is an amalgamation of the food of countless different cultures and ethnicities as opposed to simply offering a one-trick pony menu - also known as the typical Anglicised curry house menu here in the UK.

So, without further ado, let us begin on a foodie tour of India, exploring five regional specialities along the way…

Bebinca - the traditional sweet of Goa

The tiny western state of Goa might be renowned for its spicy curries and seafood stews, but one of the crowning achievements of Goan cuisine has to be bebinca, the sumptuous traditional sweet of the state. A painstakingly layered cake, this dessert can be time-consuming to prepare so is generally saved for special occasions such as weddings, holidays and festivals.

Khandvi - super snack of Gujarat

Gujarat is renowned for its delectable vegetarian offerings and khandvi is the state’s go-to vegetarian-friendly snack when hunger strikes and you’re on the move. A mouth-watering mix of yoghurt and gram flour, this snack is flavoured with an aromatic smattering of mustard and sesame seeds. Ginger, turmeric, coconut and green chillies top off this flavoursome dish, making khandvi a firm favourite in the hearts of both the Gujarati old and young.

Kalaadi - the famous cheese of Kashmir

More of a product than a dish, kalaadi is nevertheless one of the most famous exports of Kashmir. It is created from cow’s milk unlike the buffalo cheeses that are so prevalent in other parts of the sub-continent and is produced in the hills dotted around the state. Kalaadi is typically fried, salted and eaten with tomatoes as a snack in Kashmir.

Irachi Ishtu - the breakfast stew of Kerala

Golden Kerala with its sandy stretches of coastline and swaying coconut trees is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to India. The cuisine is one of its greatest attractions, though it is usually the seafood dishes that garner the greatest attention. However, irachi ishtu is a popular breakfast stew made with chicken or mutton and plenty of herbs, spices, vegetables and the velvety notes of coconut milk.

Thalipeeth - the pancake of Maharashtra

Breads are one of the most important staple foods in India and each region has its favourite recipes. Thalipeeth is a flatbread found on the streets of Maharashtra and consists not just of flour sourced from grains and pulses but a flavoursome spread of ingredients including cumin, coriander and chopped onions. Thalipeeth is often served with a scoop of thick buffalo cream and is one of the signature snacks of Maharashtra.

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