We the Bellhops love food almost as much as we love to travel; whenever we can mix the two together, we will. As another installment of our “Best Traditional Food Dishes From Around The World” series, we are bringing you all of the best traditional food dishes from India. Indian cuisine takes you on a fantastical journey of flavor, with the often-complicated blends of rare spices and aromatic flavorings. Here are some of our favorite and best traditional food dishes from India:
Naan is the traditional Indian flat bread that is served with many of the most traditional Indian food dishes. We wanted to start off with this delicious and fluffy bread, because it can be served with any of the following Indian dishes that we are presenting in this article. This bread can be found in most chain supermarkets in the United States, and can definitely be found at your local Middle-Eastern Market, Bazaar, or Grocer.
Chicken & Paneer Balti
Traditional Paneer Balti will almost always be 100% vegetarian, though with the changing of cultures in India, and the way this dish has spread throughout the world, meats can be added to the dish, depending on your tastes and religious beliefs. Fresh vegetable (Peas, Chilies, and Tomatoes) are stir fried with garam masala, paneer (like a cottage cheese/tofu, except much more delicious) and ginger to create this fresh, yet savory dish.
This dish originated in Persia and became a staple of Indian Cuisine when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Conquered Southern India around 1658. The dish is made from basmati rice, meat (lamb, mutton, goat, or beef can be used), yogurt, onions, spices and coriander; and is garnished with crisp-fried onions and coriander leaves. This is a very hearty dish with a lot of flavor, and is one of our favorite Middle-Eastern/Asian rice-based dishes.
This Indian sweet pastry is made of flour, sugar, and a variety of other ingredients depending on the family recipe. It is often served as a dessert or a specialty treat on religious occasions. Quite often in India, the preferred flour to use is chickpea flour, for its exotic taste, but Semolina or traditional white flour can also be use. Popular versions of Laddu include: Besan ke Laddu, Motichur ke Laddu, and Rava Laddu.
Most often served as a specialty on special occasions, Malai Kofta is a spicy vegetarian meatball soup. The vegetarian meatballs are made from boiled and mashed potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, spices, nuts, and sweet corn that is mixed together and rolled into balls. The soup/sauce is a mixture of onions, ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes, and spices that are sauteed down into a fairly thin sauce. Like a vegetarian version of a tomato-based Italian meatball soup, this dish will have you coming back for more.
Just as Hyderabadi Biryani became a staple in India after the invasion of the Mughlai, Chicken Korma was also brought into popularity around the same time, and for the same reasons. This spicy dish can come in fairly mild spiciness, but is usually prepared in a fiery hot sauce that can be a bit too hot for some. This curry is usually made with yogurt, cream, nut paste, chili seed paste, coconut milk, and a variety of extra spices (Coriander is most popular but varies depending on local favorite recipes).
Derived from the Hindi word “Namak,” meaning “salt,” Namkeen can refer to any salty Indian snack. Some snacks include salty fried crackers, nuts and dried vegetables, and pastries that are seasoned with white and black salt. The possibilities are truly endless with this one, so try out as many of them as you can, whenever you can find them.
These puffed pastries can go by several diferent names including: Panipuri, pani ke bataashe, Gujarati, or phuchka. To make Gol Gappa, a pastry is made and shaped into hollow spheres(Called Puri). The hollow spheres are then filled with flavored water and quickly deep-fried to get a crispy outer sphere with the flavored hot water waiting on the inside. Flavorings for the water (Pani) include: Tamarind Chutney, various spices, and in some cases even rosewater, for unique taste. Though the sound of deep fried water may sound a little odd, these little snacks are actually very tasty and highly addictive. Some forms of Gol Gappa also include meat mixtures stuffed into the Puri — which makes the recipe even tastier.
We already discussed earlier that paneer is like a cottage cheese/tofu that is actually very quite tasty. The paneer is again the star of this dish, alongside spinach. If you have ever had spinach-artichoke dip, this can be categorized as very similar. A thick green curry made from spinach and spices becomes the sauce for the paneer itself, and is traditionally eaten with rice, naan, or roti bread.
Try all of the delicious Traditional Indian Food Recipes for yourself, and stop back by International Bellhop Free Travel Magazine again soon, as we continue our featured series exploring the Best Traditional Food Dishes from Around the World.
Want To Keep Exploring India? Check Out Our Article on “Kerala, India: The Land of Spices:”