India’s cuisine is almost 5000 years old. And it has been influenced by changing cultures, changing geographies, Mughal rule, European colonization, travellers. India has 29 states and 7 union territories. The North is known for its tandoori and korma dishes; the South is famous for hot and spicy foods; the East specialises in chilli curries; and the West uses coconut and seafood, whereas the Central part of India is a blend of all. The cuisines in every part of the country have its own distinct characteristics. With the use of spices: Coriander, peppercorns, chilies, asafetida, fenugreek, ginger, Garam masala, dried mango powder, dried gooseberry powder, Cardamom, Anise, Cumin, Rosewater, jaggery, turmeric, nutmeg, tamarind, black salt, saffron, poppy seeds, garlic, salt, lemon, mint, mustard, fennel seed, vinegar, cumin in the food, the resulting taste combinations are unlike anything found elsewhere around the world. In Indian culture, there is an ancient Sanskrit adage, “Athithi devo bava” which translates to The guest is equivalent to god. So, well, most often traditional Indian homes insist that the guest dines with them before leaving.
Rice is a staple and most meals come with a side of naan bread. While traditional Indian food is quite spicy, in touristy areas its easy to get a meal that is quite mild. If you want it spicy, you may even have to insist on it that way as waiters are used to foreigners requesting their meals with “no spice.”
Dal Makhani: This popular vegetarian dish of slow cooked lentils is richly seasoned and cooked like a stew. It’s usually served with a side of rice and vegetables or salad.
Tandoori Chicken: This is one of the most famous Indian dishes and is a heavily seasoned and roasted chicken dish. It is bright in colour mainly because of the turmeric and cayenne pepper and is slow-cooked in a tandoori oven. It is typically prepared spicy, but some places have it available in a mild flavour as well if you request it.