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The history of Cuisines in India dates back 5000 years, and is comprised of a variety of different recipes influenced by the lifestyle and cultural beliefs followed by the people in various regions. The Indian cuisine and dietary disciplines were first mentioned in the books of Ayurveda, most of the ingredients mentioned were vegetarian as the consumption of meat or beef is considered as a Taboo. Although in the coming years, with the arrival of the Muslims and the British, a lot of non vegetarian dishes also became a staple of the Indian cuisines. Most of the Indian cuisines are considered to be from mildly spiced to really spicy and are cooked in a curry. They are usually served in pair that usually consists of a curry and a bread to eat it with and accompanied with some complimentary garnishing. Here’s a list of the top 5 popular Indian Food which are identified all around the world.
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The Samosa is comprised of a flour pastry stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes, onions, peas, garlic etc. The pastry is folded in a triangular shape and deep fried or baked. The Samosa is usually served with a tangy tamarind and mildly spicy mint sauce and is one of the most popular native snacks in India. It is also one of the most widely available snacks in India. This snack is also served differently in the different regions of India like the combination of Samosa-Chola (Samosa served with a spicy and tangy chick pea curry often garnished with onions) served in Punjab. This is one Indian snack that you must try and if possible try to find out the best place in the city to properly enjoy this snack.
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Chole-Bhature is a recipe that originated from Punjab and one of their staple dishes. Chole-Bhature is the combination of a Spicy chick pea curry or ‘Chole” and special fried bread made with flour and yogurt called the ‘Bhatura’. The dish is considered as a heavy breakfast dish native to the Punjab region and is usually accompanied with chopped onions, a tangy mango pickle and mint ‘chutney’ or sauce. The ‘Bhatura’ has a couple of variants as well; it can be stuffed with cottage cheese or spicy mashed potatoes and is known as a stuffed Bhatura.
3. Pav Bhaji
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One of the most popular recipes originating from Maharashtra, Pav Bhaji’s origin traces back to the 1850’s Mumbai, when the textile mill workers needed to fashion a quick lunch which was not to heavy on the stomach as they needed to return to work after lunch. Pav Bhaji consists of a spicy ‘Bhaji’ or curry made of mashed potatoes; tomatoes, chopped onions, green capsicum etc. are spiced and usually fried in butter on a large flat girdle. The Pav is a square Indian Bun which is buttered on all sides and lightly toasted. Both the items are served together with chopped onions, a dash of lime juice and a small piece of butter to garnish the Bhaji. It is one of the most popular snacks in India and you can have the best Pav Bhaji in Mumbai.
4. Aloo Paratha
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A favorite Indian breakfast dish, the Aloo Paratha is a flat Indian bread stuffed with a spicy mix of mashed potatoes, onions, garlic, green chillies, mint etc. and fried on a flat girdle with Ghee or Butter. It is one dish that is enjoyed in almost all parts of northern and western India. The different regions have their own twist in the recipe and the Parathas are usually served with Indian yogurt or ‘Dahi’, butter, Chutney or a spicy pickle.
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Idli Sambar is one of the staple recipes of the south Indian region and is a traditional breakfast food in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The idli is a round steamed cake made with the batter of de-husked black Indian lentils and rice which is fermented to make it light on the stomach. The Sambar is a vegetable stew that is spiced with tamarind and various other spices native to the south Indian region. The sambar consists of various vegetables like egg plant, okra, tomatoes, onions, lentils etc. and different versions of this might be available depending in what region of south India you’re at. The Idli is usually immersed in the broth before eating and is often accompanied with a tangy coconut chutney or sauce.
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A staple of the princely state of Rajasthan, Dal-Bati-Churma is a complete meal which contains a main course and a dessert and is a heavy vegetarian dish that can be eaten for lunch or dinner. The ‘Bati’ is a hard Indian bread that is made with wheat flour, Ghee and semolina and is usually baked in hot embers and immersed in ghee. The Dal is a spicy lentil curry which consists of yellow pigeon lentils with tomatoes, onions and garlic and is further tampered with a mix of ghee, dried red chillies and other spices native to Rajasthan. The Churma is a dessert that is made with crushed Bati and mixed with ghee and sugar or jaggery. The meal despite of its humble appearance is one of the heaviest vegetarian recipes in India. It’s a saying in Rajasthan that if more ghee is used in cooking, the more love the cook has put in the food.
India is home to a vast number of cultures that can be dated back to the ancient world. The number recipes that have originated in India is vast and the above mentioned food items are exemplary of the vast variety of culinary differences in the various regions of India. Please, do not forget to try these recipes out for an authentic Indian culinary experience.
Rohit Agarwal is the owner of transindiatravels that provides information about the various tourist spots in India. He is an Architect by profession and an avid traveler who is keen on experiencing the different cultures in India and the world.