Why are there so many restaurants around you?
Why do they all have a different menu?
Why is each dish on a menu card different from another?
Why did the Europeans invade India and Indonesia in search of spices?
Is food only the means to distinguish hunger? How would you feel when you are invited to a place as a guest but is not offered anything to eat? In this way, food acts as courtesy. When food is offered to a beggar, then it acts as kindness and humanity. Why do we all work so hard on making our food look better? When food is offered in a presentable manner to any higher authority then it acts as respectful. Food is the way we express ourselves and blend in with the society. It is the way we show our tradition and manners and how we make relations with people.
Well it’s fairly obvious. Food is more of an experience than a commodity everywhere you look. Food has always been central to bringing people together. Like a tanginess of Italian cuisine, or the hotness of Mexican, the perfection of Mediterranean seafood and the flavors of wine in France. How when we think about a place, we get a particular cuisine in our head and vice versa. Food items themselves have meaning attached to them. In many Western countries a box of chocolates would be viewed as an appropriate gift. The recipient of the gift would react differently to a gift of cabbage or carrots than to chocolate. In other countries chocolates might be a less appropriate gift. Nations are generally associated with certain foods. For example when we think of Italy, pizza and pasta comes to our mind but Italians eat other dishes to.
IMPORTANCE OF LANGARS
Langars are generally served in Sikh culture. At the center of the Sikh teachings about equality is langar. Every Gurdwara has langar where all people are welcome to a free meal. There are no rituals observed in the langar and everyone eats together. All the food is vegetarian so that no religious group is offended. Guru Nanak dev Ji established the langar because he rejected the Hindu caste system where people of different castes do not eat together. Langar in this way brings unity and peace among people of different caste without any discrimination. It is designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people of the world regardless of religion, caste, color, creed, age, gender or social status; to eliminate extreme poverty in the world and to bring about birth of “caring communities”. In addition to the ideals of equality, the tradition of langar expresses the ethics of sharing, community, inclusiveness and oneness of all humankind.
VILLAGE CUISINE AND HOW THE SIMPLE MEAL CONNECTS PEOPLE
The village itself signifies: Strength. It is the backbone of India. It is the place where our daily rice and wheat come from. It is the place where our daily commodities like sugar, tea, coffee, milk, oil, wood etc comes from. The list is endless. The country is shining in many fields but the culture in big cities is almost dead. This culture is still alive in villages through the normal lifestyle and simple food of people. As they say, ‘old habits die hard’, an average urban Indian still at times vouches for the village cuisine of his region and loves to indulge in it at times. India villages have the so called “luxury” of eating the freshest of the fresh vegetables and meat using the freshly ground spices, following the traditional ways of cooking patterns. Some of it is due to the loyalty of villagers to the age-old cooking systems and patterns that are followed in Indian Village cooking, while other reason is the limited availability of resources and modern cooking techniques in the villages, such as a simple gas stove, which is still rare in villages and our villagers still stick to the traditional wood or cow-dung cake fire for cooking, unavailability of power to run refrigerators for storage, forces them (or gives them the luxury) to buy fresh, cook fresh and eat fresh at all times. This is how Indian village cuisine is Indian and exotic at the same time.
EVOLUTION OF FOOD DUE TO MIGRATION
This is also fascinating. How food travels and evolves through migration. Food is the best way to explore a place. Like some Japanese guy migrates to America and opens a sushi restaurant. How his sushi links the American and Japanese cuisine and how it is a gateway for Americans to explore japan. Regional food habits do exist, but they also change over time. As people immigrate, food practices and preferences are imported and exported. Families move to other locations, bringing their food preferences with them. They may use their old recipes with new ingredients, or experiment with new recipes, incorporating ingredients to match their own tastes. In addition, food itself is imported from other countries. Approximately 80 percent of Samoa’s food requirements are imported from the United States, New Zealand, or Australia. The typical cuisine of a place is always the result of an evolution based on the contribution of the different people who have passed through the place. This process, always inevitable and enriching, continues today thanks to the migration movements. Immigrants travel with their culinary practices and habits, while acquiring new food customs that they adapt naturally to their new life and, occasionally, import to their countries of origin. This mixing takes place, therefore, in both directions, as a reflection of human beings need to share and dialogue, expressed through food.
A GLIMPSE AT DIFFERENT STATES OF INDIA THROUGH THEIR CUISINE
Wazwan is a famous Kashmiri cuisine. It consists of 20+ different dishes served together. Its preparation is considered as an Art. Wazwan is regarded by the Kashmiri Muslims as a core element of their culture and identity. Guests are grouped into fours for the serving of the wazwan. The meal begins with a ritual washing of hands, as a jug and basin called the tash-t-nari is passed among the guests. Kashmiri Wazwan is generally prepared in marriages and other special functions. This is how it unites people in the valley and promotes peace.
Punjabi Cuisine is one of the most distinct and popular Indian cuisines and comes from the region of Punjab situated partially in India and Pakistan. Delicious food and continual eating is somewhat of a birthright for Punjabi’s. It is said that people eat to live but Punjabi’s live to eat.
Sarson ka Saag and Makki di Roti is the traditional dish of Punjab. It is the most popular winter dish of Punjabis. It is a highly nutritious because mustard leaves contain a lot of iron and protein. But at the same time it can be little high on calories if it is served traditionally with lots of ghee or butter.
3. Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh boasts of a unique cuisine and particular of its own, but a deep influence on himachali cuisine have come from the neighboring states like Punjab and Tibet. Another strong factor in the cuisine of Himachal Pradesh is its unique climate as well as geographical outlook which has deeply shaped its culinary culture. One famous dish is “sidu”. Sidu is the dish that is a stand out in the cuisine of Himachal. Usually eaten with Butter, this dish is a special feast on festivals. Cooked only by a special category of Brahmans, Dham is a meal whose preparation begins one night before the actual lunch is to be served on traditional leaf plates. People in Himachal are enthusiastic and this is shown in their zeal to prepare food on festivals.
Haryana cuisine is exactly like the people of Haryana, simple, earthy and inextricably linked to the land. The important part is the wholesomeness, purity and freshness of the food prepared with a little fuss or no fuss at all. Haryana with its essentially agrarian culture has retained simplicity in its cuisine. The “land of rotis” is the apt title of Haryana as people are fond of eating different types of rotis. Wheat rotis are common and so are baajre ki roti. Haryana is well known for its cattle wealth and is the home of the famous Murrah buffalo and the Haryana cow. No wonder there is an abundance of milk and milk products in Haryanvi cuisine. People make butter and ghee at home and use these liberally in their daily diet. Homemade fresh butter is called nooni or tindi ghee and is churned daily in most homes. It is customary for a girl’s family to give her gifts of ghee (clarified butter), gondh (edible gum), laddus (a sweetmeat made of gram flour) and dry fruits when she becomes a mother. Buttermilk, chaaj is a favorite drink and is an instant cooler for summers. Lassi made from yoghurt is another popular drink, almost a meal in itself. The Haryanvi’s love for lassi can be gauged from the fact that thandai, a sweet, milk based drink is called kachi lassi in Haryana.
Everyone knows that Rajasthan is popular for its rich culture and heritage. The arid nature of the region, the extreme climatic conditions, scarcity of water and vegetation has witnessed evolvement of unique cooking styles and food habits of the natives that is noticeably different from other Indian cuisines. The Rajasthanis have fashioned their culinary styles in such a way that many of their dishes can be shelved for several days and served without heating. Rajasthani cuisine offers some exotic and scrumptious dishes that are sure to delight the taste buds of foodies. One such dish is Gutte ki sabzi. It is easy to digest and popular curry of Rajasthan which can be eaten with both roti and rice. Another one of the most popular rajasthani dish is Laal Maas. The unique feature of this hot, spicy and rich preparation is its fiery red colour which it gets from the liberal use of red chillies.
The beautiful state of Uttarakhand has a very simple, yet delicious cuisine. The food is nutritious as well as tasty. The primary food of Uttarakhand includes vegetables, though non-veg food is also served and savored by many. The primary characteristics of the Uttarakhand cuisine is that milk and milk based products is sparingly used here. Coarse grain with high fiber content is very common in Uttarakhand cuisines. Other food items which are famous are – mandua (Buck wheat) in the interior regions of Kumaun, linguda, which is grown on the borders of Tibet and Nepal. It is also a part of the Pahari cuisine as it helps to keep the stomach in order. Generally, either pure ghee or mustard oil is used for the purpose of cooking food. Use of tomato is minimal in the cuisines of Uttarakhand. Simple recipes of this state are made interesting with the use of hash seeds as spice.
A dose of nature, a tinge of culture mix it with the warm hospitality and a plate full of mouth-water delicacies. That’s Madhya Pradesh for you!
Apart from being home to various monuments, forts, temples and lively bazaars, Madhya Pradesh also offers different variety of Cuisines. The Madhya Pradesh Cuisine provides you with mouth-watering traditional dishes, representing different cultures. Some of the popular food items of Madhya Pradesh are kusli, lavang lata, jalebi, pilaf with peas, indori puri palak ki, baflas, kebabs and biryani. These cuisines are perfect combination of exquisite taste and essence. Moreover one can relish different varieties of Cuisines as per the changing seasons of the state.
8. Uttar Pradesh
Imagine a vessel larger than a standard height of a person, like the handi. It is kept on fire for about three days and three nights with a lid over it. Despite being classified as a tortuously long process but the results produced are nonetheless a real treat to the taste buds.
That is what Uttar Pradesh is about. Perfection no matter what! Brought into existence by the bawarchis (royal chefs) of the Nawabs of Lucknow, the method is known popularly as ‘Dum Pukht’. Known for its remarkable ability to keep all the aromatic fragrances of the food surprisingly well-preserved, this one method is a sui generis from Lucknow.
The main specialty of this state is that the people of this state consider their guests as the representatives of God. They make sure that their guests are served the best quality of food. The rich divergent culture, palate and traditions of the nation is imbibed in the soil of Chhattisgarh. Although the savor and savory has been blending and evolving with the confluence of immigrants from the north and south; yet the essence still remains. The major dishes and savories here are mostly made of rice and assorted ingredients. Not much of spice, a pinch of salt and mostly oil less. One such famous dish is Muthia which is served in breakfast during winters.
Gujarati food is often referred to as the “Jewel of Western India”. Although the coastline ensures a huge amount of sea food but influence of Jain culture and philosophy makes the region predominantly vegetarian leaving some communities who incorporate non-vegetarian items such as goat, chicken, eggs and sea food in their platter. Gujarati cuisines are not only varied and lip smacking but are also nutritionally rich. Traditionally Gujarati thali consists of rotli, dal or kadhi, rice and saak/sabzi. Gujarati food is often served in silver platter. Dhokla is one of the most famous dishes of Gujarat.
The traditional cuisine of Maharashtra is as divergent as its culture and people. With a taste of its own, the state of Maharashtra boasts of a cuisine unique to their culinary etiquettes. There is also a very wide variety in their cuisine, which ranges from spicy to plain. It has something to please everyone’s taste buds. Rice, wheat, jowar, vegetables, bajri, lentils and natural fruits are the stand out elements in this cuisine. As the culture of Maharashtra equates brahma, creator of the universe, so food is first offered to the God. On the occasion of festivals, special sweets are offered to the God. In the traditional cuisine of Maharashtra, vegetables are blessed with a sedate and aromatic delight while the fishes and meats come steamy hot and spicy. The Konkani cuisine relies heavily on the use of coconut and spices. The Cuisine of Kolhapur is heavy on Mutton and Spices, whereas the culinary culture of Vidharba is full of garlic and red chilies. The state Capital also contributes with its unique dishes that are eaten world over. Special dishes are Vada Pav, Poli or Chappati, Bhakri, Thalipeeth.
Goa has a history of communal harmony. Different religions co-exist as unity. Known as goans, people of Goa are happy go lucky people and are very hospitable. Albeit the culture of Goa dates back to the civilization period but a lot of interferences of alien cultures such as Portuguese had a huge influence on the food culture of Goa. The staple food of goa cuisine is fish curry and rice. The food is a min of Konkani, Brazilian and Portuguese food styles. Apart from fish, the Catholics of goa also eat beef and pork which is not common among Hindus. Generally the food of goa has a tint of spices in it. One of the most favorite sea food delicacies is the Prawn Balham which is a spicy, oily, pickle like preparation. Another special dish which is served on many occasions is Pork Sorpotel. A popular dessert among the Goan is sweet meat dish named Bibinca which is very rich and is eight layered, alternated with eggs, milk and sugar. Goa’s traditional drink is Feni, a potent brew made from the sap of either coconut or cashew tree.
Like any other state, Karnataka also has a big diversity in culture. It also has its shares of delectable cuisines with ingredients, flavors and the tastes that are distinctive and versatile from other cuisines around the country. Due to its long history with different dynasties and kings, Karnataka has different types of cuisines: Mangalorean, Malnad, Kodaku, North Karnataka and the modern Bangalorean version. Some of the famous food items prepared on special occasions and otherwise are Akki Roti, Bendekaayi Gojju, Bharda Playa, Bisi Bele Bath, Chiroti, Ginger-Masala Tea, Holige and Kosumbari.
Kerala have been derived from the word “Keralam” which is believed to have bee originated from two words “kera” and “alam”. Kera means coconut and alam means land. Thus Kerala is known as the “Land Of Coconut”. Kerala is noted for its variety of pancakes and steamed rice cakes made from pounded rice. For the Muslims, the lightly flavored Biryani-made of mutton, chicken, egg or fish-takes pride of place. In seafood, mussels are a favorite. For the Christians, who can be seen in large concentration in areas like Kottayam and Pala, ishtew (a derivation of the European stew), with appam is a must for every marriage reception. Kerala also has its own fermented beverages -the famous kallu (toddy) and patta charayam (arrack). Arrack is extremely intoxicating and is usually consumed with spicy pickles and boiled eggs (patta and mutta).
15. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Indian food is defined by the amalgamation of regional food of the country. One such region that offers sumptuous food that is worth trying is Andhra Pradesh. Traditional Andhra Pradesh food is famous not only throughout the country but also across the world. Andhra cuisine is deeply inspired by the rich cultural heritage, the regional flavors and Royal Nawabi recipes. Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of rice in India and most vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of this place can be eaten with rice. Also, the food of Andhra Pradesh is characteristically spicy and tangy with a liberal use of red chilies, green chilies, tamarind, coconut and other Indian spices. Traditional Andhra Pradesh food includes hot and spicy dishes like tamarind rice (Pulihora), Poppadams, Andhra pappu, Gongura Chutney, Pesaratu, Pulusu, Avakkai Pickles made of raw mango, seasoned eggplant (GuttiVankaya Kura) etc.
The Telangana region has food that has roots in Persian and Afghan cooking as this region was under the reign of Muslim rulers. Vegetarians must try Karapu Annam (Chilli rice), Rasam, Ulliakkukura (spring onion curry) and Kakaraya Pulusu (gravy made of bittergourd) of this region while non vegetarians must taste Chapala Pulusu (fish gravy) and Kodi Kura. One famous snack of this region is Sakinalu, a rice preparation made during Sankranti festival.
16. Tamil Nadu
If there is something that Tamilians like to discuss besides cinema and politics (yea, in that order of priority), it is the food of their state. In fact, there are instances where food and politics are mixed for a heady combination of subsidized meals that have now been introduced in the state! To those ignorant about Tamil Nadu politics; the state has now announced a scheme where meals will be provided for as less as Re. 1. Although dishes like idli, dosa, sambhar and rasam are common throughout the state, it also has its share of regional influences. Some of the common traditional delicacies in Tamil Nadu are Chettinadu (Chettinadu cuisine is popular because of its subtle use of spices that are ground fresh every time), Nanjil Nadu (Nanjil Nadu cuisine is famous for its abundant use of coconut oil and coconut. The food and the cooking style here is similar to that of Kerala, especially Southern Travancore), Kongu Nadu. Dishes made in and around Coimbatore, Erode, Bhavani, etc. form the basis for Kongunadu cuisine. Coconut is widely used, but it is the use of turmeric that makes this cuisine special. Traditional delicacies here are largely vegetarian. Some of the popular dishes here include oppittu, kambu koozhu, vazhai poo vadai, etc.
These places use meat in abundance. Some of the popular dishes include parotta, kari dosai (meat dosai) and jigar thanda.
Bihar culture is a neat mosaic of three major religions- Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism that had defined its arts, literature and majorly its cuisine. Bihar cuisine is much similar to that of North-Indian cuisine but, it is influenced by eastern Indian cuisine like Bengali. The staple foods of Bihari’s are bhat, dal, roti, tarkari and achar. It is prepared from rice, lentils, wheat flour, vegetables, and pickle. And mustard oil is used liberally to cook food. Most Hindus in Bihar consume khichdi, a broth of rice and lentils seasoned with spices and usually served with side dishes as their mid-day meal during the weekend. However, the favorite dish of Bihari’s is Litti Chokha. While Litti is made up of Sattu, Chokha is a mix of smashed potato, tomato and brinjal. Apart from these, Bihari’s prepare a range of dry fruits that are mostly made in areas in and around Patna.
The recipes of Jharkhand are truly exquisite and they are poised with a distinct style of cooking which makes them that extra special. They chiefly utilize sumptuous proportions of mustard oil as the medium using which they cook their food. The most known and common recipes in Jharkhand that are practically prepared in every household includes Phulka or Roti, Bhat or Rice, Tarkari or Sabzi and last but definitely not the least, Achar or Pickle. In general, the food cooked in Jharkhand is considered to be very light on the stomach and easy to digest. This fact can very well be demonstrated by the nature of Jharkhand food habits that have been imbibed by the native folks. Litti and Chokha also form an important portion of Jharkhand food. The mouth-watering non-vegetarian Jharkhand food preparations like spicy chicken are also popular among the considerable mass. The cuisine mainly associated with this state also bears a faint touch of the robust Mughals which is vividly visible in the food of Jharkhand.
Sikkim has a blend of cultures and traditions of Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet. So, does the cuisine of this state. The bizarre combination of various cuisines has resulted into one specific cuisine, which is now called as cuisine of Sikkim. Today, Sikkim boasts of its own dietary culture that comprises of different food habits and some special recipes. These recipes and habits have emerged with the traditional wisdom and experiments of generations. The traditional food of Sikkim, is gaining popularity among the masses. In the present day, Sikkimese cuisine has entered the kitchens of the world. Talking about non-vegetarian food, beef, pork and fish are relishing items. The main thing about the cuisine of Sikkim is that it materialized under the changing needs, geographical compulsions and cultural contact of the adjoining countries. Sikkim cuisine demonstrates the good sense of the residents, who took only those styles and methods from other cultures, which helped their mode of life, maintaining their own distinctive cuisine. Momo (steamed dumpling), Tomato Achar (Pickle), Thukpa /Gya–Thuk (Noodle soup), Kinema curry (Fermented soybean), Sel Roti (Fermented rice product), Shimi ka Achar (String bean pickle), Pakku (Mutton curry) and Mesu Pickle (Fermented bamboo shoot) are some of the local dishes that are enjoyed by all the communities in Sikkim.
20. Arunachal Pradesh
Apart from its scenic beauty, the Land of Sun Rising, Arunachal Pradesh has a rich cultural heritage. The people of Arunachal Pradesh are generally God fearing and they celebrate a lot of festivals accompanied by music, dance and specially prepared food. The first thing you should know about Arunachal Pradesh food is that it differs from tribe to tribe. As you move toward the eastern side of Arunachal people are dependent on bamboo and other leafy vegetables which are strictly boiled. Fried food is not very popular as people like to eat either boiled or smoked food. As you move toward the town of Tawang and places closer to the country of Tibet you’ll notice that dairy products are more in use. The people closer to the city are more dependent on the normal day to day products. Rice is the staple food of Arunachal Pradesh and wrapped in leaves as boiled rice cakes. Among vegetables lettuce is the most common food which is cooked along with ginger, coriander and green chilies. Thupka is a kind of a noodle soup common among the Monpa tribe of the people. Apong is a refreshing drink which is commonly known as rice beer made from fragmented rice or millet.
With a wide variety of indigenous food to offer, the food of Assam is famous for its distinct flavoring and influences. Did I mention that it’s a heaven for non-vegetarian lovers? Delicious pork, chicken and mutton dishes will leave you craving for more. That’s not even all! The herbs and delicate flavors, along with the influence from Bengali cuisine, make the food of Assam a joyous affair for all food lovers! Traditionally, Assamese food is cooked in earthen ware. This method imparts a smell from the utensils to the food itself giving it a distinct flavor. Vegetables in sour soup are common. The Assamese have a typical habit of using all the leftover vegetables together to eat it next day with Assam slices, green chilies and mustard. This gives a variety of taste at one go and is also very appetizing. Masor tenga (tangy fish curry) is a light and tangy dish, and is one of Assam’s signature preparations. The key ingredient in a tenga is the use of a souring agent which lends the dish a tart tangy taste. There are wide variety of souring agents that can be used to prepare this dish, ranging from the commonly available lemon, tomatoes, sour spinach to more exotic elephant apple, roselle leaves and garcinia.
There are sixteen main tribes in Nagaland, each with similar yet unique traditions and practices. While food from each tribe overlaps, there are also certain dishes that are specifically known from a certain tribe. Rice, pork, chicken, dog, insects and worms, vegetables, and famous chili sauces are essential in the Naga diet. In Nagaland, its most common to hang out at homes of friends and family. So not that many locals go to restaurants for meals, but eating at home or eating at friends’ homes is still very much a part of their culture. That’s part of the reason why you won’t find many restaurants serving traditional Naga food in Nagaland. There are quite a few restaurants serving North Indian food or Tibetan momos (similar to mandu), but real Naga cuisine is harder to come by. Representing the vibrant and dynamic cultural lifestyle, the local indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland prepare several drinks from rice. Some of the varieties of indigenous drinks of Nagaland are: Dzutse, Zutho, and Ruhi. All the inhabitants of Nagaland savor the drinks irrespective of age and sex. The drinks relieve the native population of Nagaland from the stress and strains of daily living and rejuvenate with a fresh bout of energy and vigor.
The people of Manipur strongly adhere to their customs and religious beliefs and are very superstitious. The Manipuris are supposed to be pure vegetarians but still there is no restriction of fish in their food. The Manipuris love fish and the preparation of the Ngri fish by fermenting is one of their favorite dishes. Some of their most common and liked food includes ngathonga (fish curry), ooti (a typical manipurian vegetarian dish), chagem pompa (made with fermented soya, mustard leaves) and Chamthong or kangshoi, which a stew cooked with seasonal vegetables. Lonchak is one of their chosen vegetable bean. The Bishnupriya Manipuris abstain themselves from meat, egg and any kind of wine. Kabok, a traditional specialty, is actually fried rice with a lot of vegetables.
The state of Meghalaya comprises predominantly three tribes — the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo. Slight variations aside (Garo, for instance, use sodium bicarbonate in chicken and dried fish dishes), the tribes are united in their love for sesame seeds, dried fish, rice beer and of course, smoked or boiled meat (especially pork). And while on the matter of pork, Jadoh — the word that can, apparently, make any Khasi, Jaintia or Garo salivate. “What dosa is to Tamil Nadu, Jadoh is to Meghalaya”. Jadoh, literally, means rice and meat — in the authentic version of the dish, rice grains are soaked in animal (pork/chicken) blood and is cooked along with the animal’s offal, ginger, onions and minimal spices. Another Khasi delicacy is Dohkhlieh. For this, the pig’s head is cleaned well before boiling. The tender meat is then chopped into tiny pieces. The brain of the animal is boiled in a banana leaf and added to the meat with sliced onions, chillies, ginger.
One state lies in the unexplored and untouched part of the map whose cuisines are uniquely different and extremely celestial. Tripura, one of the seven sister hills of north-east India and surrounded by Bangladesh from three sides lies peacefully in its own cocoon. But, the culture and rich food of Tripura speaks for itself. Here is more you need to know about the food culture and Tripura cuisine you must please your stomach with before you die! One of the most important ingredient of Tripuri cuisine is Berma, it is basically fermented dried puthi fish. The flavor of the Berma is not very pleasant, but when cooked its flavor is mouth-watering and appetizer for Tripuri people. Berma is used as spices in most of Tripuri dishes. Large number of Tripuri cuisine are prepared without oil. In that health point of view it is very good even for those who are restricted to take fatty and oily food. At a time when people are becoming calorie conscious they can switch over to Tripuri way of cooking and live a healthy life. Some of the Tripuri cuisine are Awandru, Bwtwi, Chakhwi, Chakhwtwi, Chakhwtwi Kwthwng, Thokni Chakhwi, Berma bwtwi, Chatang and Mosodeng.
Food in Mizoram is one of the main attractions for the tourists who plan to visit this Indian state on a vacation. The Mizoram cuisine offers mainly non-vegetarian delicacies. The people who belong to this place do eat vegetables, but they prefer to add some non-vegetarian ingredients to each and every dish they prepare. The aura, the look the taste of Mizo food is sure to tickle the taste buds leaving one craving for more. Vegetables occupy a very important place in Mizo cuisine. In all of its dishes, vegetables are inevitable. Mizo cuisine is less spicy and a lot less masala is used in comparison with other Indian dishes such as Punjabi, Gujarati or south Indian. Spices mainly used are ginger, garlic, chili and some other local herbs. Some of the most demanded delicacies of Mizoram are made with ingredients like bamboo shoots and ducks. Some very well-known Mizo dishes are Misa Mach Poora, Panch Phoron Taarkari, which is actually a grilled preparation of shrimps, Dal with Eggs, Poora Mach and Koat Pitha.
27. West Bengal
Bengali food that originated and evolved in the region of Bengal situated in the eastern subcontinent of India, is rich and varied in its platter starting from snacks to main courses to sweets. Although the food habits, tastes, preferences and choice of items vary with different districts, communities and religions, the basic course generally remains the same with rice and fish playing a dominant role. Probably this is why a Bengali is often typified as a ‘Maache–Bhaate–Bangali’ where Maach means fish and Bhaat means boiled rice in Bengali. Generally a Bengali meal starts with a ‘Shukto’ (a bitter preparation) followed by ‘Shak’ (leafy vegetables), Dal (pulses), variety of vegetables, fish/mutton/chicken/egg curry, chutney (sweet-sour saucy item) and ends with sweet dish like curd and other traditional sweets like sandesh or rosogolla. The signature Bengali Ilish dish which has to be on all important menus when Ilish is in season. Hilsa steeped in a pungent mustard sauce steamed to perfection with a liberal dousing of mustard oil is a sensuous experience. With time Bengalis have embraced different culinary influences as well including that of the Mughlas, Chinese and British subtly twisting these to suit their own taste-buds.
India is a multi-lingual, multi-cultural entity. It is an icon of unity in diversity; so each state defines its individuality in terms of its own historical facts, linguistic affiliations, cultural backdrop and of course, food. Among the various ingredients of the rich, cultural heritage of Odisha is its unique cuisine, with a tradition steeped in history.
Odia music, art and literature have all show- cased food as an indispensable part of culture. Odia food is a colorful tapestry of spices and flavors, with an unimaginable variety – vibrant as the all- time favorite Pakhala, soft-hearted as Salepur’s famous Rasagolla, irresistible as Kankada Jhola, delightful as Besara seasoned with Pancha Phutana, the list is endless. Unlike other parts of India, the flavors of most Odia dishes are mild and tenderly spiced. Curries for every mood, a pot- pourie of fragrant spices and pastes mingling to create unforgettable delicacies. There are special food items associated with every festival, emphasizing the significance of cuisine as a part of life. Not just the food, but the inimitable manner in which it is served. Chhena poda is a cheese dessert from the state of Odisha in eastern India. Chhena poda literally means burnt cheese in Oriya. It is made of well-kneaded homemade cottage cheese or chhena, sugar, cashew nuts and raisins, and is baked for several hours until it browns.
29. India’s capital- Delhi
Delhi is a metropolitan city with a predominantly north Indian population made up of the fun-loving Punjabis, the robust Haryanvi, the sober UPite and the gentler Rajasthanis. There is also a smattering of people from the southern states of India who have settled here and made Delhi their home. So it is truly “unity in diversity.’ There is no such thing as typical cuisines of Delhi. This is so because there is no specific identity of the city. With time, people from different areas of India came and settled, making Delhi an assortment of sorts. Slowly and gradually, Delhi assumed some of the aspects of the identity of all the types of people living in it, making multiple identities for itself. As a result, even the traditional food of New Delhi has no distinctiveness. It comprises of South Indian food, Punjabi food, Gujarati food, Rajasthani food and so on. However, there are certain food items for which Delhi is quite famous. For example, Chandni Chowk area of the city boasts of the most delicious paranthas (a sort of bread). Infact, the entire area of Old Delhi is famous for the local Delhi cuisine. Then, there is the Bengali Market in New Delhi that is very popular for Chaat Papri, Golgappas, Sweets, etc. Delhi is also very popular for its roadside vendors that serve awesome local cuisine.
Food has been a universal connection between people for a really long time now. The fact that even though the ingredients are the same but the end product turns out to be different every time, is a sign of the diversity that the world has to offer. In fact, we don’t even have to go that far. There’s enough diversity in our country to begin with. Indian food is one of the tastiest and subtlest in the world. There is no homogeneity of flavor between North and South or East and West but rather, a wealth of flavors that is simply staggering. Culinary diversity is one of India’s treasures.
Food has a culture of its own. Experience it.