50 Famous Indian Foods & Recipes You Need to Try at Least Once
India is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, having been an important hub for trade and commerce throughout the ages. It has a rich tradition of food inspired by the many people who have traveled through this beautiful land and those who have come to call it home.
Hinduism is India’s main religion followed by Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and the Bahá’í Faith. Each of these religions and their people have had a significant impact on the country’s cuisine, merging it into one of the most colorful and flavorful cuisines of the world.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 50 famous dishes from India that are sure to get your mouth watering and have you planning your next trip to this amazing country that I call home.
In India, rice and wheat hold the distinction of being the most widely favored grains, with rice occupying the top spot. Indian cuisine has masterfully leveraged this unassuming grain to craft an astonishing variety of both sweet and savory dishes, a feat unmatched by any other culinary tradition globally.
The unassuming Dosa serves as a heartfelt testament to the enduring affection shared between the people of this nation and rice. Dosa, a cherished South Indian breakfast classic, is skillfully prepared from a fermented batter comprising rice and lentils. This batter is deftly spread into a thin, crispy crepe, and it accompanies a delightful ensemble that includes spiced mashed potatoes, a flavorful lentil stew called sambar, and a delectable coconut chutney. Together, these elements encapsulate India’s culinary ingenuity and the deep-rooted love affair with rice, all within a single, flavorful dish.
2. Idli or Idly
These delectable cakes are crafted by steaming a batter composed of fermented black lentils and rice. Traditionally, each region has its unique version of idli, and it is customarily accompanied by Sambar (a flavorful spiced lentil stew) and coconut chutney.
For those seeking a modern twist on this classic recipe, there are exciting variations like button idli, tatte idli, sanna, rava idli, and masala idli—all of which offer distinctive flavors and textures worth exploring!
Parathas are flatbreads typically crafted from wheat flour, either with or without a flavorful vegetable filling. They have gained widespread acclaim throughout the Indian subcontinent and are also cherished in neighboring countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and beyond.
Among the diverse varieties of this humble flatbread is the Aloo Paratha, which features a zesty potato filling. Parathas are customarily accompanied by a side of refreshing mint coriander chutney, thick yogurt, and generous scoops of homemade butter. In contemporary interpretations, you can even find parathas generously stuffed with copious amounts of cheese.
This versatile food item can be enjoyed at any time of the day, making it a versatile and satisfying culinary delight.
Poha, which goes by various names such as pauwa, chira, or aval, is a type of flattened rice that has its origins in the Indian subcontinent. This rice is parboiled before flattening, which means it requires minimal cooking.
This widely enjoyed breakfast option is gently seasoned with cumin and turmeric, and then combined with boiled green peas and roasted peanuts. It serves as a speedy and nutritious way to kickstart your day, typically accompanied by coconut or mint chutney, along with a generous serving of yogurt.
The Samosa is a savory pastry that is typically deep-fried and stuffed with various fillings such as spiced mashed potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, chicken, or other meats. The specific recipe for Samosas can vary depending on the region.
Samosas are versatile and can be enjoyed at different times of the day, whether it’s for breakfast, a midday snack, or an evening treat. Originally known as Somerset in Ethiopia, they are also traditionally served during Easter to symbolize the Holy Trinity. Samosas are widely enjoyed throughout the country, and many people have a deep appreciation for these simple yet delightful pastries.
Common accompaniments for Samosas include yogurt, mint chutney, or a sweet date and tamarind chutney.
Be warned! This sumptuous dish is best enjoyed on an empty stomach! Rich, spicy and heavy, Chole bhature is one of the most popular Punjabi dishes and is a must-try when you visit Delhi.
Don’t be surprised if you find it on the breakfast menu of restaurants across the capital.
It typically consists of deep-fried flatbread (Bhature) paired with a spicy chickpea dish (Chole).Given its popularity with Delhiites, you’ll find this lip-smacking dish at all local food joints and restaurants around the city. It is generally accompanied by a thick, cold glass of Lassi.
Medhu Vada or Udin Vada are deep-fried doughnut-shaped fritters from southern India, Their crispy exterior hides a soft, spongy interior. They’re generally made with Urad Dhal (black lentils) and a mix of rice flour, naturally leavened with curd and seasoned with mustard seeds, onions, bits of coconut, and green chilies.
They’re traditionally enjoyed at breakfast, along with Idli or Dosa and served with a side of lentil stew, sambar and coconut chutney.
Upma, uppumavu, or uppittu is a dish originating from the Indian subcontinent. It’s most popular in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odia, and Sri Lanka.
As a breakfast dish, it is cooked as a thick porridge made from dry roasted semolina. Various seasonings and sometimes vegetables may be added, and it may be garnished with a variety of beans (raw or sprouted), cashews, and peanuts.
For a variation called masala upma (known as kharabath in Karnataka), sambar masala or garam masala is added along with red chili powder, instead of green chilies.
Akuri, a spicy scrambled egg dish, is a culinary specialty originating from the Parsi community of India. Typically, Akuri is gently cooked to maintain a loose and slightly runny egg texture, complemented by mild spices, and commonly served alongside bread and salad.
It’s widely believed that eggs hold a special place in Parsi cuisine, featuring prominently in various traditional dishes.
Furthermore, the Parsis extend their culinary creativity with eggs beyond just breakfast. This particular Akuri recipe incorporates onions, tomatoes, a touch of chili heat, and the luxurious creaminess of fresh cream. It enjoys immense popularity in Mumbai, owing to the significant Parsi community residing in the city.
10. Vada Pav
If you’re not a Mumbaikar (a native or resident of Mumbai), this is something you must keep an eye out for and savor when you visit the city, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or a delightful teatime treat.
Vada pav is a humble yet utterly delightful sandwich that holds a special place in the hearts of many Indians. Typically, it consists of a deep-fried potato fritter nestled within Pav bread.
The ensemble is generously garnished with a zesty green mint coriander chutney, along with a sweet date and tamarind chutney, and served alongside a deep-fried chili pepper. Absolutely irresistible!
11. Bise Bele Bhath
Bise Bele Bhath translates to “Hot Dal Rice.” The dish features daal, rice, and vegetables blended like porridge and served with boondi (deep-fried chickpea flour). It’s authentic Indian soul food at its best.
It is usually seasoned with freshly ground spices and is a popular breakfast or lunch dish across the southern peninsula. It has a unique sweet and savory taste owing to the addition of cane sugar.
12. Appam and Stew
A popular breakfast dish from the southern state of Kerala, it comprises rice hoppers (pancakes) with a thin crispy outer and soft spongy thick center. It is usually served with a vegetable or meat (lamb/chicken) stew made with coconut milk and seasoned with whole spices.
Remnants of the British Raj and their influence over the local cuisine gave birth to this beautiful combination, often referred to as Ishtew and appam. Don’t miss out on this dish if you’re visiting Kerala.
13. Luchi & Alur Dom (Bengali Luchi Aloo Dum)
This popular Sunday morning treat in most Bengali households comprises deep-fried poori bread typically served with a lightly spiced and slightly sweet potato curry made with onions, tomatoes, and seasonings.
Though hailing from the state of Bengal, it can be commonly found in most other states of India as well and is a very popular dish on most menus.
14. Puttu Kadala
For a Malayali, there’s no greater source of comfort than a steaming plate of Puttu and Kadala curry for breakfast.
A quintessential dish in almost every household in Kerala, Puttu is a preparation of ground rice, layered with coconut shavings (and sometimes banana), and then steamed; while Kadala curry comprises Kala chana, or black chickpeas, cooked in roasted coconut gravy.
In modern times, creative variations of this traditional dish have emerged, incorporating ingredients such as quinoa, cracked wheat, millet, and an array of other options.
15. Bombay Sandwich
The Bombay sandwich is a mixture of the most unlikely ingredients on buttered white bread. Its ingredients can include thin slices of tomatoes, cucumbers, beetroot, onion rings, boiled potatoes, and mint chutney – endless combinations are used to create the most refreshing tangy taste.
You’ll find these sandwiches in every cafe or street of Mumbai. There’s also a toasted version with steamed vegetables inside that provides a totally different texture.
Variations include the addition of paneer, corn, copious amounts of cheese spread, or grated cheese and mayonnaise. It’s an economical and tasty treat aptly made for the busy Mumbaikar to enjoy on the go.
A mouth-watering treat from the North East of the country, these humble dumplings have made their way into the hearts of many Indians.
Momos are delicate dumplings made from wheat flour wrappers, generously stuffed with a savory blend of vegetables or meat. Depending on your preference, they can be either steamed or deep-fried, and they are typically accompanied by a zesty red chili dip.
Popular variations may have a filling of corn, cheese, beef, or even pork.
17. Gobi Manchurian
A fusion of Chinese and Indian influences create this dish that can be found all across the country, transcending cultures and traditional practices.
It’s composed of cauliflower florets, which are battered, deep-fried, and tossed in a spicy tangy sauce made of chili paste, garlic, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, peppers, and spring onions.
These bite-sized snacks are perfectly oily and spicy, with the garlic and green chiles giving it its signature dragon-breath after-burn.
18. Mumbai Frankie
Frankies are made from juicy naan bread coated with an egg and rolled up with mutton or chicken inside.
A unique combination of spices is sprinkled to enhance the flavors. The vegetarian option skips the eggs, and the stuffing includes paneer or potatoes or mushrooms. This famous and uber-popular dish was originally inspired by the Lebanese pita bread wrap.
It is a quick delectable snack that is usually eaten on the go, perhaps served with a side of mayonnaise and ketchup or green mint and chili chutney.
19. Ragada Pattice
This famous Mumbai street food is the combination of the two delicious dishes, Ragda (soft, spicy, strongly-flavored chickpeas) and Pattice (mashed potato shaped into fat patties and fried).
The best way to enjoy it is by combining the ragda with the pattice , and serving with chopped onions, a tangy lip-smacking sauce, and spicy green chutney.
Mix everything together and experience what Mumbai tastes like. It’s usually eaten with a hot pav (bread) on the side and is a perfect warmer during the monsoon season.
20. Thukpa (Noodle Soup)
Thukpa is a Himalayan noodle soup, popular in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and some parts of India. Usually served with meat, it is especially delicious with lean chicken. Thuk” means “heart,” and it is certainly a heart-warming dish. In Bhutan, it is often made with buckwheat noodles.
With more and more Indians embracing the diverse cuisine of the country, dishes such as Thukpa have seen a huge rise in fan following, and are considered delicacies.
Traditionally only made in the Himalayan states, today Thukpa can be found in all major cities.
21. Dahi Puri
Dahipuri, or Dahi puri, is a snack that is especially popular in the state of Maharashtra. The dish is a form of chaat (a small plate of sweet and savory snacks served on the streets of India) and originates from the city of Mumbai.
It is served with mini-puri shells (golgappa), which are best known from the dish pani puri.
Related: 25 Popular Indian Snacks
The round, hard, puffy puri shell is first broken on top and partially filled with the main stuffing of mashed potatoes or chickpeas. A small amount of turmeric powder or chili powder, or both, may be added for taste, as well as a pinch of salt. Sweet tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney are then poured into the shell on top of the stuffing.
Finally, sweetened beaten yogurt is generously poured over the shell, and the finished product is garnished with sprinklings of crushed sev, moong dal, pomegranate, and finely chopped coriander leaves. What’s not to love?
Kachori is a spicy deep-fried snack originating from the Indian subcontinent. Alternative names include kachauri, kachodi and katchuri.
It consists of a wheat flour-based outer layer stuffed with a spiced mix of onions, fennel seeds, moong dhal, and chilies.
There is another kind of kachori made in Delhi, called Khasta kachori or Raj Kachori. You may also come across a sweet kachori made with potato, coconut, and sugar.
Kachoris are often served with a chutney made from tamarind, mint, or coriander.
23. Pazham Pori
Sweet banana fritters, or pazham poori, are a famous snack from the southern state of Kerala.
Pazham pori is made from a ripened plantain called nendram pazham, which is a local fruit found in most parts of Kerala. The banana is dipped in a sweetened flour batter and fried till it is golden brown and crispy.
Usually served as an accompaniment for evening tea, this delicacy can also be paired with braised beef for a wonderfully sweet and savory combination.
24. Pani Puri
Pani puri (also called fuchka fhuchka, gupchup, golgappa or pani ke patake) is a snack that originated in the Indian subcontinent and is one of the best-loved street foods.
Pani puri consists of a round or ball-shaped hollow – puri (a deep-fried crisp flatbread), filled with a mixture of cumin-flavored water (known as jaljeera), tamarind chutney, chili powder, chaat masala, potato mash, onion, or chickpeas.
Dhokla is a vegetarian dish that is popular in the Indian state of Gujarat and certain parts of the adjacent states. It is made with a fermented batter derived from legumes such as chickpeas, pigeon peas, urad, and rice.
Dhokla can be eaten for breakfast, as the main course, as a side dish, or as a snack.
It’s a soft, fluffy, lightly sweetened yet savory cake that’s perfect to enjoy any time of the day. It’s easy to prepare steamed on the stovetop or even in an Instant Pot.
26. Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji is a quick and popular fast-food dish comprising a thick vegetable curry (referred to as bhaji) served with a soft bread roll (pav).
Originally, this dish was developed as a speedy lunch option for textile mill workers in Mumbai. Over time, it gained popularity and became a staple at restaurants across the city, and now it can be found everywhere, from humble street carts to upscale eateries in India and abroad. Street vendors typically prepare the curry on a flat griddle (tava) and serve it piping hot.
The curry incorporates a variety of vegetables, including potatoes, onions, carrots, chilies, peas, bell peppers, and tomatoes. While a soft white bread roll is the traditional accompaniment to the curry, other bread varieties like chapati, roti, or brown bread can also be used and offer equally delicious options!
Butter chicken or chicken makhani is a lip-smacking dish enjoyed by many across the world. It is traditionally a Punjabi dish, and coveted for its rich, creamy texture and flavors.
Today it is a staple of many Indian menus with each chef adding his own twist. Made famous by Indian curry houses across the UK, it’s best enjoyed with garlic-butter naan or basmati rice.
This luscious recipe is made from a base of tomatoes and onions, cooked with sweet spices and nuts, and finished with a hearty serving of butter and fresh cream.
Chicken Chettinad or Chettinad chicken is a classic Indian recipe, from the region of – you guessed it -Chettinad – which is a cluster of around 75 villages in Tamil Nadu.
It’s made with chicken marinated in yogurt, turmeric, and a paste of red chilies, kalpasi, coconut, poppy seeds, coriander, cumin, fennel, black pepper, groundnuts, onions, garlic, and gingelly (sesame) oil.
This authentic South Indian dish is famous for its complex mix of roasted spices and is best enjoyed with Malabar parottas.
Chicken tikka masala is a dish consisting of roasted marinated chicken chunks (chicken tikka) in a spiced curry sauce which is typically creamy and an orangey-red color. It has been popularized by cooks from South Asia living in Great Britain.
Today, it’s offered at restaurants around the world and was even once described by former UK foreign secretary Robin Cook as “a true British national dish.”
Boneless chunks of chicken are marinated in spices and yogurt, roasted in an oven, and served in the characteristic creamy curry sauce. This is typically made with tomatoes and coriander, but there’s no ‘standard’ recipe for chicken tikka masala. In fact, a recent survey found that in 48 different recipes, the only common ingredient was chicken!
However, the sauce usually includes tomatoes (frequently as puree), cream, coconut cream, and a masala spice mix. The distinctive color of the chicken and the sauce is created by using turmeric, paprika, or tomato puree. Or all three!
Biryani is a mixed rice dish originating among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is made with typical Indian spices, rice, and meat, which can be chicken, goat, lamb, prawns, or fish. Each region in India boasts its own variation of the traditional biriyani.
Originally inspired by the Persian roots of the Mughal Empire, today it is a beloved dish that can be found in any part of the country and is the highlight of the most lavish Indian meals. No Muslim wedding would be complete without traditional lamb biriyani as the central highlight of the evening.
The long grain basmati rice is preferred across the north, while the south usually prefers a shorter denser variety of rice called samba. Biryani sometimes includes eggs or vegetables, such as potatoes, according to regional preferences.
31. Chicken Korma
Korma, also known as qorma, is a gentle and flavorful dish made by slow-cooking meat or vegetables with ingredients like yogurt (dahi) or cream, along with spices and either water or stock, resulting in a rich, thick sauce or gravy.
The origins of Korma can be traced back to the Mughlai cuisine of the Indian subcontinent, dating back to the 16th century. Korma dishes were often crafted in the kitchens of the Mughal emperors, including the renowned white korma found in Emperor Shahjehan’s royal kitchen.
Today, Korma is widely relished not only in India but also across the globe.
Rogan Josh, also known as Mutton Rogan Josh, is a classic and spicy lamb curry with its roots in Persian cuisine, but it has gained immense popularity in Kashmir.
This dish is prepared using a slow cooking method with a variety of aromatic spices. Rogan Josh is distinguished by its fiery red hue and velvety consistency. While biryani and haleem enjoy widespread popularity, Rogan Josh is not far behind. The tender and succulent mutton pieces simmered in a flavorful gravy and served with Naan can turn your lunch or dinner into a truly delightful experience.
Haleem is a stew composed of meat, lentils, and pounded wheat made into a thick paste. Originally an Arabic dish, it was introduced to the state of Hyderabad in the 18th century, during the rule of the Nizams.
Hyderabadi haleem is a type of haleem popular in the Indian city of Hyderabad. The recipe calls for a mixture of grains such as cracked wheat, rice, and even oats blended with exotic spices such as saffron as well as rose petals to add an unforgettable fragrance.
It is a particular favorite during the Islamic month of Ramadan, being enjoyed for Iftar (the evening meal that breaks the day-long fast), as it provides instant energy and is high in calories.
In recognition of its cultural significance and popularity, in 2010 it was granted Geographical Indication Status (GIS) by the Indian GIS registry office, making it the first non-vegetarian dish in India to receive this prestigious accolade.
A fiery meat curry from Rajasthan, this one is loaded with red chilies. Mutton is cooked in mustard oil and flavored with the local kachri spice. This dish is surely not for the faint-hearted!
With its burst of spices and goodness of meat, it makes a great addition to any dinner party menu. More than that, when garnished with coriander leaves and a generous amount of ghee, Rajasthani Laal Maas has an extremely appetizing appearance. It is best enjoyed with roti or naan.
35. Chicken 65
Chicken 65 is a fiery and deep-fried chicken delicacy with its origins traced back to Hotel Buhari in Chennai. The dish derives its distinctive flavor from red chilies, although the specific ingredients may vary.
Chicken 65 can be crafted using either boneless or bone-in chicken and is typically garnished with onions and a squeeze of lemon. For those opting for a vegetarian version, Paneer 65 or Gobi 65 substitutes paneer or cauliflower, respectively.
As for its intriguing name, there are various legends surrounding it. Some suggest that the “65” alludes to the inclusion of 65 different spices or chili peppers in the recipe, while others propose that it was invented in the year 1965. Yet another tale suggests that it is made from a bird aged precisely 65 days. Take your pick from these tales and savor the dish!
36. Chettinad Mutton Masala
This Chettinad Mutton or Lamb Chettinad is a classic South Indian curry, which takes its name from the Chettinad region of southern India. Most of the dishes in this region are eaten with rice and rice-based accompaniments such as dosais, appams, idiyappam, adais, and idlis.
The recipe calls for the following spices to be roasted and ground to a thick paste to form the base of the dish: peppercorn, cardamom, chilies, cinnamon, and coconut. It has a rich, mouthwatering aroma and flavor which is very different from the mildly-spiced creamy dishes of the north.
Related: Chettinad Chicken Curry
37. Mutton Mappas
Mutton Mappas is a traditional dish from the southern state of Kerala, characterized by a gravy made out of thick and creamy coconut milk. Mappas can be made with fish, chicken, vegetables, or even eggs.
This dish is best served with appam, idiyappam (string hoppers), rice, and roti. Mappas and stew are similar, but not the same. In a stew, usually green chilies and black pepper are used to spice up the curry. However, in mappas, red chilis and a few other spices are usually added.
Mutton Mappas is delicious but can be a little difficult to eat as the lamb is cut into small pieces and cooked on the bone until it melts in the mouth.
The juicy meat and creamy gravy give the curry an aroma that is truly divine , so if you’re visiting southern India, don’t miss the chance to try it!
38. Mutton Do Pyaza
Mutton do pyaza is a delicious Mughlai dish of Hyderabadi cuisine. It is famous for its delectable flavor and tender texture, along with the generous quantity of onion that give it a unique flavor. This onion base is slow-cooked until caramelized and produces a sweet, rich and mellow nuance of flavors across the entire dish.
With its complex melange of spices, it is the perfect dish for any special occasion.
39. Jhinga Nisha
Jhinga nisha, also known as jheenga dum nisha, is a traditional Indian seafood dish. While there may be some regional variations, the typical preparation includes shrimp combined with ingredients such as ginger-garlic paste, yogurt, cheese, hot chili peppers, lemon juice, sesame seeds, cinnamon, fenugreek, cloves, and white pepper.
The process involves coating the shrimp with ginger-garlic paste, salt, and lemon juice before marinating them with the remaining ingredients. After marinating for about an hour, the shrimp are threaded onto skewers and roasted until they achieve a light golden hue. They are then sprinkled with sesame seed powder and roasted once more, preserving the succulence and plumpness of the freshly-caught shrimp.
40. Prawn Koliwada
Prawn Koliwada is a traditional Indian dish that originated from Punjabi immigrants who initially introduced it in a village named Koliwada in Mumbai. The focal point of this dish is the fried prawns, typically served as an appetizer. What distinguishes these prawns is their vibrant red hue, which is achieved through the use of red chili powder.
To prepare, the prawns are initially marinated in a mixture of ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, lemon juice, and salt. Following a brief marination period, the prawns are coated in a batter made from ingredients such as maida flour, cornflour, lemon juice, ajwain, oil, yogurt, and a touch more chili powder!
Subsequently, the battered prawns are deep-fried in oil until they attain a delectable golden-brown hue, rendering them succulent and wonderfully spicy!
41. Karimeen Pollichathu
Karimeen pollichathu is a traditional Indian fish dish from Kerala. It’s made by wrapping marinated pearlfish (karimeen) in banana leaves, then grilling it until done. The delicious marinade includes turmeric, chili powder, pepper, lime juice, coconut oil, and salt.
Other ingredients used to prepare this tasty dish include onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chili peppers, chili powder, turmeric, vinegar, and curry leaves. The ingredients are sautéed and placed on banana leaves before the fish is wrapped in them.
Once prepared, this succulent dish is usually served hot with chapati or rice on the side.
42. Bombay Duck or Bombil Rava Fry
Bombil fry is a traditional Indian dish originating from Maharashtra. It’s prepared with bombil, or Bombay duck, as the main ingredient. Despite the name, it’s not a duck but a fish (lizardfish) that’s found in the waters of Mumbai, and hence the confusing name.
During the times of the British Raj, this fish was transported with the mail (daak) from Mumbai, so the name Bombay duck remained in its colloquial form. For this dish, a fresh bombil fish is cleaned and marinated in lemon juice, turmeric powder, and salt.
43. Nadan Meen Curry
Originating from Kerala, this coastal Indian fish curry involves gently simmering chunks of robust fish in a richly seasoned sauce, often infused with coconut milk and an array of spices, including mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chili, and curry leaves.
Traditionally, this curry is prepared in a clay pot known as a manchatti. Its vibrant red color and spiciness are derived from the use of Kashmiri red chili powder, while its characteristic tanginess is achieved through the addition of kodampuli, also known as Malabar tamarind.
Other typical ingredients found in this spicy dish include shallots, green chilis, ginger, garlic, and turmeric powder. There exist numerous variations of this curry, and it can be crafted with a variety of fish types, as long as they are fresh and possess firm flesh. Kingfish, seer fish, salmon, wild sea bass, halibut, tilapia, or haddock all work wonderfully in creating a delectable Nadan meen curry.
44. Goan Crab Masala
The state of Goa has a rich culinary heritage that was influenced by the Portuguese, who used to rule Goa. Crab Masala is a delicious, spicy, Goan-style crab preparation.
In this dish, crabs are cooked in a spicy curry sauce made from onion and tomato and combined with coconut to finish it off. It is usually served with rice, rotis, or bread.
Different spices, such as coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds(methi), black peppercorns, cloves, and dry red chilies, are roasted along with grated coconut , then mixed and added to the thick smooth gravy made with sauteed onion and tomatoes. As it is simmering, marinated crabs are added, to create a wonderfully fresh and flavorful dish.
For more Goan culinary delights, check out our story on the most popular Goan foods.
45. Macher Jhol
Machher jhol, or machha jhola, is a spicy fish curry in the traditional Odia and Bengali cuisines of the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. It is a very spicy stew that is served with rice.
It is typically liberally seasoned with turmeric, garlic, onions, grated ginger, and Indian spices. Potatoes are added to the curry to make it thicker and more substantial.
Tomatoes are also added to impart the dish with the reddish color, much loved by the people of Bengal.
Various kinds of fish are typically used in Bengali and Odia households, including hilsa (aka ilish), rohu (aka rui or rohi), and catla (aka bhakura).
46. Gulab Jamun
Gulab jamun, often fondly referred to as jamun, is a well-known and traditional Indian dessert. It is prepared from milk fudge, which is deep-fried and subsequently soaked in a thick saffron-infused sugar syrup with a touch of anise flavor. Typically, it is served alongside ice cream.
In Hindi, the term “gulab” translates to “rose,” while “jamun” refers to a dark purple berry (java plum or black plum) found in India. The sugar syrup used in gulab jamun is scented with rose water, and the fried dough balls are roughly the size of jamun berries, hence the charming name “rose berries.”
This treat is made traditionally with dried milk solids, also called khoya or mawa in Hindi. An easy version is also made with milk powder.
47. Gajar Ka Halwa or Carrot Halwa
If there is one dessert that instantly reminds an expat of India, it would have to be the classic carrot halwa. Halwa refers to a sweet pudding made by slow cooking fruit and vegetables along with milk and sugar to achieve a smooth creamy and sweet pudding texture.
It is made by placing grated carrots in a pot with water, milk, sugar, and cardamom, and then cooking until a fudge-like consistency is achieved.
The addition of condensed milk gives this dish a creamy, silky texture making it an absolute delight. The slight hints of cardamom are complemented by the crunch and richness of nuts. It is a simple yet sought-after dish throughout the country.
Contemporary versions use purple and yellow carrots, though the authentic one calls for red carrots.
It is one of the most popular desserts served for Diwali, India’s popular Festival of Lights.
Jalebi (also known as jilapi, jilebi, jilipi, zulbia, jerry, mushabak, or zalabia) is a popular sweet snack. It is made by deep-frying a batter of maida flour (plain flour or all-purpose flour) in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
This dessert can be served warm or cold. It has a somewhat chewy texture with a crystallized sugary exterior coating. Citric acid or lime juice is sometimes added to the syrup, as well as rose water to impart a wonderful fragrance.
Jalebi is eaten with curd or rabri (condensed milk). A popular variation uses condensed milk fudge that is blended with the flour and deep-fried. This is denser and has a milkier flavor. However, whichever version you go for – it’s an unforgettable treat!
49. Mothichur Laduu
Motichoor ladoo is a popular sweet from the North Indian cuisine and is often made during festivals or celebrations. The term ‘Ladoo’ refers to anything round and sweet. Basically, grains, lentils, dried fruits, or nuts can all be converted into ladoo.
Motichur laddu is a soft, delicious melt-in-the-mouth treat made mainly with gram flour, sugar, and spices. The gram flour batter is fried to make tiny balls, or boondi, and mixed with sugar syrup, nuts, or seeds. These ladoos can be flavored with saffron, cardamom, rose water, kewra water, etc.
Ghee or clarified butter is often used in place of oil to enhance the flavor even more.
50. Ras Malai
Ras malai (or rossomalai or rasamalei) is a dessert originating from the eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent. The dessert is called rossomalai in Bengali, ras malai in Hindi, and rasa malei in Odia.
Although ras malai is made across the country, it is most popular in the Comilla District in Bangladesh and Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal, where it is claimed to have been invented.
Ras malai consists of flattened balls of chhena (cheese curds) soaked in malai (clotted cream) and flavored with cardamom. Once the milk is boiled, a bit of vinegar or lime juice is added to split it. The whey is then discarded, and the milk solids are drained, cooled, and kneaded into a dough. This is divided into small balls which are cooked in hot water with a few drops of rose water to add fragrance. The balls are then cooked in milk with saffron, pistachios, and kheer as stuffing to make a unique and luscious dessert.
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