Culinary gems of India at a glance
India is a vibrant country where diversity is its beauty. With over a hundred spoken languages, cultures and cuisines, this country is a melting pot of cultures which remains strong at its roots. We are a country that’s witnessed history since the Neolithic age and savors food brought in by the conquerors, traders and visitors. This Republic Day, let’s have a look at how gastronomically diverse our country is. Here’s our list of places in Mumbai where you get to taste a bit of every culture from India.
Litti Chokha@Litti Express, Andheri West
When you think of Bihari cuisine, the first thing that occurs to you is Litti Chokha. No doubt it’s become one of the culinary symbols of Bihar, but there’s also a long history to it. The earliest records of these sun baked dough balls are mentioned in Ibn Batuta’s records as ancient as Magadha Empire. So, break open into a litti and relish it with the feisty and pungent chokha.
Gosht Yakhni@Poush Essence of Kashmir, Kurla
Jammu & Kashmir is a princely state that was synonymous to the Mughal Emperor Jehangir’s idea of heaven. This state houses Kashmiri Muslims and Hindu Pundits, consequentially their cuisines as well. Gosht Yakhni is an authentic Kashmiri mutton dish in yoghurt gravy with an abundance of spices.
Pork Vindaloo@New Martin, Colaba
Goa is the perfect destination for some sun, sand and surf, but did you know Goan cuisine is just as interesting? This culinary heritage is a classic mélange of the early Indian habitants and the Portuguese settlers. Now, the Goans don’t shy away from spices and Pork Vindaloo stands testimony to that! Luscious chunks of Pork marinated in wine and garlic are cooked in spicy, tangy and sour curry. This dish may be hostile to your palate at first, but it is a treat for sure!
Karimeen Polichattu @Lalit Refreshments – Taste of Kerala, Fort
Kerala also known as the land of spices has quite a few culinary delights. With a multitude of both no vegetarian dishes, seafood remains sacrosanct. One such example of their love for seafood is Karimeen Pollichatthu. A bony fish wrapped in a sautéed spice mix and banana leaf. When you crave authentic Kerala seafood, head to Lalit Refreshments – Taste of Kerala, a quaint little eatery tucked into a lane at Fort.
Galaouti Kebab@Dum Pukht – ITC Grand Maratha, Andheri
Native to the city of Nawabs, Lucknow, Awadhi cuisine is way different from what we usually misunderstand it as Mughlai. With influences from Mughal cooking methods, it finds its roots from Central Asia. The Dum cooking method also hails from this glorious cuisine of the Nawabs. Sample some melt-in-mouth Galouti Kebab. We’ve heard they were made to please a toothless Nawab, Asaf-ud-Dowlah and have been winning hearts ever since!
Podi Annam@Gonguura, Andheri
Dhansak@Jimmy Boy, Fort
Andhra Pradesh hosts a trio of cuisines, the coastal Nothern-Andhra and Rayalaseema being famous for the liberal use of spices. Podi Annam is a classic example of a quintessentially Andhra meal. Podi, also known as gun powder, is a feisty mix of red chilly power, sesame seeds and lentils. It’s liberally sprinkled on rice and topped with a dollop of ghee. This sure makes for a delicious yet minimalistic meal.
Parsi Cuisine has been around for a while but as a country, we are yet to acknowledge and admire this rather simplistic cuisine. Bearing influences from Caucasian cuisines such as Kurdish and Turkish, it has, over time adapted to Indian taste too. Dhansak is one such gem of this cuisine. This dense three lentil curry is originally made with tender chunks of lamb and secret spice mix. If you aren’t fond of mutton, you can try the chicken and vegetarian variants too!
Panchmel Dal@Chetana, Kala Ghoda
The land of royalty, Rajasthan has many a culinary gems (pun intended) and is usually confused with cuisines from either Kutch or Gujarat. Panchmel Dal has a little bit of history to it too; apparently, the first record of this five lentil preparation was in the Ayurveda and is backed by some records found in Chandra Gupta Maurya’s reign.
Photo Credits: Cryselle D'souza
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