There is a lot to love about traveling.
From exploring new parts of a city to enjoying time outdoors to meeting new people, traveling can bring a lot of value, whether it’s across the world or just on the other side of town.
Perhaps there are some countries that you have always wanted to visit. And whether for the culture, the scenery or of course, the food, India may be on your list.
When it comes to Indian cuisine, the dishes, flavors and spices are quite varied. Across the region, there can be different soil types, climates and cultures, different areas may be home to distinct dishes.
India’s history has also shaped the direction and character of their cuisine. From colonialism to international trading to even religion, these moments have shaped the cuisine to be the flavorful, diverse and fun tastes it is.
Perhaps Indian cuisine has already richly been part of your daily life. Or, maybe it’s a newer type of cuisine you’re eager to explore more. In either case, Indian cuisine is packed full of delicious dishes and tastes to explore. Next, we share some of the key characteristics, ingredients and dishes of Indian cuisine.
When you think of Indian cuisine, some of the first things that come to mind may include curries and spices. Very broadly speaking, many Indian dishes do incorporate a great deal of spice, particularly chili pepper or cumin. Other flavor-enhancers include spices like cinnamon, garlic and nutmeg. It’s also true that you’ll find a lot of different curries on the menu, which are stew-like dishes that contain a plethora of ingredients and flavor profiles. Yet while characteristics like these may seem to unify this type of cuisine, there’s much more to it.
Due to the differences in agriculture and culture, each region of India may have their own unique dishes, flavors and ingredients that are incorporated into their cuisine. In addition to the typical North, South, East, West, Central and Northeastern regions, India contains several different states and territories that have their own flavor and tastes. Of course, each region and state are unique and have an intriguing set of staple ingredients and personalities. As a very brief overview, here are just a few key characteristics of each of these six regions.
In the north, one of the most prominent spices used is Garam Marsala. You’ll also find dishes like samoas, naan bread and curry. Often, you’ll finish off a meal with the bold tastes of a chai.
In the south, the dishes are more centered around ingredients like rice, stews and lentils. Sambar powder is a top spice used in cooking. As a drink to finish out the meal, a type of coffee made with chicory is often enjoyed.
This region is known for its vegetarian dishes and diversity in flavors. Often in these dishes you’ll find ingredients like yogurt, lentils, rice and corn.
You’re sure to find an abundance of sweet treats in this region. Known for their desserts, this region brings rich ingredients, including a lot of rice as well as yogurt, vegetables and more.
Characteristically, this region tends to celebrate all things spices. They often combine flavor profiles of salty, sweet, spicy and sour, simultaneously.
This island region brings in meats and fish into the cuisine in a bold way. Most often, these protein-rich dishes are accompanied by flavorful rice, which is abundant in this region.
From just skimming the surface of each of these six regions, it’s clear that Indian cuisine is diverse, full of flavor and can really pack a punch. Are you ready to start cooking?
With the many, many different dishes and spice levels, there’s sure to be a dish that aligns well with your taste preferences. Even if you’re fairly new to Indian cuisine, trying out new recipes and dishes can be an exciting culinary journey.
Here we share just a few Indian-inspired dishes to try out this week:
Add in some rich flavor to this combination of lentils, rice and cauliflower. The Cilantro & Onion olive oil sets a smooth note to the addition of other herbs such as curry powder, cilantro, ginger and lime.
Turn up the heat on this curry favorite by adding in spices like cinnamon and red curry paste. However, the coconut milk and brown sugar also work to sweeten up the spice to make this a dish of multiple flavor levels.
Savor the rich flavor of this traditional Indian dish. Spicy chicken is covered in a bold, creamy sauce and a mint chutney to add several layers of flavor. Adjust the seasoning and spices based on how much heat you want to bring to this favorite dish.
Bring some curry inspiration to your salads with this vibrant recipe. This salad brings in the spicy punch with ingredients like Tunisian Harissa olive oil and curry powder. Yet that spice is nicely balanced with sweet carrots, Blood Orange olive oil and ricotta cheese.
This chicken recipe brings a savory balance between sweet and spicy. With heated spices like cayenne and paprika and sweet balances of honey, cinnamon and Ginger & Honey balsamic, this chicken dish is sure to please all.
While not all Indian dishes have some heat, several bring a rich balance of spicy and sweet. Whether you’re new to the cuisine or have been enjoying it for years, cooking up some Indian dishes invites you to explore new ingredients and tastes you may just absolutely love. Try out recipes like these and enjoy the adventure of Indian cooking.
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