What is one new food you tried and ended up LOVING? Trying new foods will do more than wider your horizons — it can help you eat healthier, introduce you to different cultures, and add more nutrients to your diet!
If you’re looking to dive into Indian cuisine…you’re in the right place!
Undoubtedly, Indian cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors and spices that pack a punch. These dynamic dishes that we know and love are actually a fusion of various cultures, and hence why its flavors have evolved.
Spices are the foundation of Indian cuisine and are what helps make our food taste so vibrant and flavorful. Whether it’s a dish from Northern or Southern India, different spices and aromas help transport your senses through the power of food.
We’ll walk you through the different food found throughout India and what spices make it so special! Are you ready to start your flavor journey as we explore Indian culture through food?
Flavors between Northern and Southern India are diverse. North Indian food has more warmth and uses spices like cayenne and garam masala, which helps ward off the cold climate that North Indians have to endure. North Indian food is very popular and commonly found in many Indian restaurants outside the country. Some favorites are Chicken Tikka Masala, Chana Masala and Tandoori chicken, usually served with a side of naan, roti or rice. Here are different cuisines you’ll find in North Indian states:
The Northern region of India is also known as Punjab, BUT you don’t have to travel all that way to discover the amazing flavors in Punjabi dishes. Punjabi cuisine is available even in the U.S. along with many other countries. For traditional Punjabi food, you’ll often find that their food is cooked in clay ovens which are heated by coal. This is how authentic tandoori-style food is cooked and if you ever get the chance to experience it, you’re in for a real treat! Daal roti, yogurt, and vegetables are some common Punjabi dishes. The secret to making these dishes so special is all in the spices! Spices such as garlic, ginger, cumin, and turmeric are what make Punjabi food so mouthwatering and aromatic. Punjabi food is typically served with milk, yogurt, and lassi, which make the taste more delicious. Some famous Punjabi dishes are Bajry Ki Roti, Aloo Paratha, and Tandoori Chicken.
One of the states of India is Kashmir, located in northern India. Divided between Pakistan and India, Kashmiri cuisine is among the best! Some of the famous Kashmiri dishes are Korma and Rogan Josh, which are served with lamb. You’ll find that Kashmiri food is cooked using ghee, which not only nutty and aromatic but has a much higher smoke point than cooking with butter. You’ll often find spices such as cinnamon and cloves in both sweet and savory Kashmiri dishes!
The Indian state of West Bengal is the origin of Bengali food. The ingredient that is most common in Bengali cuisine is mustard oil. Cumin and mustard seeds are often used, either whole or ground, to add depth of flavor to these dishes. Aniseed is also a must! Some of the most popular Bengali dishes are rice, fish, and eggs, which are served all over the world.
As we head south toward Tamil Nadu and Kerala, you’ll find that they’re known for different spices and rich, coconut flavors. One of Southern India's most famous dishes is fish and coconut seasoned with black pepper, cloves, and cardamom. You may be familiar with Indian dosa, biryani, and rice, which are eaten instead of roti. Even though fewer spices are used in their cooking, the food is SO delicious that you can’t help but want more! Here are different cuisines you’ll find in Southern India:
Andhra food brings the heat! As this is considered the spiciest food in Southern India, cayenne pepper adds both color and heat to these vibrant recipes. Other popular ingredients include coconut and lentils. While there’s delicious food throughout Andhra, you must taste their Biryani which is the most delightful recipe!
Karnataka is the mildest cuisine in terms of spices because they use diverse spices such as chili, palm sugar, or jaggery. You’ll find rice and jola are the backbone of this entirely vegetarian cuisine, accompanied by a variety of curries and dosa.
Kerala is one of the most popular cuisines in Southern India. Common ingredients such as oil, milk, and coconut help create dishes that are creamy and delicious! While you’ll find that the favorite food of Kerala cuisine is seafood, we recommend that you try Masala Dosa too!
Tamil Nadu food is famous among Southern Indians! Whether you enjoy a little heat or not, you’ll find both spicy and mild combinations that everyone can enjoy. Turmeric, coriander, garlic and ginger combined add amazing flavor to the cuisine of Tamil Nadu! You’ll find these aromas throughout some of favorite dishes including Idli Sambar, Dosa and Puliyodarai.
By now, you’ve learned how diverse and colorful Indian food can be! Which Indian dish do you want to try? Share with us in the comments!