Cultured Palate: Dishes from India

Although India isn’t the largest country in the world, many people would argue that it may be the most diverse. From the cold windswept mountains of Kashmir to the golden beaches of Goa, it seems like India contains every possible ecosystem imaginable.

Indian cuisine, consequently, varies widely depending on the region, but in general, their dishes are full of intense flavors, fiery spices, and the freshest vegetables that can be found. There are plenty of Indian meat dishes, but on the whole, due to the variety of religious strictures present in the country (Hindus may not eat beef, while Muslims abstain from pork), the focus is primarily on vegetarian dishes.

This guide will give you a quick introduction to the vast world of Indian cuisine, and help you identify the signatures dishes from each region that you may be visiting.

Naan

One of the most basic dishes found in Indian cuisine, naan is a type of leavened bread served with many curry dishes. Typically, Indian cuisine is eaten without cutlery, so the bread is used to help scoop up pieces of meat, and to sop up sauce. Traditionally, naan is cooked in a tandoor (a clay oven used often in Indian cuisine), which gives the bread its characteristic charred, bubbly appearance.

Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Samosas

Samosas are a very popular snack all over India. Depending on the region, they can be either baked or fried, but they generally contain a similar mixture of potato, onion, peas, and spices. The characteristic triangle shape makes them easy to spot. They’re an excellent snack to buy or take on the go. Many street vendors offer amazing, freshly made samosas, which are sometimes served plain, or you can opt for a spicy chutney or tamarind sauce for dipping.

viennetta / Shutterstock

Dosa

If you’re traveling through India and see people tucking into a dish that seems way too gigantic to fit on their plate, you’ve probably found dosa. Dosa is a crepe-like concoction, which is made from primarily rice and black gram flour, and served with a variety of chutneys and curries for dipping.

The additions to your plate will generally vary regionally, although dosa dishes are found most often in Southern India. One popular variation is the masala dosa, where a dosa is stuffed with spiced potatoes (almost like a gigantic samosa), before being served with the usual dipping sauces.

vm2002 / Shutterstock

SHARE ON

Advertisement

Why You Should Travel While You’re Still Young

If you’re worried about embarking on a travel adventure and wondering whether it’ll negatively affect your life, the simple answer is “no, it won’t.” In fact, when you stop to take a closer look at it, the benefits considerably outweigh the risks. While in the past it may have looked like a frivolous undertaking, nowadays it’s considered a character-defining experience. If you have the chance to travel now, take it without thinking as your future-self will be forever grateful for the lessons, friends, and memories you will make.

Most Intense Long-Distance Marathons (Not for the Faint of Heart)

For those among us who love a challenge, these long-distance marathons and outdoor challenges are activities that can only be attempted after years of training, with the right gear, and only by those who are mentally ready to undergo such a feat. Here are some of the most intense and challenging marathons in the world.

Cultured Palate: Dishes from South Africa

South Africa’s incredible biodiversity and rich cultural heritage has given it a unique cuisine unlike any other place on Earth. There are visible influences from the Dutch, German, French, and Cape Malay colonizers, as well as indigenous dishes that have been passed down for generations. If you’re spending your next holiday in South Africa, here are some amazing dishes you must try.