The humble masala dosa has made it to a list of the 10 dishes to try before you die. We list nine more items from different parts of India that you must have before you meet your maker
We begin our gourmet express with the south and move up north. The beef roast from Kerala is what makes this list out of all the delicacies the state has to offer. Called Beef Ularthiyarthu, it is a special dish of Knanaya Christians of Kottayam, usually made as a Sunday Special or for festive occasions. It is also the favourite accompaniment with the local toddy and can also be had with parotta, appam or rice. The dish is made in coconut oil and also uses a lot of masalas such as chilli powder, garam masala, kashmiri chilli, coriander powder, pepper and turmeric. The masalas are first roasted slowly, so that the flavour comes out well and into the mixture is added thinly sliced pieces of coconut, garlic, ginger and shallots/onions. The result is a mouth-watering delicacy.
CHETTINAD CHICKEN CURRY
Neighbouring Kerala, the state of Tamil Nadu too has a lot to put on our plate, however, we zeroed in on the Chettinad Chicken Curry. This is a fiery curry. There’s no reason why you can’t reduce the spice to suit your own palate though. Chettinad Chicken tastes great with parathas, rotis and even plain boiled rice. The chicken is simmered in coconut milk and gets its unique flavour from a blend of spices such as fennel seeds, coriander seeds, poppy seeds, pepper corns, cardamoms and cumin to name a few. Most people nowadays prefer to marinate the chicken before making, so that the chicken gets soaked in the spices; but did you know in Chettinad, earlier, the chicken never used to be marinated, yet it was fiery still?
HYDERABADI DUM BIRYANI
Hyderabad’s or rather the Nizam’s contribution to the food geography of the country is the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. No wedding, no party in Hyderabad is complete without the biryani. It is a rice-based dish which is made with spices, meat, eggs or vegetables. First the onions are fried till they are golden brown. Next spices are added, which are these days amalgamated into one single spice called the ‘biryani masala’. The only other spices that are added other than the biryani masala are crushed ginger and crushed garlic and a dash of curry powder. The more authentic and flavourful your spices and condiments, the better it will taste. Biryani tastes best when served with Mirchi Ka Saalan, a traditional peanut-pepper sauce which goes well with the rice grains.
Speaking of Goa, beaches and great port wine come to one’s mind, but there is also something else one ought not to miss — the Pork Vindaloo. The Pork Vindaloo is synonymous with Goan food. The term Vindaloo is derived from the Portuguese dish ‘Carne de Vinha d Alhos‘ which is made with a meat, usually pork, wine and garlic. The dish evolved into the vindaloo curry dish when it received the Goan treatment of adding a large amount of traditional spice and using malt vingear instead of red wine. Apart from pork, red dried chilies/peppers, peppercorns, cloves of garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, sugar, vinegar, oil, coconut feni, onion and salt to taste. It is enjoyed with the most popular and loved accompaniment the Goan Sannas which is prepared with toddy!
Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dish consisting of roasted chicken prepared with yogurt and spices. Though New Delhi is famous for a lot street food and lip-smacking snacks, the Tandoori Chicken is one dish that must be had here. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and seasoned with the spice mixture tandoori masala. Cayenne pepper, red chili powder or kashmiri red chili powder is used to give it a fiery red hue in the original version. The marinated chicken is then skewered with a metal rod, and placed into a clay tandoor oven to cook. The result means the chicken is slow-cooked all the way though, leaving it moist inside, while crispy on the outside. When a certain dish hits your mouth and makes your taste buds come alive, you know this is how it was meant to taste originally.
This amazingly delicacy is from the east of India… West Bengal. It’s not just curries and rice that India is famous for; even sweets hold their own and Bengal is the hub of all that is sweet and what better example than the Gurer Kheer Kodom. Most may think the rossogulla deserved this slot but what if we were to tell you that this is double the dose that a rossogulla has to offer. The kheer kodom is a small rossogulla with a covering of khoya or thickened milk. Bengalis swear by this delicacy and it finds a place in all their major festivals.
If one has seen the movie 3 Idiots, one would be familiar with the scene where Kareena Kapoor meets Aamir Khan in his dorm with a bottle of wine and a plate of dhokla. The dhokla is a Gujarati snack which tastes best when served with mint or coriander chutney. It is made with a fermented batter of gram flour (chickpeas) and can be eaten for breakfast, as a main course, as a side dish or as a snack.
SARSON KA SAAG
Say Punjabi food and a lot of names will roll off your tongue in a minute. We decided to pick among the many Sarson ka sag, which is made as an accompaniment to Makki ke roti, (roti made of corn bread). Every household in Punjab relishes this delicacy and that too with generous quantities of white butter. Sarson ka saag is a luscious green gravy, made out of mustard seeds. This is a passion of Punjab and can be found at all roadside dhabas. The green gravy is spinach added for the colour. It’s a dish that is had during the biting cold of the winters in the north.
From the land of Kashmir, the northern most part of our country, comes this delicious meat dish. It is an aromatic lamb dish of Persian origin. Rogan means “oil” in Persian, while josh means “heat, hot, boiling, or passionate”. Rogan josh thus means cooked in oil at intense heat. Rogan josh (or roghan josh), an aromatic lamb dish is the sine qua non of Kashmiri cuisine. Originally Rogan josh was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals. It is an aromatic blend of spices, like cardamom, cloves and cumin, which flavours this succulent lamb stew.
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