A culinary Journey through India – Part I

Whether vegetarian, meat lovers, vegetable fetishist or spice fanatic – The Indian cuisine offers a colorful potpourri of food, which fulfills every wish.

The North Indian cuisine – Tandoori cuisine and yogurt curry  

Lamb curry
Rogan Josh

For the Central European palate northern India is particularly recommendable. Dhal (a lentil dish), gushtaba (meatballs in sauce) and Rogan Josh (lamb curry) are here on any good bill of fare. These foods are traditionally served with naan or chapati (both flat breads) which are baked in a tandoor, a clay oven. The tandoor kitchen traces back to a centuries-old tradition. It has its origin in Punjab, one of the northernmost states of India. In addition to bread meat and fish are also prepared in a tandoor. Especially popular is tandoori chicken, a meat dish that is marinated in a yoghurt-cumin-chili-sauce for at least 24 hours before it enters the tandoor.

You can find the recipe under: http://www.currywelten.com/curry_rezepte_indien_tandoori_huhn.html

As there are used many dairy products and comparatively less spices in the northern Indian cuisine, the courts are milder and easier to digest than in other regions of the country. Among the most common spices of the North are numbered – due to the Oriental influence – saffron and cumin. Cumin has a distinctive fragrance which can be perceived in almost every street, house and restaurant. And, of course, it can be found in any spice shop in India. If necessary the food – rather uncommon in India – can also be after-peppered with sharp chutneys at the table. Mango and coconut chutney are very delicious. The fruity taste gives an extra flavor kick to the food. For adventurous people an absolute must!

Here you can see the best North Indian Restaurants in New Delhi: http://theculturetrip.com/asia/india/articles/a-taste-of-india-ten-of-the-best-restaurants-in-new-delhi/

The East of the country – Mediterranean dishes and sweet delicacies

Culinary Journey1
A family on a market

When you travel further to the east of the country, to West Bengal, you can enjoy the Mediterranean influence. Curry is prepared with (freshwater-) fish, seafood and coconut milk. Usually you eat rice withal, which is grown mainly in the states of Orissa, West Bengal and Assam, and also on the west coast and along the Himalayan foothills. Rice is considered as an important Indian staple food, which is served as a side dish or as a main dish, such as biryani. Especially in eastern and southern India, rice is an indispensable part of any kitchen. One of the most famous dishes of the East Indian cuisine is dahi maach, a fish curry in yogurt sauce, which is flavored with turmeric and ginger. Other foods, such as dhal, are refined with panch poron, a five-spice mixture consisting of black mustard, black cumin, fennel seeds, cumin and fenugreek seeds. Other spice mixtures, called masalas, can contain up to 26 different spices. Their tastes vary – depending on the composition – from mild sweet to hot spicy. They are usually available in powder form.

Not only fish lovers and spice fans, but also people with a sweet tooth get their money’s worth in east India. Sandesh is a Bengali sweets made of sugar and milk or sugar and paneer, which – like most Indian sweets – is very sweet and spiced up with saffron and cardamom. Another specialty is khir, an aromatic milk pudding, which is cooked with saffron and flavored with rose water.

A recipe for a good khir can be found here: http://www.food.com/recipe/khir-himalayan-rice-pudding-422516

Both desserts are eaten in other Indian regions too, but originally they come from the Bengali cuisine.

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