A Guide to the Delicious Regional Cuisines of India
The Indian subcontinent is not uniform. It’s vast and divided into different regions, each influenced by their own history, religion and cultural practices – this also means that each of these areas of the country will have varied cuisines and will use a wealth of ingredients not commonly used elsewhere!
The different regions of India still share common elements that clearly unite all cuisines under the Indian umbrella; however, many other components are unique to each region and allow for dishes to be easily identifiable.
So, what differentiates the Indian cuisines?
This is perhaps the most popularised Indian cuisine outside of the country. The Northern Indian cuisine is easily recognisable for its use of dairy, from milk to paneer and yoghurt. Likewise, other commonly consumed dishes are samosas (usually filled with potatoes) and korma, which are typical of the region and well-known across the globe. Tandoori chicken and naan bread also obtain their charcoal flavour from the tandoor, a clay oven popular in the north of the country.
This type of cuisine is recognisable by the characteristics of three different regions: Maharastra, Gujarat and Goa. The first is responsible for many fish and coconut milk dishes we all know and love. Gujarat is known for its mainly vegetarian cuisine, dishes with an underlying sweetness (due to Chinese influence), and chutneys. As for Goa, this region has been influenced by Portuguese cuisine and, therefore, has a unique blend of culinary elements that highlight pork and beef, vinegar, fish and coconut paste and milk (Vindaloo derives from Vinho de Alho, a Portuguese marinade made from garlic, vinegar, chillies and wine).
This type of cuisine is better known for its desserts, which not only grace other regions of the country but also menus across the world. An example of a popular dessert from this region is the rasgulla (semolina and cheese curd balls boiled in sugar syrup). Also, this area of India is popular for its focus on mustard and poppy seeds, as well as mustard oil, rice and fish. Eastern cuisine contains fewer spices than any other Indian cuisines.
This cuisine is not usually found in Indian restaurants, as the dishes vary a lot from other regions of the subcontinent. There are many curry-style recipes in this region, although they are considered drier or, in cases, ‘soupier’ than curries originating from other areas of India. Perhaps the most popular southern dish in Indian menus is the poppadom, a crispy rice cracker beloved by many. Southern Indian cuisine is also characterised by griddle-cooked snacks, such as dosas.
Not all Indian cuisines are the same, as the different regions of the country have different historical, cultural and religious pasts – this makes for interesting and varied dishes across the country and, of course, the world. We love Indian food and know you do too, so don’t hesitate to make your reservation or get in touch at any time and we’ll answer any questions you might have about our delightful menus!