Unlock the gastronomic secrets of India's lesser-explored main courses, surpassing the realm of curry. Embark on a culinary voyage to savour an exquisite array of vibrant, aromatic delights that showcase the diverse flavours, textures, and regional specialties of this culturally rich and tantalising cuisine.
India's association with "curry" has become synonymous with its culinary identity on the global stage. While curry is undeniably a significant aspect of Indian cuisine, India's culinary history and diversity go far beyond this single dish. The term "curry" itself is an umbrella term that originated during the British colonial era, used to describe a wide range of Indian dishes with varying spices, flavors, and cooking techniques.
Indian cuisine in its true form is an amalgamation of diverse regional flavors and cooking traditions that have evolved over thousands of years. Each region of India boasts its unique culinary heritage, characterized by locally available ingredients, cultural influences, and traditional practices. From the fragrant biryanis of Hyderabad to the fiery vindaloos of Goa, and the creamy butter chicken of Punjab, Indian cuisine is a vibrant tapestry of flavors.
Indian cooking is characterized by the skillful use of aromatic spices, herbs, and condiments, which not only impart incredible taste but also offer numerous health benefits. Spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and fenugreek not only add distinct flavors but also boast medicinal properties.
Indian cuisine showcases an extensive array of dishes that reflect the country's deep-rooted culture. Here are 8 dishes you should try instead of ‘curry’.
1. Kathi Roll
The Kolkata Kathi roll, a beloved street food from West Bengal, India, is a gastronomic delight that has captivated food enthusiasts worldwide. It originated in the bustling streets of Kolkata and has become an iconic dish. The Kathi roll consists of succulent skewered kebabs, be it spiced chicken, tender mutton, or flavorful paneer, wrapped in a paratha (Indian flatbread). The roll is generously garnished with sliced onions, green chilies, tangy sauces, and a dash of lime, infusing it with a burst of flavours and textures. .
2. Baingan Bharta
Baigan Bharta is a beloved traditional Indian dish that tantalises taste buds with its smoky, earthy flavours. Made primarily with roasted eggplant, the dish is rich and creamy, seasoned with a medley of spices, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and fresh herbs. The eggplant is first charred over an open flame, lending the Bharta its distinct smokiness, before being mashed and cooked to perfection. The result is a delightful amalgamation of textures and tastes that is both comforting and satisfying.
3. Litti Chokha
A traditional dish from the state of Bihar, litti chokha consists of roasted wheat flour balls stuffed with sattu (gram flour), herbs, and spices. It is typically served with a side of chokha, which is a spicy mix of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes.
4. Rajasthani Dal Baati Churma
Dal Baati Churma is a royal combination of lentils, baked dough balls, and a sweet crushed wheat dessert. Hailing from the state of Rajasthan, this dish represents the rich culinary heritage of the region. The lentils, cooked with aromatic spices, provide a creamy and comforting texture. The baatis, made from wheat flour and ghee, are baked until golden brown and served with ghee. Finally, churma, a sweet dish made from crushed wheat, jaggery, and ghee, adds a delightful ending to this royal feast.
5. Chole Bhature
If you're craving a taste of authentic Indian street food, look no further than chole bhature. This popular dish hails from the streets of North India and is a delightful combination of spicy chickpea curry (chole) and deep-fried bread (bhature). The crispy, fluffy bhature pairs perfectly with the tangy and robust flavours of the chole, creating a match made in street food heaven.
6. Dosa: South India's Crispy Crepe
Travelling down to South India, we encounter dosa, a beloved staple that has gained worldwide popularity. Dosa is a thin and crispy fermented crepe made from rice and lentil batter. It is often served with a variety of chutneys and sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew). Whether it's the classic plain dosa or the stuffed masala dosa filled with a spiced potato mixture, this versatile dish offers a delightful combination of flavours and textures.
7. Sarson da Saag with Makki di Roti: A Punjabi Favorite
In the vibrant state of Punjab, sarson da saag with makki di roti holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. Sarson da saag is a luscious, leafy green curry made from mustard greens, spinach, and other seasonal greens. It is best enjoyed with makki di roti, a rustic unleavened bread made from cornmeal.
8. Bhutte Ka Kees
Bhutte ka Kees is a delightful and traditional Indian dish hailing from the state of Madhya Pradesh. Made with grated fresh corn kernels, this vegetarian delicacy captures the essence of simplicity and wholesome flavors. The corn is sautéed with spices like turmeric, mustard seeds, and green chilies, enhancing its taste while retaining its natural sweetness. A touch of milk or cream adds a creamy texture, elevating the dish to a comforting delight. Bhutte ka Kees is a popular street food and a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Its delightful combination of spices and the natural sweetness of corn make it a must-try delicacy.
Indian cuisine is a treasure trove of culinary delights that go beyond the realm of curry. From the flavourful Biryani to the fiery Chettinad Chicken, each dish represents a unique blend of spices, techniques, and regional influences. Exploring these lesser-known main course delights is an opportunity to savour the diverse flavours and textures that India has to offer. So, venture beyond curry and let your taste buds experience the vibrant and tantalising world of Indian cuisine.