Take A Deep Dive Into 6 Smoked Dishes In Indian Cuisine
Image Credit: Instagram

These days smoky dishes such as smoked pizza, smoked pasta, and smoked tikkas have become quite desirable among the public because of their robust flavours and the charred aftertaste of coal in the food. Smoking food adds a different type of heaviness and richness to a particular dish that cannot be achieved otherwise. 

Video Credits: YouTube

While a lot of people might think that this is a foreign concept, everyone must know that smoked dishes were a thing in India long before the Western world got acquainted with it. In fact, in many parts of the northern plains, and the northeastern states, smoking some common dishes that are otherwise made on the stove is still a prevalent practice. Here are some of the most delectable smoky delights of India that are cooked on coals.

Image Credits: Instagram

* Salli Boti

Salli boti is a Parsi-style smoked mutton that is extremely indulgent and has an indelible smoky flavour. This dish is a conspicuous part of Parsi culture and is believed to have been invented in the western part of the country. It has very strong flavours of ginger, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, red chilli powder, and regular, Indian spices like garam masala, turmeric and cumin seeds. Very soft pieces of mutton are first marinated in a gravy made from aromatic spices, and then it is slowly cooked on coals in a utensil. It is a comforting and an extremely flavourful dish which is perfect for special occasions.

* Bhapa Ilish 

Bhapa Ilish is a type of Bengali steamed fish that has pungent flavours of green chillies, mustard paste, and other Indian spices. After being properly covered with the paste of this spice mixture, it is compactly packed in banana leaves and steamed until the flesh of the fish becomes mouth-melting. Steaming the fish on some coal helps in imparting some smoky flavours to the fish. The smoky flavours are harmoniously blended with the mustard paste and other robust spices that create the most assimilated and holistic blend of flavours. Although one can also steam it on a regular stove, steaming the fish on some coal gives it that extra flavour. 

* Dhuan Murgh

Dhuan murgh is an Awadhi delicacy that has been traditionally made for years over a charcoal fire. This mouth-melting smoked chicken is made by first taking some fresh chicken pieces that are marinated overnight. After being marinated, there is slowly cum on charcoal fire from all sides. Allowing smoke to come in contact with meat helps in cooking it properly from all sides. Being a dish of the royals, it is incomplete without the garnishing of silver foil that gives it an opulent look. In earlier times, this dish used to be only reserved for the nobility and royalty and was prepared on special celebratory occasions.

Image Credits: Instagram

* Baingan Bharta

Baingan bharta is a famous dish in India, made from eggplant that is frequently consumed in the northern plains. The most common way of making this dish is by roasting baingan on a gas stove and letting its outer skin burn so that the inner skin becomes soft. From this inner pulp of the vegetable, people cook a semisolid dish with some spices and tomato and onion gravy. However, the most authentic style of making baingan ka bharta is to smoke the eggplant on top of some coals. This makes the eggplant perfectly charred and the consistency is perfect to be made into a creamy and flavourful dish that can be enjoyed with both roti as well as rice. The smokiness present in eggplant not only helps a person get the desired consistency but also makes the flavours more intricate and diverse.

Image Credits: Instagram

* Tandoori Chicken

The list would be incomplete without the quintessential tandoori chicken, which is the very essence of the tandoori cuisine in India. Tandoori chicken is a synchronised blend of marinated pieces of chicken drenched in yoghurt, spices, and some lemon juice. Once the pieces of chicken absorb the flavours of the marinade, they are carefully cooked on the top of a smoky griller until the pieces start turning a little bit blackish brown. The heat also helps in cooking the spice and the yoghurt coat present on the outer layer of the chicken properly. The resultant is a delicious and mouth-melting piece of chicken that captivates the very idea of smoky flavours properly.

* Smoked Fish Curry

Fish curry is particularly enjoyed by the people living in the coastal regions of the country. States like Goa and Karnataka are famous for their versions of salmon curry. What differentiates the coastal-style fish curry from the regular fish curry is that the natives of coastal areas like to first properly smoke their fish before immersing them in a creamy and rich gravy of spices and coconut milk that is well-balanced. This scrumptious coastal delicacy is nothing less than a reward.