India is a land where food is not only savoured, enjoyed and celebrated, but also worshipped. It is part of our very culture to obsess over food and so every occasion calls for a grandeur feast. Food is not only treated as a requirement for life but is considered divine. Therefore, it is quite common to see people in different cultures recite a quick mantra or chant over a plate full of food, or serve it as prasad after it has been blessed by their God.
India’s food habits are as diverse as her people. Each region has its unique tastes and uses a distinct combination of flavours and ingredients. Recipes are handed down over generations, and some are closely held secrets. Hence, if varan bhaat is a go-to dish in Mumbai then Macher Jhol is a must-have in Kolkata. That is why, in today’s blog, we try to capture this vast landscape by featuring a few local specialities from across the nation. Find below their recipes and more!
Galgal ka Khatta
Galgal or hill lemon is a citrus fruit that looks like a regular lemon but is larger in size. It is oblong in shape and rich in vitamin C. It is also known as Dudunj and is a wonderful winter snack. It boosts immunity and gives protection from colds and infections. Delicious to taste, this dish is a strong blend of many flavours—sweet, sour, umami, and hot. If you’re a fan of pickles, this one’s a must-try!
This traditional sweet of West Bengal is made during the harvest festival, ‘Poush Sankranti’. It is prepared with nolen gur (palm jaggery) which is available only during and around the winter season. This dessert is also called Muger Puli Pithe and is stuffed with a delicious filling of thin coconut shavings. Its nutritional value is levelled up with the use of sweet potatoes, the ingredient that offers it its soft unique taste. It is deep-fried and delicious to the core!
Served as a side dish or chutney, you can enjoy mango pachadi with dosa, roti or parathas. This South Indian favourite is like a pickle with either raw or ripe mango. Depending on the region (be it Kerala or Tamil Nadu), it is prepared in different styles. Mangai pachadi is specially prepared during the Tamil New Year, but since is a bit of everything—sweet, sour, bitter, and spicy—it can be eaten any time of the year when mango is available. You can also serve it with hot rice or as a dip with papadum.
Litti Chokha has a longstanding place in the history of Bihar. This dish originated centuries ago in the courts of Magadha. It is a combination of littis that are baked using wheat flour dough and stuffed with a concoction of spices and lemon juice; and chokha, which is a mash of various grilled vegetables. It is served with hot green chutney and raw onions. Litti Chokha is well appreciated and consumed by people in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh as well. Hence, we’re sure you’re gonna love this one. Just follow the recipe!
Thotakura Vadiyalu Curry
A lip-smacking gift from the South, this dish is as healthy as tasty. It is made of amaranth leaves which are adorned with an attractive deep maroon hue. Sometimes the leaves are green with a brush of red which makes these leaves look eye-catching. Amaranth is also called chaulia or laal maath, and it is rich in dietary fibre. In addition to this star ingredient, roasted udad dal (vadiyalu) chips give this dish an extra crunch. It is best served with rice or roti.
Although the list is never-ending, we still feel and hope that our top five choices would certainly tantalize your taste buds. If yes, do comment and let us know!