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Guide to the Foods of India

Guide to the Food of India

India is a very complex country, both culturally and geographically. Throughout history, there have been many influences that have developed into the many regional cooking styles. From Kashmir and Punjab in the north, Assam and Bengal in the east, Mumbai and Goa in the west and Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south, each region offers an array of exotic cuisine.

I have identified some popular local dishes and their culinary influences. Please consult with your in-flight caterer about local specialties, as well as what is available and in season.

Northern India

Major Cities

  • Delhi
  • Lahore
  • Jaipur
  • Agra

Cultural Influences

  • Moghul
  • Persian

Local Dishes – Punjab / Kashmir

  • Tandoori Murgha – Roasted chicken that has been marinated in yogurt seasoned with Tandoori Masala (a spice blend of Cayenne pepper and Kashmiri red chili powder that gives it a fiery red hue).
  • Chana Masala – Chickpeas and tomatoes simmered with a mixture of fried garlic, ginger, onion and serrano chilies. Spiced with cumin, garam masala, coriander and turmeric.

Eastern India

Major Cities

  • Kolkatta
  • Imphal
  • Shilong
  • Bhubaneshwar

Cultural Influences

  • Chinese
  • Buddhist

Local Dishes – Bengal / Assam

  • Macher Jhol – A local fish (Aar, Rohu or Katla) that is fried and cooked in a ginger and tomato based gravy served with basmati rice.
  • Momos – Steamed dumpling stuffed with pork, paneer or vegetables.

Western India

Major Cities

  • Mumbai
  • Panaji
  • Kandla
  • Ahmadabad

Cultural Influences

  • British
  • Portuguese

Local Dishes – Goa / Mumbai

  • Vindaloo – A pork dish with Portuguese influence cooked with wine vinegar, garlic, spices and hot chilies.
  • Bombil Fry – A local fish (Lizard Fish AKA Bombay Duck), dried and salted, seasoned with chilies and garlic and deep fried.

Southern India

Major Cities

  • Chennai
  • Pondicherry
  • Bangalore
  • Kochi

Cultural Influences

  • French
  • Hindu

Local Dishes – Kerala / Tamu Nadil

  • Biryani – A mixed rice dish made with spices, rice and meat or vegetables.
  • Masala Dosa – Spiced fried mashed potato, wrapped in a rice pancake.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this article or about in-flight catering, contact me at marycovert@airculinaire.com.

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