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Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Food in India

Food in India

From DC to Dakota, Warwick to what-have-you, Indian spices are letting off steam everywhere in the whole wide world. And you come to India and realise......hey, there’s nothing authentic about it! Every kitchen, every man, woman, cook, chef does it different. Food in India reflects a perfect blend of the diverse cultures and eras that have contributed in the overall development of the country.

A meal in the north would typically constitute chapattis or rice with dal (lentil curry) and a dish of vegetables or meat. Pappads (wafers fried or toasted to a crisp), yoghurt and pickle are usual accompaniments. The chapatti is a round flat unleavened bread of which you tear bits to scoop the curry. Variations of the chapatti are paratha, poorie, bhatoora, and Tandoori naans.

Idli, dosa, vada, sambar, uppama! In the south, too, a meal centres on a base of rice, or as in the South –Indian case, semolina preparation. The idli is a steamed rice cake and the crisp salty pancake often stuffed with potatoes is the dosa. Eaten alongside is the South-Indian dal - "sambhar", sour, hot, souped -up with vegetables. The Brahmins are vegetarian, but the rest consume sour-hot fish, mutton, and chicken with gusto. In Kerala seafood is simmered in coconut milk and delicately flavoured with curry leaves. Most Indians eat three meals, each one full-fledged.

Savoury snacks like pakoras pep the evening cuppa. Anything coated in batter (of chickpea, flour et al) and deep-fried will pass for pakora. Also, readily available on the roadside are snacks like bhel puri (spiced up puffed rice) and paapri chaat (wafers and boiled potato doused in curd and sauces). Vegetarians will feel like they’ve come home, specially in the south. But no matter where you are, in a plush restaurant or a roadside ‘dhaba’, in Kunnur or Kullu, you can be sure of sumptuous vegetarian meals.

All along the coast and extensively in the northeast fish is consumed almost as a staple. Both fresh water and sea fish are popular. Indians love their sweets. There is great regional variety and among the most popular types is the Bengali "mishti".

Apart from the diverse cuisines of India, there’s also a huge variety in drinks. Besides ‘chai’ (tea) and coffee, sweetened/salty churned yoghurt called lassi, the ubiquitous ‘neemboo-pani’ or lemon-water, fruit juice in tetra packs and aerated drinks are readily available in India. IMFL expands into Indian made Foreign Liquor and spans the entire range from beer to whiskey. Some examples of local brews are ‘chaang’ in Arunachal, toddy in the South and Goa’s famous ‘feni.’

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