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Khaana Khazana

by Surya Tej Borra

Remember the last time you had some really sumptuous food? Your mind rewinds to your Uncle’s daughter’s wedding or the outing to Chutneys or the last reunion at City Gate. Vacations are around the corner and most of us will be going to different parts of our country to complete Practice School-I. LTGTR brings to you the different cuisines from across the country to make your stay there more memorable and enjoyable!

Now what is so special about the Indian food which makes it very different from other cuisines around the world? Spices!! The spice and life in the Indian food is something to die for! Spices are inseparable from our cuisine and an indispensable part too! Haldi, Garam Masala, Mirchi, Methi, Adrak….Wow, my mouth is watering already! India is a diverse country with many regional cultures with each region having its own food habits. The differences may arise due to local customs, geographical location and economics. Indian cuisine is also seasonal with priority placed on the use of fresh produce.

It is an amalgamation of Deccan and Telugu recipes and the coastlines treat you with the best sea food such as Chepala Pulusu (sambar with fish pieces) and Royyala Vepudu (fried fish curry) Andhra Pradesh is known for its usage of chilies and lemon juice in cooking. Pickles such as Avakaya (green mango) and Gongura Pachadi are simply awesome. The breakfast special includes Pesarattu Upma which is a combination of roasted dosa and upma which is served with ginger chutney and loads of ghee. A large variety of non-vegetarian dishes are also at your service like Natikodi Vepudu (fried chicken, Andhra Style) and Gongura Mutton. You can’t miss the Kebabs and Biryani in Hyderabad. You should taste the Ragi Sankati and Natikodi Pulusu (a main course served along with porridge) if you’re around Rayalaseema. And do not forget to taste the sweets Kakinda Kaaja (a layered sweet of wheat and sugar) and Putharekulu.

Known for its typical Indo-French style of cooking, Tandoori potato, baked beans, stuffed cabbage and Soya Dosa are some popular recipes here. 

Idli, dosa, pongal, idhiyappam (noodles clustered like an idli) primarily form the breakfast menu of people here. The well-known Sambar (:P) adds the much needed ‘da’-flavour to it. And the Madras filter coffee is a perfect complement to it. We may have savoured coffee in Barista and CCD but the Madras Filter Coffee of the “Mamis” is amazing. Don’t forget the Chettinad style of dishes! The Dindigul-Parota and Thalapakattu Biryani comes with a special Kaaraikudi taste which constitutes the non-vegetarian palette here. 

Coconut and coconut milk are extensively used in Keralite dishes. Backwaters and a long coastline make Kerala very famous for sea food. Unique delicacies such as Appam, Puttu, Avayal, Payasam, Padumbari and Pathiri are a must taste here. One is very sure of falling in love with coconuts after tasting it here in God’s own land!

It is a mix of Kerala, Tamil and Andhra cuisines. It is considerably influenced by Goan and Mahrashtran food as well. The famous Udipi cuisine here constitutes of Masala Dosa, Mysore Bonda, Maddur Vada ( Papad like vadas) and Rava Idli. The so called ‘bath’ culture is very famous here. Bath refers to a rice dish prepared along with a primary ingredient such as brinjal or tomato, examples being  Vangi bath (brinjal), Bisibele bath (rice and sambar together) and Khara bath (rice and mirchi) Sweets include Mysore Pak,  Kesari bath, Chiroti and Dharwad Pedha. 

Food defines them. Usage of liberal amounts of cottage cheese, ghee, cream and butter is common here as it is tailor-made to suit their lifestyle. They toil all day in the fields after all! Dal Makhani is considered staple food here. There are certain dishes which are special to Punjab such as Mah ki Dal and Sarson da Saag. Tandoor is one of the specialties of Punjabi food. Most of popular Anglo-Indian dishes like pakoras, naan and vegetable dishes with paneer have their origin here. If you are in Punjab, you are assured of a heavenly boarding experience.

Maharastran diet basically consists of rice, wheat, jowar and vegetables. Kokum, a deep purple berry is widely used as an appetizer. The Vidarbha region here is famous for items like puranpoli, batata wada, ukdiche modak and sabudana khichdi (porridge of rice and dal). Coming to the hotspot Mumbai, it has more of a cosmopolitan menu with a huge Western impact. Urban delicacies such as Pav Bhaji, Vadapav, Ragada and Golgappa are an integral part of city lifestyle.
A happening place for tourists, Goan delicacies find their vegetarian fare influenced by Konkan recipes and non-vegetarian by Portuguese. Kingfish, Pomfret, mackerel, crabs, tiger prawns and lobsters are just a few names from the exhaustive menu of sea food you get here. After this meal, a cashew fenny or a beer can set things just right.

Gwalior and Indore are known for milk-based dishes while Bhopal is known for meat-based dishes such as bafla, korma, keema (minced meat), biryani and kebabs. Another famous dish originated here in Malwa region - Poha (flattened rice) Laddus have their origin here.

Food in Haryana is devoid of added artificial flavors and preservatives. Because Haryana is rich in cattle population, milk products are extremely common. Kadhi Pakora, Besan Masala Roti, Bajra Aloo Roti,Churma, Kheer, Bathua Raita, Methi Gajar, Singri ki Sabzi and Tamatar Chutney are favourites here. All throughout Haryana, you will come across a number of Dhabas or roadside food stalls serving this typical fare. Lassi and Sherbat are the popular beverages.

Uttar Pradesh has been greatly influenced by Mughlai cooking techniques which are famous in India and Pakistan. The Nawabi food in Lucknow is very famous for Dum Biryani, Galouti Kebab (roasted meat pieces) and other mutton dishes. The famous Indian breakfast item Puri, kheer, snacks such as samosa and pakora have their origin here. 
The Bengali babus insist that a tour if India is incomplete without tasting their food which is a true combination of tastes and emotions of Eastern India. With an emphasis on fish and lentils served with rice as a staple diet, Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle flavours, its confectioneries and desserts, and has perhaps the only multi-course tradition from India that is analogous with French and Italian cuisine in structure. All the great sweets such as Rasagollah (small casein balls in sugar syrup), Rasmalai and Sandesh (fragile pieces of cheese kneaded with sugar) have their basIs here. The rest of eastern Indian cuisine is primarily non-vegetarian and has an intense tribal instinct.

This is the whole of India calling you to give it share of calories to make your summer a flavourful and delicious one. Go on, infuse life into your taste buds which lie comatose due to our lousy mess food. And most importantly do not forget to have a nice “PAAN” after your meal.

Expect a ‘rich’ affair in this princely state as most of the preparations here are made out of  ghee and milk. Besan and gram flour are typical in Marwari food. The desert atmosphere here calls for food which can be preserved for long. The Rajasthani platter includes Daal-Baati, Tarfini, Raabdi, Bail-Gatte, Panchkoota, Chaavadi,  Laapsi, Kadhi, Boondi and snacks like Bikaneri Bhujia, Mirchi Bada and Pyaaj Kachori. 

Gujarati cuisine is primarily vegetarian. It is distinctively sweet, salty and spicy at the same time. A special summer dish made of mangoes, Keri Nora, is an integral part of their meal. The steamed dhokla (steamed cubes of wheat), thepla, khakra, jilebi, kachori and undhiyu are some of its signature dishes.


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