Traditional food of India – A Guide to India

India is home to numerous cultures and religions. It is a multicultural country; adored for its incredible vibrant culture. One of the main reasons why tourists are attracted to India is because it offers a wide range of delectable cuisines. Indian food culture varies from region to region. One can find a completely different cuisine from different states of the country. The traditional food of India is also influenced by the soil type and the different types of vegetables, fruits, spices. One can find even some religious influence in the food pattern. Cereals, pulses, grains like wheat, rice, bajra, jowar, vegetables, fruits, spices are commonly used in food preparation.

Indian food cuisine
Yummy Indian food

Some Traditional food habits across India:

Food of North India

North Indian food has its influence from the Mughal rulers. People in the north eat roti, naan, kulcha, which represents the Indian flatbread around the world. They include a lot of ghee, butter, cream in their diet. Most of their gravies have a creamy texture that includes a lot of spices. Punjabi cuisine is popular across the globe which includes naan, chole bhature, butter chicken, paneer tikka masala, dal makhani, samosa n many more.

Food in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi too are spice based and people here prefer to eat chaat a lot. Chats are considered as Indian starters. Pani puri, Dahi puri, Bhelpuri, kachori are some of the famous Indian chats. Milk-based sweets find their place in a north Indian thali.

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Food of South India

On the contrary to popular belief, South Indian food has a much lighter palate feel. The usage of garam masala and spices are comparatively less. Rice is their staple food. Sambar, rasam, kuttu (mixed vegetable gravy), vegetable curry are included in their daily diet. Since coconut is cultivated in abundance, a lot of their cuisine will have coconut as one of the ingredients. 

South Indian breakfasts are considered to be one of the healthiest in the world. This is because most of them are steamed and use less oil like idli, appam, dosa is taken along with chutney and sambar is a complete meal in itself. Some of the south foods include several medicinal properties. These kinds of food are termed as superfoods which help in curing several ailments. Main ingredient for most of their desserts- jaggery. Payasam, Poli, Mysore Pak, puttu are some of the south Indian dessert options one can find.

The food of Western India

The states of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, and Rajasthan make for the majority of western states of India. Due to the varied topographic and climatic conditions, one can find a huge variety of foods right from Rajasthan’s Aravalli to the western coastline of Goa. Maharashtrian food includes Malvani cuisine which uses a lot of dry coconut in its cuisine. Vada pav, pav bhaji, zunka bhakri, modak, and Puran Poli are some of their famous dishes. Goan cuisine has a heavy Portugal influence since it was a Portuguese colony until the 1960s.

Goan cuisine is known for the use of intense spices and flavors. The food is predominantly non-vegetarian, usually fiery and spicy. Konkani Cuisine is the other popular cuisine from Maharashtra. Gujarat has a hot and humid climate. This region is popular for its vegetarian variety of food with a sweet touch to every dish. Their cuisine includes a lot of lentils, gram flour, buttermilk, and dal varieties. Some of the famous Gujarati foods are fafda, dhokla, thepla, jalebi, and many more. Rajasthan has a rich culture, tradition, and history and is one of the top tourist destinations in India. The native people who are Marwaris and Rajputs prefer vegetarian food. Dal baati choorma, kachoris are staples across the region.

Food of East India

East Zone of India is a hot mix of vegetarian and non- vegetarian food. The cuisine of West Bengalis also popularly known as Bengali cuisine is famous for its fish recipes. Fetish of the people of West Bengal for fish, rice, and sweets is legendary. Odisha too follows the same food pattern. Fish and seafood are in plenty in this region and so are the recipes. 

People in Bihar and Jharkhand use seasonal vegetables which grow in abundance here. The influence of Buddhism is apparent here. We can notice the majority of the population practice vegetarianism. The cuisine of northeastern states like Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, and Meghalaya are influenced by neighbouring countries like Nepal and Tibet. Their staples include momos, noodles, soups, Thukpa, and many more. They take hot and spicy food that would suit the extremely cold climate that is prevalent in these regions.

Bottom line

So these are the traditional food of India. The food from various parts of India like North, South, East, and West is different and delicious. Due to the cultural, climatic, and topographical diversity, India is home to a wide range of healthy and delicious cuisines.