Indian cuisine is famous & relished all over the world & enjoys a reputation at par with other cuisines of the world. The culinary of Indian cuisine is a science, which has developed over thousands of over. The classic range of regional cuisines from North top South & East to West reflects the great size of India & its unparalled cultural heritage. The Indian Cuisine is both vegetarian & Non Vegetarian Indian food has an unmatched charm because of the extravagant spices used in Indian Cuisine, thus India is better understood as “HOME OF THE SPICES”. The art of preparing authentic Indian Food does not involve an overdose of spicing but the delicacy & mixing of right spices in right quantities. India is a land of diverse religions, customs, festivals, culinary flavors & climatic conditions. Thus each part of India has added & enhanced the flavor of dishes by blending spices, herbs & condiments to make the dish more exquisite, exotic & heavenly.



        Tourists visiting India are puzzled by the vast size & population of India & of course the diversity of the culture & cuisine respective of each part of India. Tourists can enjoy & relish a hearty Indian meal if they are guided well in hand. But the foreigners visiting India are generally served with dishes, which have been tailor-made to suit western taste buds, or they are offered dishes inappropriate to their tastes. The food is either too hot or too rich & oily for them and sometimes the flavor of a dish is camouflaged by excessive use of spices by different restaurants or chefs, which they are unable to produce authentically true to its taste.
         Here I, KOMAL TANEJA would like to share my expertise, knowledge & culinary experience of 22 years about the Indian Cuisine with the Tourists visiting India so that to prepare & guide them to have a transparent view of the different regional Indian Cuisines which they can enjoy & relish. This short guide gives a complete picture of –

Various Indian Cuisines from all parts of India along with their festivals

  1. Must taste these dishes while visiting India
  2. Different types of cooking methods prevalent in India
  3. Food Tips for eating out in restaurants, hotels, roadside dhabas, small eating joints or kiosks.
  4. Irresistible street foods



Starting from the Northern peak of JAMMU & KASHMIR it stretches from HARYANA, HIMACHAL PRADESH, UTTRANCHAL, U.P. to the colorful & vibrant PUNJAB. The main festivals here are Baisakhi, Lohri, Basantpanchami, Makarsankranti, Diwali, Holi, Rakshabandhan, Karwachuath, and Janamasthmi & Shivratri. The North Indian Cuisine is unique & significant because of the use of Gram Masala powder & lots of Ghee, Butter or Oil, which gives a distinctive taste & aroma to the cuisine the must to taste dishes of the various regional cuisines, are –

VEGETARIAN: Sarson Ka Saag & Makki ki roti with Sweet Lassi,  Chole Bhature, Rajma Chawal, Mughlai Shahi Paneer, Dam aloo, Muttor Shufta, Paneer Tikka, Mixed vegetable Jalfrezi, Malai Kofta Curry, Navratan Korma, Gobi Mussalam, Gujiyas, Aloo Puri, Vegetable Biryani etc.

NON-VEGETRIAN: Kashmiri Roghan Josh, Lamb pasanda curry, Chicken do piyaza, Mutton do piyaza, Yakini Pulao, Gushtaba, Butter Chicken & Naan, Dal makhani with pudina parantha, Tandoori chicken tikkas & seek kebabas, Chicken Biryani, Palakwala gosht, Murg makhani, Amritsari Fish Fry, Mutton Korma, Rasedar Gosht with steamed rice. 


Gajar ka halwa, Chawal ki kheer, Rice phirni, Shahi tukra (bread pudding), Meethi seviyan (Vermicelli), Gulabjamun, Rasmalai, Muzaffar Lazeez.



This comprises of states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya & Arunachal Pradesh. The flavor & taste of the East is their Sweet delicacies. Fish, Rice & Coconut are their staple diet. People use oil in large quantity for seafood delicacies & the extensive use of cottage cheese to make Bengali Sweet preparations like Rasgulla, Chamcham, Sandesh, Payas & Chenna. The main festivals here are Durga & Kali Puja of Bengal, Bihu of Assam, Chath of Bihar, Dussehra, Diwali & Holi are also celebrated all over with joy & happiness. The traditional food specialties are –

VEGETARIAN (BENGAL STYLE) - spicy potatoes (aloor dum), Vegetable Curry (aloor potoler dalna), Cabbage with peas (bandha kopi tarkari), Choler Dal (Bengal gram with coconut), Mocha ghanto (Banana flower)  ORRISSA STYLE – potato & parwal curry (aloor potoler rassa), green gram with vegetables (dalam), Soft rice with green gram & vegetables (khichuri). ASSAM STYLE – black gram with ashgourd (matimah khar), creamy milk & rice with palm jaggery (jalgurer payesh), Steamed sweet curd (bhappa doi),
Vegetarian momos are a hot favorite in the hilly areas.

NON-VEGETARIAN:Hilsa fish in mustard (Illish sarso Bata), Sour Fish Curry (Tenga – Assam Style), Prawns in coconut milk (chingri macher Malai curry), Mutton Curry (manshol jhol – Bengali style),  Prawn Pulao (Chingre Pulao), Mutton with white peas (manshor – ghugni), Butterfish in yogurt (dahi pamphlet).

Desserts as told above.


This part of India is an excellent combination of Greenery, Deserts & Beeches that makes it a hot Tourist Destination. It covers states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra & part of Goa. The main festive attractions of this part of India are Teej, Janamasthmi (Birth of lord Krishna), Rakshabandhan or Rakhi of Rajasthan & Navrattri with dances like Garbha & Dandiya of Gujarat are famous all over the world. Ganesh Chaturthi & Durga Puja of Mumbai is also very special along with Navratri & Diwali. Significant lip - smacking dishes of this region are -:

RAJASTHANI – batichurma, pancharatni dal, gate ki subzi, sangari ka achar,
GUJRATI – handvo, dhokla, khandvi, kadhi Chawal, undhiya, Mixed vegetable Pulao, Ragda pattise, Sevpuri, Panipuri, red gram (tuvar dal), bhakri, methi thepla, Vaingan –vatana- na -  shak
MARATHI – bhelpuri, batatavada, mutton curry (muttonache saar), spiced rice with gherkins(masala bhath), Bharwan Baigan
PARSI STYLE – Fried rice, Mutton with lentils & vegetables (Dhansak), Fish in Banana Leaf (Patrani Machi), Chicken with Cashewnuts (Murghi ma kaju), Scrambled eggs(Akoori)
GOAN STYLE – Goan Prawn Curry, Chicken vindaloo, fish curry goan style (Nisteachi Coddi), chicken Curry Goan Style (Komdiche Xacuti), Goan Style Sea Food Curry.     

The desserts are very innovative & delicious – Mohan Thal, Basundi Dhoodhino Halwa (Bootlegourd Halwa), Saffron sirikhand (Saffron in Thick Curd), Amrakhand (Mango puree in curd), Puran Poli (Rotis stuffed with sweet moong dal), Jalebis (moong dal halwa)


This part of India is divided into 5 main states on basis of Cultures, traditions & languages – namely – Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka & major part of Goa. Other than these Lakshadweep. Pondicherry & Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also included in this region. The important festivals include Pongal, Onam, Dussehra of Mysore. As this southern part of India is a predominantly agricultural paradise, these festivals signify the prayers offered to god at time of cutting of crops & are joyfully celebrated. The various multi cuisines here are  -

VEGETARIAN:Upama, steamed rice & semolina (rava) idlis, Dosas, Sambhar (Red gram & Vegetable Curry – Tamil Style), Vadas, Uttapam, Sukha chana (Whole Bengal Gram – Manglore style), Lemon rice (Tamil Style), Vegetables in coconut & curd (Avial – Kerala Style), Rice cooked with split green gram (Ven Pongal), Jack fruit Seed curry (Thiyyal), Bengal Gram & Vegetable Curry (Kuttir Curry), Nawabi Pulao (Hyderabadi Style).

NON – VEGETARIAN:Meen Curry (Fish Curry Kerala Style), Machli Pakoras (Kerala Style), Hyderabadi Gosht Biryani, Chicken Curry (Kozhi Kuttan Kerala style), Mansam chops (Mutton Chops Andhra Style), Mangalore style Mutton in Green Masala, Mutton Masala (Aattirachi Curry – Kerala Style), Prawn Gassi, Goan Fish Curry, Shikhampuri Kebabas – (Andhra style) 

Sampling of Indian Food along with its unique breads & accompaniments in undoubtedly divine & magical. Some mouth-watering accompaniments are mentioned below which will haunt one’s memory forever if relished once.
BREADS – Stuffed Kulchas, Naans, Chapattis, Paranthas, Puris, Luchis, Missi Roti, Tandoori Roti, Bhature, Theplas.
ACCOMPNIMENTS – Mango mint chutney, Coconut Chutney, Tamarind Chutney, Tomato Chutney, Fruit Chat, Kachumer Salad, Lassi (Sweet & Salted), Mint & Coriander flavored yogurt, Mixed Raita, Cucumber relished raita, Dahi Bhalle, Bundi Raita, Potato Raita.


Irresistible Street or Roadside foods of Dhabas, Small kiosks or from street hawkers have been popular in demand increasingly both in rural & urban cities of India. This includes – Various types of Chaats – Fruit Chaat, Aloo Chaat, Chaat Papri, Dahi Bhalle ki Chaat, Raj kachori, Gol Gappas. Other’s are – Pao Bhaji, Bhel Puri, Sev Puri, Ragra Pattise, Batata Vada, Besan chillas, Moong Dal Chillas, Assorted Pakoras (Onion, Cauliflower, Paneer, Mixed Vegetable, Brinjal, Potato & Spinach, Samosas, Bhujiyas, Aloo ki Tikka etc.


The most popular method includes –

  1. BAKING in a tandoor or closed chamber (clay oven) for making Tikkas or Roasting the chicken.
  2. BASTING to pour melted fact or gravy over meat / chicken or other foods during rotating or cooking gravy.
  3. DUM COOKING – This is cooking in steam. This technique is used in final stage of cooking Biryani, Rice Pulao, Meat or Vegetable Curry.
  4. GRAVY/CURRY these are prepared by using thickening agents such as Onion paste, Tomato Paste, Tomato Puree, Ginger, Garlic, Coconut, Poppy seeds, Coriander Seeds, Almonds, Cashewnuts & curd. Many types of Gravies & curries can be prepared using different ingredients and flavors of curry, which also depends upon the right art of spicing.
  5. PRESSURE COOKING – It is very popular in India as it reduces the time required for cooking. It is ideal for cooking Meat & Chicken Curries, Rice Pulaos & Lentils.
  6. FRYING – This is to cook in smoked fat it is of 3 types – Stir frying, Shallow frying & Deep Frying.
  7. GRILLLING ON SKEWERS It is an Iron bar & chicken, mutton, vegetables & fish tikkas or kebabs are fixed on it & Grilled in Open Bar-Be-Que or in house oven cum grill.





  1. Tourists visiting India should always be aware of the Climatic conditions & seasons while indulging in Indian Cuisine.
  2. Summer season is the best suited for cool drinks like Lassi (Butter Milk Sweet or Salted), Mango Panna, Khussorbet, Roohafza, which are refreshing & keep the body cool. Desserts like Kulfi, Firni & Rice Kheer can be eaten chilled & light food like the south Indian Cuisine – Dosa, Idli, Uttapam, Sambar & Lemon Rice are recommended as their easily digestible.
  3. Always eat out in a hygienic & reputed eating joint whether big or small.
  4. During the rainy season it is best to avoid roadside or street food which is not as hygienic as in house food and always take care not to have food exposed to moisture, flies or kept uncovered. During the rainy weather one feels like having Pakoras, Samosas, Aloo Tikkis, Chole Bhature & Pao Bhaji, so these dishes can be enjoyed in any good Indian fast food restaurant.
  5. Winter season is the time to enjoy the hot & steamy Biryani; Butter Chicken & Dal Makhani with Paranthas the rich & cream based curry gravies. The weather allows one to have Tandoori Food straight from the Bar- Be-Que or Grill as these foods provide heat to the body when one is feeling Cold.
  6. Spring Season is the best season to try out new flavors as the Goan & Parsi Cuisine along with the Gujarati & Marathi flavors of regional cuisine while eating out at Hotels one should always ask for the chef’s specialty or order the dish of the day at the restaurant or the Hotel.
  7. Restaurant food must be eaten at well-known places & Joints recommended in the HT eating out guide.
  8. Always be alert on the value for money deals in the food joints – may be a platter, food combos, sizzler or steaks served with deluge of accompaniments.
  9. Every Five Star Hotel has an IN – House Indian Restaurant serving the Indian delicacies so one should go for them. Other than these there are many reputed Indian Restaurants catering to Authentic Indian Cuisine.


Wishing you an enjoyable & recreational trip to India.
In all,
                  “To indulge in Indian Cuisine is to enjoy a glimpse of heaven and unforgettable culinary experience”

                                                KOMAL TANEJA