Whether you’re dipping your taste buds in to the wonders of Indian cuisine for the first time or are a long-time lover of the exotic dishes from across the pond, there’s no denying that Indian food is one of the most exciting and diverse in the world.
If you thought that Indian food was just curry, curry, and more curry, you may be surprised to discover that it’s so much more than that.Indian food is a complex combination of herbs and spices that are balanced on a knife’s edge. It’s also one of the most vegetarian-friendly cuisines in the world. The exciting combination of spices and sauces turn ingredients such as potato, cauliflower, peas, and aubergines in to a taste sensation. To make things even more exciting, the flavours, ingredients, cooking style and dishes vary from region to region, too!
What is North Indian Cuisine Like?
Northern Indian cuisine is one of our personal favourites. North Indian cuisine is known for being some of the most moderately spiced, so it’s perfect for those who are getting to grips with the flavours of Indian food, and those who prefer their dishes on the milder side.
Northern Indian cuisine has a big emphasis on vegetables and fruits, with many dishes containing both. If you order a North Indian curry, expect a thick, slightly spiced, sauce which just begs to be mopped up with a traditional tandoori roti, naan, or stuffed parathas (a type of Indian flatbread stuffed with veggies).
In terms of dishes, Biriyani is probably one of the most popular Northern Indian dishes.It’s a one-pot wonder which sees fragrant long grain rice cooked in a mixture of herbs and spices layered with vegetables and meat. It’s a hearty and delicious dish that’s one of our personal favourites. Other traditional dishes include creamy butter chicken, classic chicken tikka, crispy samosas, and mutter paneer; a light cottage cheese and pea curry.
South Indian Cuisine
Due to the close proximity to the ocean, dishes from Southern India often feature fresh fish and seafood, as well as plenty of vegetables and lentils. Southern Indian cuisine is much hotter in spice than Northern Indian cuisine, making it a good choice for those who enjoy experimenting with flavours and spices.
Popular Southern Indian dishes include dosas; a savoury pancake stuffed with potatoes, vegetables, or paneer, and typically served with sambar, a spiced lentil stew. Vadas are also worth a try - these fried dumplings can take many different forms and are a delicious snack or starter.
West Indian Cuisine
West Indian cuisine is in a whole different world to that of the North and South. With wide regional variations, it’s promises exciting flavour combinations and a unique dining experience.
One of our favourite styles of eating is a Gujarati style called Thaali. A Thaali can contain as many as 10 different vegetable, rice, bread and sweet dishes. They’re typically served up in small bowls on a large tray - quite the show stopper! Typically, Gujarati cuisine is entirely vegetarian, but in Indian restaurants in the UK, you may find that the Thaali includes some meat or fish dishes. West India is also where you’ll find Vindaoo and Xacuti, both of which hint at the
Portuguese colony roots of this part of the country. Xacuti is a Goan curry including lamb or chicken which is heavily spiced and includes poppy seeds, grated coconut and dried red chillies for a flavourful dish. Goan cuisine features fish and seafood promintently due to the close proximity to the ocean, along with rice and pork dishes.
East Indian Cuisine
Eastern Indian cuisine blends three schools of cuisine together; Bengal, Assam, and Orissa. The resulting food is simple but packed with flavour. Expect to see lots of rice on the menu and dishes flavoured with mustard seeds, chillies, and occasionally coconut. East Indian is probably best known for their sweet treats and dessert. Must-try dishes include gulab jamun (deep fried dough balls drenched in sticky syrup), Rasgolla (dumplings cooked in a light syrup), and creamy rice pudding. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, keep an eye out for those East Indian inspired desserts.
Why Visit an Indian Restaurant?
With so many regional variations on offer, there’s sure to be something to suit everyone’s tastes at an Indian restaurant. The atmosphere at an Indian restaurant is often a relaxed one. As guests, you’ll be welcomed and looked after incredibly well making them ideal for every occasion.