When we talk about Indian Cuisine, we either talk about South Indian Cuisine (Idli, Dosai, Sambhar, Upama) or Punjabi Cuisine (Sarso Da Saag, Makke ki Roti, Butter chicken) or Rajasthani cuisine (Daal-Baati-Churma, Ghevar, Ker Sangri) or Gujarati cuisine also sometimes (Thepla, Dhokla, Undhiyu).
However, there is some Indian Cuisine which is lesser-known but very tasty, wholesome and homely. It’s about time they should come in light and savour by us.
10) Kutchi Cuisine
Dry weather of this North-western part of Gujarat doesn’t allow many vegetables to grow here. Traditional Kutchi cuisine is based on Millet and dairy products. Unlike the rest of Gujarat, Red chillies are widely used in this Indian Cuisine. Raising animal is customary here and in early times, because of transportation challenges, a large amount of milk could not be transferred to other parts of Gujarat and hence most of the milk was transformed into Ghee for preserve purpose. Hence Ghee has become an integral part of this cuisine as well. Rest of the milk is consumed as Chaas (buttermilk) and kadhi. The typical kutchi meal includes Masala chaas, Bajri Rotla with Ghee, Kadhi, Khichdi and piece of jaggery.
09) Chattisgarh Cuisine
As popularly known as “Rice bowl of India”, it is unnecessary to state that rice is a major part of this Indian Cuisine, which is eaten three ways; Bhaat (Boiled), Paige (Curd rice with water it’s boiled in) and baasi (Rice leftover in water to ferment). Paan Roti, dhuska, chusela and cheela are various preparations from rice flour. Doodh fara is again a rice preparation eaten as breakfast or dessert. Like its close proximity with Odisha and Kolkata, traditional sweets are syrupy and wet dipped like dehori and rassota. Along with rice, green leafy veggies are also big part of this cuisine like bhaji and mesu. One unusual dish prepared here is Lal cheente ki chutney (Red ant chutney).
08) Mizoram Cuisine
Bamboo and Bai. One of the healthiest Indian Cuisine. Mizoram is covered in the forest of wild bamboos and hence bamboo is a vital part of Mizoram food. The dish, Bai, is a heart of every meal in Mizoram. It is made of shredded greens boiled with some salt added. It can be added with a chunk of fresh smoked pork/chicken or bamboo shoots. Lard is fermented and added into food for flavouring. Mizo food all about smoked on fermented meat, bamboo shoots, fish and soybeans. The typical mizo meal is rice, bai, fried potato, colocasia or pumpkin, rutai (chilli based chutney of bamboo shoots). For dessert, Mizo people drink a tea called Zu, which is sweetened with jaggery.
7) Sindhi Cuisine
Typically from Sindh, Pakistan; but this cuisine is still alive in India because of sizable Sindhis migrated to India during partition. The arrival of moguls influenced this cuisine to a great degree. Pork is forbidden and beef too for Hindu Sindhis. Coming from the fertile land, both rice and wheat are an integral part of the cuisine. Beh (Lotus root) is grown in the North of Sindh which is then cooked in clay-pot using various spices, which then results in an excellent delicacy.
Sindhi Biryani, Sindhi Curry, Sabu Dal Chawar (yellow daal with rice) are other known dishes from the cuisine. Certain sects of the Sindhi community are strict vegetarian; who do not eat even onion and garlic. Sai bhaji chawal, a popular dish from Sindh consists of white steamed rice served with spinach curry which is given a ‘tadka’ with tomatoes, onions and garlic. Koki is a wheat flatbread. Matho and Kheer Kharkunare options for desserts. Taryal Patata, Pallo Machi and Palli are other stapes in the meal.
6) Jammu and Kashmir
The whole state is divided into two completely different parts, Jammu and Kashmir valley, with completely different geological regions. Same is for Cuisines; Kashmir Valley cuisine is different than the Jammu plain stretch.
Most popular dish of the valley is Rogan Josh, which is meat (usually lamb/goat) cooked in Middle Eastern influence spices. Rice is the staple food in Kashmiri meal. Typical Kashmiri Muslim meal is called Wazwan which includes mostly meat dishes, except beef. There should be around 3 courses in traditional Wazwan meal, but most often they are lesser. This cuisine is also known for its typical tea called Noon Chai (Sheet chai). There is another type also, called Kahwa. Noon Chai, aka Pink chai, is made with black tea, milk, salt and baking soda. The pink colour is from the soda added into tea. Kahwa is served at festivals and feasts, it is made of Green tea added with saffron, spices, almonds, walnuts.
5) Bihari Cuisine
Bihari cuisine is influenced by its rich Buddhist past. It is also highly influenced by its surrounding states. The unique thing about Bihari cuisine is that food is prepared using smoke. That typical aroma, taste and rustic feeling give Bihari cuisine its charm.
Similar to Rajasthani Baati, Bihar has its own Litti, a dough ball filled with sattu and smoked directly in the fire. It is typically eaten with Chokha (smoked and mashed brinjal and potato preparation). It is believed that Bihari kept travelling and to keep their food preserved in the journey they started smoking it and keeping it dry, so Litti came in light.
Another preparation from Sattu is Sattu Parantha which is also equally famous. Bihari sweets have its influence from Bengal with their sugar syrup dipped sweets such as balushahi, malpua, Anarasa, Kala Jamun.
4) Chettinad cuisine
Chettinad is a small region in Tamil Nadu state. Typically connected to its fiery spicy image, Chettinad cuisine is all about its special blend of spice mixes which give its food a typical aromatic hotness. With its local availability, this cuisine consists of spices like star anise, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, fennel seed and also tamarind and chilli.
Chettinad chicken is the most acknowledge preparation of this cuisine. It is also known for usage of dried vegetables in the cooking. Like its parent state, Tamil Nadu, staple food is Rice or Dosai with which every curry is eaten. Along with Chettinad Chicken, this cuisine meal also consists of the vegetarian preparation of Idiyappam, various types of Paniyarams (Steamed batter in moulds).
3) Malvani Cuisine
Easily a western counterpart of Chettinad, Malvani cuisine is also known for its fiery hotness. Being a coastal town, Malvan. this Indian Cuisine is mainly based on seafood. Though, there are a fair bit of vegetarian options. Similar to its parent state, this cuisine uses Coconut to the fullest in its cooking. Typically spices mix is prepared with chillies dried up and pasted. This cuisine also uses kokum, tamarind and raw mango for sourness. Fish dishes dominate the Malvani cuisine.
The fiery seafood curries may be a bit too spicy for some people but are quite tasty. To beat this spicy hotness of malvani meal, a pink coloured concoction of kokum and milk, called Sol Kadhi, is drunk typically after the spicy meal. Along with this Kombdi vade is also a common dish which is typical spicy chicken curry with vade (fluffy puri like fried bread). Spicy dishes like Mutton Sukke and others are eaten with Tandalchi bhakri, rice flat bread. Quite obviously, the sweet dishes are made of coconut and mangoes, such as Ras-Poli, Shevaiya-Ras etc.
2) Parsi Cuisine
Parsi are basically Iranian community migrated to Indian subcontinent a few centuries ago. Along with their wonderful mixing and adjusting nature, they have kept their food habits also intact with little adaptation of local spices and ingredients.
Best Parsi food currently can be found in few old Iranian restaurants in Mumbai and homely Parsi meal can be found at a local village called Udvada in South Gujarat. Dhansak is the typical parsi dish consisting mutton cooked with lentil till almost mashed and eaten with brown rice. Other dishes Parsi meal consist of are Patra ni macchli, chicken farcha, salli par marghi (chicken curry topped with fried potato thin stripes).
This cuisine has also typical dishes for breakfast such as kheema pav, aakuri, bun maska and Irani chai. This Indian cusine dessert consists of Falooda, kulfi or Lagan nu custard. Hand churned local Sancha ice-cream, sold in an auto rickshaw, is also famous and must try at Udvada village.
1) Bohri Cuisine
Bohri Muslims are a small community scattered majorly in Gujarat and Mumbai. With their different religious practices, they have distinct and exclusive eating habits to which made their food as different cuisine in itself.
Bohri community, like parsi, migrated to Gujarat, India from Yemen. Most unique thing about Bohri community is, the whole family dines in one platter called Thaal. The meal is started with a grain of salt which is believed to clear the palate for the meal to come. Another unique thing about this cuisine is that sweets are served in the first course of the meal, typically ice-cream or sodannu (rice with ghee and sugar).
Sweets are called khara and savoury items are called khaaras. In a typical meal, meetha and khaara are served alternatively, most probably to clear the palate for the next dish. A typical meal consists of mainly meat based dishes, of chicken and mutton. Sweet items consist of Malida (sweet made with wheat and jiggery), lachka (wheat halwa), Kalamro (yoghurt rice pudding). Meat, unlike rest muslim kitchens, are boiled here ginger garlic paste. Boiled meat is added to the final product of the gravy. Savoury items in the typical meal are Gosht ni tarkari, mutton korma, patwaliya, kefti daal, daal chawal palidu.