Remember when I didn’t like Indian food?
I like Indian food SOOO much that I honestly feel bad for myself and all those wasted years when I didn’t eat it.
The best part about traveling all over the country is that the food differs from region to region: Down south in Kerala there’s an emphasis on seafood and cooking with coconut milk, so the curries are creamier and less spicy.
In Goa there’s also plenty of seafood and a special dessert called banoffee pie (I’ve also seen it spelled banoffi, banofy, benofy….usually at the same places that I find lasania on the menu, but whatever that’s a hard one!) All you need to know is that the ingredients include cream, toffee, condensed milk and bananas.
Rajasthani cuisine is heavy and hearty with a lot of spice. Paneer dishes (fresh cheese) and dal (lentil curry) are on every menu and most everything is cooked with tons of my favorite ingredient, ghee (clarified butter). Pickled mangos are a popular side and as long as you’re at it, you should wash everything down with a sweet lassi.
Kichdi, a staple of the Gujarati diet, is a comforting, mushy mixture of rice and lentils served with a yogurt curry, khadi.
In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, opt for dosas, a crepe-like vehicle for ingesting potato masala and chutneys.
In Bengal, where I am now, they’re famed for the sweets: Rasgolla, a cheesy, doughy ball drenched in syrup and mishti doi, a yogurt with caramelized sugar. There’s also more rice (as opposed to breads) and lots of veggie dishes.
Eating my way through the country has been the best way for me to get a taste of Indian culture (awful pun intended, sorry). And, I’ve learned a lot, least of which is my mastering of the whole eating with my hands thing. The secret? Form a spoon with your fingers, use your thumb as a shovel.