What to eat in India

2020-01-04 17:35
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Young family eating delicious homemade chicken cur

Spice up your appetite with these tasty dishes. (Photo: iStock)

What to eat in India:

Biryani

A beloved dish both locally in India and SA the biryani is a must.

It is made with Indian spices (for the flavourfull gravy or sauce), rice, meat (either chicken, lamb, goat, beef, prawn, or fish), vegetables or eggs and lentils.

The tasty dish is also often served with a side dish of onion salad and a thin pouring tzatziki sauce.

Momos

Momos are a type of South Asian dumpling similar to Chinese 'baozi' and 'jiaozi', Mongolian 'buuz', Japanese 'gyoza' and Korean 'mandu', but is heavily influenced by the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent and the range of Indian spices and herbs.

The simple dough mixture is merely a mix of white-flour-and-water with occasionally a sprinkle of yeast or baking soda added to increase its doughty texture. The dough was traditionally filled with a ground or minced meat filling, however, fillings range these days to other meat and non-meat options and have become more elaborate.

You'll find that these days it is often prepared with any combination of ground meat, veggies, tofu, paneer cheese, soft chhurpi (local hard cheese) and other veggie and meat combinations.

Idli

This scrumptious treat is a type of savoury rice cake.

The cakes are prepared with a ratio of four parts uncooked rice (or parboiled rice) to one part whole lentil which are soaked separately for four to six hours overnight. Spices such as fenugreek seeds can be added at the time of soaking for a little extra flavour pizzazz. Following the soak, the lentils are ground to a fine paste and the rice is coarsely ground separately before being combined with the lentil paste.

Once combined, the mixture is left to ferment overnight - allowing the mixture's volume to increase. The fermented idli batter then gets put into greased moulds of an idly tray or 'tree' for steaming - the perforated moulds allow for an even cook. Traditionally leaves were used instead of moulds and some variations of idli favour the use of semolina over rice.

Gulab Jaamun

Need a sweet fix in India - this milk-solid-based sweetmeat delight ought to do the trick.

It is prepared by heating milk over a slow flame for a long time until almost all of the water content has evaporated to give you milk solids - known as 'khoya' in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

The milk solids are then kneaded into a dough with small amounts of flour, rolled into small balls and deep fried at a low temperature of abour 148°C. Once completed, the balls are dipped into a light, sugary syrup flavoured with green cardamom and rose water, kewra or saffron.

Chole bhature 

Back on the more savoury side of life, this wholesome dish is sure to be a tasty hunger buster.

The dish is a combination of chana masala (spicy white chickpeas) and bhatura - a fried bread made from maida flour (soft wheat).

It is often eaten as a breakfast dish and is sometimes accompanied with lassi. The dish is versatile as it can also be considered street food or a complete formal meal, and may be accompanied by onions, carrot pickle, green chutney and achaar. 

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