If you’re a food lover, then you must add these five underrated cuisines to your bucket list. By Satyaki Sarkar
India is famously known as a melting pot of innumerable cultures, traditions, and communities thanks to its incredible diversity. And being such a rich and diverse country, we have countless delectable dishes that embody the culture and traditions of their community. Here are five cuisines that usually don’t get much press but will be an absolutely delight for your taste buds.
1. Odia cuisine
Known for its mouth-wateringly tasty dishes, Odia cuisine is still quite unexplored and underrated. One of its unique dishes is the Basi Pakhala, which is made by soaking cooked rice in water and letting it ferment overnight. This dish, paired with some Bori Chura, which is fried vadi crushed with garlic and dried red chillies, is a meal every food lover must try at least once in their lives. Key characteristics of most Odia meals include khattas (tangy curries) and relishes like Dahi Baigan (eggplant cooked in curd), which form an essential part of the cuisine.
Photograph: Subhashish Panigrahi/Creative Commons
2. Uttarakhandi cuisine
Travellers will find that the hills of Uttarakhand aren’t just scenic, they also house come culinary gems. Divided into two regions, Garhwal and Kumaon, the food is strikingly different in each region as well. Garhwali’s specialties include its simple Tor ki dal, bhaat and Til ki Chutney spiked with pahari kagzi nimbu or Mandua ki Roti, as well as the Chainsoo, a ground and roasted urad dal prepared with spices and garnished with ghee. Kumaon, on the other hand, swears by Bhatt ki Chudkani and Kachmauli, which is made by roasting a whole goat or lamb to medium rare on a spit fire, before the bones are removed and the meat is mixed in turmeric, chilli and salt in mustard oil.
Photograph courtesy: V Resorts
3. Kathiawadi Cuisine
While Gujarati food is stereotypically thought to always be sweet in taste, the food from Gujarat’s Kathiawad region completely rebuffs this perception. Served with a side of ghee and jaggery, Kathiawadi dishes like the fiery Kathiawadi Khichdi, Lasaniya Batata, or the delicious Sev Tamatar Sabzi are simply to die for. In addition to these, the spicy Dakor na Gota, which are fritters made of gram flour and fenugreek leaves, are also quite appetising.
Photograph: Jalpaparakhiya/Creative Commons
4. Telangana Cuisine
This cuisine is in a way similar to Andhra cuisine due to the fact that it is also a mix of tangy and spicy, but the difference is that Telengana cuisine is a lot less spicy. Sarva Pindi, which is a pancake made with ground lentils, peanuts and rice flour, is an absolute must try, besides the Jonna Roti, paired with the fiery Kooda, Pappu Charu, and the tangy, tamarind-based pulses. The Mamsam Pulusu, which is made by slow cooking mutton with tamarind leaves to make a savoury sour curry, is also a treat not to be missed.
Photograph courtesy: Vah Reh Vah
5. Malenadu Cuisine
The Malnad region of Karnataka, known for its thick and lush green forests, also has an interesting number of culinary specialties to offer. Benne Kadubu, which is idli made in the Malenadu style using rice and coconut, is a delectable dish that is a must try for any traveller passing through. You should also sample the Anabe or Kalale curries, Fish and Mutton Pulimunchi, and Akki Roti paired with Kaai Tambuli, which is a scrumptious dish made using coconut and curd or buttermilk.
Photograph: Barry Pousman/Creative Commons