What’s your favourite Indian food? It’s a question many of us struggle to answer – maybe it’s a spicy curry, like the Portuguese-inspired pork vindaloo, or a more subtle and creamy chicken korma; maybe it’s not a curry at all, but one of the side dishes that often accompany the main – a lentil dal, a naan bread, pickles, chutneys, rice… Maybe it’s none of the above and actually, Indian puddings are what really get you salivating: delicious kulfi, kheer or Gulab Jamun.
The list is often endless and many people find it hard to narrow down their favourite Indian food to a single choice. If you’re undecided, take a look through the below list of the most popular Indian dishes choices and see if any of these are your top choice; but be warned, a fair few may come joint first…
One of the most popular dishes chosen by both Indians and Brits alike, butter chicken is a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth, soft and decadent dish that certainly isn’t for those watching their waistline. Originating from the Punjab region, the chicken is usually cooked in a tandoor oven first before being added to the sauce.
This Kashmiri dish is succulent – often made with lamb or mutton – and bursting with flavour. The lamb falls apart in the rich sauce, but don’t let the red colour put you off if you’re not a fan of heat and spice – chillies are not a prominent ingredient and it is the tomatoes in the tomato and onion gravy that create the colour.
A vegetarian-friendly side dish that meat-eaters also love, dal is a universally adored dish. The lentils are cooked in various spices until they are soft and silken, usually eaten either with rice or roti. The dish has roots in many Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
With a vegetable dish listed above, it would be remiss to not include some of India’s famous bread-based foods. Unlike any other bread found across the globe, naan bread is a leavened, oven-baked bread that can be filled with various treats – from coconut (Peshwari naan) to lamb (keemanann).
No list would be complete without considering India’s vast array of street-side snacks. Although maybe less well-known here in the UK, chaat is hot, savoury snacks served roadside across India – but originating from Uttar Pradesh. They are usually based on fried dough with potatoes, yoghurt, veg and various flavourings – including chilli – as a garnish.
Let’s not forget some of India’s sweet treats. Kheer is a kind of rice pudding made with rice, vermicelli, tapioca or broken wheat (plus milk and sugar), and flavoured with things like cardamom, saffron and pistachios.
Finally, after a sweltering day in the sometimes stifling Indian weather, many locals enjoy a delicious kulfi to cool off – and here in the UK we often do the same, albeit with a slightly different iced good. Kulfi is a frozen dairy dessert very similar to ice cream but a little denser and often far creamier. Kulfi comes in a variety of flavours, but rose, mango and cardamom are some of the most popular.
So, if you can’t decide what your favourite Indian dish is, why not head to one of London’s fine dining Indian restaurants? Here the chefs will whip up a feast, making it almost impossible to pick only one…