Being a lover of all food, one of the things I look forward to the most while traveling is trying the different culinary treats from the country I’m visiting. Visiting India in particular was extra exciting for me because Indian food is one of my favourite cuisines at home, and I even make it quite often myself.
I didn’t know what to expect from the Indian cuisine—would I be disappointed because it wasn’t what “Indian food” was like at home, would I get the ever so common “Delhi belly” and be scared to try all the different foods that were put in front of me? The good news is—I definitely didn’t hold back, and India did NOT disappoint in the food department. Here were some of my highlights from my trip.
I was a little hesitant to try my first samosa because it’s a street food, and everything I had heard about India was to avoid street food. I’m glad I didn’t! I was on a tour with my hostel on my first day in Delhi and our guide asked us if we all wanted to try some Indian snacks from a vendor, and that’s when I had my first taste of these delicious samosas in India. Sometimes you have to listen to your stomach over your common sense—and hey, I didn’t get sick!
Despite the fact we were in North India when we tried this and it’s traditionally a South Indian meal, I still found this absolutely delicious. I love sharing plates that you can try different things and that’s essentially what thali is—a selection of various dishes. Although I have to admit, ours was pretty spicy, to the point that a local Indian girl came over and gave us some tips on what to order next time that was more suitable for foreigners.
Photographed above from left to right is aloo zeera (a potato dish with cumin seeds and spices), pilau rice (rice with spices and veggies), and chana masala (a spicy chickpea dish). Although all three of these dishes were delicious, chana masala is a favourite of mine at home, so you can imagine that India definitely didn’t disappoint with this one. I ordered it on multiple occasions!
I was feeling a bit more adventurous in Agra, and wanted to try something I had never had before so I went for paneer pasanda which was described on the menu as being cottage cheese stuffed with khaya (not sure what this is) and dry fruits, deep fried and simmered in a creamy and rich sauce. This was definitely a delicious dish, but one that’ll leave you with a bit of a belly ache from how rich it is!
I can still hear the Indian men as they walk down the streets, stand on street corners, race down the aisles of the train with their giant silver cauldrons filled with steaming hot chai tea. I’m definitely a tea addict at home but I don’t think I’ll ever find something in Canada that tastes as good as real Indian chai tea. The chai tea you buy in a store doesn’t even closely resemble this tea with its mix of sweet and spicy. Yum!
Made from chunks of paneer aka their version of cottage cheese which does not resemble the runny cottage cheese in North America, the cheese is marinated in spices and grilled in a tandoor. A tandoor is a cylindrical clay or metal oven used for cooking and baking. My dish came on skewers with yummy roasted veggies.
EVERYTHING at Rajni’s Cooking Class
While in Orchha, I had the chance to attend a cooking class/demonstration by Rajni which took place on the floor in her house where she whipped up five amazing Indian dishes in the blink of an eye. Photographed above from top left to top right is boondi raita (a yogurt dip), cabbage curry (my favourite), fried dahl (a lentil dish), from bottom left to right is vegetable rice, eggplant curry, with puri and chapati bread. I seriously am scared to try to make this at home because it left such a good impression on me when she made it.
These were just some of the food highlights I had while in India, but you can’t forget the mass amounts of naan bread and rice I also consumed. The one thing I didn’t like? I did try a lot of Indian sweets while I was there but all of them I found so sugary that they felt gritty or your teeth would start to hurt—definitely not for me! With every meal in India I was left in “awe,” everything was so good that it’s making me drool just thinking about it as I write this piece.
What’s your favourite Indian dish or the best meal you’ve had abroad? Share below!