10 Traditional Must-Try Foods to Eat in India

India, a food paradise, is filled with many opportunities to taste local delicacies and tantalize the taste buds.

However, with so many dishes exported, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between authentic dishes and watered down versions.

To help you navigate India’s epic food scene, we’ve compiled this list of 10 must-try traditional foods to eat in India. 

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1) Masala dosa

Masala dosas , probably South India ‘s most famous culinary export, are known worldwide. A type of Indian pancake, dosas are made from a thin batter consisting of rice, flour and lentils. Making dosas is no easy task, with the batter mixture having to soak in water for at least 24 hours before it can be shaped. Once ready, the batter is poured onto a hot tava (grill pan) and shaped in a similar way to how the French would shape a pancake. Traditionally, dosas are folded in half and served stuffed with potatoes. Side dishes like hot sambar give the dish a spicy edge, and whatever you stuff it with, dosas are sure to provide a tasty yet satisfying meal. 

masala-dosa-india

2) Chaat

Chaat , synonymous with street food vendors in Delhi , is one of India ‘s most delicious savory snacks. The name is derived from three Hindi words meaning ‘a delicacy’, ‘lick one’s fingers’ and ‘to devour with relish’ and this dish truly lives up to its heritage. Although there are now a plethora of different varieties, the original chaat is a wonderful combination of potato cubes, crispy fried bread and chickpeas garnished with fresh coriander leaves, yoghurt and dried ginger and tamarind sauce. Make like a local and find a local dhaba,

street food-india

3) Dal Makhani

Most food lovers will have heard of or tasted dal, but there is nothing as delicious as tasting the original dish in the country where it comes from. Dal is the Hindi word for lentils, and this soupy delicacy is made by stewing small black lentils for hours on end. Although there are many different varieties of this lentil dish, dal makhani is in a league of its own. It is considered the best of the best, and is reserved for grand occasions such as wedding celebrations. With makhani meaning ‘buttery’ in Hindi, there’s no guessing how rich and creamy this Indian classic tastes. Go to Punjab, in northern India, to taste the real thing. 

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dal-makhani

4) Vada Pav

Vada pav , which originated in the traditionally vegetarian state of Maharashtra, is as close as Indian cuisine gets to veggie burgers. One for carb lovers, vada pav consists of a deep-fried potato dumpling neatly placed in a small bun. The finger food delicacy is usually accompanied by some chutney and a green chilli, to appeal to the spice-loving palettes of Indians up and down the country. These mini potato buns are also called a Bombay burger and can be found in street food stalls across the city of Mumbai

 

vada-pav-india

5) Stuffed paratha

Punjab ‘s foodie heritage doesn’t stop at dal makhani. Often eaten at the start of the day, stuffed parathas are seen as the breakfast of champions in North India. The word paratha is derived from the Sanskrit word atta which means ‘layers of cooked dough’, and this dish lives up to its name. After the dough (or atta ) is left to rest overnight, parathas word deur kook gemaakthe dough on a tava before shallow frying. Die mees algemene manier om parathas te eet , is om hulle te vul met ‘n vulsel van jou keuse.Parathas can be stuffed with any number of fillings, but some of our favorites are aloo paratha (stuffed with potatoes) and methi paratha (stuffed with fenugreek). 

aloo-paratha

6) Dhokla

Considered the regional dish of Northwest India, die Gujarati-lekkerny dhokla is a savory vegetarian snack made from rice and split chickpeas. It’s tastier than it sounds – Gujaratis eat it for breakfast or lunch, and sometimes even as a snack or side dish. Another dish that requires hours of preparation, dhokla involves soaking the rice and split chickpeas in equal amounts overnight. Then chilli, coriander, ginger and baking soda are added to add spice to the dish and help it rise into delicious bite-sized pieces. Usually served with deep fried chilli and coriander chutney, this Gujarati delicacy is deliciously moreish. 

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dhokla-Indiese kos

7) Barfi

We cheated a little here, as the term barfi can be used to describe any number of Indian sweets. However, the most traditional type is milk barfi. Predictably, these milk-based sweets are made from milk powder, condensed milk, ghee and cardamom powder. Barfi isn’t going to help anyone achieve their health-conscious goals, but these deliciously flavorful desserts are sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who tries them. These sweets are traditionally gifted as good luck offerings at events such as wedding ceremonies, but there’s nothing to say you can’t head to the sweet shop to buy one to accompany your afternoon chai. 

barfi-indian-sweet

8) Pani puri

Pani puri , or gol guppa , is thought to have originated in the northern state of Bihar. Pani puri , a perfect street-side snack, are hollow deep-fried balls made of semolina or wheat. They are served with spicy potatoes, chickpeas and a spicy tamarind water. Eating pani puri is an experience in itself, as you traditionally crack open the top of the deep-fried shell with a spoon before filling it with the delicious toppings. Most Indians eat each pani puri in one quick bite, to save any of the filling that spills out of the delicate container.This infamous street snack unites most of the country – everyone from local college students to city businessmen can be found devouring them. 

gol-gappa-indian-street-food

9) Idli

Popular across South India , idli are often considered the breakfast versions of dosa. Eaten at the start of the day, idli is a type of light savory rice cake. Made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice, these rice cakes are dangerously easy to eat. Since idli are pretty bland on their own, these mini pancake-like breakfast staples are served with sambar, coconut-based chutney or spicy fish curries. Over the years, idli has evolved into many different varieties, so you’re bound to find one that satisfies your taste buds. 

idli-indian-food-snack

10) Masala chai

India’s most famous export, masala chai , can be sold everywhere, from high-end restaurants to chaiwallas at train stations. Although there are many different diluted versions of this classic Indian tea around the world, the real thing can only be found in India . Authentic masala chai is made by brewing black tea on the stove with a mixture of aromatic spices and herbs. Traditionally, the spices used are green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves and black pepper, creating a wonderfully aromatic cup of tea. There is nothing quite like drinking a hot cup of authentic masala chai first thing in the morning 

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masala-chai-straatkos

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