Potent spices, savoury curries, and pungent flavours are a few characteristics that stand out in my mind when I think of the dishes I ate in India. Indian food is as diverse as the country itself, and because I only saw a relatively small portion of the country during my stay, I feel as though I only sampled a limited selection of dishes from this varied cuisine. Regardless, the food was a huge highlight from my time in India, and each meal was memorable in itself.
It was tough to choose only a handful, but these are my favourite meals from India.
Paneer butter masala
I became slightly addicted to various paneer dishes in India: palak paneer, kadai paneer, and shahi paneer to name a few, but my ultimate obsession was paneer butter masala. I can’t count the number of times I ordered this dish, and I have an embarrassing amount of photos it.
The creamy tomato gravy is a heavenly blend of spices and butter, and the soft cubes of paneer make the dish especially rich.
I’ve had this famous flatbread dozens of times at home, but it tasted roughly a million times better in India. Oven-baked until slightly crispy around the edges, and ultra soft and buttery in the centre. The added garlic made it nearly irresistible, and I couldn’t help but choose it as a side to accompany almost every meal.
This North Indian stir-fry dish is a mix of crisp-fried okra with garam masala, coriander, ginger, chili powder, turmeric, garlic, and onions. The okra was perfectly crunchy, and the dish was incredibly flavourful overall, with prominent hints of chili and onions.
Onion and potato pakora with mango and coriander chutney
This fried snack (similar to a fritter) consists of vegetables or paneer dipped in a batter of chickpea flour with spices, garlic, and ginger, and then deep fried until golden brown.
I had onion and potato pakora, which were tasty enough on their own, but the chutneys really made this dish outstanding. The mango chutney was creamy and sweet, the coriander chutney added a hint of refreshing spice, and together they made for an incredibly delicious and flavourful combination.
Biryani is a mixed rice dish made with spices and either fish, chicken, mutton, or vegetables.
This particular biryani was a mix of various vegetables with basmati rice, a blend of spices, cashews, sultanas, and fresh coriander. This dish was literally bursting with contrasting flavours and textures- from the fiery chili powder to the sweet sultanas, and the soft vegetables to the crunchy cashews- each ingredient was surprisingly complementary and made for a phenomenal dish altogether.
Aloo (potato) paratha is dough stuffed with a spicy mashed potato mixture, which is rolled out and cooked on a griddle with butter or ghee.
This flatbread is chewy and savoury, with notes of cumin and chili from the creamy potato filling.
Essentially a mini smorgasbord, thali is a meal made up of several types of dishes, usually served on a metal platter with small, fitted bowls.
I had a Rajasthani thali, which consisted of a delicious variety of dishes: palak paneer, rice, yogurt, vegetables, dal, chapati, papadum, and a sweet.
Vegetable and paneer skewer
Charcoal is a restaurant in Udaipur known for its unique BBQ and tandoori dishes, and I couldn’t get enough of their vegetable and paneer skewers. Large chunks of bell pepper, mushroom, onion, and paneer marinated in a honey glaze, and grilled until everything is slightly crispy around the edges. The skewer is served with two dipping sauces- a refreshingly cool tzatziki and a spicy aioli.
These Nepalese dumplings are popular in the far North of India- so I was a bit surprised to see them offered at a restaurant in Goa- but they were freshly made and delicious. I opted for the steamed version, and they were perfectly chewy with a flavourful vegetable filing.
I never thought I’d be adding muesli to a list of my favourite dishes in India, but the muesli from Pap’s Juice in Udaipur is quite possibly the best I’ve ever had. Crunchy granola with dried fruit, nuts, freshly chopped banana, papaya, pineapple, and yogurt topped with honey and pomegranate seeds. It was the perfect blend of crunchy granola, tart yogurt, and a delicious combination of sweet fruit.
This traditional dessert is a doughnut-like dumpling made of milk solids kneaded into a dough (sometimes with flour), and shaped into small balls, deep fried, and then soaked in a light sugary syrup flavored with cardamom and rose water or saffron.
While I couldn’t eat more than one or two at a time, I loved the soft texture and the unique and fragrant flavour from the rose water.
While this whole wheat flatbread is usually served alongside savoury meals, I sampled a simple and delectable sweet paratha dessert. The dough is stuffed with ghee, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and shredded coconut, then rolled out and cooked on a griddle. It’s slightly crispy on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside, and not overly sweet.
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I noticed this dessert on many restaurant menus in India, especially in Goa, but the best one I tasted was from Charcoal in Udaipur.
Vanilla ice cream mixed with cookie crumbles, cashews, caramelized banana slices and covered in chocolate fudge sauce with a sugar and caramel-flavoured birds nest garnish.
Do you like Indian food? What’s the most memorable meal you’ve had from your travels?
It was all so delicious! 🙂
You have no idea how obsessed I am with Indian food. Some of the most memorable meals I’ve had were in Malaysia and Singapore. The Indian food there was so good. Judging by your photos I would do nothing but eat if I were traveling in India!
Continuous eating is necessary when travelling in India 🙂 I’m dying to visit Malaysia and Singapore- I’ve heard the food is amazing.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE INDIAN FOOD! OMG.
Your post just gave me a giant prata+masala+naan+curry+briyani craving. All of it. All at once. I want it all! Hahah, being such a glutton right now! I haven’t tried some of the indian desserts you’ve mentioned, and oh boy i wish i can try them!
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Haha I know exactly how you feel! I’ve been having some serious Indian food withdrawals since I returned from India. I’m sure you could find some of the desserts at Indian restaurants in London 🙂
Oh my gosh, I’m now hardcore craving Indian food. Time to try to convince someone at the office to go find a good Indian place with me for lunch…
I feel like I’m always craving Indian food now! I hope you were able to find a good Indian restaurant 🙂
Wow.. I didn’t realize I was hungry until I read your post. Garlic naan in particular looks and sounds delicious and I feel like it would be a favorite of mine! Looks to me like if/when I make it to India I will have to account for gaining 10,000 lbs.
Garlic naan is ridiculously delicious and I’m sure you would love it! Haha that’s true about the weight gain, but it’s definitely worth it!
It’s amazing! You really ate some amazing dishes in India. I love Indian food! Even though I am used to eating Indian food (since I am an Indian), I still find it exciting! I particularly loved my platters in Kutch (Gujarat) recently!
I love Indian food as well and I’ve been missing it so much since my visit! I can understand why you still find it exciting- the food is so varied and flavourful!
Wow, all these food looks so tasty! I always have a hard time trying strange dishes but some of them look so good that they would definitely be the exception. The Garlic naan seems so incredibly good. Thanks for sharing it! Have a nice day,
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Even dishes that didn’t look extremely appetizing were delicious in India! And the garlic naan was especially tasty! Thanks for your comment, Vera!
Paneer butter is my absolute faaave! Rice or naan, it is one delicious dish. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to India yet so if you would ask when where I ate the most tasty Indian cuisine, I would say Seattle. I’m sure it doesn’t even compare to the dishes you’ve ate!
Glad to hear from another paneer butter masala lover! The food in India was so much more flavourful than anything I’ve had at home, but regardless of where you have it, paneer butter masala is always delicious I think 🙂
“This North Indian stir-fry dish is a mix of crisp-fried okra with garam masala, coriander, ginger, chili powder, turmeric, garlic, and onions. The okra was perfectly crunchy, and the dish was incredibly flavourful overall, with prominent hints of chili and onions.”
When I travelled in India, in 2007, the best example of this naan bread I ate had been in Varanasi. I was told I could eat the best local Varanasi naan bread from this particular shop in Varanasi and, believe me, it was good.
I can only imagine how delicious it was – I don’t think I had one bad meal in India. I miss the food so much!
What a list!! All of this Indian food looks so amazing!
It was all so delicious, and easily some of the best food I’ve ever had!
OMG! Nosh! Nosh!
The best Indian meal that I’ve ever had is the garlic naan and an original Thali!
The garlic nan was the first thing that I had in Delhi and was so delish. I still haven’t had better. And as for the thali? The first time I had it was completely by accident! I saw a queue of people outside a building and discovered that they were eating a meal freshly ordered. So I followed them. It was so authentic that they didn’t even have any cutlery and I had to eat the thali using my hands!
Best meal ever!
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Oh god I know – the garlic naan in India is phenomenal, eh? I still haven’t had anything that comes close to what I had in India! That thali sounds incredible as well. A queue of locals is always the sign of a fantastic restaurant 😉