If there’s anything North Indians (and Punjabis in particular) enjoy, is the whole packaged deal of a festive atmosphere, dance and music, and to top it off a gourmet styled Indian meal with the finest spices and flavors to satisfy their palates.
Indeed, there is no festival, no celebration complete without a full blown Indian meal to tantalize and leave your taste buds wanting more. If there’s anything the Aryans know, it’s how to wine and dine lavishly.
North India itself, with its diverse states and form, is a hub for delicious foods that everybody flocks to restaurants, shaadis and feasts to get a sample of those foods.
It’s no joke that India boasts some of the finest foods from a cuisine that’s now world-renowned, with restaurant chains opening abroad to satisfy global consumers as well. Here are the 10 most celebrated spicy Indian dishes North Indians love to eat:
#10: Tandoori chicken
A popular, common North Indian dish consisting of roasted chicken marinated with yoghurt and spices, this one is every restaurant’s favorite.
It is prepared in a traditional clay oven called a “tandoor” for a sensational, smoky, barbecue after-effect. It is moderately spicy in India and Pakistan, but the spice is downplayed in foreign countries. Cayenne peppers, red chili powder and Kashmiri red chili give it the spice kick that everybody enjoys.
It is said to have originated in a restaurant in Delhi called Moti Mahal Delux. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian prime Minister was himself so impressed and floored by the taste of this wonderful dish that he made it a regular meal at official banquets.
#9: Rogan Josh
Otherwise known as lamb in gravy, this ingenious recipe was brought to India, in Kashmir by the Mughals where a Persian influence changed its flavor forever to make it a favorite.
“Rogan Josh” literally means cooked in oil at intense heats. It consists of braised Lamb chunks cooked with a gravy based on browned onions or shallots, yogurt, garlic, ginger and aromatic spices (cloves, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon).
It is a staple in British households where Bangladeshi dishes are common.
#8: Chole bhature
This is generally considered a heavy breakfast food accompanied with a glass of lassi to have a cooling effect on the spices.
Chole are spicy dark chickpeas served with a flatbread called a “bhatura”. Traditionally, this dish is served with carrots, onions, green chutney and lemon pickle.
It was invented in Delhi in the post-partition days and is now a common breakfast food in North-west India. New twists on this traditional recipe are aloo bhatura and paneer bhatura.
#7: Pav Bhaji
A dish that originated in Maharashtra, Pav Bhaji is a spicy preparation with a mixture of vegetables, either whole or mashed, a generous dose of fresh tomatoes, a dollop of butter, optional toppings of cheese and dry-fruits and fresh fruits, consumed with warm bread gently or crispy fried in butter.
It is a flexible food that can be consumed at any part of the day, even as a snack! It was invented in the 1850’s in Mumbai for convenience’s sake for workers who would need to have a quick, light bite before they got back to their manual physical work.
#6: Thalassery Biryani
A rice-based dish with chicken and spices, this was originated in Kerala, which has several other spicy, regional popular dishes to its name.
It is also known as Malabar Biryani, a cultural embodiment that reminds us of the foreign influences int he Malabar coast. The Mughals brought the cuisine of biryani from Samarkand, and later variations of biriyani developed in different parts of India.
Malabar biryani is an ample insignia of the Islamic cultural influence in the region. The Malabar Mappila dishes are preferred by some societies to be compliant with the ‘Halal’ method of food processing.
#5: Bhut jolokia
This is an interspecific hybrid chili pepper originated in cultivated as “ghost pepper” in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur.
It is also called Nago jolokia, after the Naga warriors in the plains and hills of Nagaland. It is used as a food, spice and remedy to the heat. It is also used as a weapon, for the immediate bite of spice it has in it.
#4: Chicken 65
This is a deep-fried chicken dish originating from Chennai, Tamil Nadu in South India. Ginger, garlic, red chilies and vinegar make up its unique essence.
Many sources claim Chicken 65 was a dish introduced in 1965 at the famous Buhari Hotel restaurant. Buhari Hotel in Anna Salai, Chennai was the finest restaurant to dine in Chennai in 1950s & 1960s and also trend setters in food which cannot be denied.
#3: Bombil fry
A Bombil fry, or Bombay duck is not a duck, but a type of lizardfish. The term was allegedly invented by Robert Clive, who tasted a piece in his visit to West Bengal.
The fish is often dried and then consumed.
#2: Maccher jhol
Traditionally a Bengali and Oriya fish stew, seasoned with turmeric, garlic, onions, and grated ginger with potatos are added to the mix.
Bengali people also add tomatos to the dish to give the stew a reddish color.
#1: Baingan Bharta
It is primarily a vegetarian dish that comprises bhurtha (minced vegetables) made from eggplant (baingan) which is grilled over charcoal or direct fire, to infuse the dish with a smoky flavour.
This is also prepared in South India with variations to the ingredients and flavor.