The flavours and styles of Indian cuisine vary by region, and North Indian cuisine features lots of fresh vegetables and sweet desserts. North Indian cuisine is comprised of dishes from the states of Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttaranchal. Here’s an overview of the staple foods, cooking style and classic dishes associated with North Indian cuisine:
Style Of Cooking
North Indian cuisine features lots of dairy products, with cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and ghee commonly used in sauces. Dishes tend to be moderately spicy and often contain nuts or dried fruit. Vegetarian dishes consisting of lentils and fresh vegetables are popular, but goat and lamb are also enjoyed. Pickled vegetables are usually served alongside main meals, and flatbreads, such as naan, roti and paratha, are preferred to rice.
The following foods feature in most North Indian meals:
Cumin – This spice has a warm, pungent aroma and is added whole or ground to both breads and curries. Cumin has a slightly smoky flavour when left whole.
Cardamom -These small seeds belong to the ginger family. They have a spicy-sweet flavour and are added whole to both curries and sweet dishes.
Chillies – Dried red chillies and chilli powder are often used create medium-hot sauces.
Garam Masala -This aromatic ground spice mix is used as a base for many dishes. It typically contains cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and coriander seeds.
Paratha – These soft and flaky flatbreads are cooked on a griddle and often brushed with ghee. They can be served plain, stuffed with vegetables, or spread with pickles.
Achar – North Indian pickled vegetables are marinated in brine and a variety of spices. Popular vegetables for pickling include carrots, aubergines, chillies, green mangoes, radishes, and kohlrabi.
Popular North Indian dishes include:
Chaat – A popular street food and appetiser consisting of spicy chickpeas and potatoes mixed with sweet and sour chutney and served with a dollop of yogurt.
Gulab Jamun – This dessert consists of fried dumplings made with thickened milk and flour. The dumplings are soaked in sweet sugar syrup flavoured with rose water and are delicious served warm with ice cream.
Dum Aloo – Baby potatoes cooked in a yogurt-based sauce with garam masala, fresh coriander and red chillies. Enjoy this dish with roti.
Dal Amritsari – This hearty and comforting dish consists of black lentils (urad dal) cooked with tomatoes, onions, coriander, ginger, and garam masala. Cream is stirred into the lentils just before serving, creating a rich, thick dal that’s perfect on a cold day.
Mutton Rogan Josh – The rich flavour of mutton is combined with a yogurt and ground almond sauce infused with dried chillies, cardamom, cumin, and garlic.
North Indian cuisine is packed with fresh flavours and creamy sauces that make it both satisfying and a real treat. It’s certainly worth exploring for yourself, so on your next visit to an Indian restaurant ask about their range of North Indian dishes.