Coming to India? How can you stay away from the mouth-watering variety of Indian cuisine while you are visiting Taj Mahal? Or are you confused about best Indian food dishes to try on your trip to India ? Imagine if someone can point you towards the best dishes to eat in India, here’s my honest attempt in doing so.
Also Read: The Beginner’s guide I recommend reading to all guests of my Boutique Bed & Breakfast The Hideout Agra – Essential India Travel Guide: 25 Ultimate Things To Know Before You Land in India
India continues to amaze you in all aspects ranging from culture, history, traditions or the food… Whether you are exploring the high mountains in the north or sun bathing on the down south beaches, you will find that as you travel every 100 miles the food changes along with the culture. From spicy Samosa to sweet Lassi, from finger licking Butter Chicken to orgasmic Biryani… India has something for everyone. So while you are here, explore and experience India through your taste buds without worrying about Delhi Belly or any Belly…
For those of you who are not yet aware, we do offer Agra Food Walk – Explore Agra by Mouth where you can taste the unlimited samples of many of the foods listed down for a small price. So if you happen to be in Agra with some free time in your hands (2-3 hours) & an empty stomach, get in touch with us for exploring the best of India through your taste buds. Check video & photos down below at the end to find out why people love this food tour.
Here is the ultimate India’s best food guide to 52 Best Indian Food dishes to eat on your next visit to India.
Best Indian Food Dishes to Try – Must Eat Indian Food
Starters / Snacks
1. PAAV BHAAJI
Although a spicy fast food of Maharastrian origin but you can find on every corner of India, paav bhaji consists of buttered bread (Paav) and a thick vegetable curry (Bhaji) served with chopped onion and a slice of lemon. Ideal for breakfast.
2. IDLY SAMBAR
This south Indian breakfast is the combination of steamed fermented rice cake (Idli) with a sour vegetable stew (Sambar) and often accompanied with white coconut chutney. Although find all over India, but tastes best in the southern states of India. Real inexpensive light breakfast.
3. CHOLE BHATURE
This is typical Punjabi breakfast which consists of fluffy fried bread (Bhature) and a thick curry of chickpeas (Chole) is widely available as a street food all over the country, especially the northern parts.
Popular appetizers/ snacks in India served at tea time. A fried or baked triangular snack made of a potato stuffing containing onions and peas, served with mint or tomato chutney.
5. Panipuri / Puchka / Gol Gappe
Small crisp hollow round bread filled with spiced water, tamarind paste, potato, onion, and chickpeas. It is small enough to fit completely in mouth and available throughout India with different names such as Puchka in West Bengal. The most popular modification is to put little whiskey or rum into it instead of spiced water & than the taste becomes out of the world.
Puffed rice fried with vegetables, in a spicy and tangy tamarind sauce along with chopped onion and green chilies. It’s the famous tea time snack found throughout India.
7. Vada Pav
This is the Indian version of Doughnut which is a South Indian snack staple made of a lentil or flour batter fried into a doughnut shape. Usually eaten with chutney & famous in Mumbai.
A snack/breakfast food from Gujrat, made of fermented rice and chickpea batter. Although find it most parts of India, but best to have in Gujrat.
Many different varieties are available in Kebabs which are basically grilled threaded meat on a skewer. Any kind of meat may be used along with cubes of vegetables or cheese. Typical vegetables include tomato, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms.
10. Kati Roll
A traditional wrap of kebabs, eggs, vegetables, and spices rolled into Paratha (a type of flat bread). Usually one is enough to skip the meal.
11. Papri Chaat
Crispy, fried dough wafers served with boiled potatoes, boiled chick peas, chilies, yogurt, tamarind chutney, and several spices.
12. Pyaaj Ki Kachori
Popular breakfast or evening snack found in North India, it is deep-fried and filled with onions, potato to be eaten with mint chutney.
13. Mawa Kachori
Deep fried dry fruit stuffed kachoris served sprinkled with icing sugar. These are special delicacy of Rajasthan & only found there. Make sure not to miss them on your trip to Jaipur/Jodhpur/Udaipur.
14. Mirchi Vada
Popular spicy street snack of Rajasthan consisting of a big green chilli stuffed with masala potato filling and deep-fried. Jodhpur is the best place to have Mirchi Vada.
15. Kachori / Bedai
Famous morning breakfast of North Indians especially in Delhi and Agra region. Kachori is always filled with some kind of stuffing, usually potato while Bedai is empty from inside. To be eaten with potato vegetable curry.
16. Dahi Vada
Dahi Vadas are lentil dumplings dipped in yogurt and topped with spicy savory tamarind chutney. These are great as a side dish for a formal dinner, appetizer or served as a chaat.
Although an accessory to enhance the taste, Indian pickles consist of a large variety of pickled fruits and vegetables which are acidified with lime or lemon juice, or through lactic acid fermentation enabled by addition of common salt. The pickles also have various combinations of Indian spices and often oil to preserve them for a long time. Available all over India.
In India, chutney refers to any condiment, though in the U.S. it is normally known as a sweet mango sauce. This mango chutney recipe is both sweet and spicy. Usually served alongside main dishes or with pappadums — a thin, crisp Indian cracker. Available all over India.
Also known as Papad in Northern India is a thin, crisp disc-shaped Indian food typically based on a seasoned dough made from black gram (urad flour), fried or cooked with dry heat. Papadams are typically served as an accompaniment to a meal in India, or as an appetizer or snack, sometimes with toppings such as chopped onions, chopped carrots, chutneys or other dips and condiments. Available mostly in North India.
20. BHAPA ILISH
Bengalis would die for this traditional fish curry made in mustard paste and their favorite Hilsa fish. If not properly cooked, the gravy could be bitter. Usually served with steamed rice, found best in Kolkata.
21. Sarson ka Saag with Makke ki Roti
This dish made from mustard leaves vegetable (Sarson) and usually had with corn bread (Makke ki Roti) is a traditional Punjabi favorite. Huge chunks of ghee or Indian butter often accompany this deadly veggie combination.
22. BAINGAN KA BHARTA
Roasted eggplant mashed together with a variety of other vegetables and spices, served with flatbread.
This Rajasthani specialty consists of a lentil (dal) preparation to go with a kind of hard bread (baati) cooked in a traditional oven and a kind of ground-wheat food called Churma cooked with sugar in Indian butter (Ghee). Too fatty but too tasty.
24. TANDOORI CHICKEN
One of the very popular Indian delicacy, tandoori chicken is just the roasted chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices slow cooked in a very high temperature of the traditional oven called the tandoor.
25. ROGAN JOSH
One of the staples from the Kashmiri cuisine, rogan josh is an Indian curry with boneless lamb cooked in a mixture of caramelized shallots, yoghurt and other spices, chiefly the Kashmiri red chilies which give the dish its characteristic red color.
26. HYDERABADI MUTTON BIRYANI
An aromatic rice dish slow cooked in sealed containers with several spices, saffron, and chicken or mutton that’s been marinated. Available throughout India with many variants, but make sure you don’t miss this out.
27. MASALA DOSA
A crispy paper-thin pancake, flat bread (similar to a crepe) made of rice batter and filled with mashed potato, served with a lentil sauce (sambar) and a variety of chutney. Although found throughout India, but tastes best in southern states of India where it originated specially Karnataka & Tamil Nadu.
This is simply the Indian answer to Pizza. Uttapams are quite similar to dosas, but much thicker, denser and stuffed with onions, tomatoes. They’re usually served with sambar and chutney.
29. Macher jhol (Fish in Tomato):
If you are a fish lover you can’t miss Macher Jhol or fish in tangy tomato based gravy. Tempered in mustard and cumin seeds, lends good blend of flavours to sweet river fish. To be eaten with steamed rice. Only found best in West Bengal.
30. Butter Chicken
Chicken marinated overnight in yoghurt and spices mixture and cooked with a special Makhani (Butter) sauce, tomato puree and spices that gives the dish its unique flavor. It is one of the most popular dishes among non vegetarians throughout the World and the pride of Punjabi cuisine. Surely a belly buster!
31. Dal Makhani
This is the signature delicacy from Punjab in which lentils and beans traditionally cooked overnight in a tangy masala with dollops of fresh cream added to give the rich finishing touch.
32. Malai Kofta
Malai refers to cream and the kofta are deep-fried veggie balls together blend in a creamy Indian saucy curry. More of a North Indian speciality which is the vegetarian version of the famous meatball curries.
33. Rajasthani Gatte ki Sabzi
Gatte ki sabzi is a dish that you can never miss out when you have Rajasthani meal consisting of gram flour cubes in vegetable curry.
India’s version of a sampler platter — is a great way to try several items at once. Availabe throughout India with different variants like North Indian Thali, South indian Thali etc.
35. Naan / Parantha
Naan or Paratha are most popular varieties of Indian flatbreads where Naan is oven baked and Paratha is made by whole wheat flour on iron board.
Parathas are usually stuffed with vegetables like reddish, onion, potato and best eaten with chilled yogurt or pickle or chutney. Indians prefer dipping it in the sauce of the main dish like Butter Chicken unlike the foreigners who eat plainly without any sauce or curry.
36. Rumali Roti
The word “rumal” is Hindi for handkerchief, and this bread resembles one; it is large, as thin as cloth, and served folded like a napkin. Good for eating when you need bread but want something lighter than naan.
Sheermal is a saffron-flavored traditional flatbread made probably from Persian influences. It is one of the several rare Lucknow and Hyderabadi delicacies in India which is mildly sweet Naan baked in tandoor or oven. A must have item in Muslim functions, mainly found in and around Lucknow.
38. GAJAR KA HALWA
A desert made with carrots (gajar), milk, ghee and sugar, and served with lots of dry fruits, mainly sliced almonds. Although available all through year but tastes best in winters with fresh seasonal carrots.
39. MISHTI DOI
Hailing from West Bengal, this frozen yogurt dessert is sweetened with jaggery and stored in earthenware pots enabling evaporation of water through its pores thickening the end result and cooling it at the same time.
40. GULAB JAMUN
Small deep-fried balls of dried milk, slow cooked and boiled in sugar syrup. This dessert with a scoop of non-Indian vanilla ice cream is worth a try.
This sweet dish from West Bengal is a national favorite. It is prepared by cooking dumplings made from a kind of Indian cottage cheese in sugar syrup, and served chilled.
42. KULFI (Indian Ice Cream)
Kulfi is an Indian ice cream prepared by prolonged stirring of sweetened flavored milk over flame thus caramelizing the sugar inside the reducing milk and giving it its distinctive smell & taste.
Another sweet from West Bengal, rasmalai includes small spongy disks made from paneer (indian cottage cheese) submerged in saffron flavored cream (malai).
A wheat flour batter deep-fried in coil-shapes and soaked in sugar syrup, served hot. Mainly North Indian favorite breakfast sweet. Must try on your visit to Delhi or Agra.
It is a translucent soft candy which is usually rectangular or cylindrical, it is made from the ash gourd vegetable also known as winter melon or white pumpkin. Agra is World famous for different flavoured varieties of Petha which includes Grape Petha, Choclate Petha, Orange Petha etc. No tot be missed when in Agra.
This is a seasonal Rajasthani sweet which is disc-shaped, and made from oil, flour and sugar syrup. There are many varieties of Ghevar, including plain or cream ghevar. Only available in the months of July – August, it is quite popular in the adjoining states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh.
Sweet Rabri is a sweet, condensed milk based dish made by boiling the milk on low heat for a long time until it becomes dense and changes its color to pinkish. Sugar, spices and nuts are added to it to give it flavor. It is chilled and served as dessert.
Ladoo is a ball-shaped sweet popular in Indian Subcontinent made of flour and sugar with other ingredients that vary by recipe. It is often served at festive or religious occasions.
49. Lassi – Shakes
This is a popular and traditional Punjabi yoghurt based drink of India which is made by blending yoghurt with water and Indian spices flavored with ground roasted cumin. Sweet lassi is blended with sugar or fruits instead of spices.
50. Aam Panna
is prepared using raw mangoes, sugar and an assortment of spices is an effective remedy for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It also quenches thirst and prevents the excessive loss of sodium chloride and iron during summer due to excessive sweating. This drink is mainly consumed in the Northern part of the India and is considered beneficial in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. So all those suffering from Delhi Belly, can drink it for the cure. This drink is also a good source of vitamin B1 and B2 and contains sufficient quantity of niacin, and since it is prepared from raw mangoes it is an excellent source of vitamin C also.
51. Shikanji (Indian Lemonade)
This is a type of traditional lemonade from North India. While the base ingredients include lemon or lime juice, ginger juice, ice and water, shikanji often contains other ingredients such as salt, saffron and cumin.
Chewing the mixture of areca nut and betel leaf is a tradition, custom or ritual which dates back thousands of years from India to the Pacific. It is the preparation of betel leaf combined with areca nut and/or cured tobacco. Paan is chewed and finally spat out or swallowed. Mainly acts as a mouth freshener after meals if taken without tobacco. Available throughout India.
So this was the extensive list of 52 best Indian food dishes to try that you can’t miss in India.