‘The quickest way to travel across the world is through the menu.’ - this was something I realised in culinary school. Another thing I learned in culinary school, ‘People will travel anywhere for good food’. These conflicting ideologies are both correct; one’s about the stomach, the other about the soul. There are some dishes worth traveling for. Here is a list of Indian treats you should step out for. Like really step out for.
- Pandi Curry (Coorg, Karnataka)
Although it is known as “The Scotland of India”, Coorg is more famous for its Pandi Curry aka Pork Curry. Tender, succulent, homely and bursting with flavour, Pandi Curry encapsulates years of tradition and localisation in a single recipe. The pork is slowly stewed in Coorgi Vinegar derived from the fruit called Kodampuli, giving it a rich, deep flavour as the meat is allowed to slow cook in the gravy.
- Snail Stew, Steamed Hornets & Silkworm Curry (Kohima, Nagaland)
Yup! You read it right. You can re-read it, won’t change what it is. A speciality from Nagaland (a place all about experimenting with flavour and taste...clearly), the snail stew, steamed hornet larvae and silkworm curry is cooked in many different ways, with each tribe representing its own flavour palate. You absolutely have to travel to try this across different tribes to get the full flavour scope of these ingredients!
- Red Ant Chutney (Bastar, Chattisgarh)
Made famous in Indian culture by British celebrity chef Gordan Ramsay, the dish is surprisingly unpopular when you realise how common red ants are. Known for its medicinal properties (I swear I’m not making this up), these ants are ground into a paste along with chilli, ginger and salt. Remember ants, when you bite us, we can bite back.
- Moryechi Xacuti Recipe (Goa)
Take a guess as to what this one might be. (Hint: Goa. Think seafood). Okay, got your guess ready? Was it baby shark? If it was, congratulations, you got that right!
A delicacy known for its subtle, well-balanced flavour profile, the Goan Baby Shark Curry is an incredible excuse to go to Goa. Heavy on the coconut and the spices, there’s a simple marination applied to the shark after which it’s allowed to simmer in an onion-coconut gravy. Go to goa already!
- Bhunni (Garhwal, Uttarakhand)
This has the potential to be another guessing game, but there’s honestly no point. Goat’s liver, stomach, intestines and blood, this is India’s reply to the English blood sausage. Depending on who’s eating it, it scores either a ‘mind-blowing’ or ‘yuck’ on its flavour quotient (there’s no middle ground). But one thing's for sure, it definitely has an ‘acquired’ liking to the texture. Nevertheless, if you’re a true foodie, this should be on your Indian food bucket list.
- Gongura Chicken (Telangana & Andhra Pradesh)
One of those recipes where an ingredient is almost indigenous to a location, the Gongura Chicken is the best dish made using Gongura. Sour and spicy, a mouthful of this causes an explosion of flavour in your mouth. In fact, if you think you need to add more ‘greens’ to your diet, then simply eat Gongura Chicken.
- Macher Dimer Bora (West Bengal)
Snacks are underrated. Even in Bengal. And the Macher Dimer Bora is India’s most underrated snack. Made with fish eggs, the snack is simply Bengali Fish Roe Fritters and they’re an absolute delicacy. Even caviar fails to stand up to this delicacy. Also, they taste surprisingly great.
Yes. This list was unusual. It’s not something you find in every street corner adjacent to a momo or paani puri vendor. Which is exactly why you should travel to eat these recipes. You’re not going to find them anywhere else. Be a foodie. Explore the palate. Indulge in the Indian Foodie Bucket List.