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Cuisine of North India

North India Tours organize cooking classes for our individual and foreign guests. There is a minimum six day course which can be taken individually as well as in a group if you intend to bring some more people with you. During these classes your will be taught to cook different Indian dishes with the appropriate use of typical Indian spices and how they are used normally in an Indian Kitchen. You will be having a female Professional Indian cook who has many years of cooking experience. Indian Cookery Classes will take place at her private cooking school.

During the classes we recommend you to stay with an Indian family to experience the real Indian culture and way of living. We can offer you the accommodation with an Indian family with private room in excellent condition in good location with green surrounding with private bath and WC, cold and hot water, all three meals

North India Cuisine

(veg.), Laundry, use of Internet etc. Currently we are offering Indian cookery classes in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan (270 kms from Delhi). Should you be interested we recommend you to make the bookings well in advance to avoid the accommodation problem.

Medicinal value of Indian Spices
It is quite interesting to note that most of the Indian spices have a medicinal value. The most commonly used spices and herbs in Indian cooking are asafoetida, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, coriander, garlic, ginger, turmeric and aniseed. Turmeric, Ginger and Cardamom are the most commonly used herbs as they have digestive properties. Turmeric gives the dish a pleasant yellow natural colour and helps to preserve the food. Coriander seeds are supposed to have a cooling effect on the body of a person. Saffron, the most expensive spice, creates a nice flavour and fragrance with just a little quantity. Mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cloves, poppy and caraway seeds are some other spices used in Indian dishes. In India, Masala is commonly used which is a blend of various spices and it is either in a dry or a liquid paste. Garam Masala is a blend of fragrant spices which include cinnamon, cloves, cumin seeds, mace, coriander seeds, nutmeg, and black pepper. It can stored and kept for future use. Nowadays, Garam Masalas are conveniently available in packets in any grocery.

Indian dishes known as curries
Indian cuisine has a lot of variety to offer. Indian food can be broadly divided into four different regions corresponding to Delhi for the North, Bombay for the West, Madras for the South and Calcutta for the East. Many varieties of curry-dishes are made in different parts of India, each of which has its own distinct flavour. For the Indians, curry encompasses a whole class of dishes. There are numerous curries which are prepared with meat, fish, chicken, vegetables and on occasions, fruits. The only common factor in all the curries is that they all contain freshly ground spices, including turmeric, and have a ‘gravy’. The Cooking medium is is pure ghee (clarified butter). Other vegetable fats are now more commonly used as the cooking medium.

Besides the preparation, its presentation of food is also important to Indians. Traditionally, Indian food is served either on a well washed large banana leaf or in a thali which is a large plate made of brass, steel or silver. Porcelain plates are also used commonly by Indian people. On the thali, several katoris (little bowls) are placed to hold small helpings of each dish. A typical meal may consist of a meat or fish dish, two vegetable dishes, dal, yoghurt and a sweet dish of kheer or halwa, pickles, chutneys, papads, etc.

Indian Breads (Roti - Nan - Parantha - Puri)

India offers a vast variety of breads. Unlike in the West, these breads are the main food in the Indian meals. Chappatis and nans are cooked in an oven or tandoor. Thin and small chappatis are made on an iron griddle placed on gas or fire. The most common bread is the chappati. Basically, the chappati is just flour and water dough rolled very thin and cooked like a pancake on slow heat. These are hot and fresh. Some breads like puris are fried in deep fat and paranthas are pan fried with a little fat, preferably ghee. These are quite soft

North Indian Breads

and delicious. Indians also make paranthas stuffed with potatoes or other vegetables which are complete meals and are eaten along with plain yoghurt and pickle. Puris are made from the same basic dough rolled out thin and round with a wooden roller and deep-friend in clarified butter or vegetable fat.

Types of North Indian Cuisine
Indian Food has been rated by most of the cultures as one of the best food available. Especially for vegetarians the travel to India is half worth to enjoy the India food only with its rich varieties. Indian restaurants have been flourishing in the capitals of the world and thus, Indian cuisine is no longer a mystery. In UK, Indian curry is the third most popular dish among the Britishers. Among the Japanese, the curry rice is relished quite a lot and it is the second most popular dish according to a recent survey. UK has more than 1000 Indian restaurants and USA, Canada and Japan have over 100 restaurants each. India attracts over 3 million foreign visitors every year for an average stay of one month. The Indian Cuisine is also gaining more popularity due to the rich taste, exotic flavor and healthy preparation. Indian cuisine has a very good taste which is designed not only to satisfy the taste buds but also the human psychology. The Indian cuisine is easy to prepare, tasty and can be prepared in less time. Spices are the main part of the Indian cooking and their quantity and proportion varies with the geographical boundaries. Spices are freshly grounded and added in many different combinations. Some of the spices which are commonly used are coriander, turmeric, cumin, chilies, fennel, and fenugreek. Other spices which are added for some fragrance are cardamom, clove, cinnamon and star aniseed.

There are various techniques of Indian cooking. Some of these techniques are Baghar or Tadka (Instant seasoning or Tempering), Balchao (Pickling), Bhunao (Curry), Dhuanaar (Smoke Seasoning), Dum (Steaming), Handi, Kadhai, Talna (Frying), Tandoori and Tawa. Tandoori cooking is a north Indian specialty and famous all over the world. Tandoori chicken, Naan, Tandoori Roti, Tandoori Kebabs are some of the famous Tandoori dishes.

The Indian cuisine can be divided into two main cuisines, North Indian and South Indian Cuisine. A typical North Indian meal consists of Chappatis, parantha or pooris (unleavened flat breads), dals, curries that are mild and made in ghee, vegetables seasoned with yogurt or pomegranate powder, green vegetables like spinach and green mustard cooked with paneer, north Indian pickles, fresh tomato, mint, cilantro chutneys and yogurt raitas. North Indian desserts and sweets are made of milk, paneer, lentil flour and wheat flour combined with dried nuts and garnished with a thin sheet of pure silver. Nimbu Pani (lemon drink), Lassi (iced buttermilk) are popular drinks of the North. Hot and sweet cardamom milk is very common before going to bed. North Indian Cuisine can be further divided into different categories according to states and tastes. These categories are Kashmiri, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Garhwal, Pahari, Uttar Pradesh, Awadh and Lucknow.


North Indian Food
Bread is more commonly eaten than rice. The omnipresent chappati is the common man’s dish. Nan is kind of a luxury and is preferred eaten with tandoori food. Another variety of rich bread is parantha which is prepared of wheat flour and is relished by almost everyone. Since most of the Indian restaurants abroad serve Tandoori food, the foreigners are more familiar with it. Tandoori chicken or mutton is a barbecued food which is spiced and marinated in yoghurt. Tandoori 

North Indian Food

chicken with a nan, green salad and a dessert is a dish which the tourists cannot resist. Tandoori food is not very spicy and is very similar to western cooking. In Delhi, many varieties of meat kababs are available like the Boti Kabab, Reshmi Kabab, Pasinda Kabab. The other delicacies of the Northern Indian cuisine are biryani which is a dish made of rice, saffron and marinated lamb or chicken. Pulao is a slightly less complicated version of biryani. There is another exciting version – sweet pulao made with rice, coconut, almonds, mangoes and papayas.

Besides tandoori food, the other choices available are Rogan Josh, lamb curry, Kofta, Korma or Do-Piaza. Do Piaza is made with lots of onions, Korma is particularly rich and Koftas are curry along with small balls of meat. The large Koftas have a stuffing of boiled eggs. North Indian meal is also accompanied with dal (lentil soup). For the vegetarian lovers, this cuisine offers several dishes like Panner, Sag Paneer (cheese with spinach), Bharta, a delicious vegetable made from egg plant and several other dishes combining cauliflower, potatoes and other similar vegetables. The dessert mainly includes kheer, firni (pudding) or halwa. Since Kashmiri food has also been influenced by Mughlai food, so there are many varieties of meat dishes especially lamb dishes, and is spicier as compared to other typical North Indian dishes.

Kashmiri Cuisine
The most famous form of the Kashmiri cuisine is Wazwan. Wazwan is the traditional 24-course banquet with many ways of cooking and varieties of meat - some in curry, some dry, and of various sizes. These are carefully cooked by the master chef, Vasta Waza, and his retinue of wazas. The meal is served on a large metal plate called the trami. The rice is served in a mound in the center. There is an earthen pot which is filled with freshly made yogurt and chutney. The meal began with a ritual washing of hands at a basin called the tash-t-nari, which is taken around by attendants. Seven dishes are a must for these occasions which are Rista, Rogan Josh, Tabak Maaz, Daniwal Korma, Aab Gosht, Marchwangan Korma and Gushtaba.

Punjabi Cuisine
The most famous dish of Punjab is the Sarson ka saag, which originated from Punjab. This dish of green mustard is simmered and slow cooked over coals along with rajma, kali dal or lentils. This dish is served with unleavened bread of cornmeal or wheat and a dollop of butter or with steamed basmati rice.


Rajasthani Cuisine
The major ingredient of the Rajasthani or Marwari dishes is the Gram flour or Besan. The gram flour is used to make some of the delicacies like Khata, Gatte Ki Sabzi and Pakodi. Powdered lentils are used for Mangodi and Papad. Bajra and corn are used all over the state in the preparation of Rabdi, Khichdi and Rotis. Some of the famous sweets and desserts of Rajasthan are Laddoos, Malpuas, Jalebies, Rasgullas, Mishri Mawa, Mawa Kachori, Sohan Halwa

Rajasthani Cuisine
and Mawa or milk cake.

Uttar Pradesh Cuisine
Most families in Uttar Pradesh eat vegetarian food. The most famous sweets which are found in the cities of Uttar Pradesh are jalebies, sweetmeats, variety of 'kachoris' and pethas. The Awadh style of cooking is famous all over the world for its tender meat dishes and excellent sweets. Lucknow is known all over the India for its biryanis and different meat preparations. Nihari and naan, a mutton dish served for breakfast is one of the dishes that should be tasted to be believed.

Sweet Dishes (Pakwan)
India is a country of sweets and each region of India has its own specialties. Most Indian sweets are made by boiling down milk to remove the moisture. It is called khoa. When butter, sugar and many other flavours are added, then these take the form of barfi, malai, kheer, rasgulla, gulabjamun and sandesh. The various regional recipes have different forms of rice puddings, milk puddings, vegetable and fruits dipped in sweet syrup etc. Combinations of all these offer hundreds of varieties of sweet dishes. These desserts can be decorated with raisins, almonds, and pistachio etc.

Paan (Betel nut)
Paan is generally eaten by people after having their food. Paan is a betel leaf wrapped around a variety of ingredients. Every paan-seller has his special recipe to make. There are as numerous styles of preparing paan in India. The paan made of betel leaf is the most popular and has some digestive properties.


Drinks of India
In North India, lassi is the most popular drink. Sweet or salty buttermilk is freshly prepared in your presence. The South and the West offer fresh coconuts as their most refreshing drink. Both fresh and packed juices of mango, sweet lime, pineapple and orange etc. are easily available. Liquor stores are also situated in major cities of India. Imported whisky and other alcoholic drinks are a little expensive. Many brands of scotch are readily available and are not very expensive. But Government imposes heavy taxes on liquor. Indian liquors are very reasonably priced and are popular among foreign residents in India. Indian beer is of excellent quality and inexpensive. It is now exported to some European countries especially to U.K. But its cost goes up quite a lot when you drink it in a restaurant or any five-star hotel. Tourists visiting Sikkim should try the local brands & Liquors etc. are famous

North Indian Drink, Mango Lassi
for being cheap thus having excellent quality.

Indian Tea
India is the largest producer of tea in the world. Indian tea is known for its taste and flavour and is quite popular. There are many brands of tea available in India. The famous Darjeeling and Assam tea is relished by everyone. It comes in attractive packs. Both cold and hot coffee are available in all the major restaurants of the country.

Soft Drinks
Being a tropical country, India offers numerous varieties of exotic soft drinks like Lassi , Chach, Jal Gira, Rose water, Difrrent kind of Sharbats as well as some foreign brands like Pepsi and Coca Cola. India maintains the same standards as the foreign brands. It offers many brands namely Thums-up, Limca, and Maaza, a mango drink. Maaza is also marketed in the USA and the Middle East and Thums-up is sold in some countries of the Middle East.

India manufactures superior quality dairy products and chocolates and they do not differ much from the Swiss or Dutch products. Amul, Nestle and Cadbury are the popular brands of chocolates and dairy products. Ice-cream is a speciality in India and are quite readily available. Excellent ice-creams are sold at street corners by vendors or any corner shops. Famous brands of ice-creams are Milkfood, Kwality, Vadilal, Mother's Dairy and Gaylords, Cream Bells, Amul to name some.

Fast Food

Indigenous chains of fast food outlets have developed everywhere, which are not very different from their American counterparts. McDonalds, K.F.C., Pizza Hut, Wimpy’s, A British fast food giant, have their chains in India since a very long time. The Nirulas, which is an Indian chain, has its branches in some countries of the world.

Western Food

Western and Chinese food is available almost everywhere in India. There are speciality restaurants for French, Italian, Chinese or Japanese food in every major town. Recently, some Thai restaurants have also come up in Mumbai and Delhi. The tourists can enjoy all varieties of food in India itself.

For any further more information on the different Indian cuisines, please contact us and join the special Indian Cookery courses of North India Tours.


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