Food Of The Week: Curry from the homeland

Fancy a curry? Across the regions you'll find there's more than one way to spice up a dish. Andy Lynes tucks in
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Indy Lifestyle Online

India is a vast mosaic of culinary variations, each with its own identity determined by geographical location, religious beliefs and historical influences. There's a thrilling journey to be made from the tandoor cooked meat and bread dishes of the north to the aromatic fish, vegetable and rice dishes of the south.

The Preethi Bhojan set menu at Annalakshmi, 804, Anna Salai, Chennai (00 91 44 28525109; annalaksh michennai.com) offers vegetarian cooking typical of the Tamil Nadu region in the country's southern tip, including rice served with sambar (spiced lentil and vegetable stew).

Dum Puhkt, ITC Maurya Sheraton Hotel, Delhi (00 91 11 26112233; starwood hotels.com) is one of the best places in India to sample the sealed-pot style of cooking including Dumpukht Koh-e-Avadh, lamb shanks cooked in a rich cardamom and saffron gravy.

Try southern Indian dishes, including dosa, a paper-thin crepe made from fermented lentil and rice batter, at the Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, 14 Lal Bagh Rd, Bangalore (00 91 80 2222 0022).

Enjoy lake views and Rajasthani cuisine in the luxurious surroundings of Neel Kamal, Lake Palace Hotel, Lake Pichola, Udaipur (00 91 294 2528800; tajhotels.com).Dishes such as bapla bati - baked wholemeal flour balls - are served with a spicy lentil dhal.

For a traditional Gujarati vegetarian thali with its chutneys, dhals and spicy potato head for Rajdhani, 361, Sheikh Memon Street, Mumbai (00 91 22 23426919; revivalhotel.com).

The beachfront Souza Lobo, Calangute Beach, Goa (00 91 832 228 1234; souza lobo.com) has been serving Goan-style seafood such as masala fried prawns and steamed kingfish since 1932.

The tandoor clay oven is synonymous with northern India's Punjab region and Surjit Chicken House, Lawrence Road, Amritsar is one of the best places for authentic tandoori chicken.

Traditional Bengali cuisine, typified by the use of mustard oil for frying and mustard seeds in the spicing, is rarely found outside the Indian home. One exception is Suruchi, 89 Elliot Road, Calcutta, West Bengal (00 91 33 2229 1763), where you'll discover dishes such as jhaal, a fish curry flavoured with ground mustard seeds and chilli.

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