What It Is: A variation on the traditional dimsum, native to the North Eastern states that border Nepal (where the dish originated), eaten with a fiery red chutney.
Perfect For: A quick mid-evening snack.
Feels Like: Kicking your shoes off after a long day and settling into your couch for hours of TV.
4. Gulab jaamun
What Is It: Small balls of dried milk, slow cooked and boiled in a sugar syrup.
Perfect For: When you’ve already had a delicious meal and have just enough room for dessert.
Feels Like: Playing hide-and-go-seek with your cousins at a family reunion way, way past your bedtime.
7. Kati roll
What It Is: A traditional street food popular across India (and abroad). A wrap of kebabs, eggs, vegetables, and spices rolled into paratha (a type of flat bread).
Perfect For: When you need a meal on-the-go. Also a great way to use up leftovers.
Feels Like: Standing on a dusty Kolkata street-corner at dusk, watching families go home through rush hour traffic.
9. Pani puri
What It Is: A small crisp hollow round bread filled with spiced water, tamarind paste, potato, onion, and chickpeas.
Perfect For: When you’re craving a thousand flavors at once.
Feels Like: Drunkenly challenging your best friend to a contest of who can eat more of these, and then feeling like your mouth is on fire.
11. Tandoori chicken
What It Is: Chicken marinated for hours in a paste of yogurt and spices, and then roasted (traditionally) in a clay oven called a tandoor.
Perfect For: Wowing your dinner guests with minimal effort.
Feels Like: Making a pitstop at a roadside diner three hours into a family roadtrip.
What It Is: A crispy, flat bread (similar to a crepe or pancake) made of rice batter, served with a lentil sauce (sambar) and a variety of chutneys.
Perfect For: When you want breakfast to be the highlight of your day.
Feels Like: Recounting last night’s events the morning after a sleepover.
18. Rogan josh
What It Is: A lamb curry of Persian origin, now popular in the Kashmir area. In India, rogan josh is often made using goat meat instead of lamb.
Perfect For: When you don’t just want a meal – you want a feast.
Feels Like: Strutting around in your nicest traditional finery and feeling like royalty.
What It Is: A fritter native to the Indian state Uttar Pradesh – one or more basic ingredients (onion, eggplant, potato, cauliflower, and chili peppers are all options) are dipped in gram flour and deep fried.
Perfect For: Rainy days.
Feels Like: Sitting by a window during a monsoon afternoon, bonding with your family over hot chai.
22. Rumali roti
What It Is: 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.
Perfect For: When you need bread but want something lighter than naan.
Feels Like: Watching with child-like awe as a chef tosses the dough up in the air and spins it in circles.
23. Papri chaat
What It Is: Crispy, fried dough wafers served with boiled potatoes, boiled chick peas, chilis, yogurt, tamarind chutney, and several spices.
Perfect For: A healthy and multi-flavored snack.
Feels Like: Rewatching an old Bollywood movie with your mom, for the eighth time.
25. Recheado masala fish
What It Is: A spicy paste made of chilies, tamarind, and garlic (amongst other spices) is rubbed onto whole fish which are then fried.
Perfect For: Satisfying your seafood craving and spice craving all at once.
Feels Like: Sitting on a beach in Goa, watching the waves roll in.
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