During my four-week-long trip around India, I found out for myself just how tantalising Indian cuisine is! Since I tried many different curries, breads and desserts during my time there, it was difficult to create a concise list of must-try foods. However, written below are six of the foods I enjoyed the most:
1. Mason & Co Chocolate
Why not start with something sweet!
Mason & Co is an India-based chocolate company with a factory located in Auroville. During our factory tour, we discovered Mason & Co’s “bean to bar” method of chocolate making, which involves roasting the fermented cacao beans received from organic farmers and grinding the eventual cacao nibs for 3-5 days. What’s particularly great about this company is that most of the chocolate making processes (e.g. the sorting, winnowing, tempering and packaging) are done by hand. The employees responsible for these processes are an all-female team of local villagers who have been trained as chocolate makers.
Mason & Co’s chocolate bars are organic, vegan, gluten free & soy free. They also have a natural taste because the cacao flavour is easily noticed on the palate. I highly recommend the 49% Crunchy Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Bar!
2. Food from Solitude Farm
So, this entry isn’t a particular dish, but a recommendation for any food made at Solitude Farm. Solitude Farm, located in Auroville, bases its farming practices on permaculture and the recycling of bio-materials. When you eat there, you may have the opportunity to handpick some of the locally abundant plants from the farm to wash and prepare for cooking. That way, you get the chance to learn about sustainable farming as well as how to make mouthwatering salads, juices, smoothies, chutneys and soups.
3. Brinjal Curry
This is traditional South Indian curry made with aubergine (aka Brinjal), cooked in an onion, tomato and garam masala gravy. It doesn’t have too many ingredients, so the natural taste of the brinjal and tomato shines through. Enjoy this with freshly steamed basmati rice!
4. Chai Tea
Chai is often referred to as the “drink India can’t live without”, and for good reason. This flavoursome hot tea is typically made with black tea, star anise, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, white peppercorns, cardamom, whole milk and sugar. It has a very soothing effect on the body and mind, and can be enjoyed first thing in the morning or after a long day’s work.
Thali has more than one meaning; it predominantly refers to a large, steel plate on which food is served. However, it also refers to a particular style of meal, where several bowls (known as karoris in Hindi), containing different foods, are arranged on a thali. In the centre of the thali are usually rice, pickle, and some sort of bread (e.g. chapati). When you have a thali, it’s often served as a buffet, so a waiter will top up whichever dish you’d like more of. It’s a filling meal during which you can try many different dishes at once.
In the centre of the photo above you will see puri (also spelled poori), which is a deep-fried bread made from wheat four. Puri is highly versatile as it can be eaten with savoury or sweet food. It’s a delicious substitute for waffles or pancakes!
There are far more delectable dishes in India to try than the ones mentioned here. If you’re a foodie, India is a country you have to add to your bucket list.