The Cuisine of North India

Kulcha
Easycooking/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

North India has extreme climates – summers are hot, and winters are cold. The region includes the following states: Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Geographical and Cultural Influence on the Regions Cuisine 

There is an abundance of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetable to be had. Its geographical position with relation to the rest of the Sub-continent means that this region of the country has had strong Central Asian influences both in its culture and its food.

Mughlai and Kashmiri styles of cooking are not just prevalent; they are also popular.

Style of Food 

North Indian curries usually have thick, moderately spicy and creamy gravies. The use of dried fruits and nuts is fairly common even in everyday foods. Dairy products like milk, cream, cottage cheese, ghee (clarified butter) and yoghurt play an important role in the cooking of both savory and sweet dishes. Thanks to the fact that such a rich variety of fruit and vegetable is available at all times of the year, the region produces a dazzling array of vegetarian dishes.

Staple Foods North Indians Seem to Prefer

Indian bread over rice, if the rich variety is anything to go by. This region is home to the tandoori roti and naans (bread made in a clay tandoor oven), stuffed parathas (flaky Indian bread with different kinds of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fillings) and kulchas (bread made from fermented dough).

Rice is also popular and made into elaborate biryanis and pulaos (pilafs).

Cooking Oils Commonly Used

Vegetable oils like sunflower and canola. Mustard oil is rarely used and only in some states of the region. Ghee is normally reserved for special occasion cooking.

Important Spices and IngredientsCoriander, Cumin, Dry red chilies, turmeric, Chilli Powder, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Garam Masala, Aniseed/Fennel, etc.

Popular Dishes

Mutter Paneer (a curry made with cottage cheese and peas), Biryani, Pulaos, Daal Makhani, Dahi Gosht, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Fish Amritsari, Samosas (snack with a pastry case with different kinds of fillings), Chaat (hot-sweet-sour snack made with potato, chick peas and tangy chutneys), Motichoor Laddoo.