From all corners of the Indian subcontinent come the varying regional flavors that make up Indian cuisine. The full-flavored tastes of Indian food are brought out by the use of spices such as chili pepper, black mustard seed (rai), and cumin (jeera), or in a spice mix called garam masala which usually includes powdered cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. Garam masala mixes vary from region to region, as do the staple vegetables in each dish. Indian cuisine is a good and tasty resource for vegetarians as many dishes are traditionally vegetarian and contain no meat, though chicken (murg), mutton (gosht) and fish are also common base ingredients. Other core ingredients include grains and legumes such as rice (atta), red lentil (masoor), and chickpea (channa).
North Indian cuisine is dominated by Punjab traditions and is often what is found served in the many Indian restaurants abroad. Many fans of Indian food may identify North Indian/Punjabi food with all Indian food. Popular Indian dishes around the world such as Tandoori chicken, Aloo Tikki, samosa, and paneer dishes are originally from this region of India. Northern dishes are characterized by their high use of dairy products such as dahi (yogurt), paneer (cheese), and ghee (clarified butter). North India also favors lentil-based dishes over rice-based dishes and uses goat or lamb as a preferred meat. North Indian cuisine often uses a lot of tomato and onion and a typical North Indian meal will include breads such as roti (unleavened bread) or naan (yeast-leavened bread).
For desserts, look to Eastern India as the regional sweet tooth. Many popular deserts have come out of the region populated by the Bengals, including Rasabali and Rasgulla, cheese-dough patties soaked in sweetened milk or sugar syrup, and Sandesh, a molded condensed milk treat. Eastern India is also known for its consumption of fish of both fresh and salt water varieties and many stews, soups and curries from this region are fish-based.
West Indian cuisine features the Portuguese-influenced tastes of coastal Goa. Fish and coconut are prominent ingredients in Goan cuisine and many favorites such as Vindaloo originate from this Goa. Dishes using pork or beef can often be found in this region, where in the rest of India they are scarce. Much of the rest of Western India traditionally eats vegetarian.
South Indian cuisine is famous for its spices; cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon historically tempted foreigners to the shores of India. Dosa “crepes”, rice, and very hot chilies are synonymous with the South Indian kitchen. Traditional dishes include sambar, a vegetable stew also popular in Sri Lanka and rasam, a spicy tomato soup.
Where to get Indian cuisine in Doha?
Residents of Doha can have Indian dishes delivered directly to their door by visiting Doha-Delivery.com and ordering from the following restaurants:
- Caravan Bukhara
- The Gardern Annapoorna (Vegetarian)
- Hot Chicken – Old Al Rayyan
- Hot Chicken - Gharrafa
- Hot Chicken – Al Duhail South (near Landmark)
- Kebab King
- Royal Tandoor – Souq Waqif
- Royal Tandoor – Al Sadd
- Star of India
- Welcome Dine