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Explore the most popular traditional dishes of India – 10 Regional Food Specials

Regional Food Specials are something that we can all agree is our favourite thing. Each area and all states has its own set of popular cultural foods and drinks. Each of these is highly important to the locals.

Dishes for vegetarian lovers - Daal Baati
Dishes for vegetarian lovers – Daal Baati

In fact, people are proud of their cuisines and think that it helps them connect with their heritage. Yes, Regional Food binds us to our ancestors. It is that one thread that we all cling to and love delighting in at all times.

Eating your favourite Regional Food has been shown to have therapeutic properties superior to retail therapy. There are several Indian dishes and recipes available in India.

Although other nations have well-known traditional meals, nothing compares to Indian cuisine. No other country has ever been as varied and ethnically diverse as India. The same can be said for Indian Regional Food.

Here’s a list of must-try traditional Regional Food from different states of India;

Litti Chokha

Litti Chokha, a Bihari cuisine, embodies the state’s earthiness and tenderness. It is a common delicacy in Bihar, Jharkhand, and even Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

  Regional Food:  Litti Chokha : Image courtesy MUDITKUMARSINGH252004 via Wikipedia Commons
Regional Food: Litti Chokha : Image courtesy MUDITKUMARSINGH252004 via Wikipedia Commons

Litti, the star of the show, is a savory dough ball made from whole wheat flour, stuffed with a spicy mixture of roasted gram flour, spices, and herbs. It is then baked to golden perfection in a traditional clay oven, imparting a smoky aroma and a delightfully crispy exterior.

Accompanying the Litti is its soulmate, Chokha, a fiery mash of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes, seasoned with mustard oil, spices, fresh herbs and a dab of desi ghee. The combination of the smoky, earthy Litti and the tangy, spicy Chokha creates a flavour explosion that lingers on the palate and leaves a lasting impression.

Litti Chokha is not just a dish; it’s a culinary experience that celebrates the rich cultural heritage and distinct flavours of Bihar, making it a must-try for any food enthusiast seeking authentic regional delights.

This classic meal is not only inexpensive, but it is also high in protein and minerals.

Dal makhani

In the vast tapestry of regional food specials, there is one iconic dish that holds a special place in the hearts of food lovers across India – Dal Makhani.

Womens Day Brunch HRO 1 Explore the most popular traditional dishes of India - 10 Regional Food Specials
Regional Food: Dal Makhani

Originating from the vibrant land of Punjab, this sumptuous delicacy combines the simplicity of lentils with the richness of butter and cream. Slow-cooked to perfection, the velvety black lentils, or “urad dal,” are infused with aromatic spices, smoky charcoals, and a touch of tangy tomatoes.

The result is a creamy, luscious delight that tantalizes the taste buds with its harmonious blend of flavours. Whether enjoyed with piping hot tandoori rotis or fragrant basmati rice,

Although the dish has several variations, it has a class of its own. It is one of the favourite North Indian dishes and is designated for large occasions such as weddings and festivals. Dal Makhani embodies the essence of Punjab’s culinary heritage and continues to enthrall food enthusiasts with its irresistible allure.


In the world of fiery and flavorful regional food specials, Vindaloo reigns supreme. Hailing from the sun-soaked coastal region of Goa in India, this tantalizing dish is a testament to the perfect fusion of Indian and Portuguese influences.

Pork Vindaloo
Regional Food: Pork Vindaloo

Vindaloo’s distinctive character lies in its bold and robust flavours. A fiery medley of spices, including red chillies, garlic, ginger, and aromatic vinegar, infuses tender chunks of meat or succulent seafood, creating a symphony of taste that dances on the palate. Vindaloo, which is made with vinegar and dry red chillies, can be made with chicken, prawns, pork, or potatoes.

The slow cooking process ensures that every morsel is steeped in intense flavours, resulting in a dish that strikes a perfect balance between heat and tanginess. Vindaloo’s irresistible allure has transcended borders, captivating food enthusiasts around the globe who seek the thrill of spice and the joy of savouring regional culinary wonders.

Vindaloo is a flexible traditional Goan meal that is suitable for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It is one of the spicier foods with a strong savory flavor.

Laal Maas

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Regional Food: Laal Maas

Eat the Laal Maas if you’re in Rajasthan! Lal Maas stands tall as a fiery emblem of Rajasthan’s culinary heritage.

Laal Maas, or red meat curry, is a spicy Rajasthani meal packed with flavours and spices. Literally meaning “red meat,” this iconic Rajasthani delicacy gets its name from the vibrant hue bestowed upon it by the liberal use of Mathania, a unique kind of Rajasthani red chilli, which is added to provide spice and colour to the meal. Previously, it was the favorite cuisine of Rajput soldiers, who appreciated these powerful, robust, and fiery tastes. red chilli peppers and spices.

Succulent pieces of mutton slow-cooked to perfection, are bathed in a rich and aromatic gravy infused with a blend of traditional Rajasthani spices. The robust flavours of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and fiery red chilli peppers create a symphony of heat and depth that lingers on the palate.

Whether savoured with traditional bajra rotis or fragrant basmati rice, Lal Maas exemplifies the bold flavours of Rajasthani cuisine.

Vada pav

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Regional Food: Vada Pav

In the realm of regional food specials, one street food delight reigns supreme in the bustling streets of Mumbai – Vada Pav, a humble yet iconic creation that has captured the taste buds of millions.

At its core, Vada Pav is a delectable combination of a spiced potato fritter, known as the “vada,” nestled within a soft and pillowy bun, or “pav.” The vada is made by mashing potatoes with a medley of aromatic spices, then coating them in a chickpea flour batter and deep-frying them to golden perfection.

Put simply, Vada pav is similar to veggie burgers. For every foodie, it is a carb-heavy dish that consists of a deep-fried potato dumpling served in a small bun. To cater to the spice-loving palates of Indians across the country, it is usually served with a tangy and spicy chutney made from tamarind and garlic and sometimes accompanied by a sprinkle of aromatic dry garlic chutney, and green chilli.

These potato buns are nicknamed Bombay burgers and are available from street food vendors in and around Mumbai. From office-goers to college students, locals and tourists alike flock to street vendors for their daily fix of this tasty regional speciality.


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Regional Food: Undhiyu

Undhiyu is a regional Gujarati dish. During the winter, every Gujarati home cooks this pot of mixed veggies to enjoy the richness and nutrients of each component. This delightfully thick curry is often consumed in the winter since it requires vegetables such as fenugreek leaves, surti papdi, and tuvar lilva, which are only readily accessible throughout the winter.

It is made differently in different sections of Gujarat; Surti style, Kathiyawadi style, and Matla Undhiyu are the three main versions. Undhiyu is a slow-cooked dish that incorporates a variety of vegetables, a blend of spices, and some coconut. Undhiyu, a Surat speciality, is a must-try for every food lover on every vacation to Gujarat.

Rogan Josh

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Regional Food: Rogan Josh

Rogan Josh, also known as Rogan Gosht, is a fragrant curried meat dish loved all over Kashmir. The dish’s primary ingredient is red meat, lamb or goat, which is seasoned with alkanet flower or root and enhances the flavour with Kashmiri chillies. It goes well with plain basmati rice, plain steamed rice, roti, butter naan, Sheermal, or Turmeric rice.

Originating from the picturesque valleys of Kashmir, the name “Rogan Josh” translates to “red lamb,” and true to its name, the dish boasts a vibrant red hue that comes from a careful blend of Kashmiri red chillies and aromatic spices.

Tender pieces of meat, typically lamb, are slow-cooked in a fragrant gravy infused with a melange of spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel seeds, creating a symphony of flavours that leave a lasting impression. The rich and velvety texture of the sauce, along with the tender meat, make each bite a delightful experience.

Rogan Josh is a trademark dish of Kashmiri cuisine. In a multicourse dinner or the Wazwan Rogan Josh is always the hero and will remind you about a fantastic feast again and again.

Masala dosa

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Regional Food: Masala dosa

Masala dosas are undoubtedly South India’s most popular traditional food item loved around the globe. They might be called an Indian pancakes made with a thin batter of rice, wheat, and lentils. Preparing dosas is a long-drawn procedure that needs the batter to soak in water for a minimum of 24 hours before it can be formed. When the batter is ready, it is placed onto a heated Tava (griddle pan) and made similar to a crepe created in France.

Dosas are commonly consumed folded in half and filled with spicy potatoes. Hot sambar increases a spicy edge to the cuisine, the coconut chutney also adds to the flavour, and whatever you load them with, dosas are sure to create a delectable and substantial supper.

Makki Di Roti & Sarson Da Saag

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Regional Food: Makki Di Roti and Sarson Da Saag

Capturing the essence of Punjab’s culinary heritage is Makki Di Roti and Sarson Da Saag. Born from the fertile fields of Punjab, this iconic combination celebrates the bountiful harvests and the rich traditions of the land.

Makki Di Roti, a flatbread made from maize flour, holds a rustic charm with its hearty texture and earthy flavour. It is the perfect accompaniment to Sarson Da Saag, a vibrant mustard greens curry, known for its pungent aroma and robust taste. The slow simmering of mustard greens, combined with a medley of spices, creates a harmonious blend of flavours that sing on the tongue.

When enjoyed together, Makki Di Roti and Sarson Da Saag evoke a sense of nostalgia and unity, transporting diners to the vibrant fields of Punjab and paying homage to the region’s agricultural roots. This iconic duo has become a symbol of Punjab’s culinary identity, celebrated and savoured by locals and food enthusiasts alike.

It is commonly consumed throughout the winter months. The saag is generally cooked in the traditional slow cooking technique and is typically served with Makki di roti, Makkhan (unprocessed white butter or processed yellow butter) or, more classically, ghee to enhance the taste and topped with a glass of lassi ( a blended yoghurt drink).

 Aloo Potol Posto

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Regional Food: Aloo Potol Posto

Bengalis like poppy seeds more than anything. They truly do, and why wouldn’t they? It makes meals much more delicious!

No wonder, in the treasure trove of regional food specials, Aloo Potol Posto stands out for its unique combination of flavours and textures. This delectable Bengali delicacy pays homage to the fertile lands of West Bengal, where the humble pointed gourd, or “potol,” and potatoes, or “aloo,” find themselves transformed into a culinary masterpiece.

The “posto” paste, made from ground poppy seeds, imparts a rich, nutty essence to the curry. The gentle spices and fragrant mustard oil add depth and complexity to the dish, while the tender vegetables soak up the creamy goodness, creating a symphony of taste and aroma. The recipe uses potatoes and pointed gourd, red and green chillies, and occasionally coconut cream to offer some much-needed heat.

Aloo Potol Posto, with its harmonious blend of earthy flavours, represents the heart and soul of Bengali cuisine, captivating both locals and food enthusiasts with its unforgettable charm. It is one of the traditional Bengali meals and a popular West Bengal dish!

FAQs on Regional Food Specials in India

Q: Which region in India is known for spicy food?

Spices Chillies Herbs

A: The perception of spicy food can vary from person to person, but if we consider the overall reputation, the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, located in South India, are known for their fiery and spicy cuisine. The traditional cuisine of these states often incorporates a generous use of chilli peppers, which lends a distinct spiciness to the dishes.

The famous Andhra cuisine, in particular, is renowned for its spicy pickles, curries, and chutneys that can challenge even the most seasoned spice lovers. However, it’s worth noting that spicy food is not limited to these regions, as various other states in India also have their own spicy and flavorful culinary offerings.

Q: Are there any vegetarian specialities specific to certain regions in India?

A: Vegetarianism is quite prevalent in India, and many regional cuisines offer a wide array of delicious vegetarian specialities. Here are a few examples:

  1. Gujarati Thali (Gujarat): A traditional Gujarati meal served on a platter, consisting of a variety of vegetarian dishes like dal, kadhi, vegetable curries, roti, rice, and sweet dishes like shrikhand.
  2. Rajasthani Dal Baati Churma (Rajasthan): Baked wheat bread (baati) served with lentil curry (dal) and a sweet crushed wheat dessert (churma).
  3. Avial (Kerala/Tamil Nadu): A mixed vegetable curry cooked in a coconut-based gravy, flavoured with curry leaves and coconut oil.
  4. Sarson da Saag and Makki di Roti (Punjab): A combination of mustard greens curry (sarson da saag) and cornmeal flatbread (makki di roti), usually accompanied by a dollop of butter.
  5. Dhokar Dalna (West Bengal): Lentil cakes cooked in a spicy curry made from tomato, ginger, and spices.
  6. Undhiyu (Gujarat): A mixed vegetable curry cooked with a variety of winter vegetables, spices, and fenugreek dumplings, typically served with puris.
  7. Pongal (Tamil Nadu): A popular South Indian breakfast dish made with rice and lentils, often tempered with ghee, cumin, and black pepper.

These are just a few examples, and each region in India has its own unique and delicious vegetarian specialities to offer.

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