As most Indians would know, what Bangalore in the south has to offer in terms of cuisine is totally different from what Delhi in the north has to offer. Of these two, North Indian dishes happen to be more popular. Interestingly though, there always seems to be some sort of South and North rivalry in India, which is known even among non-Indian foodies. This is, of course, a good thing as it gets the neutral foodies curious. One therefore ends up sampling different foods from the North and South and gets to decide which region reigns supreme. The outcome is always relative with some preferring northern cuisine to southern cuisine and vice versa. But what exactly brings out the difference? Read on to find out.
You are more likely to find lots of curries and breads in the North than you are to find the same in the south. Much of what people enjoy in restaurants in the western world is actually North Indian. Samosas, naan bread, curries like palak paneer, rotis and even aloo gobhi are all from the North.
Things change when it comes to spice mixture and powder. Garam masala stands out as the predominant North Indian spice mixture. Then there is of course, Amchoor, which is dried mango powder. It is a favorite of most North Indians because of its sour taste. So the next time you are served with a meal that features any of the aforementioned spices or side dishes, you can likely guess that it comes from North India.
South Indian cooking features rice as the ‘center of gravity’. In other words, rice is the most popular dish in South India. There are of course, other popular meals like dosa which is a lentil and rice crepe and idli which means steamed lentil rice cakes. It is actually safe to say that when it comes to South Indian dishes, rice and lentils reign supreme.
Just like North Indians prefer Garam masala when it comes to mixture and powder, South Indians prefer Huli pudi, which is sambar powder. They also use tamarind as their main sour ingredient, pretty much like how their Northern counterparts use Amchoor. Chai is not popular as they have their own favorite coffee made with chicory.
There is of course Western and Eastern India which have different cuisines. Western India which includes Gujarat and Goa and Eastern India which includes Bengal and Kolkata all have different and distinct cuisines. This is what makes Indian cuisine so fascinating.
What You Should Know
This North and South cuisine comparison does not even scratch the surface as far as India’s culinary diversity is concerned. The country boasts of hundreds of different dishes, some of which are not known in the western world. The comparison gets even more interesting when one focuses on how these two regions prepare the same meals. What is referred to as Huli in the North, which is a spicy and sour vegetable is referred to as Sambar in the South. The difference is not just in the name but also in how the same vegetable is prepared in the two regions.
You probably might think you have enjoyed different yoghurt-based dishes in India – only to later find out that you have enjoyed the same side dish – yoghurt raita, one prepared using North Indian recipe and the other using south Indian recipe. So the next time you want to enjoy the best Indian food in Kelowna, start by sampling what the North, South, East and West regions have to offer in terms of their unique dishes!