Indian Food Trip
I've been warned. It's either I get sick from eating carelessly or I get addicted to the food. Indian cuisine, just like the country itself, is so varied and so diverse. It's a cuisine defined by its many religions and its vast geography. Indian food can be very good but in my attempt to try vegetarian food on the train to Varanasi, I ended up taking a dose of Ciprofloxacin for dessert.
Since I was traveling in the very heart of India, the food is mostly influenced by the meat-eating tradition of the Mughals. I had Tandoori chicken - marinated and tenderized in spiced yoghurt and slowly cooked in a clay oven. There's also the creamy Lamb Korma and the tangy Chicken Tikka Masala (or chicken curry for the rest of the world). All these went well with a variety of staples, my favorite being Naan, Roti, Papadam, Jeera rice and of course, a bowl of Dal (lentils) seasoned with several spices. Most meals end up with something sweet called mithais. In restaurants, they always offer a small tray of sweetened seeds. For some indulgence one hot afternoon, I had Indian kulfi - a very dense ice cream with saffron!
For breakfast, I ate the Punjabi specialty called Paratha, a heavy version of chapati meant to energize anyone all morning. Chai - India's national drink -is part of the morning ritual, drank hot with milk that has a distinct cardamom taste. Another worthy beverage is Lassi, a frothy concoction of yoghurt, water, sugar and several spices. Just be extra careful about where your Lassi is made as questionable water might be added - a reputable restaurant should suffice.
That said, eating out in India is truly an adventure in itself. The choices are many and daunting, either leading you to the path of gastronomic enlightenment or to the path of many crappy toilet returns.