East India

The eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh are home to fruitful plains riddled with waterways and lakes. After monsoon season, fields are blanketed with mustard flowers, whose seeds are crushed to yield pungent cooking oil; gardens burst with vegetables of all kinds. Where the Ganges flows into the Bay of Bengal, it fans out into the world’s largest delta. There, freshwater fish and rice are at the foundation of the cuisine, while farther south, hundreds of miles of coastline yield shrimp and other seafood. More than anything, though, eastern India is renowned for its sweets. The date palms that thrive in the tropical climate provide a delicate sugar called _ nolen gur_ that’s used to create the many milk-based desserts that are the pride of the region.