The India Issue

The complete guide to authentic Indian recipes, cooking resources and travel guides

From remote tribal villages to frenzied capital cities, in India, food is life's organizing principle. For this issue, we traverse the massive subcontinent, from east to west, from south to north and northeast, along the way dipping into restaurants and morning markets, the home of a nomadic herdsman and the palace of a raja, a wedding and a glossy movie set. In these culinary microcosms, discover the chutneys, flatbreads, and a legion of dishes—Goa's pork vindaloo, the sweet rice pudding of a Tamil festival—that are part and parcel to the cultures there, as well as definitive guides to ingredients and tools. The journey into India can start with just one curry, one dal, or one lassi. Come along with us.

Indian Recipes

Across India

East India

The eastern Indian states are home to fruitful plains riddled with waterways. After monsoon season, fields are blanketed with mustard flowers, whose seeds yield pungent cooking oil; gardens burst with vegetables. Where the Ganges flows into the Bay of Bengal, freshwater fish and rice are at the foundation of the cuisine; farther south, hundreds of miles of coastline yield shrimp and other seafood.

West India

From barren swaths of desert to a verdant coast, west India is a tale of opposites. In the state of Gujarat it is the thali—a meal of various dishes composed in a compartmentalized tray—that holds iconic status. Farther south, lush Maharashtra and Goa abound with fresh seafood and produce all year round, and coconut-enriched sauces are adored.

South India

Even four millennia ago, inhabitants of the north's fertile Indus Valley enjoyed ingredients that characterize the cooking of the region now: cereals and basmati rice, pulses, dairy, spices like mustard and fenugreek. Across the fields of Uttar Pradesh and eastern Rajasthan, northward through the Punjab, and up into mountainous Kashmir, ancient cooking techniques survive, too.

North India

Even four millennia ago, inhabitants of the north's fertile Indus Valley enjoyed ingredients that characterize the cooking of the region now: cereals and basmati rice, pulses, dairy, spices like mustard and fenugreek. Across the fields of Uttar Pradesh and eastern Rajasthan, northward through the Punjab, and up into mountainous Kashmir, ancient cooking techniques survive, too.

Northeast India

The northeastern states are a world apart from the rest of India. Connected to the subcontinent by a mere thread of land, most of the population traces its ancestry back to bordering Bhutan, China, and Myanmar. The kinship comes through in the cuisine. Pork and bamboo feature prominently, as do ingredients like salty fermented foods that speak more of Southeast Asia than the subcontinent. 

 

Ingredient Buying Guide

In producing the stories for the India Issue, we discovered ingredients and information too good to keep to ourselves; here, an explanation of essential Indian ingredients, and where to buy them. See the pantry guide »