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Audley Traveller
Niall
Written by Niall India, Nepal and Sri Lanka Specialist

The Quest for the Best Indian Food

As Rick Stein's search for the best curry in India comes to an end, here at Audley we're also in search of the best Indian food to be found in India and ask our specialists where and when they had their tastiest dishes

Niall enjoying a curry dish on a Keralan rice boat

Niall enjoying a curry dish on a Keralan rice boat

Pearl Spot fish, Kerala

Houseboat, KeralaI would recommend marinated Pearl Spot fish which they serve on the houseboats in Kerala as a delicacy.

This recipe is an exotic dish of Karimeen fry (also known as Pearl Spot fish) cooked in Kerala style.The Karimeen fry is a spicy fried fish coated with zesty masala (lemon juice, red chillies). Karimeen is one of the most important fish species in Kerala state and is also the state fish of Kerala.

Bhel Puri, Mumbai

Mumbai (Bombay), IndiaBhel Puri is a delicious, savoury Indian snack which consists of puffed rice, various styles of "Bombay Mix", diced potatoes, tomatoes, sliced onions, fresh yogurt, tamarind sauce, lemon juice, and coriander all piled up on top of one another.

Bhel Puri is generally identified with Mumbai, (which is perhaps where the term “Bombay Mix” comes from) particularly with Chowpatty Beach. On Chowpatty beach, there are many vendors who sell this dish and will call out to you as you approach. It is a delicious and surprisingly filling snack to keep you going through a day of sightseeing, and a must-try for visitors to Mumbai.

Keralan fish curry, Kerala

Chinese fishing nets and boats, Cochin, KeralaI discovered this recipe whilst staying at a rural homestay in Palakkad. In addition to the warm, friendly service and beautiful surroundings, it was the delicious, home-cooked food that became a highlight of the visit. The freshness of the ingredients and the subtle and expertly blended spices struck a chord with my taste buds, so much so that I had to get the recipe to try it for myself when I got home!

Ingredients

Approx. 10 pieces of fish cut into 4cm cubes (any fish goes, although traditionally Seer Fish or King Fish is used, both members of the mackerel family).

Paddy fields and palm trees, Palakkad, India Method (serves six)

1. Crush the shallots, garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar or food blender.
2. Pour the oil into a large, heated pan or wok and add the mustard, fenugreek and the crushed ingredients.
3. When well sautéed and fragrant, add the red chilli powder and pour in enough water to loosen the sauce.
4. Add the curry leaves, tamarind and salt.
5. Once the mixture is boiling, add in the fish and allow it to cook for a few minutes until tender.
6. This dish is best served a few hours after cooking, so that the flavours develop and are absorbed by the fish.

Chicken curry, Calcutta

Stuart's friend from Calcutta, Ritika, recommends this recipe for chicken curry.

Ingredients (serves two):

Spices:

Preparation:

(High flame)

Ayesha Manzil homestay, Kerala

If you stay with Faiza and her husband Moosa at this friendly homestay in on the Malabar coast, Tellicherry, you can visit the local market for ingredients and have a cooking lesson with Faiza.

Faiza is a renowned cook of Keralan Mopillah cuisine using local seafood and spices and her recipes have already appeared in a number of books and magazines. Niall stayed here and says it was some of the best Indian food he's tasted.

Indian food excursions

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