Famous Traditional Indian Foods You Should Try Once in Your Life


If someone says, “Traditional Indian food” then the first thing that comes to mind is the eclectic use of flavourings and ingredients. Also, some traditional foods have made their way across the oceans. Regarding the richness and complexity of its flavours, traditional Indian food is unsurpassed worldwide. Because of this factor, it is possible to locate traditional Indian restaurants in any corner of the planet. People of Indian descent as well as people of other nationalities adore traditional Indian foods that make one’s mouth water.

There are many variations within these conventional foods too. For instance, traditional North Indian food is distinct from traditional South Indian food. The same is true for India’s Western and Eastern regions. Even though the specialities of each region and territory are distinct, many ingredients and spices are interchangeable. And every type of cuisine has its distinctive approach to preparing food. Colourful and appealing, they all have a distinct flavour.

Recipes for various traditional Indian foods have also been handed down from generation to generation. Every cuisine has its own identity because of the specific combination of spices, herbs, and other ingredients. These components represent regional specialities and distinctive local tastes.

These recipes are in the process of globalisation. Hence, it can be challenging to tell the difference between traditional foods of Indian states and versions that are toned down.

Table Of Contents

Why is Traditional Indian food so popular?

Traditional North Indian foods

Traditional South Indian foods

Traditional West Indian foods

Traditional East Indian foods

Miscellaneous Traditional food of Indian states


Why is Traditional Indian food so popular?

raditional food of Indian states on the train

This is no wonder that the most critical factor is the flavour profile of traditional Indian food. Very few cuisines in the world offer such simple yet complex flavour profiles. 

  • It encompasses a wide range of flavours and styles.

  • Traditional Indian food  has many of the medicinally beneficial elements. As Yoga and Ayurveda are gaining popularity all over the world, people are becoming aware of the positive effects of Indian food.

  • Traditional Indian food, which includes veg and non-veg options, prides itself on its culinary prowess. And you won’t be able to find anything quite like it anywhere.

  • Additionally, Indian food is incredibly adaptable because the recipes appeal to many palates. For example, from a very sweet and salty profile to a very spicy profile. Traditional Indian food has everything.

  • Here, we have compiled a list of some of the most sought-after traditional Indian foods you must try.

Traditional North Indian food

Traditional North Indian foods

Butter chicken

It is considered one of the most famous traditional North Indian food recipes, must be on this listing. Butter chicken is a famous dish not only in India but across the world. On the other hand, as compared to traditional Indian foods, this one is a relatively new invention. The first recorded instance of butter chicken occurred in the 1950s.

Someone whipped up this delicacy in response to an impromptu request from a group of migrants. The tomato-cream sauce coupled with tandoori chicken was a sensation and achieved legendary status.

Tandoori Chicken

It is impossible to resist the tantalising aroma of tandoori chicken. This dish calls for marinating chicken in a mixture of herbs, spices, and yoghurt for a few hours before grilling it. People from all over the world recognise this recipe and you can find it on the menus of many Indian restaurants.

Dal Makhni

Dal makhani is another North Indian traditional food that has gained worldwide acclaim. When it comes to Indian food, there’s no substitute for experiencing the dish’s origins in its own country. First you have to simmer small black lentils for hours to create this soup-like treat, known as dal in Hindi. Among the various lentil dishes, dal makhani stands out.

It is a light, simple, and delicious recipe with lentils and spices slowly cooked in butter. For the most part, people eat dal makhani with naan or roti. There are no prizes for predicting how creamy and luscious this Indian staple tastes because makhani means “buttery” in Hindi.

Stuffed paratha

When it comes to breakfast in northern India, stuffed paratha is a treat. The Sanskrit term atta, which means “layers of fried dough,” is the root of the word paratha, and this delicacy certainly lives true to its name. 

Most people stuff their parathas with anything they choose, which is the traditional method to enjoy them. But the most sought-after varieties are aloo paratha, gobi paratha, mooli paratha and methi paratha.

Palak Paneer

Paneer is a delicate cheese used in various dishes because of its wonderful and diverse flavour. However, there is no ignoring the fact that the palak paneer is among the most often requested alternatives. 

You have to the paneer in a rich mixture made from pureed spinach that has seasoned to perfection. You may eat it with naan or roti to have a filling meal packed with flavour and nutrition.

Pindi chole

Pindi Chole’s primary ingredient is chickpeas prepared in a curry sauce. And this dish has recently gained popularity all over the world. It is traditionally eaten while still hot alongside fried Indian leavened bread types such as poori or bhatura. This is one of those dishes that has a full spectrum of flavours achieved by blending Indian spices.

Now that we have covered some of the popular traditional foods from the Northern part of India, let us take a look at the popular

Traditional South Indian foods

Traditional South Indian foods

Hyderabadi biryani

Hyderabad is the only place that does tradition and gastronomy quite like this. While biryani is well-known across India and the globe, Hyderabadi Biryani is quite different. Nawabs governed these areas in the earlier days. So, recipes for Hyderabadi biryani are passed down from generation to generation. 

Basmati rice, bits of meat, and aromatic spices are the conventional ingredients in this biryani. Still, it’s distinguished by a subtle sweetness that’s all its own. Consequently, it has become one of Hyderabad’s most well-known exports.


A staple morning food in South India, a very important traditional Indian food, idlis are the breakfast counterpart of dosa. They are light, fluffy, savoury rice cakes consumed on their own or with a lot of condiments and made by steaming a batter of fermenting black lentils and rice. 

You can have these little pancake-like breakfast classics with hot sambar, coconut-flavoured chutneys, or hot fish curries. They soak up the taste of their accompaniments quite nicely.


One of India’s most famous traditional Indian foods, masala dosa, is often regarded as South India’s most significant product. Dosas are a kind of Indian pancake prepared with a thin or thick (depending upon the type of dosa) batter composed of rice and lentils. It is not an easy effort to make dosas since the batter mix has to soak in water for a min of 24 hours. Then you have to grind it to make a batter. This requires a lot of patience. But the result is equally tasty. 

As soon as the batter is ready, it is poured onto a heated Tava and formed like the way the French would make a crepe. Stuffed with potatoes and served folded in half, dosas are a traditional South Indian dish. Whatever filling you choose, dosas are likely to be a wonderful and filling dish when served with hot sambar and chutney.

Kuzhi Paniyaram

Another South Indian traditional dish, the Kuzhi Paniyaram, is a staple in the region. Paddu is the name given to the Kuzhi Paniyaram in Kannada, while Gunta Ponganalu is the name given to it in Telugu. 

You can make this with standard idli or dosa batter that has extra sweet or spicy ingredients. The term “Kuzhi” comes from the peculiar hollow mould used for its preparation. A must-have meal, you can have the Paniyaaram as a fiery appetiser or as a sweet dessert.

Pongal and Sweet Pongal

It’s not uncommon in Tamil Nadu for people to associate a particular food to a specific event or celebration. Pongal is a famous Tamil festival and is one of the most significant and long-standing celebrations.

As part of the festivities, families join together to prepare the traditional feast of sweet Pongal. This sweet holds a significant place in Tamil Nadu’s religious ceremonies and is also widely regarded as one of the state’s best desserts. Pongal is traditionally prepared with rice, lentil, jaggery, and ghee.

Meen Kuzhambu

Idli and dosa are staple foods in the central districts of Tamil Nadu. In contrast, the coastal sections consider seafood as their essential dishes. Meen Kuzhambu is essentially your run-of-the-mill fish curry but with a unique Tamil spin.

It gets its sour and fiery flavour from the tamarind paste used in its preparation, along with copious quantities of chilli. If you’re a fan of seafood, you absolutely have to taste Meen Kozhambu, considered one of the most famous traditional non-vegetarian dishes.

Traditional Western India Foods

Traditional Western India Foods

Vada Pav

One may say that the food of Mumbai is best exemplified by a plate of hot fresh vada pav. Many consider Vada Pav to be more than simply a snack in Mumbai; rather, it represents a way of life. 

With its soft and fluffy pav, golden-fried flavourful vada, tangy tamarind-coriander chutney, and a dash of spice, the Vada Pav is a culinary delight that will keep you full for hours!


Dhokla, a Gujarati delicacy, is a savoury vegetarian snack with split chickpeas and curd as its primary ingredients. This is the traditional provincial food of northwest India. It is tastier than it appears. Many in Gujarat have it for breakfast or luncheon and occasionally as a nibble or side item. 

You can Dhokla from a batter of split chickpeas and sometimes rice. And the dish’s flavour and texture are enhanced with the addition of chilli peppers, coriander, mustard seeds, ginger and baking soda. This Gujarati speciality, often served with deep-fried chillies and green chutney is very addictive.

Laal Maas

Laal Maas, a non-vegetarian delicacy in Rajasthani cuisine, is one of the most popular dishes in the state. Mathania red chillies, a particular species of Rajasthani red chillies, are used to make this hot red meat dish. Former Rajasthani Rajput warriors favoured this dish because of its robust, powerful, and spicy flavours.

Gatte Ki Sabzi 

Gatte ki sabzi is another mouth-watering traditional Indian dish. It consists of gram flour medallions combined into a thick and savoury curd-based curry. This dish is best enjoyed with rice or hot parathas. Gatte, a classic Rajasthani cuisine, is nearly a staple at every meal or event because of the wide variety of spices used in its preparation.


You’ll never be able to say no to this delicious traditional Indian treat from Rajasthan! Sugar syrup coats the spherical, honeycomb-like delicacy made from maida, desi ghee and milk. Ghewar, a traditional Indian food or dessert is a gently fried pastry filled with rabri and garnished with dried fruits that are especially famous during the festival of Hariyali Teej.

Bombay Duck

What is often known as Bombil, or Bombay duck really is not a duck at all; instead, it is a very juicy and flavorful kind of fish. You can find this fish only near Mumbai. People from the Parsi community have a particular place in their hearts for Bombay Duck. 

The fish is so fragile and delicate that it falls apart quite readily. You have to season Bombil with turmeric, chilli powder, rice batter, and lime juice before being deep-fried to a golden brown crispness. It’s simply yum!

Traditional East Indian Food

Traditional East Indian Foods


Momos are a traditional East Indian dish that is a hallmark of the region’s mountainous northeast. Both locals and travellers like the delicious and visually appealing dumplings. People stuff dumplings with fillings of ground meat or vegetables. 

Originally people made dumplings by steaming them and then serving them with a broth that was quite clear. Nonetheless, fresh and inventive recipes have come up as time has passed. But one thing consistent across all of these recipes is the use of a dipping sauce with a fiery kick.

The credit of bringing momos to India goes to the Tibetan and Nepalese. Besides to the ever-popular half-moon shape, other forms of momos include conical and spherical versions.


The North Eastern dish of thukpa is a soupy dish that is very filling and healthy. It is another one of our favourite comfort foods, and nobody can seem to get enough of it! The entire region of North East India makes regular use of it. During the chilly winter months, thukpa is a delicious meal that may be made with flat noodles along with meat or various veggies of your choosing.

Litti Chokha

Litti chokha, a regional speciality and traditional delicacy from Bihar, is the kind of food that exemplifies the earthy nature of the state. Chokha combines tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and an assortment of spices. In contrast, sattu-stuffed litti is served best with desi-ghee. Because it contains sattu, this meal is nutritious and has a cooling effect on the body; eating it will help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day.


This traditional milk-based dessert is offered as a customary sweet after a meal, much like many others. You have to combine Chhena dumplings and semolina dough and fry them in a sweet syrup to make this finger-licking sweet. West Bengal and Odisha each lay claims to be the creators of rasgulla. However, the argument over which state is correct still rages on!

People in Odisha believe that rasgulla has been a customary offering to Lord Jagannath for generations. At the same time, Bengalis maintain that it resulted from numerous state culinary experiments. Whatever may be its birthplace, it is a mouth-watering delight for foodies and dessert lovers worldwide.

Macher Jhol

Macher jhol, a delectable fish dish from West Bengal, is a favourite in every Bengali home. This fish curry is not only delicious and nutritious but is also surprisingly simple to make. 

It’s as simple as choosing your fish, marinating it in salt and turmeric, deep-frying till golden, and then simmering it in a rich sauce that you like. Bhaat with macher jhol on a Sunday is what fills every foodie’s stomach as well as the soul!


Dalma, an Odia meal made with lentils and an assortment of vegetables (varies from region to region), is a nutrient-dense food. It is a simple dish that you can whip up quickly and serve for lunch with roti, paratha or simply a bowl of rice!

Miscellaneous Traditional food of Indian states

Traditional Indian Foods You Should Try

Regardless of the region in which they originated, we can find certain traditional foods in almost every part of the nation, each with its distinct flavour profile. Every part of the nation has its take on this dish, and each one adds a personal touch to the basic recipe.


Panipuri, golgappa, puchka, and gupchup are some of the various names that this dish goes by in the different regions of the country. But whatever you may call it, this street treat will tickle your taste buds like nothing else! Some say they originated from north India, while others say Eastern India. 

Panipuri is a fried semolina or wheat ball served with potatoes, dry boondi, gram, tamarind water, mint water and a wide variety of water. People from all walks of life consume this popular variety of traditional Indian street food. I mean, who doesn’t like panipuri?

Indian chaats

One of the most common types of food sold on Indian streets is chaat, a savoury appetiser. There are 3 Hindi words in the name that signifies “a delicacy,” “licking your fingers,” and “to eat with pleasure,” and this food lives up to its roots. Kachori, bhel puri, sev puri and masala puri are all popular Indian chaats and snacks. You can make them from puffed rice, groundnuts, sev, peas, as well as other veggies and seasonings. 

People believe Chaats have originated in northern India but eventually made their way to all parts of the nation. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to suggest that after you’ve given chaats a try, you won’t be able to get enough of them!

Masala chai

Masala chai is one of India’s most renowned gifts to the world. You can buy it from almost everywhere, from upscale restaurants to chai wallahs who work at railway stations. Even though several other watered-down versions of this traditional Indian tea are available worldwide, the only place to get the original stuff is in India. 

Masala chai is traditionally created by steeping black tea in a blend of fragrant spices and herbs over a burner. Having a cup of hot, freshly-brewed masala chai in the morning is the best way to start the day!


To summarise, Indian foods have carved out a special place in the hearts of millions of people worldwide. The above list of delicacies is only the beginning; the traditional food of Indian states has paved its way all over the world, where it will continue to climb heights!

Traditional Indian Food FAQs

What are some traditional Indian foods?

There are many. But to name a few traditional Indian dishes that you can try are Biryani, Tandoori Chicken, Masala Chai, Masala Dosa.

What is the fascinating thing about Indian food?

All of our foods make use of six distinct flavours, according to Indian Food Theory. And these 6 flavours are in perfect harmony, with one or two taking centre stage.

Why is traditional Indian food so popular?

Indian cuisine is a sensory delight. It has a wide range of tastes, ranging from sweet to salty and chill to spicy.

Is Indian food hot and spicy?

This is not the case. Spices are common in Indian cuisine. However, they are not the primary source of heat.

How many traditional Indian dishes are there?

Each meal has a distinct flavour since the cooking procedure differs from place to region.

How do Indians eat traditional food?

Our meal or type of food determines our cutlery. But the ideal way to eat Indian food is with your fingers.

How popular is traditional Indian food all over the world?

With a popularity rating of 62% on average among 24 nations, Indian food has a ranking among the world’s top ten most popular cuisines.