On the lakes that border Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in northeast India, there are floating gardens that lake dwellers can tow by boat. To establish new gardens, the farmers usually anchor the soil with tall-stemmed lotus flowers; lotus roots make for a popular food in the region. In this dish, the porous roots are boiled until just tender, then stewed in a spiced yogurt gravy fragrant with dried mint.
This syrup-soaked toast is slathered in a sweetened reduction of milk flavored with saffron. The recipe comes from Afzal Ahmad, chef to Sulaiman and Vijaya Khan, the raja and raina of Mahmudabad, near Lucknow in northern India. In the Khan’s sprawling palace, great feasts were once—and occasionally still are—held. Dishes such as this, lavished in flower essences and finished in edible silver leaf, displayed the wealth and generosity of the Muslim nobility.
There is one road that connects the Vale of Kashmir to the rest of India, and historically, in wintertime, that road was snowed in. Isolated from the ingredients of southern climes, Kashmiris took to sun-drying the vegetables they grew in the warm months, slicing them and setting them out to dry to preserve them for their cold-weather pantries. The Andrabi family, who live in Srinagar, make a rich, spicy sauce from sun-dried tomatoes, which they use to simmer hard-cooked eggs that have been fried in bright mustard oil. Oven-dried tomatoes work just as well for this dish. This recipe first appeared in the tablet edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.
Ground beef is stuffed with a spiced onion mixture and then fried until crisp and savory in this favorite street food of Muslim Indians. The recipe for these kebabs, which can also be made with lamb or goat, is adapted from Charmaine O’Brien’s Recipes from an Urban Village: A Cookbook from Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin (The Hope Project, 2003), a cookbook dedicated to a Muslim quarter of Delhi.
Dishes from the south Indian state of Kerala, along the Malabar Coast, are heavily influenced by the area’s abundant supply of seafood. In this Anglo-Indian recipe from cookbook author and cooking instructor Smita Chandra, mussels gathered from local waters are cooked with tomatoes in a richly spiced coconut broth. This recipe first appeared as part of the digital edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.
A staple in restaurants throughout southern India, masala paal is a milk-based beverage that is sweetened with sugar and garnished with almonds and pistachios. We learned how to whip up a homemade version when cookbook author Raghavan Iyer stopped by our test kitchen and taught us this recipe. It first appeared as part of the digital edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.
Among the most beloved dishes in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is the pesarattu, a savory pancake made with a batter of whole mung beans. The beans are soaked, blended, and spread thinly on a griddle. According to cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey, the big, crisp, nutritious pancakes are best enjoyed with a creamy coconut chutney and some sweet, milky coffee on the side. This recipe first appeared as part of the digital edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.
In Tamil-speaking households, a combination of fritters with sauce is referred to as vadai pachadi. Served for weddings and religious holidays, these spicy fritters get their signature crunch from yellow split peas and are topped with a creamy, tangy yogurt-tomato sauce. This recipe first appeared as part of the digital edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.
Often served in south India as thevasam, or memorial food, this curry is flavored with a simple combination of sesame seeds and black peppercorns, instead of the more lively spice blends used in everyday cooking. This recipe first appeared as part of the digital edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.