India spices are globally renowned and, with a growing economy, the subcontinent is exporting more than ever. Over a million tons of spices native to India were exported in 2017-2018. From hot chilli peppers to sweet and spicy ginger, there is an Indian spice to suit all tastes. However, the only way to enjoy an authentic combination is to visit the country itself and have it cooked for you by local chefs. A road trip will allow you to visit more towns and discover the incredible diversity of flavour.
Wherever you end up in India, raising the funds required to travel to this corner of the world needn’t be difficult. Don’t be afraid to venture into the largest cities such as Mumbai or Delhi. As the second cheapest country to live in, you can splash out on the finest dishes on offer, even if your funds are limited. Each new region will vary slightly, but which one is for you?
The Mild North
If you don’t like anything too hot, then focus your Indian road trip in the north. Here sauces tend to be made from garlic and onion. This makes for more mild dishes such as the rogan josh. Despite the lack of spice, this is an aromatic meal with big flavors. Biryani is another popular dish, with cool dairy products like yogurt being added to any hot dish.
The Chinese Inspired East
You should choose to venture eastwards if you are interested in sampling Chinese or Mongolian inspired treats. Here you’ll find sweeter dishes, as well as fruit and pork. A panch phoron spice blend, similar to Chinese five spice, is typical of this region.
The Vegetarian West
Although meat is plentiful in India, you may not find it so readily in the Hindu west, where many people adopt a vegetarian diet. This leads to unique flavour combinations, with coconut, fruit and jaggery contributing to sweeter dishes. Coastal regions will have more seafood, including fish curry.
The Seriously Spicy South
If your road trip allows you to head south, then lovers of spice are in for a real treat. Mustard seeds and chilli add a kick to almost any meal you can order. This area is also full of exotic fruits and vegetables, such as coconut and tamarind. This can add a healthy and delicious dimension to the hot spices.
There is so much to explore in India from the mountains to the temples but for many, the food is a real highlight. The perfectly crafted blend of flavours will be like nothing you have experienced. However, remember that each region has unique traditions, so pick your route carefully to enable you to stick to what you love or try something new.