India: a land of diversities, a land of varying colors and a land of varying culture. A land of the Himalayas and a land of the high seas; a land of the saints and a land of the hippies! A land of stark contrasts woven into a tapestry so fine that becomes difficult differentiating one from the other. This is indeed variety personified with its cuisine being no exemption.

So, if you are planning or if you are already on your way to, “the great Indian trip”, be sure to experience a taste bud challenge like never before. However, with a cuisine clan so diverse, and with so many options, will it be not difficult to narrow down on what to eat and what not? In our confidence, take a look around to these 5 must-try, unique vegetarian delicacies in Indian cuisine that you must include in your food itinerary while doing an Indian Tour De Force. Here’s to the beginning, Bon Appétit!

1 – Dama oluv: Fried potatoes in a lip smacking yogurt gravy, cooked in ‘dum’ or slow fire

A culinary fare that can be dated back to centuries, Dama Oluv is a traditional Kashmiri platter of the Pundits that most certainly calls for a try.

Behind Dama Oluv: Although Kashmiri cuisine has evolved from time to time, the earliest and one of the major influences on it were those of the Kashmiri Pundits, the Hindu’s of the valley. Boasting of an elaborate nomenclature, this particular type of cuisine is characterized by extensive use of yogurt, spices and oil. And unlike Kashmiri Muslim Cuisine, this do not include or avoid garlic, tomatoes, onions and of course meat.

2 – Aloo-Posto: Potatoes cooked in poppy seeds, mustard oil and green chillies.

Behind Aloo Posto: Though nothings by far been known about its origin, yet this subtle, nutty & smoky at heart dish is a very popular Bengali preparation that has now reached beyond Bengal and has carved a niche for itself in the world cuisine list. Specially prepared in the summers for poppy seeds are known to possess cooling properties, these tiny seeds, in Bengali cuisine, finds use in at least 12 other preparations, accompanied or stand alone.

3 – Zunka Bhakar: A dry and spicy chick pea flour gravy served with Indian flat bread made of jowar, bajra and rice flour.

Behind Zunka Bhakar: Now rendered a Maharastrian delicacy, Zunka Bhakar is originally the farmer’s staple meal. Unique to Maharashtra, Zunka Bhakar is still best enjoyed roadside, straight out of the oven and not in a five star; the choice being completely yours!

4 – Jackfruit Curry: A spicy curry made from raw jackfruit, coconut and choicest spices.

Behind Jackfruit curry: Of all the influences that have come upon Goa, that of the Portuguese is the most prevalent and prominent. And Goan cuisine is but a reflection of its masters from Portugal. A specialty that comes out of the Konkan kitchen, this particular jackfruit curry in question is a spicy rendition of its much popular Malay born cousin: Raw jackfruit curry in sweet and sour sauce.

5 – Aviyal: A fragrant blend of vegetables, coconut and curd, seasoned with curry leaves and coconut oil.

Behind Aviyal: Holding a unique place in typical Kerala, Tamil and Udupi cuisine, Aviyal definitely has a promising and unrivalled history of origin to tell. Legend tells of a legendary warrior who invented this dish in the kitchen of Virata, out of sheer lack of culinary knowledge. Not knowing what to do, he boiled the available vegetables and topped it off with grated coconut. Since then and until today, Aviyal is a part of Indian history; that warrior being Bhima, one of the Pandava Brothers!

You see, it’s certainly, not for no reason that we call it ‘must try’!

[image via]

This article has been contributed by Aishwarya Vohra from Offshore Ally. She is a part of the company’s talented team of virtual assistants and link builders. Aishwarya is a complete foodie with a super fast metabolism(good for her!). Connect with her via Twitter.