A Food Trip Through Northern India

Shaping Northern Cuisine

When you travel to India, don’t expect a standard menu. The country is vast – 29 states with its own topography and traditions. The religion, language and culinary customs will be completely different. Food experiences vary based on the landscape and climate, as well as historic immigration patterns, spices, rulers and trade links. Religions influence the relationship with food.

The north comprises states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, heavily influenced by history and topography. Find here the Himalayas and the Indo-Gangetic Plain – considered the “food bowl” of India for centuries.

The mountains provide a temperate, arid, less humid climate than Kolkata or Mumbai, hence, an abundance of specific ingredients, such as wheat, rice, maize, dairy, mustard seed, dried fruits, pistachios, almonds, saffron, turmeric and cumin. With emphasis on the seasons, northern cuisine tends to be rustic.

Northern India Food Culture

Conquerors, immigrants and traders rolled through Northern India. The food culture reflects many waves of migration from Mongolia, Persia, Turkey, Africa and other regions. The Mughal empire (16th and 17th centuries) fed on many milk proteins, like paneer, ghee and yogurt. In Punjab, dishes tend to revolve around the tandoor (clay oven), while lamb chops, beef kebabs, chicken tikka and all kinds of skewered meats are cooked.

Punjab food is meatier, using yogurts to sweeten and tenderize the meats in dishes such as murgh (chicken) tikka. Himachal and Haryana use a lot more vegetables, fish and commonly dairy. Kashmir has a distinct Muslim influence, such as the roghan ghosht, a slow-cooked lamb stew. A Tibetan and Nepali influence is found in the mountains, so there’s more dumplings, noodles and stews.

Throughout the North, jalebi with rabdi – swirls of deep-fried batter, topped with a creamy condensed-milk sauce, spices, sugar and nuts can be found on every street corner.

They say that even though the presentation of Northern Indi’s cuisine is simple, it celebrates the style of food. Northern Indians celebrate the flavors, the seasons, and the bounties of nature.


Northern India’s Culinary Experience in Bellevue

For cuisine that is truly shaped by Northern India’s topography, climate and history, come to MokSHA in Bellevue – where the culinary experience is authentic and spiritual.