Mama's Culinary Tour of India (mostly)
In this “land of five rivers”, people love their food and drink. Lassi (buttermilk) is made in washing machines and quaffed by the liter. At the other end of the alcoholic spectrum, more Scotch whiskey is consumed annually in Punjab than is made in Scotland. Go figure.
Whereas states across the land claim to have given us the samosa and the pakora, it's Uttar Pradesh's tantalisingly aromatic kitchens that have by far the most legitimate claim to this fame. Its culinary capital, Lucknow, is famous for its nawabs and its kebabs. According to folklore, the melt-in-your-mouth Galouti Kebab was created for an aging ruler, Wajid Ali Shah, because he was fond of meat but had lost all his teeth.
Andhra cuisine is synonymous with hot spicy dishes. But the locals were also were the first to put together greens and lentils, creating a megablast of balanced nutrition. While the state supplies most of India’s chili peppers, their gently spiced spinach dal is a great complement to their typical sinus-clearing and eye-watering dishes.
Though the ubiquitous dosa is its best-known export, Tamilian food is so rejuvenating that Kollywood film stars punch baddies into orbit on a regular basis. Seriously. Check out YouTube Tamil superstar fights!
(In)famous for astral beaches, hippies that achieve altitude, a Catholic approach to life, and a godly cashew fruit brew called Feni, Goa's always been a state of mind more than a territory. But their food, which has come a long way from its Portugese origins, is nonpareil. Mmmwah!
It's home to the Parsis, who originally came from Persia. With their quixotic mix of preserving techniques and experimentation with ingredients, for centuries they have been the Slow Food movement of India. Legend has it that the kebab too was invented in Persia by medieval soldiers who grilled meat with their swords, later replaced by skewers.
Some people believe that the British colonized other countries because they couldn’t stand the food at home. Chicken Tikka Masala, it is said, was invented by immigrants from Punjab because they couldn’t stand English food either. It's now considered England's national dish. Score one for the colonies!