Perfect For: A huge family dinner.
Feels Like: Hearing the neighborhood mosque sound its azan for evening prayers.
What It Is: An aromatic rice dish cooked with several spices, notably saffron, and a protein (typically chicken or mutton) thats been marinated.
What It Is: A variation on the traditional dimsum, native to the North Eastern states that border Nepal (where the dish originated), eaten with a fiery red chutney.
Perfect For: A quick mid-evening snack.
Feels Like: Kicking your shoes off after a long day and settling into your couch for hours of TV.
What It Is: A heavy South Indian breakfast food. A fermented batter of ground rice and lentils, steamed in little circular moulds.
Perfect For: When youre done sleeping in on a Saturday morning.
Feels Like: Being woken up by the smell of cooking.
What Is It: Small balls of dried milk, slow cooked and boiled in a sugar syrup.
Perfect For: When youve already had a delicious meal and have just enough room for dessert.
Feels Like: Playing hide-and-go-seek with your cousins at a family reunion way, way past your bedtime.
What It Is: A spiced, curried chickpea dish served with a fried flour bread.
Perfect For: A late Sunday breakfast.
Feels Like: Seeing your family all dressed in new clothes on a festival day.
What It Is: Anchovies dipped in a paste of turmeric and red chilies and fried, native to the South Indian region Chettinad.
Perfect For: A crispy, spicy appetizer.
Feels Like: Temple bells.
What It Is: A traditional street food popular across India (and abroad). A wrap of kebabs, eggs, vegetables, and spices rolled into paratha (a type of flat bread).
Perfect For: When you need a meal on-the-go. Also a great way to use up leftovers.
Feels Like: Standing on a dusty Kolkata street-corner at dusk, watching families go home through rush hour traffic.
Perfect For: An accompaniment for rice, particularly delicious when served piping hot in the winter.
Feels Like: Summer holidays at your grandparents house.
What It Is: A small crisp hollow round bread filled with spiced water, tamarind paste, potato, onion, and chickpeas.
Perfect For: When youre craving a thousand flavors at once.
Feels Like: Drunkenly challenging your best friend to a contest of who can eat more of these, and then feeling like your mouth is on fire.
What It Is: A wheat flour batter deep fried in coil-shapes and soaked in sugar syrup, served hot.
Perfect For: When you want something hot, but also sweet.
Feels Like: People-watching in a crowded bazaar while your mother haggles over sari prices.
Perfect For: Wowing your dinner guests with minimal effort.
Feels Like: Making a pitstop at a roadside diner three hours into a family roadtrip.
What It Is: Thin slices of banana deep fried in savory spices.
Perfect For: Munching on while watching your favorite movie.
Feels Like: The wind flying through your hair as you sail down Keralas backwaters in a houseboat.
What It Is: Roasted eggplant mashed together with a variety of other vegetables and spices, served with flatbread.
Perfect For: An exciting and fancy vegetarian meal.
Feels Like: Going back for seconds at a family friends house.
What It Is: A crispy, flat bread (similar to a crepe or pancake) made of rice batter, served with a lentil sauce (sambar) and a variety of chutneys.
Perfect For: When you want breakfast to be the highlight of your day.
Feels Like: Recounting last nights events the morning after a sleepover.
What It Is: Puffed rice fried with vegetables, in a spicy and tangy tamarind sauce.
Perfect For: When you want a chilled savory snack.
Feels Like: Sitting in the back of a rickshaw at the peak of summer, thankful for the breeze.
What It Is: A South Indian snack staple made of a lentil or flour batter fried into a doughnut shape.
Perfect For: A neutral carb to accompany your craving for chutney and lentils.
Feels Like: A morning raga.
What It Is: Okra stuffed with spices, fried.
Perfect For: A vegetarian dish thats both exciting and comfort food.
Feels Like: Moms cooking.
What It Is: A lamb curry of Persian origin, now popular in the Kashmir area. In India, rogan josh is often made using goat meat instead of lamb.
Perfect For: When you dont just want a meal you want a feast.
Feels Like: Strutting around in your nicest traditional finery and feeling like royalty.
What It Is: A snack/breakfast food from the state of Gujurat, made of fermented rice and chickpea batter.
Perfect For: An very, very light yet very, very flavorful snack.
Feels Like: Gossiping with your aunts and cousins for hours.
What It Is: An extremely popular dessert, made by cooking grated carrot with milk, sugar, and dried fruits.
Perfect For: A piping hot wintertime dessert.
Feels Like: Wrapping a shawl around yourself and sitting by a heater on a chilly Delhi evening.
What It Is: A fritter native to the Indian state Uttar Pradesh one or more basic ingredients (onion, eggplant, potato, cauliflower, and chili peppers are all
options) are dipped in gram flour and deep fried.
Perfect For: Rainy days.
Feels Like: Sitting by a window during a monsoon afternoon, bonding with your family over hot chai.
What It Is: The word rumal is Hindi for handkerchief, and this bread resembles one; it is large, as thin as cloth, and served folded like a napkin.
Perfect For: When you need bread but want something lighter than naan.
Feels Like: Watching with child-like awe as a chef tosses the dough up in the air and spins it in circles.
What It Is: Crispy, fried dough wafers served with boiled potatoes, boiled chick peas, chilis, yogurt, tamarind chutney, and several spices.
Perfect For: A healthy and multi-flavored snack.
Feels Like: Rewatching an old Bollywood movie with your mom, for the eighth time.
What It Is: An iced preparation made from thickened milk, almonds and pistachios.
Perfect For: When youre craving ice-cream but with an Indian touch.
Feels Like: A street fair.
What It Is: A spicy paste made of chilies, tamarind, and garlic (amongst other spices) is rubbed onto whole fish which are then fried.
Perfect For: Satisfying your seafood craving and spice craving all at once.
Feels Like: Sitting on a beach in Goa, watching the waves roll in.
What It Is: A fried or baked triangular snackfood made of a potato stuffing, usually also containing onions and peas, served with a mint chutney.
Perfect For: Literally anytime, anywhere.
Feels Like: Home.