You’re Doing “Indian Food” Wrong


Saisree Kumar

Puris are small, round, flat pieces of bread made of unleavened wheat flour, deep-fried, and served with egg curry, which is made with hard-boiled eggs, onions, tomatoes, whole & ground spices, and herbs.

A popular trend that’s taken over my “For-You” page recently has been Indian food virgins rating Indian food, and so far, I have not seen a single positive TikTok. It seems odd that there isn’t one, but what infuriates me is their approach to showing their distaste for the cuisine. 

I don’t exactly care for British foods. I think having beans for breakfast is insane, and anything named “spotted dick” shouldn’t be consumed. But I haven’t violently cussed out British cuisine or thrown a perfect untouched meal down the garbage disposal for a couple of views. And most importantly, I’ve never hated on British people for their questionable food.

Mini Masala Idlis – Little savory rice cakes are usually eaten for breakfast that is made of rice batter stuffed with green chilies, ginger garlic paste, and chili powder, then fried in hot oil. Podi is ​​dal, garlic, and several dried spices mixed with coconut oil to create a dipping sauce. (Saisree Kumar)

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that thousands of people used their elaborate Indian meals for likes by being heavily disrespectful and hateful towards Indians and wasting a fantastic meal many would appreciate having. I mean, by all means, spend about $80 buying Indian food to throw it out, but perpetuating hate towards an entire community is crossing a line. It’s hurtful to see food that you have the best memories of being wasted, especially in a culture where we are taught that wasting food is one of the worst things one can do.

Dosa – Made from rice batter, the savory and crispy treat that (looks like it could be a pancake but isn’t) is served hot off the stove with a side of either hot sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew cooked with a tamarind broth) and cold chutneys (spicy condiments made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar). (Saisree Kumar)

However, the most disappointing part of all these TikToks is they’re not rating Indian food. Basmati rice is not Indian food, chicken tikka is overrated with a Mughal influence, and Saag paneer isn’t even called Saag paneer. I know this may be a huge cultural shock, but saag paneer is actually called palak paneer. Most importantly, all these dishes represent only half of India. No one eats chicken tikka every day, let alone every month (especially the 41% of the country that’s vegan, vegetarian, or pescetarian), and not in the South. Yes, our white rice is not Basmati rice in India or in our homes over here in the U.S. We use Sona Masoori, a more affordable and less dry rice. Basmati rice is reserved for special occasions and just for Biryani, not plain white rice.

So what do I, an Indian, classify as real Indian food? It doesn’t get better than the food my mom makes in her kitchen or the simple chai with cardamom and ginger I get offered every time I visit an aunty’s house back in India. But if I had to pick Indian food in America that makes me feel like I’m back home, the dishes included in this article are my top four.

Spicy Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani – A dish made with highly seasoned rice, meat, fish, or vegetables. Hyderabadi biryani originated in Hyderabad and is known for its extreme spice and flavor (It usually NEVER has peas, the picture provided just happens to have peas in it). (Saisree Kumar)

If you simply want to broaden your cuisine, you can attempt the recipes at home or visit a restaurant near Boulder. Some of my favorite Indian restaurants in Boulder are Tiffins or Taj, but if you’re looking for authentic spice and more South Indian cuisine, you may have to look a bit further. Bawarchi Biryanis (especially their location in Centennial) is a fantastic restaurant that serves the unfiltered Hyderabadi Biryani, Jewel of India in Westminster is my favorite place to get tandoori chicken, and they make the best naan, and if you’re looking for more south Indian food, Madras Cafe in Aurora is the spot.

While I’m passionate about Indian food and culture, I understand not everyone will enjoy it as much as I have my entire life, and that’s okay! But don’t take a stance before you’ve explored the diversity in Indian cuisine, and if it still doesn’t please you, try to appreciate and respect the love many others have for it.