Published By: Orna Ghosh

Foodie Road Trip: Explore Western Cuisines on a Budget-Friendly Adventure

The open road beckons, the engine hums, and your stomach growls- but your wallet whispers caution. Fear not, adventurous budget traveller!

Buckle up for a delicious exploration of Western cuisine without breaking the bank. This road trip itinerary caters to vegetarians, vegans, and non-alcoholic beverage enthusiasts, proving a flavour-packed adventure doesn't require a five-star price tag.

1. Goan Xacuti (Goa). 

Our journey begins on the sun-kissed beaches of Goa, a former Portuguese colony. Xacuti is a vibrant curry with a distinct European touch. Unlike the creamy curries of North India, Xacuti boasts a tangy base built on vinegar or kokum (a fruit similar to mangosteen). The star of the show can be potatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms, or even tofu for vegans, all simmered in a rich gravy infused with coconut milk, red chillies, and a unique blend of spices like cumin, coriander, and nutmeg. This flavorful dish pairs beautifully with Goan rice or a plate of fluffy poori (fried flatbread).

2. Bombay Sandwich (Mumbai). 

Next, we travel north to the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, where the legacy of the British Raj lives in the iconic Bombay Sandwich. This vegetarian delight is a layered masterpiece packed with flavour and textures. Imagine toasted white bread generously filled with a combination of sliced cucumber, tomato, beetroot, cheese (omit for vegans), and a spicy green chutney. The sandwich is pressed flat on a grill, resulting in a warm, gooey, and satisfying snack.

3. Chettinad Cheesy Puttu (Tamil Nadu). 

Heading south to Tamil Nadu, we encounter the Chettinad Cheesy Puttu, a unique fusion of Chettinad cuisine's fiery flavours with Western-style cheese. Puttu is a steamed rice cake traditionally enjoyed with lentil stews. However, this version features grated cheese (vegetarian options are available) layered within the fluffy rice cake, creating a delightful textural contrast. The putty is then steamed to perfection, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying dish.

4. Parsi Akuri (Mumbai). 

Once we are in Mumbai, we delve into the fascinating Parsi cuisine, a Zoroastrian community renowned for its culinary heritage. Parsi Akuri is a breakfast staple, a vibrant twist on scrambled eggs. Eggs are scrambled with chopped onions, tomatoes, and a generous dose of green chillies, resulting in a dish that's hearty and flavourful. The addition of chopped coriander leaves adds a fresh touch. This dish is typically enjoyed with toasted bread but can also be paired with pav (soft bread rolls).

5. Sizzling Brownie with Ice Cream (Pan-India). 

We end our journey on a sweet note with the ubiquitous sizzling brownie with ice cream. While brownies aren't traditionally Indian, this dessert has become a beloved fixture in cafes and restaurants across the corner. A warm, gooey brownie is presented on a sizzling plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, often drizzled with chocolate syrup. This decadent treat is perfect for sharing (or indulging in solo!) and offers a refreshing finish to your exploration of Western-influenced Indian cuisine.

This budget-friendly road trip itinerary only scratches the surface of Western influences in Indian cuisine. Each region offers its unique take on these dishes, reflecting local ingredients and culinary traditions. Don't be afraid to venture off the beaten path and explore the vibrant street food scene! Remember to pair your culinary adventure with exploring the rich heritage and cultural tapestry of each city of the country. After all, a good meal is even better when enjoyed alongside new experiences and memories!