Know the cuisine – The emphasis is more on lentils (pappu), spicy flavours and royal non-vegetarian dishes (like Hyderabad's Awadhi influences).
Go for – Pesarattu (spicy pancakes), a combination of rice and moong dal (green gram dal), this delicious crisp crepe offers low calories, high fibre, low fat and high quality protein (with better bioavailability). It's a low glycemic index food too, so it keeps you satiated for long.
Know the cuisine – Rice and curry are the staples, and the Assamese prefer food that is lightly spiced.
Go for – Masor tenga. The tenga is a traditional sour fish dish usually served with rice. The souring ingredient could be green mangoes or lemon, but the most popular is the variety made with tomatoes. Usually cooked in mustard oil, it is curried with bottle gourd or spinach and is loaded with protein, mono unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA – good fats), iron, antioxidants and Vitamin C.
Know the cuisine – Predominantly vegetarian with uncooked sprouts and lots of vegetables, the food is great on taste, very light on the stomach and easy to cook.
Go for – Sattu. It is powdered baked gram, a high energy and protein giving food, which is a perfect mixture of all the necessary ingredients – protein, carbohydrate, iron, calcium, and vitamins. It is usually mixed with water or with milk (sattu ka sharbat). Sometimes, sattu mixed with spices is used to prepare stuffed chapatis, locally called 'makuni roti'.
Know the cuisine – Coastal region with seafood as the staple diet and rice being the main entrée.
Go for – Ambottik, pomfret (or baby shark) in hot and sour tamarind and chilly curry. Offers protein, iron and Vitamin C.
Know the cuisine – A little bit of sweet, a little spice, Gujarati cuisine is mainly vegetarian and a blend of exquisite flavours and textures mainly featuring simple lentils and plenty of vegetables.
Go for – Kadhi chawal, khandvi, dhokla (all made with besan and yoghurt), shrikhand (made with hung curd) and panchratni dal (a mixed bean dal usually comprising of toor, channa, urad, masoor and moong dal, all peeled and split). Then there is a Sindhi recipe where they mix spinach with vegetables like carrot, soya saag (dill) and chana ki dal.
Know the cuisine – Wholesome and simple, Haryanvi food usually comprises of wheat rotis with vegetables, plenty of ghee and some lassi to go with it. Enjoy bajra too in good measure.
Go for – Bajre ki khichri with chaas. Bajre ki khichri is a fibre and protein-rich dish and packs an additional punch since it contains all 13 essential amino acids.
Know the cuisine – Lots of rice, lentils and kinds of broth. Some exotic non-vegetarian dishes, made with lots of spices.
Go for – Sidu, a type of bread made of wheat flour paired with mutton or lentils. It makes for a brilliant energy and protein-rich combination. The cuisine has a lot of buckwheat too– another muscle-building food.
Jammu and Kashmir
Know the cuisine – Essentially meat-based with abundant use of dry fruits, nuts and fresh fruits.
Go for – Gushtaba, a dish of minced mutton balls cooked in curd. Is as delicious as it is nutritious. Making this one needs skill and precision, so it is best learnt from a Kashmiri friend.
Know the cuisine – Similar to Bihari cuisine; predominantly vegetarian and cooked in mustard oil.
Go for – Sabzi jhingni / nenua with chana. Jhingni or nenua is also known as sponge gourd (torai) in English.
Know the cuisine – Ragi, jowar and other millets are the staples along with seafood.
Go for – Kosambari, a unique Kannadiga dish resembling a no-cook salad made using lentils and vegetables.
Know the cuisine – Coastal Kerala uses fish and seafood as the staple along with red rice and coconut.
Go for – Meen moily, a fish-based dish. Tapioca and fish curry are good non vegetarian options. If you are a vegetarian, go for whole green gram (or moong) curry with puttu (wheat, ragi or rice steam cake).
Know the cuisine - Wheat is the principal staple and milk products, protein-packed lentils, meat and fish feature predominantly.
Go for – Dal bati. It's arhar dal tadka with wheat cakes. Arhar is the most widely used dal in the state. This dal and others are prepared and eaten with several green and leafy vegetables such as cabbage, pumpkin and ladyfinger. It's rich in protein and fibre, hence good for building muscle. Bhutta ki khis, a milk and corn-based light snack, is a good option too.
Know the cuisine – Rice is the staple food grain and there is extensive use of coconut and peanuts
Go for – Patad bhaji, actually a Maharashtrian curry made like Punjabi curry but thinner with spinach, peanuts and fresh coconut in it. It can be made with very little oil and since it is made with besan, it has high protein content along with iron from spinach. Or try out pitla, a pasty-looking, low-calorie dish usually eaten with bhakri, which is bread made from either jowar or bajra. Parsis in Maharashtra also make dhansak, which is mutton cooked with vegetables and dal.
Know the cuisine – Rice is the main staple along with meat, fish and vegetables.
Go for – Kangsoi, a combination of vegetables and dried fish. It is a popular stew high in protein and fibre.
Know the cuisine – Heavily tilted in favour of meat, particularly pork.
Go for – Dohkhlieh, a type of pork salad made with boiled pork and onions with a dash of chillies.
Know the cuisine – Emphasis is on fish and rice along with spices and generous use of mustard oil.
Go for – Dalma, a kind of dal which contains nutritious vegetables like papaya, brinjal and some others.
Know the cuisine – Makki and mustard leaves are staples. A diet heavy in meat and dairy-based ingredients.
Go for – Paneer bhurji, kheer, phirni, egg curry, chaas.
Know the cuisine – Offers a splendid array of unique, rich, and spicy curries.
Go for – Laal maas, a traditonal and high-protein dish. Gatte ki sabzi with missi roti, both made with besan, is a high protein meal too. The dal bati is also famous. It is mostly had in combination with panchmel dal (five varieties of lentils slow cooked over coals and tempered with ghee, dry red chillies and spices) and bati (balls made of wheat, thrice cooked and steamed and baked ) It's a good cereal and protein combination and hence good for gaining muscle. Rajasthanis also have a lot of bajre ke roti, which helps in building muscle mass.
Know the cuisine – A mix of all, including plenty of vegetables and predominantly non-vegetarian Chettinad cuisine. It is typified by the use of rice, legumes and lentils.
Go for – Rasam, which is low cal and loaded with protein.
Know the cuisine – Predominantly vegetarian, though the capital Lucknow is famous for its non-vegetarian Awadhi cuisine.
Go for – Potato raita, chicken reshmi kabab and galouti kebabs. The raita can be easily made at home. For the other two, stick to reliable sources.
Know the cuisine – Mostly rice and lentils and lots of saags.
Go for – A variety of soya bean called bhaat (having it in its fermented form makes it easier for the body to absorb it). The cuisine also includes a lot of buckwheat.
Know the cuisine – Fish and rice are the main ingredients.
Go for – Machher jhol or fish in mustard sauce, and dhokar dalna, which is made of chana dal. The dal is ground and sauteed in oil and then spread across a thali till it sets. It is then cut into pieces, fried and made into a basic curry.
Try these five
Soak rice and dal for six hours.and grind to a smooth batter in the mixer. Pour a ladle of the batter on a hot tawa, sprinkle with chopped onions, green chillies and curry leaves. Add a bit of oil and cook on medium heat. Turn it over and let it cook on the other side for half a minute. Serve.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Add mustard seeds, green chillies and chopped tomatoes. Stir till the tomatoes become pasty. Add water, salt and turmeric and boil the gravy. Add fried fish (preferably rohu fried in mustard oil) and cook it further over a low flame for a few minutes. Sprinkle some lemon juice and chopped coriander.
Bajre ki chichri
Heat ghee in a pressure cooker,. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida, turmeric, ginger and green chillies. Then add 1/2 cup bajra and 1/4th moong dal, salt to taste and fry for a few minutes. Close the pressure cooker lid and cook for about 25 minutes. Goes well with kadhi or curd.
Boil water, add potato, banana, pumpkin, brinjal and papaya and cook for 10 minutes. Now add toor dal with salt, minced ginger, turmeric and cook till dal is done. Heat oil, add panch-phutana (five spice mix), red chillies and then add the mix to the cooked dal and vegetables. Now sprinkle roasted cumin and chilli powder and garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves.
Soak moong dal for an hour. Discard water and add carrot, cucumber, grated coconut, and slit green chilies to it. Add salt, lemon juice, chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafetida and red chillies. Mix well and serve.