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Best Fermented Foods to Add in Your Diet This Summer

Best Fermented Foods
India, a country celebrated for its vibrant culture, honorable traditions, and diverse ethnicity, is also famous for its myriad of flavourful foods. Zesty spices tantalize the taste buds, and savory dishes made from ancient Indian recipes are a true feast for your senses. Among these are fermented foods, a hidden gem for your gut health.

What Are Fermented Foods?

Fermented foods undergo a controlled microbial growth and fermentation process. Fermentation is a process in which bacteria, yeasts, fungi, etc, convert compounds such as carbohydrates like sugar and starch into alcohol and acids. These foods are rich in probiotics, prebiotics, and other acids that regulate your gut health.

Advantages Of Fermented Foods

  • Enhances your digestive system.
  • Easy to digest.
  • Aids in nutrition absorption.
  • Improves immunity.
  • Abundant in vitamins.
  • Aids in inflammatory diseases.
Prepare your palate for a delightful experience as we expose these 10 top fermented foods from different regions in India that are not only yummy but also a therapeutic for your gut health.

Top 10 Fermented Foods in India

1. Idli/Dosa/Uttapam (South India)

Idli Uttapam Dosa
The South Indian treasure trove boasts the best breakfast items. Idlis are steamed soft rice cakes. Dosas are crunchy, thin crepes. Uttapams are salty masaledar pancakes. These yummy delicacies are made from soaked lentils and rice. The soaked lentils and rice are churned to make a smooth batter and fermented overnight. You can relish these dishes with a curry called sambar and coconut chutney.

2. Dhokla (Gujarat)

AH! This spongy, savory steamed cake is an explosion of flavors. This Gujarati dish is famous for its tangy taste and can be made with rice flour, chickpea flour, and yogurt. The twist lies in its garnishing. Dhokla is incomplete without lemon water, sugar, mustard seeds, asafoetida, green chilly, and coriander tempering.
Eat it with traditional spicy coriander mint chutney to add an extra punch.

3. Khamiri Roti (Old Delhi)

khamiri Roti
Khamiri roti is a traditional Indian roti. It derives its name from the Urdu word “khamir,” meaning yeast. This soft, fluffy bread is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of India. It is made using leavening agents such as yeast or baking powder. It has a unique texture and a perfect blend of sweet and tangy taste. The dough is prepared with whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and sometimes yogurt. Eat with any Indian curry dish, and don’t forget the vinegar onions (circe wala pyaaz) for a fantastic taste.

4. Dahi (Pan India)

Dahi is an Indian yogurt found in every Indian household. It is a part of the Indian staple diet. It is a fermented dairy product made by fermenting milk overnight. Extremely rich in probiotics and prebiotics, it can be eaten with your meals or added while cooking for extra flavor. The best way to eat dahi is in raitas. A chilled raita with your meal in the summer is the best combo ever.

5. Khorisa (Assam)

A fiery delicacy in East India, Khorisa is made by fermenting bamboo shoots in spices and herbs. It is yet another savory explosion dish rich in probiotics and vitamin C, which makes it one of the best-fermented foods. With various recipes trending, it can be enjoyed as a pickle, side dish, or main course dish, depending on its preparation.

6. Punjabi Vada (Punjab)

punjabi vada
Punjab is home to various delicious meals, and Punjabi vada is one of its hidden gems. This traditional dish is crafted from a base of urad dal (black gram lentils) and a compelling blend of spices, resulting in a delectable taste experience that’s both savory and aromatic. You can enjoy it as a snack appetizer or cook it in gravy for the main meal. Either way, it’s going to pack a punch of earthy flavors with hints of spices and warmth.

7. Pitha (Odisha)

Pitha is an encompassing term for various fermented rice cakes. Pithas are sewn in the tapestry of Odisha’s cuisine. These delectable treats are cherished as sweet and savory snacks, breakfast essentials, and even offerings during festive occasions. The most famous are sweet pithas, filled with jaggery, coconut, lentils, and nuts.

8. Sel Roti (Himachal Pradesh)

Sel Roti
Basking in the beautiful Himalayan valleys, sel roti is a ring-shaped fermented treat. It is a deep-fried delicacy fashioned from soaked and fermented rice batter. You can enjoy it after meals or as a snack to satisfy your sweet tooth. Eat it with curd and pickle for an ultimate experience.

9. Punjabi Kadhi (Punjab)

Punjabi Kadhi
Punjabi Kadhi is a quintessential dish hailing from the vibrant culinary landscape of Punjab. This heart curry dish is crafted from yogurt or buttermilk infused with gram flour and aromatic spices. It is boiled and simmered for a while, fermenting the dish for perfect tanginess.
What sets Punjabi kadhi apart from all curries is its tempering. Fragrant spices and chilies are tempered in ghee or oil and added at the end of the dish, adding a burst of Indian flavor to the dish. Enjoy it with rice or roti for a wholesome meal.

10. Pickles (Pan-India)

Pickles, also called Aachar in India, are a flavor house explosion in your mouth. It is almost impossible not to lick your fingers once you taste this particular side dish. India boasts numerous pickles such as mango, lemon, carrot, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, radish, chilies, etc. It is a staple and can be enjoyed with every meal. You can call it a tastemaker as it is often used as an ingredient for marination or while cooking as well. Try eating it with dal rice in a meal or with morning paratha breakfast.
Amazing, isn’t it? How many of us eat these dishes without knowing their amazing gut-healing properties?
These dishes are a romance for your taste buds, and you can never go wrong with trying any of these dishes, be it taste or healthwise.

Bonus Tip

Here’s a bonus tip on two fermented drinks that will tickle your taste buds, quench your thirst, hydrate, and leave you wanting another glass.

Sole Kadhi (Maharashtra)

sole kadhi
Sole kadhi is a light, yummy, refreshing summer drink. It has a unique fermentation process that unlocks the varied beneficial properties of coconut milk. Its two main ingredients are kokum and coconut milk. It is the perfect blend of tartness and sweetness that makes it irresistible. One chilled glass of this is packed with electrolytes and soothing components, which makes it an ideal summer drink.

Kanji (Punjab)

Kanji is a Punjabi drink fermented to a tantalizing taste. It’s concocted using carrots, black peppercorns, and mustard seeds with water. The drink undergoes a natural fermentation process, giving it a yummy tangy taste. A chilled glass of kanji on a hot summer day is the most refreshing experience one can have.
That’s all, folks. We suggest not to wait a minute to try these Indian fermented foods for a wholesome food experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

While fermented foods offer numerous health benefits, individuals with histamine intolerance, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), severe gastrointestinal conditions, known food allergies, or sensitivities should seek their nutritionist or doctor’s opinion before trying them.
Yes, fermented foods can be easier for many people to digest. The fermentation process breaks down complex carbohydrates and proteins in foods, making them more readily digestible.
The best way to include fermented foods in your diet is to start small. Add small portions of them in your diet and gradually increase them.
All pregnant or breastfeeding women are always advised to enlist their nutritionist or doctor’s opinion before making any dietary changes.


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