Atul Kochhar
My pick: Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken served at chef Atul Kochhar’s outposts, Benares in London and NRI in Mumbai
Tandoori Chicken served at chef Atul Kochhar's outposts, Benares in London and NRI in Mumbai

My vote would go to Tandoori Chicken. The dish has its origin in the Indian subcontinent, and according to me, it is by far, the best dish that the world associates Indian cuisine with. It is widely popular across South Asia — including Singapore, Indonesia, but also the Middle East, and the Western world.

It’s essentially roasted chicken prepared with yogurt and spices; amazingly simple and very versatile, the delicate flavour gels well with the spicing. At Benares (Kochhar’s restaurant) in London, we make a ceremony of serving it — presenting the whole bird at the table, straight from the tandoor oven, and then taking it away for carving before re-presenting it.

Rakhee Vaswani
My pick: Baked Boondi Gulab Jamun Cheesecake

Baked Boondi Gulab Jamun Cheese cake

India’s festivals are mithai-centric, and the variety at sweet shops is irresistible. Though chocolates and pastries have taken over conventional sweets for many occasions, traditional mithais rule.

You can also play with mithai to create fusion desserts. For instance, my signature dessert, the Baked Boondi Gulab Jamun Cheesecake, gives New York’s baked cheesecake an Indian twist, with biscuit layer and boondi as the base and a cheesecake filling encrusted with bites of Gulab Jamun. Mithais can also be compiled into dessert jars to last longer.

For more about global culinary traditions on the UNESCO list, log on to

Alex Sanchez
My pick: Awadhi Dum Biryani

Dum Biryani. Representation Pic

I’m no expert in the vast expanse of Indian food possibilities. However, if I were to nominate one of the many dishes I’ve had the good fortune of experiencing throughout my time here, it would have to be a traditional Awadhi Dum Biryani.

Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Like with pizza, there is great stuff and not-so-great stuff. But when you eat the perfect biryani, you feel it in your bones. I won’t forget the first time I ate a great biryani (at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya in Delhi) and I consider it worth adding to the UNESCO cultural heritage list.

Hemant Oberoi
My picks: Dosa and samosa

Samosas at a streetside stall
Samosas at a streetside stall

A fermented rice and lentil pancake, the indigenous dosa originated in Udupi, Karnataka, according to historians. It’s an integral part of South Indian culture and preferred as a light meal by every household in the rest of India too. In Tamil Nadu, it’s thick; in Karnataka, it’s thin and crispy, accompanied by coconut chutney and sambar.

Pic/Bipin Kokate

It is also accepted globally, especially in Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. Another item that has been part of our culture for centuries is the samosa — a crunchy thin crust that holds a spiced filling of potatoes and peas. Its heritage dates back to the Mughul era of Emperor Akbar. It’s accepted across castes, creed and religions, making it a national snack. It is consumed by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Marketed as a street food item, morning or evening tea snack, its consumption is in millions across the globe too.

Irfan Pabaney
My picks: Kadi Patta, Goa Sausage

Goa Sausage Skillet at The Sassy Spoon
Goa Sausage Skillet at The Sassy Spoon

I would nominate two ingredients — Kadi Patta and Goa sausage. Kadi Patta can be used them crispy fried, in a tadka, or in a masala, or even for crusting a fish. You’ll find it in chivda, mutton sukha, dahi kadi, dal; the list is endless.

The Goa Sausage can be stuffed in naans or even made into a pulao. At The Sassy Spoon, we make Goa Sausage Skillet with mac and homemade Queso (cheese sauce). It’s a dish with the perfect balance.

Kelvin Cheung
My pick: Bottle gourd

Goa Sausage Skillet at The Sassy Spoon

Bottle Gourd has long held a significant place in Indian cuisine, even though it isn’t always celebrated or popular. With its unobtrusive taste, the vegetable is versatile enough to be used in many dishes, both savoury and sweet.

Bottle gourd also has numerous health benefits and holds a special place in the Indian Ayurvedic medicinal system. I’ve created a pasta recipe (with bottle gourd peeled and cut as noodles), which is light and flavourful. The bottle gourd noodles allow the simple, fresh ingredients to do the talking.

Chef Kelvin Cheung's Bottlegourd Pasta recipe:

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
2 kgs peeled, cut bottle gourd noodles
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint 
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil 
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped or sliced nuts of your choice
1/3 cup shredded parmesan

1. In a hot pan add olive oil and saute bottle gourd until almost cooked
2. Add garlic, shallots and chili flakes, cherry tomatoes and sweat for 3 min
3. Deglaze with white wine and reduce till almost dry. 
4. Toss in fresh herbs and nuts and toss with cheese and serve immediately.

Anjali Pathak
My pick: Tandoori chicken

Anjali Pathak

If there is one dish that exudes Indian culture, it is Tandoori Chicken. Popular the world over and loved throughout India, the unique dish will always be known as India’s greatest recipe. Simply marinated and roasted in a searingly hot clay oven, this dish has seen many a transformation over the years.