Cuisines of India

Indian cuisine is famous throughout the world for its distinguished and sophisticated use of spices and herbs. Indian cuisine is heavily influenced by long-standing and widespread vegetarianism within sections of the predominantly Hindu and Jain communities of India. Very integral to Indian culture is Indian cuisine and the love of food among its vast population, the cuisines differ by community, region and state. Indian cuisine is delightfully unique with a wide variety of foods, spices, and cooking techniques, each with its own distinctive flavor. Every religion, region and caste has left its own influence on Indian food.

Vedic Hindus from Vedic times gave a number of vegetarian recipes to Indian cuisine. Later, Christians, British, Buddhists, Portuguese, Muslims from Turkey, Arabia and Persia, among others, also had their influence when they arrived in India. Vegetarianism rose to prominence during the rule of Ashoka, one of the greatest Indian rulers who was a promoter of Buddhism; currently 31% of Indians are vegetarians. In India, food, culture, religion, and regional festivals are closely related. Indian cuisine of meat and fish is mainly influenced by the Muslim population.

Rice, atta (whole wheat flour) and almost five dozen varieties of legumes form the staple of Indian cuisine, the most important being chana (gram of bengal), toor (pigeon pea or red gram), urad ( black gram) and mung (green gram). Chana is generally used in different forms and can be used whole or processed in a mill that removes the skin, for example dhuli moong or dhuli urad, and can sometimes also be mixed with rice and khichri (a food that is excellent for the digestion and similar to chickpea, but smaller and tastier). The Indian dal consists exclusively of legumes, except chana. Chana is often cooked whole for breakfast and made into flour (besan). Most Indian curries are fried in vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is also of different varieties. In North India, peanut oil is traditionally more popular for frying, while in East India, mustard oil is more commonly used. In South India, coconut oil is common. In recent decades, sunflower oil and soybean oil have gained popularity throughout India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as Vanaspati ghee, is also a popular cooking medium Spicy Chana Chaat Recipe

Spices are the most important part of the flavor of Indian cuisine. The most important spices in Indian cuisine are chilli, black mustard seed (rai), cumin (jeera), turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, coriander, and asafoetida (hing). Garam masala is a very important spice and is a powder of five or more dried spices, commonly made up of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Some commonly used leaves are tejpata (malabathrum), bay leaf, coriander leaf, and mint leaf, which add to the spice of any tasty recipe. The common use of curry leaves is typical of South Indian cuisine. The essences of cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron and rose petals are some unique and expensive spices that are often used in sweet dishes.

Dairy products such as milk, paneer, ghee (clarified butter), and yogurt are used to a greater extent in North Indian cuisine, while South Indian cuisine uses unaltered dairy in large quantities. . North Indian sauces are typically dairy-based and employ thickening agents such as cashew nuts or poppy seed paste. Milk-based sweets are also very popular dishes, being a particular specialty in Bengal and Orissa. Other common ingredients include chili peppers, saffron, and walnuts.

The Indian pancake ‘roti’ or ‘paratha’ (flat breads) are usually cooked with the use of a ‘tawa’ or a griddle, while the baking of breads such as’ naan ‘,’ kulcha ‘and’ khakhra is usually done in a large size and cylindrical charcoal oven called ‘tandoor’ even a popular dish called ‘tandoori’ chicken is cooked in tandoor. Other types of breads include puri and bhatoora, which are cooked by frying in oil, are also common. Most of the food in North India, as elsewhere in India, is vegetarian. There is a fusion of cuisines throughout India. Fish and seafood are very popular in the coastal states of Orissa and West Bengal.

A variety of lentils, vegetables, and roti (wheat-based bread) constitute the staple food of most of northern India. The preparation of these varieties can vary from place to place. Some of the most popular dishes of North India

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