The History of Indian Cuisine dates back to more than 10000 years and has been highly influenced majorly by Hindu and Muslim traditions. Still, the Portuguese, Persians, and English have also contributed a bit to some aspects of their kitchen at a certain point in history. The first thing we think of Indian cuisine are spices, spicy flavours, and vegetables. The truth is that it is the most characteristic, always taking into account the enormity of this country and the number of different styles according to the regions. Some people think that the smell of spices was what attracted the British to India.
The trends from outside have been mixed and fused with those of each corner of India. It has given rise to that cuisine that we know today, with that conglomerate of flavours, textures, and forms as diverse as its people and culture.
Spices of India
All the dishes in Indian cuisine, or most, are seasoned with ground spices, whose combination to make the dressings is called masala. One of the most widely used spices is curry, a mixture of spices such as ginger, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, poppy seed, and even cloves and saffron. You have to know that curry is often called a dish, and even a festive menu.
The incorporation of aromatic herbs and condiments in dishes supposes a high medicinal value, calling them Ayurvedic, prolonging life.
Indian Spices & there Medicinal Benefits
Black pepper is one of the spices with the most medicinal value. It is widely used in Indian cuisine, mixed with other condiments, herbs, or oils, which helps to eliminate certain discomfort.
In Indian cuisine, they use rice a lot, as well as legumes such as channa or toor (chickpeas), urad, and moong (black lentils and green lentils). Channa can be used as flour passed by a mill, obtaining what is called dhuli moong or dhuli urad. Bread is usually made with a particular type of whole wheat flour. To cook flatbreads like roti and paratha, they use the “Tawa” (grill), and the “tandoor,” which is a cylindrical oven heated with charcoal, to cook bread like naan, kulcha, and khakhra. The famous tandoori chicken is also prepared in the tandoor. Other known breads are puri and bahtoora, which are fried in oil.
Milk & its Derivatives
An ingredient to highlight is milk and its derivatives, such as ghee (clarified butter) or yoghurt. Sometimes you use yoghurt mixed with curry, or with sugar, or with some masala or spice mix.
Is India Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian?
There is a predominance of vegetarian dishes and the use of fish and shellfish, especially in coastal areas. However, varieties of kebabs and many meat dishes exist, especially in northern India, due to the influence of Muslim customs. The curry lamb is famous, or the Biryani, chicken or lamb dish with flavoured rice, flavoured with orange, seasoned with sugar and rose water.
The truth is that the southern way of cooking is more suitable for vegetarians.
Its base is curry and vegetables such as Coconut Chutney or Masala Dosa (fermented rice and lentils). On the west coast, we find fish dishes such as Pomfret (Indian salmon), Dahi Mach (fish curry with yoghurt, turmeric and ginger, and Malai (prawns with coconut curry).
Vegetarian Food Offerings to God
There is a ritual offering to Krishna from the Krishna Math temple in Udupi called the practice of naivedya, known as the Udupi style of vegetarian cooking. These dishes offered to Krishna make chefs have to be innovative. The use of a mixture of spices such as the famous garam masala is traditional in this kitchen.
The History of Samosa
Samosas, popular snacks from northern India, are typical. They are like dumplings with mashed potatoes, meat, or vegetables inside that can be eaten anywhere at any time of the day and are widespread throughout the country. The dosa, a crispy cake served alone or with potatoes, is another famous snack.
Traditionally, mustard oil is best suited for frying and is the one used in northern India. In the west, peanut oil is used more, and in the south, coconut oil. Lately, sunflower oil and soybean oil are increasing a lot. There is a hydrogenated oil of vegetable origin known as “Vanaspati,” which is becoming very popular and another animal origin called “Ghee” which is like clarified butter.
The main condiments used in Indian cuisine are chilli, black mustard, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, coriander, asafoetida, and sometimes saffron, which is grown in various places in Kashmir.
How Cheap is Indian Food?
Among the cheapest and most popular food in the country, we find thali. It is a mixture of lentils and rice that goes with any dish. Its name is due to the container where it is served: a tray with several bowls filled with different specialities. They are thalis of the most basic with only rice and lentils, and there will be more elaborated depending on the place where it is requested.
The dishes are usually accompanied by Chapati and rotis, which are Indian bread and accompanied by rice dishes in most cases. And coconut is considered an essential ingredient in the food of South India.
The Drinks that Indians Love
It should be noted that tea is one of the drinks that most accompanies Indian dishes. However, the inhabitants of the south prefer coffee. There is also a kind of lemonade called Nimbu Pani, the slush cream called Lassi, coconut milk ate directly from the fruit, and Indian beer. The national gin is also famous and of good quality. You can find all kinds of soft drinks and mineral water.
After meals, a betel leaf stuffed with anise, and cardamom are taken. But undoubtedly the national drink is milk sweetened tea called Lassi in Hindi. In most street stalls, you can find the famous masala chai, a spicy milk tea, and a lot of sugar simmered.
It is worth noting the importance of desserts in Indian cuisine. One of its most excellent delicacies is its variety of fresh fruits that are among the best desserts to try. They also have elaborate sweets such as rasgullas, portions of cheese seasoned with rose water, or like jalebi, lentils that are served fried and caramelized. Kulfi cream ice cream is also famous.
How famous is Indian Cuisine?
Indian cuisine has spread widely throughout the world, starting with England, British officials, returning from the colonies, covering it, and even opening restaurants offering exotic dishes. And so little by little, it expanded. Although the Indian Food tradition of eating sitting on the floor and picking up food from the plate with the fingers of the right hand, it has not spread too far. A mixture of cultures has been achieved here, and the fork and spoon are used, the latter being used in a very representative way.
The emigration of families from Bangladesh to London is significant. This Bangladeshi emigration caused the opening of Indian restaurants in the London area of Brick Lane, making it famous for its restaurants serving Indian cuisine.