In India, there is a dish, a complete meal to suit any kind of palette. That is the beauty of Indian cuisine. We have very spicy delicious foods; we also have plain bland dishes which still tastes exotic. There are sour and bitter delicacies. There are healthy, yet tangy delectable. You name it, India offers that for you.
India’s cuisine is almost 5000 years old. And it has been influenced by changing cultures, changing geographies, Mughal rule, European colonization, travelers. Indian cuisine has not lost its originality, rather gained and assimilated infinite unique tastes.
So, in this article, we will do our best to highlight certain important and amazing aspects of this wonderful nation’s culinary art.
Spices: Coriander, pepper corns, chilies, asafetida, fenugreek, ginger, Garam masala, dried mango powder, dried gooseberry powder, Cardamom, Anise, Cumin, Rose water, jaggery, turmeric, nutmeg, tamarind, black salt, saffron, poppy seeds, garlic, salt, lemon, mint, mustard, fennel seed, vinegar, cumin, basil… I can’t even seem to stop. There are many more spices which are exotic. Drop in a note and we will mention that too.
Staples: Rice, wheat flour, pulses (red gram, channa dal, toor dal, moong dal)
Cooking medium: Oil (coconut oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, mustard oil, gingely/sesame oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil), vanaspathi, butter, ghee.
Desserts: Sugar, milk, pulses/staples(rice or wheat) are the main ingredients inmost desserts. They are either bakes, cooked or fried. Barfi, Chikki, Gulab Jamuns, Jalebi, Khaja, Kulfi (ice cream based dessert), Kheer, Ladoos (various types), Rasgulla, Malpoa, Shrikhand, Sandesh, peda, Sohn papdi, Halwa(various kinds, prepared with most vegetables, pulses), rasmalai, barfi,jaangiri, mysore pak, paayasam, Kozhakatta, manoharam, adhirasam, badusha, poran poli. It does not stop here. Even in an individual home, teher are at least 100 different types and varieties and variations of sweets and desserts available. So, imagine a nations’.
Beverages: Teas (masala chai from Assam, ginger tea, and regional flavored teas), coffee (South Indian filter kaapi needs a special mention here), Lassi (Yoghurt based drink, originally from Punjab, but now popular all over India), Sharbhat (originally prepared with rose petals) are the main beverages. Nowadays, so many variations of these are available that it has only become interesting than losing the originality. Various juices of all fruits, combinations, ayurvedic concoctions are all so popular that the beverages of India needs a special dedicated post, perhaps in the future.
Culture: There is an ancient Sanskrit adage, “Athithi devo bava” which translates to The guest is equivalent to god. So, well, most often traditional Indian homes insist that the guest dines with them before leaving. Often there is the practice of eating in a large plate (also called thaali) which has the main staple(rice or wheat breads like roti and naan) accompanied with side dishes prepared with vegetables and pulses. There is then some form of yoghurt which could be either raitha or curd rice, dessert in the form of sweetened dishes or kheer. Indians very much end the note with either sweets or yoghurt.
Regional Cuisines of India
We started off with Karnataka’s cuisine. The special secret of Karnataka’s cuisine is the right combination of the unique spices which always has a tangy, soury, sweety(jaggery based) taste.
The serene mountain of Kashmir is characterized with so many exotic dishes with sprinkles of saffrom and cinnamon.
Kerala’s cuisine, God’s own country of quiet backwaters and breezy coconut trees with so many dishes made from coconut oil, coconut gravies and wondrous tastes.
The royal state of Rajasthan with dishes suited for the dry and arid land found a special place in our site with foods comprising mostly of Grains, milk, dry fruits.
Cuisine of Tamil Brahmins, whose dishes are portrayed by the concept of ‘you are what you eat’ are so simple to prepare and very tasty too.
Goan food is influenced by European, continental and the regions very own Malavi and Konkani cuisine.
The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh is very spicy and tangy. It has great influences of the three other southern states.
Arunachal Pradesh’s staple foods are rice, fish, meat and green vegetables. With such minimal ingredients check out the number of delectable items this state whips out.
In the cuisine of Assam, you would find more than tea. Assamese use very little spices, but have a host of flavors.
Bihari cuisine has a wide mix of the North Indian cuisine and Odia Cuisine. Additionally you would find a lot of dairy products and fruits and fruit juices.
Gujarati cuisine is dominated by vegetarian dishes and wheat. It is heavily spiced or sweetened richly. The various dishes of Gujarat are seasonal and interesting. This is one cuisine you can never get bored with.
Himachal Pradesh’s cuisine prefers more non-vegetarian, though they also use lentils, rice and vegetables in measured quantities.
Maharashtran Cuisine is very diverse. Mumbai being the commercial capital of India, this state has wide international varieties. Traditionally in addition to the original Maharashtran dishes, this land is influenced by North India, Goa and Karnataka.
Manipuri Cuisine has just three words to describe it – Simple, Organic, Healthy!
Odia cuisine banks heavily on locally grown produce. This land has lot of sweets and many dishes are sweetened profusely.
Punjabi cuisine is so famous all over the world. It needs no special words for us to advocate it. Peep into the article for a list of varieties.
Tamil Nadu has a very distinct flavor because of blending in a lot of spices. Rice and lengumaes are the main ingredients with a lot of vegetables and dairy products. Each region and city of Tamil Nadu has special flavors in themselves like Chettinad, Karaikudi, Madurai, etc.
Your famous samosa and pakora originated from Uttar Pradesh. This land’s cuisine has a lot of Mughal influence too.
There are still a lot of separate types of cuisines which are not bound by states or regions to be mentioned. Surely, in forthcoming days we will schedule them as per our readers’ demands. But for now, enjoy these flavors of India. Spread the popularity of India, enjoy the unique flavors of India.