India is home to vibrant cuisine and cultures! The flavour and texture of traditional Indian dishes and the nutritional value of staple Indian food vary depending on the area. In Indian culture, Devi Annapurna is revered as the goddess of food, and we have a deep-seated fondness for their cuisine.
Being a kind host is heavily emphasised in our society, and the guest is revered as God (Atithi Devo Bhava). Dining and food are essential components of Indian culture and lifestyle, whether for weddings, meetings, birthdays, or other events.
Our cuisine is unique not only in flavour but also in preparation methods. It displays a seamless merging of several eras, and many iconic dishes are passed down from generation to generation.
History Of Indian Food And Food Habits
Indian cuisine reflects the subcontinent's 8,000-year history of encounters with other people and cultures, which gave rise to different culinary styles and regional cuisines in modern-day India. On the other hand, numerous invasions and various races arrived from other regions, including Portugal, Britain, the Dutch, the French, the Mughals, the Persians, etc.
As a result, their different cuisines influenced Indian food in our country. Moreover, the blending of cuisines produced mouthwatering new culinary varieties.
Indian food has a long history that begins with the ancient Vedic inhabitants of the nation. According to Mahabharata's classical Hindu work, rice and vegetables are prepared together. In ancient Sanskrit works like Yjavalkya Smriti, the dish is described using the phrase that came to be known as "pulao" or "pallao" (Ayurveda).
Our ancient writings also cover the grading scheme that labels any food as sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic. It was created following ayurvedic tradition and impacts nature, the human body, and the mind.
During the "Bhakti" movement, some people became vegetarians; as a result, a favourable atmosphere allowed for the year-round cultivation of various fruits, vegetables, and cereals.
The Portuguese and British administrations introduced new dishes and cooking methods, such as "baking," from European culture. As a result, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and peanuts are among the most common ingredients in European cuisine.
Regional Affectations On Indian Food
In Kashmir, on the other hand, rice is the main component of almost every dish. But once more, these chapatis are made using a variety of flours, such as wheat, rice, maida, besan, and others.
India is split into east, west, north, and south regions. Because of the area's culture, culinary preferences, and availability of food items, each component impacts the cuisine.
One example is the substantial Central Asian impact on the cuisine of north India. On the other hand, states like Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh strongly rely on chapatis as a staple food. These regions also manufacture bread similar to chapatis, such as Tandoori, Rumali, and Naan. However, the influence of Mughlai cuisine is evident in the northern part.
The distinctive flavours and variety of dishes in western India are well known. However, the states that most perfectly represent desserts are Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Dal, besan, and achar are available in a wide variety. In addition, cuisine in areas such as Maharashtra typically combines north and south cooking traditions.
Goa and the Konkan region have a strong Portuguese influence. However, Bengali and Assamese culinary traditions can be found across eastern India.
Since the majority of the states in southern India have coastal borders, they make considerable use of spices, fish, and coconuts. For example, people from Andhra Pradesh frequently use a lot of chillies, whereas those from Tamil Nadu frequently use tamarind to add sourness to their food.
Kerala is home to some of the world's most mouthwatering cuisines, including lamb stew, appam, Malabar fried prawn, idli, dosa, fish, and rice puttu.
Staple Indian Grains
The staple foods in the Indian diet also differ by area, such as the use of besan in western Indian cuisine, fish and rice in eastern Indian cuisine, paneer, ghee, and flours in north Indian cuisine, etc.
However, the two main staple foods in India are wheat and rice. Along with rice, refined wheat flour, and a range of lentils like masoor, tur, urad, and moong, other staple foods in India include pearl millet, pearl millet, and pearl millet.
Dhuli moong or dhuli urad are two types of lentils that can be used whole. Additionally, various pulses are widely available, particularly in the northern regions. These include chana or chole, rajma, and lobia.
In recent years, soybean, cottonseed, and sunflower oils have become increasingly popular in India. In addition, it is well known to use vanaspati ghee, a form of hydrogenated vegetable oil. When cooking Northern region, ghee, also known as desi ghee, is often used.
Sesame oil, which is popular in the south due to its sweet and nutty aroma, is utilised in a large number of families. We employ whole or powdered chilli pepper, black mustard seed, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, asafoetida, ginger, coriander, and garlic in our cooking most essential and widely used flavouring spices.
The Bottom Line
Indian food has long been recognised for its excellent use of herbs and spices. The variety and deliciousness of our cuisine are well-known. In general, South Indian and North Indian cuisines combine most cooking styles. However, this varies by area. Wheat, rice, and lentils are among the primary foods in India.
Today's modern Indian food has a much broader flavour spectrum. Many Indians have visited other nations as a result of globalisation. Additionally, many new fusion dishes have been added as a result. For instance, pizza is an Italian dish. Indie-Tandoori Pizza, however, is a fusion for Indian palates. As a result, many global cuisines have become Indianised.
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