The world is divided by borders, indeed! But do you know what brings us all
together? Food! Isn’t it? We all love food, and most of us like to explore
different cuisines of the world for the same reason. Thankfully, for us,
restaurants have made this easier. By offering foods from different cuisines of
the world, they have helped us experience various tastes to satisfy our taste
buds. One of such cuisines which always excites my taste buds is Indian cuisine. I
will share with you in detail about the beauty of Indian cuisine in this
Origin and Adaptations of Indian Cuisine-
Indian cuisine is especially known for its spices and grains. It involves
vegetarian on a large scale. There are some foods that have been inspired by
places like Persia, Ancient Greece, Mongols, and West Asia. The items like
chillies, pepper, tomatoes, potatoes and squash have been introduced by Arab
and Portuguese traders.
Sesame, Eggplant and humped cattle were introduced in Indus Valley during
7000 BC. Due to Indias’ rich foresting and agricultural culture during the Vedic
period, most of the dishes. Indians highly believed in Ahimsa, which led
Indians to follow a mostly vegetarian diet.
According to Ayurveda, the food was
classified in three categories like Saatvic (pure), rajasic (active and
passionate) or tamasic (heavy, dull, slow, gluttonous) which were said to have
a powerful effect on both the body and the mind.
During the Islamic conquest of
medieval India, the introduction of fruits such as melons, peaches, apricots,
and pilaffs, rich gravies and non-vegetarian fare such as kebabs, giving rise
to Mughlai cuisine happened. The Mughals were great fans of cooking; sumptuous
dishes were prepared during the reigns of Jahangir and Shah Jahan.
When blending of Mughlai and Telangana cuisines took place in the kitchens
of the Nizams, historical rulers of Hyderabad State, it resulted in the
creation of Hyderabadi biryani, a traditional celebratory
the meal made using mutton or goat meat or chicken,
basmati rice, yoghurt, onions, and
spices, considered by many connoisseurs to be one of the finest of the main
dishes in India till date. The British introduced European recipes and cooking
techniques like baking which we all love.
Staples and spices-
Apart from these, the staples of Indian cuisine are
quite famous like atta (whole wheat flour), rice, and a
variety of pulses like masoor(red lentil), toor (pigeon
pea or yellow gram), urad (black
gram), chana (Bengal gram),
and mung (green gram).
Indian curries are mostly fried in vegetable oil.
In North and West Indian region, groundnut oil has been primarily used for
frying, while in Eastern Indian region, mustard oil is more commonly used. In the
South Indian region, coconut oil and sesame oil are standard. In recent times, sunflower oil and soybean oil have
gained popularity all over India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, highly known as
Vanaspati ghee is also a highly used cooking medium that replaces Desi ghee.
The most essential and most frequently used spices in Indian cuisine are
chilli, black mustard seed, cumin,
pepper, turmeric, fenugreek, asafoetida, ginger, and garlic. A
trendy spice mix is a garam masala which is usually a powder of five or more
dried spices, commonly comprised of cinnamon,
cardamom, and clove.
Every region has its own mix of
Garam Masala. One such is Goda Masala which is a popular spice mix in
Maharashtra. Leaves like tejpat,
coriander leaf, fenugreek leaf and mint leaf are commonly used. The use
of curry leaves is something that is typical in all South Indian dishes. In
sweet dishes, saffron, cardamom, nutmeg, and rose petal essence are used.
There is more to say about Indian cuisine, and the
content is endless. Yet, I shall explain about beauty if Indian cuisine of each
region in-depth on an upcoming article.