- Cuisine of India
The cuisine of India is characterized by its sophisticated and subtle use of many
spices and herbs grown across Indiaand also for the widespread practice of vegetarianismacross its society. Considered by some to be one of the world's most diverse cuisines, each family of this cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. As a consequence, Indian cuisine varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse Indian subcontinent. [http://www.indiaat60.in/backgrounders/Incredible-India@60-indian-cuisine.pdf] India's religious beliefs and culture has played an influential role in the evolution of its cuisine. However, cuisine across India also evolved due to the subcontinent's large-scale cultural interactions with neighboring Persia, ancient Greece, Mongols and West Asia, making it a unique blend of various cuisines across Asia. [http://www.thestar.com/article/300969] [http://www.indianfoodsco.com/Classes/CulinayHistory.htm] The colonial period introduced European cooking styles to India adding to its flexibility and diversity. [http://www.mit.edu:8001/people/alycem/writing_indiancooking.html] [http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/Indian_Cooking/history_Indian_food_cooking.html] Indian cuisine has also influenced cuisines across the world, especially those from South East Asia. [http://www.vegvoyages.com/food.htm] [http://www.asiafood.org/features_dietary_culture4.cfm] [http://www.cafemeetingplace.com/pdf/lesson_dec07.pdf]
History and influences
As a land that has experienced extensive immigration and intermingling through many millennia, India's cuisine has benefited from numerous food influences. The diverse climate in the region, ranging from deep tropical to alpine, has also helped considerably broaden the set of ingredients readily available to the many schools of cookery in India. In many cases, food has become a marker of religious and social identity, with varying taboos and preferences (for instance, a segment of the Jain population consume no roots or subterranean vegetable; see
Jain vegetarianism) which has also driven these groups to innovate extensively with the food sources that are deemed acceptable. One strong influence over Indian foods is the longstanding vegetarianismwithin sections of India's Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities. People who follow a strict vegetarian diet make up 20–42% of the population in India, while less than 30% are regular meat-eaters. [PDFlink| [http://www.fas.usda.gov/htp/highlights/2001/india.pdf Indian consumer patterns] |484 KiB ] [ [http://www.ers.usda.gov/amberwaves/February04/Features/ElephantJogs.htm Agri reform in India] ] [ [http://www.fao.org/WAIRDOCS/LEAD/X6170E/x6170e09.htm#TopOfPage Diary and poultry sector growth in India] ]
7000 BC, sesame, eggplant, and humped cattle had been domesticated in the Indus Valley.harvnb|Diamond|1997|p=100.] By 3000 BC, turmeric, cardamom, black pepperand mustard were harvested in India [ [http://www.menumagazine.co.uk/book/dawnofhistory.html Curry, Spice & All Things Nice: Dawn of History ] ] . Many recipes first emerged during the initial Vedic period, when India was still heavily forested and agriculture was complemented with game hunting and forest produce. In Vedic times, a normal diet consisted of fruit, vegetables, meat, grain, dairy products and honey. [http://books.google.com/books?id=IhLN2I9yTTkC&pg=PA70&lpg=PA70&dq=vedic+cuisine+dairy+products&source=web&ots=2T4IjnkKRc&sig=9_5wMoQ7tdRvZ4OW-f7WhQ-jLHk&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result] Over time, some segments of the population embraced vegetarianism, due to ancient Hindu philosophyof " ahimsa". [http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/Culture/Cuisine/vegetar.html] This practice gained more popularity following the advent of Buddhismand a cooperative climate where variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains could easily be grown throughout the year. A food classification system that categorized any item as saatvic, raajsic or taamsic developed in Ayurveda. Each was deemed to have a powerful effect on the body and the mind
Later, invasions from
Central Asia, Arabia, the Mughal empire, and Persia, and others had a deep and fundamental effect on Indian cooking. Influence from traders such as the Arab and Portuguese diversified subcontinental tastes and meals. As with other cuisines, Indian cuisine has absorbed the new-world vegetables such as tomato, chilli, and potato, as staples. These are actually relatively recent additions.
Islamic rule introduced rich gravies,
pilafs and non-vegetarian fare such as kebabs, resulting in Mughlai cuisine(Mughal in origin), as well as such fruits as apricots, melons, peaches, and plums. The Mughals were great patrons of cooking. Lavish dishes were prepared during the reigns of Jahangirand Shah Jahan. The Nizams of Hyderabad statemeanwhile developed and perfected their own style of cooking with the most notable dish being the Biryani, often considered by many connoisseurs to be the finest of the main dishes in India.
The staples of Indian cuisine are
rice, "atta" ( whole wheat flour), and a variety of pulses, the most important of which are "masoor" (most often red lentil), "chana" ( bengal gram), "toor" ( pigeon peaor yellow gram), "urad" (black gram) and "mung" (green gram). " Pulses" may be used whole, dehusked, for example dhuli moong or dhuli urad, or split. Pulses are used extensively in the form of dal(split). Some of the pulses like "chana" and "Mung" are also processed into flour (" besan").
Most Indian curries are fried in vegetable oil. In North and West India,
groundnut oilhas traditionally been most popular for frying, while in Eastern India, Mustard oilis more commonly used. In South India, coconut oiland Gingelly Oil is common. In recent decades, sunfloweroil and soybeanoil have gained popularity all over India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as Vanaspatighee, is also a popular cooking medium that replaces Desi ghee (clarified butter).
The most important/frequently used spices in Indian cuisine are
chilli pepper, black mustardseed ("rai"), cumin(jeera), turmeric(haldi, manjal), fenugreek(methi), asafoetida("hing, perungayam"), ginger(adrak, inji), and garlic(lassan, poondu). Popular spice mixes are garam masalawhich is usually a powder of five or more dried spices, commonly comprised of cardamom, cinnamon and clove; and Goda Masala, a popular spice mix in Maharashtra. Some leaves are commonly used like "tejpat" ( cassia leaf), corianderleaf, fenugreekleaf and mint leaf. The common use of curry leaves is typical of all Indian cuisine. In sweet dishes, cardamom, nutmeg, saffron, and rosepetal essence are used.
The term "curry" is usually understood to mean "gravy" in India, rather than "spices."
North Indian cuisine is distinguished by the proportionally high use of dairyproducts; milk, paneer, ghee(clarified butter), and yoghurt(yogurt, yoghourt) are all common ingredients. Gravies are typically dairy-based. Other common ingredients include chilies, saffron, and nuts. North Indian cooking features the use of the "tawa" (griddle) for baking flat breads like rotiand paratha, and " tandoor" (a large and cylindrical coal-fired oven) for baking breads such as naan, and kulcha; main courses like tandoori chickenalso cook in the tandoor. Other breads like puriand bhatoora, which are deep fried in oil, are also common. Goatand lamb meats are favored ingredients of many northern Indian recipes.
samosais a popular North Indian snack, and now commonly found in other parts of India, Central Asiaand the Middle East. A common variety is filled with boiled, fried, or mashed potato. Other fillings include minced meat, cheese (" paneer"), mushroom("khumbi"), and chick pea.
The staple food of most of North India is a variety of
lentils, vegetables, and roti(wheat based bread). The varieties used and the method of preparation can vary from place to place. Popular snacks, side-dishes and drinks include mirchi bada, buknu, bhujiya, chaat, kachori, jalebi, imarti, several types of pickles (known as achar), murabba, sharbat, aam pannaand aam papad. Popular sweets include "mithai", such as gulab jamun, peda, petha, rewdi, gajak, bal mithai, singori, kulfi, falooda, khaja, ras malai, gulkand, and several varieties of laddu, barfiand halwa.
Some common North Indian foods such as the various
kebabsand most of the meat dishes originated with Muslims’ incursions into the country. Pakistanwas politically joined to North Indiafor period prior to the partition of India. As a result, Pakistani cuisinecan be grouped together with northern Indian cuisine.
East Indian cuisine is famous for its desserts, especially sweets such as rasagolla, chumchum, sandesh, rasabali, chhena poda, chhena gaja, and kheeri. Many of the sweet dishes now popular in Northern India initially originated in the Bengaland Orissaregions. Apart from sweets, East India cuisine offers delights of posta (poppy seeds). Traditional Bengali cuisineis not too spicy, not too faint. General ingredients used in Bengali curries are mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black cumin, green chillies,cumin paste, mustard paste, curd, nuts, poppy seed paste and cashew paste and are preferably cooked in mustard oil. Curries are classified into bata (paste), bhaja (fries), chochchoree (less spicy vapourized curries) and jhol (thin spicy curries).These are eaten with plain boiled riceor ghonto (spiced rice). Traditional Bengali breakfast includes pantabhat (biotically degenerated boiled rice), doi-chirey, doodh-muree with fruits. Bangladesh's cuisine is very similar to that of West Bengal, corresponding to the link between Pakistani and northern Indian cuisine. Fishis relatively commonly consumed in the eastern part of India, most especially in Bengal.
Like South India, rice is the staple grain in Eastern India too. A regular meal consists of many side dishes made of vegetables. The popular vegetable dishes of Orissa are "Dalma" and "Santula". The most popular vegetable dish of Bengal is Sukto. Deep fried, shallow fried and mashed vegetables are also very popular. Fish frequently features in a regular meal.
South Indian cuisine is distinguished by a greater emphasis on riceas the staple grain, the ubiquity of sambar and rasam(also called "saaru" and "rasa"), a variety of pickles, and the liberal use of coconutand particularly coconut oiland curry leaves. The dosa, poori, idli, vada, bondaand bajjiare typical South Indian favorites. These are generally consumed as breakfast. Hyderabadi biryani, a popular type of biryani, reflects the diversity of south Indian cuisine. [http://www.spiceindiaonline.com/hyderabadi_biryani]
Chettinad, Tamil, Hyderabadi, Mangalorean, and Kerala cuisines each have distinct tastes and methods of cooking . In fact each of the South Indian states has a different way of preparing sambar; a connoisseur of South Indian food will very easily tell the difference between sambar from Kerala, sambar from Tamil cuisine, Sambar from Karnatakaand "pappu chaaru" in Andhra cuisine.Some popular dishes include the Biriyani, Ghee Rice with meat curry, sea-food (prawns, mussels, mackerel) and paper thin Pathiris from Malabararea.
Western India has three major food groups: Gujarati, Maharashtrian and Goan.
Maharashtrian cuisinehas mainly two sections defined by the geographical sections. The coastal regions, geographically similar to Goadepend more on rice, coconut, and fish. The hilly regions of the Western Ghatsand Deccanplateau regions use groundnut in place of coconut and depend more on jowar ( sorghum) and bajra ( millet) as staples. Saraswat cuisineforms an important part of coastal Konkani Indian cuisine. Gujarati cuisineis predominantly vegetarian. Many Gujarati dishes have a hint of sweetness due to use of sugar or brown sugar. Goan cuisineis influenced by the Portuguese colonization of Goa.
The food of the North East is very different from other parts of India. This area's cuisine is more influenced by its neighbours, namely
Burmaand the People's Republic of China. Its use of well known Indian spices is less. Yakis a popular meat in this region of India.
Popularity and influence outside India
Indian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines across the globe. [http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-19130531_ITM] The cuisine is popular not only among the large
Indian diasporabut also among the mainstream population of North Americaand Europe. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE0DA1638F934A15752C1A9649C8B63] In 2003, there were as many as 10,000 restaurants serving Indian cuisine in the United Statesalone. [http://web3.unt.edu/news/story.cfm?story=8673] A survey held in 2007 revealed that more than 1,200 Indian food products have been introduced in the United States since 2000. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/23/AR2007012300296_pf.html] According to Britain's Food Standards Agency, Indian food industry in the United Kingdom is worth £3.2 billion, accounts for two-thirds of all eating out and serves about 2.5 million British customers every week. [http://www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2003/nov/curryfacts] Chicken Tikka Masalais often hailed as "Britain's national dish" replacing the iconic status previously held by fish and chips. There are now 8,000 Indian restaurants in Britain, employing 70,000 workers.Lloyd, J & Mitchinson, J: " The Book of General Ignorance". Faber & Faber, 2006.]
Apart from Europe and North America, Indian cuisine is popular in
South East Asiatoo because of its strong historical influence on the region's local cuisines. Indian cuisine has had considerable influence on Malaysian cooking styles [http://www.vegvoyages.com/food.htm] and also enjoys strong popularity in Singapore. [http://www.hindustandainik.com/news/181_1933405,001100020009.htm] [http://www.streetdirectory.com/restaurants/singapore/reviews/restaurant-Go_India-1000000999.php] Indian influence on Malay cuisine dates back to 19-century. [http://www.travellersworldwide.com/11-malaysia/11-malaysia-food.htm] Other cuisines which borrow Indian cooking styles include Vietnamese cuisine, [http://www.cafemeetingplace.com/pdf/lesson_dec07.pdf] Indonesian cuisine[http://www.sallys-place.com/food/cuisines/indonesia.htm] and Thai cuisine. [http://www.restaurantdb.net/restaurants/profile-103.html] Spread of vegetarianism in other parts of Asia is often credited to ancient Indian Buddhist practices. [http://books.google.com/books?id=RI9BPVDH8HsC&pg=PA174&lpg=PA174&dq=indian+arab+cuisine+influence+-restaurant+-recipes+-earthquake&source=web&ots=tB-g-vxs2A&sig=PdMjRcIkC1zqWYda9nNVyuAs0FI&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result] Indian cuisine is also fairly popular in the Arab worldbecause of its similarity and influence on Arab cuisine. [http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=83892&d=16&m=6&y=2006&pix=world.jpg&category=World]
The popularity of "curry", which originated in India, across Asia has often led to the dish being labeled as the "pan-Asian" dish. [http://www.meatlessmonday.com/site/PageServer?pagename=dyk_curry] "Curry's" international appeal has also been compared to that of
pizza. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/01/books/01grim.html] Though the " tandoor" did not originate in India, Indian tandoori dishes, such as " chicken tikka" made with Indian ingredients, enjoy widespread popularity. [http://www.asiarooms.com/travel-guide/australia/brisbane/what-where-to-eat/indian-restaurants-in-brisbane/tandoori-village-restaurant-brisbane.html] Historically, Indian spicesand herbs were one of the most sought after trade commodities. The spice tradebetween India and Europe led to the rise and dominance of Arab traders to such an extent that European explorers, such as Vasco da Gamaand Christopher Columbus, set out to find new trade routes with India leading to the " Age of Discovery". [http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Spice_Trade.html]
Teais a staple beverage throughout India; the finest varieties are grown in Darjeelingand Assam. It is generally prepared as " masala chai", wherein the tea leaves are boiled in a mix of water, spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger, and large quantities of milk to create a thick, sweet, milky concoction. Different varieties and flavors of Tea are prepared to suit different tastes all over the country. Another popular beverage, coffee, is largely served in South India. One of the finest varieties of " Coffea arabica" is grown around Mysore, Karnataka, and is marketed under the trade name "Mysore Nuggets". Indian filter coffee, or "kaapi", is also especially popular in South India. Other beverages include " nimbu pani" (lemonade), " lassi", " chaach", "badam doodh" (milk with nuts and cardamom), " sharbat" and coconut water. India also has many indigenous alcoholic beverages, including palm wine, fenny, bhangand Indian beer. However the practice of drinking a beverage with a meal, or wine and food matching, is not traditional or common in India.
Although the above listed beverages are popular, people prefer to consume drinking water with their food. In fact it is custom to offer drinking water to guests before serving hot or cold drinks, also drinking water does not overshadow the taste of food.
Several customs are associated with the manner of food consumption. Traditionally, meals are eaten while seated either on the floor or on very low stools or cushions. Food is most often eaten without cutlery, using instead the fingers of the right hand. However, these traditional ways of dining are being influenced by eating styles from other parts of the world. Eating with your hands is considered important in Indian etiquette because a person eating with his hands knows the exact temperature of food before the morsel hits his mouth thus preventing blisters in mouth due to consumption of hot food.
Traditional serving styles vary from region to region in India. A universal aspect of presentation is the
thali, a large plate with samplings of different regional dishes accompanied by raita, breads such as naan, puri, or roti, and rice. In South India, a cleaned banana leaf is often used as an alternative to the plates for it's visual impact and as a hygienic.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Cuisine of Kerala — This article is part of the series … Wikipedia
Cuisine of Karnataka — This article is part of the series … Wikipedia
Cuisine of Uttar Pradesh — This article is part of the series … Wikipedia
Cuisine of Arunachal Pradesh — This article is part of the series … Wikipedia
Cuisine of South Africa — has had a variety of sources and stages:*Cookery practised by indigenous people of South Africa such as the Khoisan and Xhosa and Sotho speaking people *Settler cookery introduced during the colonial period by people of Indian and Afrikaner and… … Wikipedia
Cuisine of Madagascar — traditionally consists of a base of rice ( vary ) with some form of accompaniment ( laoka )  , although in the southwest rice may be supplemented or replaced by maize that has been dried, ground and reconstituted. Cuisines of France, China,… … Wikipedia
Cuisine — See also: Global cuisines, Outline of cuisines, and Regional cuisine Contents 1 History 2 Global and regional cuisines … Wikipedia
India — /in dee euh/, n. 1. Hindi, Bharat. a republic in S Asia: a union comprising 25 states and 7 union territories; formerly a British colony; gained independence Aug. 15, 1947; became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations Jan. 26, 1950.… … Universalium
Cuisine of the Midwestern United States — Chicago style deep dish pizza … Wikipedia
Cuisine tamoule — La cuisine tamoule est l une des principales cuisines indiennes, et l une de celles qui a le moins été influencée par d autres cultures étrangères. Les plats sont très variés et changent en fonction des communautés. Ainsi on peut parler des… … Wikipédia en Français