Friday, June 8, 2018

Discover the Diversity of Indian Cuisine

"India is, the cradle of the human race, 
the birthplace of human speech, 
the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, 
and the great grand mother of tradition. 
our most valuable and most instructive materials 
in the history of man are treasured up in India only."
-Mark Twain


People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally much healthier than people eating a contemporary Western diet[4]. Therefore, the author of four New York Times bestsellers Michael Pollan recommends[5]us to:
Eat more like the French or the Italians or the Japanese or the Indians or the Greeks.

Indian Cuisine

India has one of the most varied cuisines in the world. Indians combine vegetables, legumes and grains with herbs, spices and dairy products to form the largest range of vegetable dishes in the world. The short list below provides you a glimpse of these varied cuisines:
  • Chutney
    • A condiment made from a combination of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spcies
  • Curry
    • Meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits or legumes cooked in a spiced sauce
  • Dhals
    • These are vegetarian dishes using tamarind variously combined to lentils and spices. The result are highly flavored and tasty dishes.
  • Dosa
    • A thin and crisp rice-lentil vegetarian Crêpes.
  • Idlis
    • Idlis are one of the main tiffin items (eaten as break fast or snack in the evening).  They are a type of rice cake which are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice. The fermentation process breaks down the starches so that they are more readily metabolized by the body.
  • Korma
    • Korma is a dish made with yogurt, cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk; it is usually considered a type of stew.
  • Masala
    • One of many mixtures of two or more spices—whole or ground, toasted or raw, wet or dry
  • Naan
    • A rich, tender flat-bread baked on the wall of a clay oven
  • Raita
    • Salads of raw vegetables folded into plain yogurt; they are served as cooling accompaniments to spicy dishes
  • Saag
    • Saag or sag is a leaf-based (spinach, mustard leaf, Basella, etc) dish eaten with bread such as roti or naan, or rice. Saag can be made from spinach, mustard leaves, finely chopped broccoli, or other greens, along with added spices and sometimes other ingredients such as paneer.
  • Sambar
    • A stew made of lentils, vegetables, spices, herbs and tamarind
  • Tandoori Dishes
    • Tandoori is a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. Tandoori dishes include: tandoori chicken, tandoori vegetables, tandoori shrimp, etc. For example, tandoori chicken are pieces of cooked chicken marinated in yogurt and tandoori spices.
  • Uttapam
    • A rice-lentil vegetarian pancake
  • Vindaloo
    • An amalgamation of two Portuguese words vinho means wine or vinegar and alho means garlic. Spices, chiles, garlic and vinegar can be blended to form a vindaloo paste.


Final Words

Indian cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent.  If you try to classify it roughly based on geography, it could be categorized into two main parts:
Besides that, you can have different ingredients used in the cuisine such as Gongura , Poppy_seed, etc.  Also, indian pickles are different. They use red chilli, salt and oil to preserve instead of vinegar.

References

  1. Passages to India by Laxmi Hiremath (Costco Connection, January 2013)
  2. Indian Food Diversity
  3. Saag (Wikipedia)
  4. Western Diets and Western Diseases
  5. In the Defense of Foods by Michael Pollan
  6. Map showing Coriander, Celery and Cardamom growing states in India

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