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Indian food is known for its incredible flavor, due to a myriad of spices.
The Indian cuisines are related by similar usage of spices. Often, Indian cooking is distinguished by the use of a larger variety of vegetables than many other well-known cuisines. Within these recognizable similarities, there is an enormous variety of local styles.
As a land that has experienced extensive immigration and intermingling through many millennia, India's cuisine has benefited from numerous food influences. In the north and the west, Kashmiri and Mughlai cuisines show strong central Asian influences. Through the medium of Mughlai food, this influence has propagated into many regional kitchens. To the east, the Bengali and Assamese styles shade off into the cuisines of East Asia.
The cuisine of India is characterized by the use of various spices, herbs and other vegetables grown in India and also for the widespread practice of vegetarianism across many sections of its society. Each family of Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. As a consequence, it varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse Indian subcontinent.
All coastal kitchens make strong use of fish and coconuts. The desert cuisines of Rajasthan and Gujarat use an immense variety of dals and achars (preserves) to substitute for the relative lack of fresh vegetables. The use of tamarind to impart sourness distinguishes Tamil food. The Andhra kitchen is accused, sometimes unfairly, of using excessive amounts of chilies.
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. Typically, North Indian meals consist of chapatis or rotis and rice as staples, eaten with a wide variety of side dishes like dals, curries, yogurt, chutney and achars. South Indian dishes are mostly rice-based, sambhar, rasam and curries being important side dishes.
Few of the Popular Indian Dishes :
Murg Makhani / Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken a classic Indian favorite, prepared in a makhani(butter) gravy. Similar to Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken is one of the most popular curries at any Indian restaurant in the west.
Tandoori Chicken is the famous Indian barbecue chicken prepared by roasting chicken marinated in yogurt and spices in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven
Chicken Tikka Masala
chicken tikka masala is the perfect gateway dish to to Indian cooking, its indian dish of chunks of marinated chicken in a spiced curry sauce.
Malai Kofta : vegetable meatballs
One of the most sought after vegetarian dish, consisting of soft Paneer & Potato balls floated in rich gravy.
Chole Masala / Chana masala / Chickpea Curry
Punjabi chole masala or chana masala is one of the most popular vegetarian curry dishes from India.
Palak Paneer / Spinach and Cottage Cheese
A quintessential Indian vegetarian dish : Indian cottage cheese in smooth creamy delicious spinach gravy.
Papdi Chaat / Indian street food
Papri chaat is a traditional street snack from India : Crunchy, tangy, hot and sweet flavors combine to make the ideal snack food.
In the rain-swept regions of the north-eastern foothills and along the coasts, a large variety of rices are used. Potatoes are not used as the staple carbohydrate in any part of India.
Modern India is going through a period of rapid culinary evolution. With urbanization and the consequent evolution of patterns of living, home cooked food has become simpler. Old recipes are recalled more often than used. A small number of influential cookbooks have served the purpose of preserving some of this culinary heritage at the cost of homogenizing palates. Meanwhile restaurants, increasingly popular, encourage mixing of styles. Tandoori fish, mutton dosas and Jain pizzas are immediately recognizable by many Indians in cities.
Many Indian dishes require an entire day’s preparation of cutting vegetables, pounding spices on a stone or just sitting patiently by the fire for hours on end. On the other hand, there are simple dishes which are ideal for everyday eating.
Several customs are associated with the way in which food is consumed. Traditionally, meals are eaten while sitting on the floor or on very low stools, eating with the fingers of the right hand.
Most of the spices used in Indian food have been used for their medicinal properties in addition to the flavor and taste they impart. Ginger is believed to have originated in India and was introduced to China over 3000 years ago. In India, a knob of fresh ginger added to tea is believed to relieve sore throats and head colds, not to mention it?s aphrodisiacal properties! Turmeric is splendid against skin diseases and neem leaves are used to guard against small pox.
It is the complexities of regional food in India that make it a so very fascinating try!