India is such a hot topic these days with India's rise
as an economic giant. It is also hard to ignore what
is one of the world's most important and influential
cuisines. The British may have conquered India politically
but India had conquered Britain with its food with 70%
of British household having Indian food on a regular
basis. In this section, we will present articles on
Indian cuisine and food.
food has evolved over centuries and has flourished under
the many rulers that India had. Chefs vied with one
another to create exotic delicacies for their rajah's.
The result is centuries of patronage to the art of cooking
and a large repertoire of delicious recipes. Indian
Cuisine is becoming popular due to its exotic flavors
and healthful preparations. The repertoire of Indian
Cuisine is vast and the following are interesting aspects
of the cuisine.
You may be interested in the following sections of GaramChai
featuring interesting recepies: Dhal
Recepies // Curry Recepies
// Biryani and rice dishes
cuisine is gaining popularity all around globe. It is easy
to prepare, tasty and it's mainstay is whole grains which
is what people want today for health and environmental reasons.
They want balanced meals with carbohydrates, have ample amounts
of a variety of vegetables and contain complete proteins and
sparse amounts of fat. (Note: Lentils and beans combined with
rice or wheat form complete proteins that have all of the
eight amino acids) Indian food provides this and more - it
also has the health promoting properties of various herbs,
ginger and spices. Yogurt, an accompaniment to Indian meals
introduces good flora (acidophilus) into the digestive system.
Many of our menus are vegetarian, which tend to be more alkaline
than non-vegetarian menus. Fresh fruit follows Indian meals,
which also contributes to an alkaline balance.
cuisine saves time. Many items can be cooked in crock pots,
in a pressure cooker or in electric pans. Beans can be soaked
overnight. The whole wheat dough for chappatis and rotis can
be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. Indian
Cuisine is also very easy to prepare: full menus can be prepared
within half an hour. Since traditionally we cook with tastes
rather than with recipes, Indian cuisine has very wholesome
tastes designed to satisfy not only the taste buds but also
the human physiology.
of the Indians is legendary. In Sanskrit Literature the three
famous words 'Atithi Devo Bhava' or 'the guest is truly your
god' are a dictum of hospitality in India. Indians believe
that they are honored if they share their mealtimes with guests.
Even the poorest look forward to guests and are willing to
share their meager food with guest. And of particular importance
is the Indian host's pride that they will not let a guest
go away un-fed or unhappy from her home. Indians are known
for their incredible ability to serve food to their guests
invited or uninvited.
Indian food appeals to all senses. Spices are an integral
part of Indian food. It does mean that they are well seasoned,
colorful and aromatic. There are some hot dishes especially
in the South of India, but, overall the dishes of India are
skillfully prepared with the cook having a mastery over the
properties of spices and how they are blended. The cook will
use cooling spices as well as warming spices, bland spices
as well as pungent spices, sweet spices as well as hot spices.
The cook will also use spices for color and healthful properties.
Most cooks in India also know how to use spices seasonally.
In everyday cooking in India spices are used very sparingly
or the dishes are seasoned with very few spices and are supplemented
with fresh herbal seasonings.
herbal chutneys, dried fruit chutneys and hot pickles complement
an Indian meal. These small additions to the meal take the
Indian menu to a higher level of taste experience. They lend
strong flavor impact to the meal. They also balance tastes
as they are sweet, pungent, hot, and sour all at the same
time. the fresh herbal chutneys make the meal very fresh and
tasty. Popular fresh chutneys are cilantro, mint, amla, coconut
chutneys and popular pickles include lime, mango, and eggplant.
Indian pickles are preserved in oil as opposed to vinegar.
of Indian Cuisine lie with the ancient Indian civilization
of India that was called Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. The Dravidians
or inhabitants of these civilizations were urban and not agrarian.
They had huge granaries to store grain, houses with a drainage
system, pathways or roads and public baths. They sowed the
seeds of Ayurveda,
or Life Sciences, which is the foundation of Indian cuisine.
This system was derived after studying the physical needs,
mental needs and needs of our psychology and spirituality.
of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa were pushed to the South part
of India be the invasion of the Aryans who came from Europe
or Asia Minor. It is not very clear where the Aryans originated
from but Aryans are to be found in Europe, Persia and India.
(In fact the Swastika - a good luck symbol of the Aryan culture
is still very prevalent in India). The ideas of Ayurveda were
developed further by the Aryans. Many of the texts on this
subject were written in the Aryan period.
Influences on Indian Cuisine
Aryans - During the Aryan period the cuisine the Great Hindu
Empires concentrated on the fine aspects of food and to understand
its essence and how it contributed to the development of mind,
body and spirit. After this period the cuisine was influenced
by the following conquests from other cultures.
2. Mongolians (hot pot cooking)
3. Persians - The most notable was the influence of Persian
rulers who established the Mughal Rule in India. (click here
for more about Mughal cuisine)
5. Greeks (Alexander the great)
6. Chinese (from trading and cultural and educational exchanges
7. Arabs (traders)
8. Portuguese (the Indian Vindaloo dish is a result of the
9. British (Indian Ketchup, tea)
the greatest influences on India's cuisine occurred in the
2nd century B.C. The powerful and turned benevolent Emperor
Asoka popularized a vegetarian cuisine. Even today a majority
of Indians are vegetarian. The two other individuals that
helped make India vegetarian are Mahavir and Buddha. (Also
the ancient, urban Dravidian civilization may have been vegetarian.)
was also the first statesman in recorded history that had
an environmental department in his administration. This department
set environmental laws, posted these laws on stone billboards
and had an environmental enforcement program.
Cuisine - Indian melting pot turns Vegetarian
has a culinary culture unique to it and it consists of the
tradition of vegetarianism, which was reinstated in India
during the 5th century B.C. India may have been vegetarian
during the Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa civilizations. We do not
know for sure as its script has not been unlocked.
know that the Aryans who migrated to India, and took control
of Northern India, were meat-eating people. During the ancient
Aryan Vedic period meat was consumed regularly after an animal
sacrifice to the Gods. Among the animals that were sacrificed
in Vedic times was the cow, which is considered taboo in the
Hinduism of today.
This changed with the rise of Buddhism and Jainism, the founders
of which preached the principle of ahimsa or ''non-violence''.
The Brahman priests, who conducted animal sacrifices as offerings
to God, also began to appreciate this sentiment as it swept
India. They began to embrace ahimsa by following a vegetarian
diet and regarding it as superior to the Brahminical ideas
of animal sacrifice.
can be traced back to the seventh century B.C. in India, although
it was Mahavir Jain who formalized the philosophy of what
was to be known as Jainism in the sixth century. Mahavira,
most likely born around 540 BC, who at the age of 30, he renounced
family life and proceed to live, for the next 12 years, as
This philosophy was also seen as having many good ideals by
ancient India and many of its principles have been naturally
incorporated into Hinduism and India's culinary culture.
Jainism takes non-violence to a very strict level and respect
life at any level including plant life. They make sure that
there lifestyle does not cause injury to anyone. Gandhiji
has been influenced greatly by this philosophy and in turn
influencing Martin Luther King to resort to non-violence.
As a result
of this the Jain diet consists of grains like wheat, rice,
lentils or pulses and beans, oil-seeds are recommended as
they fall under the category of non-injurious food. They are
yielded only when their plants get dried of their own after
their age ends. Fruits and vegetables that become ripe on
the plants or branches of trees or those that fall on their
own after becoming ripe are used for food.
are strict vegetarians and many also avoid root vegetables,
as it is violent to plants. They also avoid any liquor so
they can live a mindful life. Other aspects of their food
philosophy is that they regularly offer food to poor people,
fast on certain days, do not waste any food, drink filtered
water and eat after sunrise and before sunset.
or Mughals brought their rich artistic and gastronomic culture
to India. This influence lasted for more than 400 years and
is now part of the fabric of Indian culinary culture.
The two colliding cultures resulted in a magnificent cuisine
called Indian Muglai Cuisine. The lamb kebabs were laced with
spices, the rice pulaos of India were cooked with meat and
turned into wonderful biryanis, lamb and meat roasts were
now flavored with Indian herbs, spices and seasonings. Also,
Indian dishes were garnished with almonds, pistachios, cashews
and raisins. India was also introduced to leavened breads
by the Muslims. At this time the tandoor was created by the
royal chefs. The Indian rotis and the leavened breads were
merged into Tandoori Naans. Meats were now marinated in yogurt
and spices and also cooked in tandoors. Both pork and beef
were avoided to respect the traditions of both cultures. The
idea of concluding a meal with sweetmeats was introduced as
the Persian rulers loved sweets.
The great Muslim rulers brought their panache and elegance
of living to India's culinary scene. The idea of community
dinning and lavish and extravagant banquets were introduced
to India. Dishes were served in jade, silver and Chinese porcelain.
The splendor of the Mughal/Muslim cuisine is reflected in
the Muglai Cuisine of India which is the richest and the most
lavish in the country.
Final Aspects for Indian Cuisine
food has evolved over centuries and has flourished under the
many rulers that India had. Chefs vied with one another to
create exotic delicacies for their rajah's. The result is
centuries of patronage to the art of cooking and a large repertoire
of delicious recipes. Indian Cuisine is becoming popular due
to its exotic flavors and healthful preparations. The repertoire
of Indian Cuisine is vast and the following are interesting
aspects of the cuisine.
Kitchens of India: Under the patronage of the rajahs of
India the art of food was elevated to a high level of advancement
and professionalism. The royal chefs understood the finer
points of food, the art of presentation and created exquisite
- Cooking according to tastes : There exists no written
recipes in India and the individual is encouraged to orchestrate
a dish by using fresh, seasonal and local vegetables. We use
spices sparingly and our foods are not necessarily hot. Besides
spices we use lots of herbs and other natural seasonings to
make our foods sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
- Cultural Influences :. Many Indians are vegetarians
having been influenced by Buddha (Indian King and founder
of Buddhism), Mahavir (founder of Jainism) and King Ashoka.
Our cuisine has been influenced by the Aryans settlers, the
Arab and Chinese traders and conquerors such as the Persians,
Mongolians, Turks, the British and the Portuguese.
- Ayurveda : India's ancient science system, has given
India a comprehensive system of health, diet and nutrition.
India's cuisine has been shaped by this science. Ayurveda
is the common thread that runs through the various sub cultures/regions
of India. Otherwise, the cuisine can be vastly different from
region to region.
- Diversity:. India is a large country, almost the
size of Europe, and has a greater diversity of people, language,
climate, cultures and religion than almost any country in
the world. Consequently, Indian cuisine is also diverse.
- Indian Restaurant Cuisine: Many Indian restaurants
around the globe are influenced by North Indian Cuisine. Indian
restaurant cuisine has been influenced by Indian chefs that
had their culinary training in France. They created a fusion
of the two great cuisine's by adopting cream sauces in their
article copyright to Indian Foods Company, authored by
Kavita Mehta, was originally published in indianfoodsco.com