Indian cuisine is known to be the most ancient, steeped in tradition, and diverse. To put it into better words, it is an amalgam of distinguished ethnic influences, exactly like the nation itself. With the arrival of modern times, Indian food has found its arms stretched to the western nations. The ubiquitous “curry” served in Britain, or the spice delicacies showcased at buffets in the United States are only but a small nimble of the quality and variety that Indian cuisine instills.
As stated by masters of Indian culinary arts, the gourmet Indian food is by norms associated with the servings in the courts of Indian royalty. However, over thousands of hidden culinary gems form a part of the Indian heritage as much as the royalty. These may well be found at the kitchens of the country, little-known restaurants, and destinations of worship across the nation that require a distinguished palate and thus, may be classified as gourmet too. And with that, the diversity within Indian cuisine remains vast and fascinating.
Influences on Indian Food
The majority within the nation is the follower of the Hindu religion. Hinduism prescribes honoring of life forms and has thoroughly contributed towards the prevalence of vegetarianism in the nation. The main source of protein for the majority of Indians has been beans and lentils which depicts the prominent impact of Hinduism. Although cows are considered sacred to Hindus, milk and milk products are considered holy and auspicious. They are also used in many ritualistic performances along with being one of India’s major dietary supplements. Indian cuisine has been revered by many for the involvement of various spices. They are generously used to provide distinct flavors, aromas, and texture to every dish.
As India got forayed into the ruling of Muslims, the cuisine of the nation began to be a reflection of Islamic influences, from the 1194 AD. Gradually, Central and West Asian cooking techniques began to be seen in the dishes as well. The marks of Christianity were first made by St. Thomas himself in the southern state of Kerala. With the arrival of Portuguese and British, the proliferation of Christianity began and as did their influence on Indian cuisine.
Indian food is a wide spectrum of several characteristics. Some of these were influenced from the happenings and occurrence of past days. This resulted in a distinguished and magnificent cuisine.
Role of Climate
With the varying climate across the country, it is natural to see differentiation in cuisine to adapt accordingly. Although these differences have been razed through the arrival of modern times and transportation, still a lot of food and ingredients are cultivated and consumed locally. One of the major differences in cuisine that is surely linked to climate it the kind of staple cereal consumed. While North is predominantly a user and consumer of wheat, the south and the coastal belts remain a consumer of rice. The usage of cooking oils, souring agents, and other flavoring agents also differ from region to region. This can be traced to the availability of substance in the region and thus, climate to. Due to the distinct requirements of climate and lands, the choice of vegetables can be seen changing from region to region.
Patterns of Consumption
To correctly comprehend the pattern of consumption in India, one must follow an extensive task of understanding the characteristics of people in every region. Traditionally, the consumption pattern may have been governed by the level of income perhaps, but now it is ruled with numerous other factors with the arrival of modern synchronized age. But there is a certain thing that is common and uniform among all the dishes of Indian cuisine, and that is health. Indian food has been groomed since ages to cater good health. This achieved through a bulk involvement of vegetables and cereals along with spices that comprises medicinal value.
[Image Source: Great Indian Food]