Indian cuisine is the cuisine of various regions of the Indian subcontinent. The hallmark of Indian cuisine is the use of a wide variety of Indian spices and vegetables grown in India, and a wide variety of vegetarian dishes. Indian cuisine also reflects the diversity of climate, demographics, and religions.
The culture and religion played a major role in Indian culinary arts development. Somehow, intercultural interactions with other coutries in Central Asia,Middle East, and the Mediterranean Sea has made Indian cuisine a unique blend of various Asian cuisines. The spice dominance trade betweenEurope and Indian done by Arab traders led Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama to search for routeto India and the started the exploration era in the Europe.The colonials from the Europe came to India introduced European culinary and recipes. Moreover, the cuisine of India also influenced the other countries’ cuisines around the world, particulalry the Southeast Asian cuisine to make curry-like dishes in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Immigration and cultural mixing have continued in India for thousands of years. India’s climate varies by region, from the tropics to the climates of the Alps, and provides a wide variety of consumer goods. For some Indians, consumption has become a symbol of religious and social identity with various taboos and prohibitions. Some adherents of Jainism, for example, do not eat roots or food taken from the ground. Some Hindus and Buddhists are also vegetarians. Between 20% and 42% of Indians are strictly vegetarians, while only 30% of Indians are meat eaters.
Around 7000 BC, the inhabitants of the Indus River Valley were already growing sesame, eggplant, and raising zebu. By 3000 BC, turmeric, cardamom, pepper, and mustard were common in India. Some of the dishes known today date back to the Vedic period, when India was heavily forested, and agricultural produce was supplemented by the consumption of forest-gathered and hunted meat. During the Vedic period, the daily consumption of Indians consisted of fruits, vegetables, cereals, dairy products, and honey. Little by little the people began to apply the Hindu philosophy of ahimsa and became vegetarians. Monk Faxian visited India in 405 and reported that the Indians were mostly vegetarian, did not raise pigs or poultry, did not sell live livestock, did not sell slaughterhouses in the market, and did not sell intoxicating drinks. Vegetarianism has grown in popularity with the advancement of Buddhism and thanks to the friendly climate. Vegetables and cereals can be harvested at any time of the year. Indian cuisine, from dishes at home to dishes for festivals has its roots in traditions governed by Ayurvedic scripts. In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, there is a consumption classification system that classifies consumption materials as sattva, rajas, or tamas. Each consumption category is believed to have a strong influence on physical and spiritual health.
Invasion of foreign powers from neighboring regions, such as Central Asia, Arabia, the Mughal Empire, and Persia, the diet of the Indians also changed. Arab traders introduced Arabic cuisine and Portuguese traders introduced Portuguese cuisine. Indian cuisine was enriched by the introduction of vegetables from the New World, such as tomatoes, chilies, and potatoes during Portuguese India and British India. From the British, Indians learned new cooking techniques such as recipes for various baked dishes.
The influence of Islam brought the consumption of thick soup, pilaf, to various meat dishes such as kebabs. Over the next three hundred years, exotic cuisine from Persia and Iran was introduced to India. During the reigns of Mughal Sultans Akbar the Great and Shah Jahan, Indian cuisine mixed with West Asian cuisine to produce Mughlai cuisine. At that time, vegetable dishes were less popular than meat consumption, and alcoholic beverages such as soma and sura were preferred over milk. In India at that time already known fruits such as apricots, melons, peaches, and plums. Mughals are very fond of good food. Luxury meals were often served during the reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. At the same time, the nizams of the state of Hyderabad developed their own style of cuisine, with the typical consumption of Hyderabadi biryani.
Standard spices and condiments for Indian cuisine
The staple food of Indians is rice, atta (wheat flour), and various types of beans. The most important types of beans are masoor (lentils), chana (chickpeas), toor (gude beans), urad (black beans), and green beans. Nuts can be used whole, peeled, halved after being peeled (called dal), or chickpeas ground into flour (besan).
A complete Indian meal consists of white rice or various types of bread (naan, puri, roti) and vegetable curry (sabzi). Livestock or seafood consumption is not considered a main course, including by non-vegetarians. In Indian cuisine, apart from being the main course, vegetables are cooked as an appetizer, light consumption, pickles, and desserts.
Cooking oil is needed to make curry. In West and North India, people use peanut oil from peanuts, and mustard oil is more commonly used in East India. In South India, coconut oil and sesame oil are more commonly used for cooking. Apart from that, sunflower oil and soybean oil are also popular in India. A hydrogenated vegetable oil called vanaspati is also popular as a substitute for ghee (ghee).
Spices that are often used in Indian cuisine are chili (mirch), black mustard seed (rai), cumin (jeera), turmeric (haldi, manjal), klabet (methi), asafetida (hing, perungayam), ginger (adrak). , inji), cinnamon (dalchini), coriander (dhania), garlic (lassan, poondu), and ajwain (mainly in Gujarat and Punjab).
The most popular ready-to-use seasoning is garam masala powder which consists of at least five different spices, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Garam masala is sprinkled on top of the dish when it is almost cooked so that the aroma of garam masala does not disappear. Each region has its own special garam masala, for example, the popular goda masala in Maharashtra. Cooks also often mix their own ingredients for garam masala.
Indian cuisine also uses a variety of herbaceous leaves, for example, tejpat (cassia leaf), coriander leaves, fenugreek leaves, and mint leaves (podina). Other spices or seasonings that are often used are nutmeg (jaiphal), mango powder (amchur), kuma-kuma (kesari), red pepper powder (deghi mirch), and rose liquid. Koja bay leaf (curry patta) is almost always used in South Indian cuisine.