Indian Cuisine: The culmination of many Cultures

Indian cuisine is a culmination of different cultures, each region has to offer a diversity of dishes, the variety of dishes available in the Indian cuisine are just too many in number to be matched by any other country and this is the reason behind the extravagant quality which the Indian cuisine holds.

If we go back around 6,000 years we will see the different influences which have created a plethora of dishes. Each region has its own way of cooking its regional dishes and the ingredients which are majorly available in that region become a base for the dishes. eg- In south India most of the dishes have rice as a base in it as a rice is one of the major crops which is grown in that region. Be it dosas, uttapams, appe, iddiyapam, idlis or even mendu vadas they all have rice in it as a base in some or the other form.

If you go towards Eastern India one can see the influence of the Chinese in eastern food of Indian cuisine, be it noodles, soups or even lip smacking momos and spring rolls, they definitely top our list of favourite food items and we have tried our hand on them in our own kitchens as well.

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All four regions of India that is North, South, East and West have distinct dishes which represent the rich culture and also they represent the variety of crops which are grown in this colourful continent. Based on the settlers who had come and settled in India 6,000 years ago-they have left their mark behind on the Indian cuisine.

The roti, bhakri or chapatti we eat has originated from the afghan naan according to many experts when Afghani tribes had settled in the western provinces, and even the Moghuls contributed to the inclusion of naans which has changed overtime into rotis and bhakris. The Mughal empire which had gripped itself over India has given rise to rich gravies made out of nuts and other dry fruits in Northern India and many other provinces. The Persians who had come and settle in India left a huge mark behind not only on the Indian cuisine but also left behind a versatile Parsi Cuisine. Eg- the famous Irani chai with maska bun is an unforgettable combination. In western India specifically in Gujarat one could see the dominance of Parsi and Jain food, both cuisines being extreme opposites ad Parsis are pure non-vegetarians and other hand one could see Jains who were pure vegetarians who consumed certain selective vegetables and their dishes are truly commendable as creating extravagant recipes by excluding certain major ingredients is not easy. Indian food also has the influence of Mughal culture in the western belt of India. The Parsi community who came all the way from Iran has passed on the use of saffron and dry fruits in sweet and savoury delicacies in Mahrashtra and Gujarat.

Trading via sea ports also gave rise to the addition of many ingredients which are now an important part of Indian cuisine. Goan food is influenced greatly by the Portuguese settlers , there are many meat dishes which have been brought in by the Portuguese eg- “carne de vinha de alhos”, which is a meat dish which is made out of marinated pork that includes garlic and wine. Many of the Goan dishes which have vine as a major ingredient in them be it cakes or curries have also been influenced by Portuguese cuisine. Goa also houses some of the best sweet delicacies especially tea cakes, milk cakes and pastries which have been brought in by the French and the Portuguese.

This whole concept of hight tea or afternoon tea has come from the british, as britishers follow the tradition of having cakes and many other sweet and savoury snacks in the afternoon or evening along with a cup of tea.

We also do have influence on Indian food from Middle East, certain recipes of samosas, biryani, chick pea flour and chick pea curries have been passed on from Persian and Mughal tribes.

In today’s times we can cook many international cuisines and they are served in restaurants as well, but these are indianised versions of these international cuisines and hence one can even call them fusion or Indo western cuisines, be it Indian-American food like burgers, pizzas or fries or even Indo-chinese food which is given an Indian touch to it or even Indo-mexican food ,All of these fusion cuisines which have been in trend lately are creating a big wave in the Indian Food Industry and will soon become a part of it.