India has 29 states, 7 union territories, 4000 cities and 600,000 villages. Every region in India has its own food culture. So, Indian cuisine is extremely vast and extremely diversified.Before I carry on, I want you to learn something- SPICY DOES NOT ONLY MEAN ”MORE CHILLIES”
Is Indian food really spicy?Most of the people who I offer Indian food to, refuse, because they do not like spicy dishes. Spices add aroma, flavour, health to food and there are endless variations and techniques to add them. The amount of spices that one uses in recipes can differ according to one’s liking and also according to the local culture and food habits. In most cases, chillies make a dish hot. So if you are against hot food, go for less chillie and not less spices.Indian food is diversified and Indian cuisine is massive because of a few reasons. India is an ancient continuous civilization, so people have lived long enough to evolve and experiment with the ingredients. And then India’s extremely diversified landscapes allow endless opportunities to grow different ingredients.India’s Ayurveda and its traditional wisdom allows one to understand the ingredients in a very detailed and complex manner and food is not just eaten here. It is celebrated, respected and is considered divine. Depending on their climate and the availability of ingredients, different regions of India use different ingredients to cook food not only because it is considered healthy but also is considered sustainable.For example, South Indian cuisine is based on sweet aroma dishes– it includes coconut, sweet fruits, curry leaves and so on. On the seaside – fishes and other sea food are common. Masala Dosa is definitely a must-eat once you are on the South of India. A lot of Indians are vegetarians but meat dishes are popular too. Remember that North-East Indian food is totally different from the whole India – over there food has some resemblance to Thai and Chinese cuisine. They use bamboo, tofu and various exotic local vegetables.
Did the Mughals influence the Indian cuisine or not?Some people claim that the Indian food has some influence from the Mughals who invaded India. Of course, they are right in some way. The Mughal empire did add its food habits as it is believed that meat culture got a boost after their arrival.In India around 40% people are pure vegetarian, another 30% eat meat regularly and the rest are occasional meat eaters. Mughals entered India and they started the culture of salted lamb and chicken paste(minced meat). Actually, it is believed that this is one of the main dishes that they brought. Indian chefs and the local talents combined this salted minced meat with Indian spices and change this boring Mughal food habits to amazing delicious chicken tikka and Indian kebabs (that’s why the kebab from turkey or Middle East is different than the kebab of India, however they still continued to call it kebab). Another popular dish ‘Biryani’ is also made of Indian Basmati rice and spices.
Thali – a feast for the palateThali is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to Indian cuisine. Every region of India has their own versions of Thali.Thali offers a series of different dishes, various breads, snacks, desserts etc. If you want, you can use your hands to eat.One life is not enough to try all the amazing dishes that Indian cuisine offer. Every region will surprise you with something different. Not everything will be tasty for you at the beginning – your taste buds have to get used to the intensity of Indian food but in the end you will find something that you will want to come back to.