Which cuisine would you recommend to a food lover? If I was asked this question, I would have only one answer and that would be – Indian cuisine. The huge variety of dishes in India can surprise every foodie. And I am not talking about thousands of Indian restaurants which pop up like mushrooms in Europe or in the USA. More often than not, the real Indian food can be found only in the motherland of masala dosa and lassi which is good enough to fulfill almost every human’s desire. The only thing is that with such a variety of food, a naive can go a bit lost and there are huge chances that one does not find what one likes. But this blog is here to help you to understand what Indian cuisine is really about.
Is Indian food really spicy?
Most of the people who I offer Indian food to, refuse, because they do not like spicy dishes. But what they are not aware of is that Indian cuisine is definitely not only about spices and chilli but rather full of intense fragrances. Indian cuisine is the most diverse cuisine of the world. One of the biggest reasons of this phenomenon is the long history of this land – thousands of years made it possible to develop and various food habits and hence many dishes evolved. Another reason is the climate – from the Himalaya Mountains and the great deserts of Rajasthan to the tropical climate of the huge coastal line. Every region of India has a different range of ingredients available which is the main factor of such a big diversity in food. For example, South Indian cuisine is based on sweet aroma dishes– it includes coconut, sweet fruits, curry leaves and on the seaside – fishes and other sea food. Masala Dosa is definitely a must-eat once you are on the south of India. On the other hand, North Indian cuisine uses more meat – not only chicken but also beef and pork are quite popular (if you are in Punjab try tandoori chicken – yummy!). North Indians love every type of lentils which is an amazing and delicious source of proteins. Remember that North-East Indian food is totally different from the whole India – food there is very similar to Thai and Chinese cuisine. They use bamboo, tofu and various exotic local vegetables.
Aroma of the spices is the base of food, but it doesn’t mean that everything is spicy. The reality is that maybe restaurants offer mostly very spicy food that can burn your mouth but if you go to some houses, spicy level will go down. Of course, list of spicy food in India is endless but it is not the only type of food that we can encounter in India. Remember that the combination of spices is not random – it is all according to the rules of Ayurveda which is a source of healthy lifestyle and healing methods. Read more on Ayurveda here. In the authentic Indian cuisine lots of things matter – body type, illnesses, temperature of heating, combination of different ingredients, region, season, but this is no longer visible in this so-called-modern-and-tampered way of cooking. By the way, you should also know that in many parts of India they are still growing original species of wheat and vegetables which are totally organic – never tampered or genetically modified seeds.
Did the Mughals influence the Indian cuisine or not?
Some people claim that the Indian food has a little influence by the Mughals who invaded India. Of course, they are right in some way – the Mughal empire added some things but this is mostly visible in cooking meat. The rest of Indian cuisine comes from ancient times and with some small changes survived till today. In India around 40% people are pure vegetarian, another 30% eat meat regularly and the rest is a once in a while meat eater. Hundreds of years ago the whole India was pure vegetarian but in XI century Mughals entered India and they started the culture of lamb and chicken paste(minced meat) – this is actually the only thing that they brought – Indian chefs and 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). Sanatan dharma teaches people that we should respect other species and since we have so many vegetarian options why kill animals? Have you ever thought about this? But here comes a big question- Why should we even eat plants since they also have lives and they are also living-beings? See my movie on Holy Cows In India where I am also talking about vegetarianism. Indians believe that co-existence with the nature is one of the most important responsibilities that a human carries through life. Unfortunately, Mughal and British invasion plus the ongoing western influence has changed this beautiful and pure tradition. So, in all fairness the original Indian cuisine is mostly indigenous and what came from the outside was just a meat eating habit, but all the original cooking recipes of India are original. In other words, if Mughals had brought with them a stone, the Indian chefs would also have made a delicious stone tikka out of it with all the wealth of spices and thousands of creative recipes at their disposal.
Thali – a feast for the palate
The best way to try as much as possible from the Indian cuisine menu is to order a Thali which literally means ”a plate”. Thali surprises you with at least 5-6 different sauces (depending on the restaurant) – with gravy or without that you can eat with roti, naan, paratha or chapati (different types of bread) and in the end you can indulge yourself with some amazing desserts like gulab jamun, laddu or rasgulla. Every region will offer you a different type of thali but you can be sure that you will find something that you like. And the most important thing is that you pay once and then you eat as much as you want (in most of the authentic thali places) – the waiter will pour you more sauces or give you more roti if you ask! Feast guaranteed! In some traditional places you can still find this authentic Indian food which for thousands of years was cooked and eaten in clay pots and banana leafs which is very organic and healthy. In one of my future posts I will write more about negative evolution of Indian cuisine and I will explain to you why it happened. You will also get to know more about natural crockery and healthy habit of eating with hand.
One life is not enough to try all the amazing dishes that Indian cuisine offers. 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 this intense aroma and taste but in the end you will find something that you will want to come back to. Variety of food in India is something that this country can be proud of and the aware tourists will take advantage of these unique meals that they can try here. In the future, I am going to post lots of pictures, recipes and explanations of the different types of food and spices coming from the different regions of India. And do not forget to check India in Details official Instagram account where I am posting many pictures of different types of food that I am trying in India.
Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy reading the stuff that you will not easily find on the mainstream media. I am a 26 years old girl from Poland who is living, travelling and working in India. I am a seeker and I share my thoughts through this medium with all of you. For more details, check 'about me' section in the top menu bar. To contact me, write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org or simply write on the comment section below every post.