India is a land of spices and to understand the evolution of cuisines in India, one must realize this country is anything but homogenous. There are various areas in India that contains its own unique cooking methods, ingredients and spices. India is a country of 1 billion people and their food is as diverse as its population. India is dominated by two religions, Hindu and Muslims and it has also influenced the Indian cooking and food habits. Every migrant settling in this country brings a different and unique culinary method along with him. Muslims have influenced the cooking of meat adversely by contributing wonderfully in the cuisine. Mughlai food, kababs, rich kormas, nargisi kaftas, biryani, rogan josh are some widely consumed dishes in India which are cooked in a clay over or tandoor.
North, East, South and West have become four different regional styles in Indian cooking. North Indian food is mostly derived from the Moghuls where saffron and rich gravies made of pureed nuts and cream is cooked. Naan is a tandoori bread which is derived from Afghani people. South Indians have a rice based cuisine and coconut is an essential ingredient in every dish. Dosa, Idli and fermented rice are the popular food items of South Indians. The Western States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa etc have combination of eaters, Gujaratis are majorly vegetarians and the state is considered to be the place for vegetarian food. Goa and Maharashtra have huge five-star hotels and restaurants thta serve coastal favorites such as a variety of sea food. Eastern states such as West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand etc are opposites of one another because Bengali meals include mixed vegetable dish with a little bitter taste and ends up with a sweet dessert made up of milk, whereas Orissa is famous for its squash blossoms that are dipped in a paste made with rice and stuffed into a patty. Jharkhand has amixture of beans and vegetables including western overtones like beef, pork, goat and chicken.
Whether its East or West, Indian cuisine has proved to be one of a kind and irresistible.
By: Swati Kaushal