Indian Cuisine OverviewA perfect blend of herbs and spices, with a varied range of grains, vegetables, and meats, sets Indian cuisine a precedent for the foodies from the remote reaches of the world. As it’s said the cultural diversity of India changes with every 100-mile geographical shift, same is the case with cuisines that induce its influence from every wide gap in climate, people, and their combined effect on the way of treating locally found sources of nutrition. With a broad history that carries its printed proof since the 16th century of the Mughals arrival and then fusion with overseas trade through the 21st century, narrates the nobility of architecting Indian cuisine to its optimum current state. If we overlook the damage it bore from the extensive immigration, colonial periods, and Islamic ruler invasions, the Indian subcontinent has gained a vast influence in its cuisine configuration, that makes it tempting and fanciful for the food lovers, worldwide. As the world witnessed a massive flow of globalization throughout distinct human cravings, Indian cuisine, too, got paint in its widespread force, exchanging cuisine pertinent information with rest of the world, to grease the pathway toward a trend of international cuisines’ food joints. Every part of a nation has its own set of methods for cooking foods. Wrapping the worldwide available cuisine style in one landmass, India serves a variety of dishes that are too local in either Australia or Brazil or the US, making its cuisine versatile in every possible way.
Misconceptions busted about Indian FoodIt’s a common misbelief rooted in the mindset of foreigners that make them dislike Indian food for any reason. But, as a traveler and food enthusiast, you need to bust the myths, to enjoy the finger-licking food experience offered by this land of a billion people.
Indian Food is too hot to consumeMost people prefer another cuisine over Indian because they inherit the widely spread misconception that it’s intolerable to bear the heat of Indian food. But, in reality, the level of chilly choice is totally up to the customer, and one can adjust the taste preorder. Indians use spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric to keep food-borne bacteria at bay from order and nutrients spoilage.
Indian Food breaks your dieting routineNot true at all and makes little sense when we’re dealing with a landmass covering a total geographical area of 1,269,299 sq miles. Whereas some food carries rich, luscious, and anti-dieting ingredients, some are extremely light and rich in fiber and protein. In fact, thanks to the fusion of spices, Indian food can be a fabulous choice for dieters, for its flavorsome taste.
Indian food makes you ‘Gassy’The cause of gas differs from person to person. For some, it could be trying a huge variety of distinct foods, while for others it could be dairy products or cruciferous vegetables. In Indian foods, lentils and chickpeas are mostly blamed for the formation of gas, but it’s totally up to a body how it reacts and adjusts. The matter of the fact is “not all Indian food imparts gas.”
Indians restaurants don’t serve beefBeef and pork are forbidden for Hindus and Muslims, respectively. In India, the cow is considered a sacred animal, and it is haram to eat pork by Muslims, as stated in their Quran. If you try restaurants overseas, like in Australia, Indian cuisines readily serve beef. On a side note, McDonald’s has a customized menu for Indian customers, as they try to keep beef out of Indian sight.
Top spices widely used in Indian dishesWhat makes Indian food so special in taste is a unique blend of spices. It’s hard to cook the way they do in Indian cuisines, but if you know the key spices they use, you can accomplish the same tantalizing aromas, vibrant colors; and spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors that the Indian foods are mostly known for. The key to generating exact features, as served in restaurants and Indian homes, is to utilize the mix of spices in an appropriate proportion. To bring out the right flavor, bloom them in oil, butter, or ghee. These spices act not only as a cooking ingredient but also supplements your health benefit. Check out the top spices:
CuminFor any sort of curry creation, in India, cumin is extensively used as a strong, aromatic spice. It’s available as either seeds or toasted. Because of its sharp taste and flavor, it’s sometimes characterized as warm, earthy, and bitter.
CorianderIt’s described by many people as nutty and fruity. Coriander features in Indian cuisine as a spice and garnishing material. Coriander is the key component in Garam masala, which is the key ingredient to spice up the taste of any dish and soothe an upset stomach.
GingerWith its homeland in India, ginger is now found in Fiji, Australia, Jamaica, and Indonesia. Gingers are known for generating a delicious and peppery flavor in recipes. The spicy and zesty taste of ginger accounts for its use in stir-fries, baked goods, vegetables, and beverages.
Mustard SeedsIt can be found in many colors, such as black, brown, and yellow. Mustard seeds get the right flavor when they’re crushed, or cooked in oil. Mustard oil is produced from mustard seeds and is commonly found and used in India. The smoky and nutty flavor of mustard seeds enhance the taste of curries.
TurmericWhereas in one hand there is a vast health benefit associated with the application of turmeric, it imparts a yellowish color and flavor as its feature to a mix of spices and curries on the other hand. It’s a close relative of ginger and is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Garam masalaA blend of spices—like coriander, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg—constitute the garam masala. Acting as a staple for Indian cuisine, garam masala serves the same purpose as de Provence in French cuisine. It’s sensitive to heat and, therefore, is sprinkled at the last moment when the recipe gets almost done.
Black PepperBlack pepper is primarily native to India. As there need many natural cycles and a fixed amount of rainfall for its production, it takes intense labor work to grow. For the ultimate release of its taste, black pepper needs toasting before blending. It can also be used as the salad dressing, with salt.
Nutmeg and maceOnce the outer covering of nutmeg gets cracked off, mace becomes ready for grating. When it turns dry, it gains a golden-orange tint and adds a hint of warm flavor. Like other spices, nutmeg doesn’t require toasting before blending into spices. Doing so would spoil its flavor.
Top delicious Indian dishes, made for satisfying your appetite
Sarso ka Saag and Makki ki RotiSarson Ka Saag and Makki ki Roti complete each other and are inseparable for a fused taste and finger-licking appetite achievement. It’s popular almost in all northern states, with Rajasthan and Punjab as the original state where a true sense of its importance is shared traditionally. To profuse the lust of mouth, white butter, jaggery, or honey work as the best accompaniment. Time: 2 hours | Calorie: 90 per roti and 150 per saag serving
Key Ingredients needed for SaagSaag
- 750-gram Sarson Saag
- 250-gram Palak Saag
- 250-gram Bathua Saag
- 4 Green chilly
- 25 gram Ginger
- 2 Onions
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 tsp Red pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala
- 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
- 100 gram Ghee
- 1 1/2 cup Makki atta
- 2 cups water
- Salt as per taste
Step-by-step cooking guide
- Mix three saags—bathua, palak, and sarson—with salt and water, and cook them in a pressure cooker at low flame for one and half an hour.
- Squeeze saag to separate saag water. Mash the water-free saag until coarsely ground. Add makki atta and stir the blend.
- Remix the filtered saag water, along with a little drinkable water, and start cooking again over a low flame.
- Add finely chopped green chilies and ginger, and let the heat do its work.
- Turn off the flame once saag gets a thick texture.
- On the second burner, to prepare tadka, pour some oil in a frying pan and add finely chopped onions, ginger, and garlic.
- At about 2 minutes, add red pepper powder, garam masala, and dhania.
- Saute until onions get light brown.
- Mix the tadka and ghee/butter with saag.
Key ingredients for Makki ki Roti
- ½ kg makki flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch red chili powder
- Mix all the ingredients—makki flour, red chili powder, ghee, and salt—nicely.
- Add lukewarm water in the maize flour and knead softly with hands, to prepare a soft dough.
- Using an equal portion of dough, build medium-sized balls.
- To prepare roti, use extra flour to flatten it into a round shape, on a chakla or a plane surface.
- Put the round-shaped roti on the frying pan, and cook until golden water.
- Use ghee to soften the roti.
Pav BhajiEvolving from Maharashtra, Pav Bhaji has become one of the most popular vegetarian recipes of India, as it requires minimal time and efforts to cook and taste the best, which all food lovers readily relate their choice with. This delicious recipe is full of spices and veggies, which make it full of nutrients and popular regardless of age and gender. All it takes, in extra, for completing a mouth full serve is pav (bun bread) and mint chutney. Pav Bhaji Time: 40 minutes | Calories: 600 per plate with 2 pav
Key ingredients needed for Pav BhajiVeggies:
- 4 mashed, boiled potato
- 2 chopped onion
- 1/2 chopped cauliflower
- 1 cup shelled peas
- 1/4 cup green beans
- Chopped carrot
- 4 chopped tomato
- 1 de-seeded capsicum
- Coriander leaves (for garnishing)
- 3 tablespoon refined oil
- salt as per taste
- 30 gm melted butter
- 1 medium lemon wedges
- 8 pavs
- 2 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger paste
- 2 chopped green chili
- 2 teaspoon pav bhaji masala
- Boil the veggies—carrots, beans, cauliflower, and peas—in a pressure cooker. Drain the water and mash coarsely.
- Fry three-fourths of onions in a pan, using oil and saute until it gains a golden glimpse. Further, pour ginger-garlic and green chilies paste and fry for a minute.
- Sprinkle pav bhaji masala, capsicum, and then, fry for an additional minute.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes and salt. Turn the stove knob to medium and keep stirring until oil separates from the masala.
- Add mashed potatoes, cauliflower, mashed peas, and 2 cups of water. Simmer it for about 10 minutes. Keep pressing it with the back of the spoon, to mash the mixture properly.
- Garnish bhaji with remaining onions, lemon wedges, butter, and coriander leaves.
- Crisping pav: Slice each pav horizontally into two. Put about 15 grams of butter in a pan. Fry pavs to make it crispy.
Chicken BiryaniChicken biryani, a pairing of chicken and rice, has permeated the culinary Indian culture, to stretch its aroma around the world. It’s a mouth-watering savory dish packed with spicy marinated chicken, flavored saffron rice, and caramelized onions. It’s an intensely aromatic and well-seasoned dish, incorporating veggies, rice, and chicken in such perfect balance that provokes the taste buds of any food lover to extremities. It’s easy to cook, consumes less cooking time than expected, and serves high calorie. Time to cook: 1 hr | Calorie: 520 per 365 grams
Key ingredients needed for chicken biryani:Prime Essentials:
- 650 grams rice
- 1 Kg meat
- 1 Tbsp red chili paste
- ½ Tbsp green chili paste
- 1 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
- ½ Tbsp cardamom powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
- 3-4 pieces cinnamon
- 4 Cloves
- ½ cup oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 250 grams curd
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup water
- 1 Tbsp saffron
- Finely sliced cucumbers
- Sliced carrots
- 2 boiled eggs
- Mint leaves
- How to marinate the chicken? Put vegetable oil, chili peppers, mint, cinnamon, salt, garlic paste, garam masala, ginger, and chicken pieces in a big bowl and stir till all mix well. Use your hand to coat the chicken thoroughly in the marinade, and leave it untouched for an hour.
- How to caramelize onions? Use ghee or vegetable oil to caramelize onions. Put the flame on low and stir it for 10-15 minutes. Once it gets a brownish appearance, transfer the onions to a separate bowl and allow cooling.
- Soak the rice in lukewarm water and then, wash it in cold water until the water runs clear.
- Put water, cardamom, cumin, bay leaf, and rice in a separate bowl, and par-boil them for 7 minutes. Drain the rest of the water from the rice, keeping reserve about 1 cup.
- In a separate bowl, put the chicken in a single layer and use some oil or ghee to fry each side for about 5 minutes. Once both sides gain a golden brown color, transfer the chicken to the bowl you used for marination.
- Add saffron to the rice and mix it evenly. Put half of the rice in the bowl used for frying chicken. Place all the chicken onto the rice, forming an even layer. Pour three-fourths of the rice on top of the chicken and then, put caramelized onions on the very top. Top onions with the remaining rice, forming an even layer all around.
- Pour the reserved liquid obtained from boiling the rice. Seal pack the pot with the lead using dough created from wheat flour and put the pot on the stove over medium flame for about half an hour.
- Once you watch steam leaking from cracks developed in between the lid and dough layering, turn the stove knob to low and allow cooking for an additional five minutes. Check the sound of water simmering in the pot. If you hear it dimming down, or all gone, turn off the flame.
- Let it cool for some time and then, garnish it using cucumber, carrot, eggs, and mints.
Idli SambarIdli and sambar complete each other. Sambar is basically a hot and spicy lentil soup that covers most of the masalas/spices that southern region is loaded with. Although Idli Sambar, for its tasteful diet, has gained a significant name in the northern part, the taste that homemade masalas create in southern India, beats all practices no matter how hard north Indians try. Unlike all Indian foods which rely largely on frying in oil, Idli and Sambar are mostly boiled and include a lot of veggies which combine together to surge full the taste and nutrition. Cooking Time: 1 hr | Calorie: 310 per 1 cup sambar and 3 idli
Key ingredients needed for Idli
- 2 cup Rice
- ½ cup Urad Dal (Black Gram)
- ½ Tbsp Fenugreek Seeds
- Water as required, or 2-3 cup
- Salt as per taste
- Soak rice in water for 5 hours
- In a separate bowl, soak black gram and fenugreek seeds in water for 5 hours.
- Create a paste by grinding black gram and fenugreek seeds, using some fresh water.
- Create rice paste using the above process.
- Mix both the paste and add a little rock salt to it.
- Expose the idli batter to the sun, for good fermentation.
- Next day, using cotton, apply a layering of oil on the idli stand and then, lay idli batter on it.
- In an idli cooker, use steam to cook idli batter.
- Use a wooden stick to check whether idli has swelled or not.
- Drizzle a little water over it and capsize the idli stand, to take out idli.
Key ingredients required for SambarPrime essentials:
- 4 medium-sized Tomatoes
- 250g onions
- 100g black gram (roasted)
- 2 Tbsp Fennel
- 3 Cloves
- 3 Cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp Coriander leaves
- 2 Tbsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 Tbsp Red chili powder
- 1 Tbsp sambar powder
- ½ Tbsp mustard seeds
- 2 Tbsp curry leaves
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 3-4 Tbsp Oil (Groundnut)
- Water as required (2-3 cup)
- Pour finely chopped onions and tomatoes in a pan and over a medium flame, use some oil to saute it well.
- Allow it to cool and then grind the mixture of both, to make a paste.
- In another pan, without using oil, roast spices like cloves, cinnamon, and fennel.
- Once the spices roast well, take a grinder and put all the spices, along with coconut and roasted black gram, and grind them all, to make a paste.
- Place a pan on flame and using oil, saute mustard seeds, curry leaves, and onion and tomato paste.
- Further, mix turmeric powder, sambar powder, salt, and red chilly powder in it, and saute again for 2 minutes.
- Add the paste prepared in 4th step and then, saute again.
- Pour water and boil for 5 minutes, to create a masala-rich gravy.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
Butter ChickenBelieve it or not, but this Punjabi dish has spread all around India, gaining a prominent place in most Indian kitchens. Also called Murgh Makhani, it first originated in the early 20th century, to soften the leftover tandoori chicken with tomatoes, butter, and cream. In India, still bone-in chicken is in wide trend because of the flavor preference; in abroad, boneless chicken is commonly used. It’s a very easy recipe to cook as it doesn’t require more efforts and cook within 30 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes | Calorie: 400 per 5 ounce
Key Ingredients needed for butter chickenPrime Essentials
- 1 pound boneless, or with bone, chicken thighs
- 600 grams stewed tomatoes
- Salt as per taste
- 2 sliced onions (medium size)
- 4 grated garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp grated ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 whole clove
- 2 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 Tbsp garam masala
- ½ Tbsp turmeric powder
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 2 hot variety chiles
- ½ cup yogurt
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Mix almonds, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and spices in a bowl, and stir till all the ingredients fuse well.
- Add chicken to it and use your hand to coat the chicken all around with the gravy prepared in the previous step. Marinate for an hour or two or overnight.
- Take a thick-layered pot and heat vegetable oil or ghee over medium flame. Put onion into the pot and cook for about 5-7 minutes until onion turns soft and translucent.
- Further, add garlic and ginger to it and cook for one more minute.
- Pour the marinated chicken and marinade into the pot. Simmer the chicken until it gets a white appearance.
- Add tomato puree and black cardamom pod. Turn the knob to medium and cover the pot with a lid and simmer the chicken for an additional 25 minutes, with regular stirring.
- Add butter and cream and keep stirring until both dissolves entirely.
- Add salt as per your taste and garnish with some extra cream and chopped cilantro.
The tremendous power of Indian cuisine: Overview of constitution & Health AspectThe very first thought that conjures you up about Indian food it is hot, spicy, unhealthy, fatty, greasy, and gas-causing features. Is it so? No. Myth busted! Set free the perspective that’s biased and globally accepted. From now, the thing that should emerge in your mind is that Indian foods are nourishing, wholesome, healthy, and full of spices, which have plenty of health benefits and healing powers. No, don’t listen to those crackpots who have framed such false and fabricated theories about what this vast peninsula offers. Had they been true, Indians would have extinct. But, are they? They’re over a billion and second most populous land after China.
The health aspect is such a trait that goes unnoticed by all and so, it’s important to be aware of what actually Indian foods offer.
An array of fresh vegetables and fruits fuse in together to form a variety of dish.These ingredients are cooked using traditional practices that help to retain their freshness and nutrients, unlike those processes—followed in developed countries—that pull the life out of vegetables. Indians are close to nature and so does the organic method of farming reflect in their cuisine.
- Indians don’t rely on preservatives. They always use fresh ingredients and prepare food from scratch. Unlike the trend of packaged foods that has engulfed almost all developed countries, Indians stick to the leeward side where there is still hope for consuming foods that come directly out of the soil. Majority of the population is farmers, so less comes the situation when they opt for packaged foods.
- Indians take a balanced diet as they still practice a ‘thali’ system in which a variety of dishes are prepared for lunch and dinner time. In a single thali serve, they get all the major nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fibers. The spices used in foods are laced with medicinal powers. The royal families used to have Chappan Bhog (fifty-six dishes) at one time, which is still in fashion in upper classes.
Best Indian vegan dishes
Do you also support the vegan movement and prefer to switch to food prepared without the aid of animal products? India, the country with the core of diversity, is a storehouse of innumerable vegan Indian dishes prepared without the use of animal products. We bring you some of the popular vegan dishes that add equal nutrition and give astonishing savor to your tongue in comparison to the non-vegan dishes. Have a brief insight into some of the popular vegan Indian dishes: