Indian Cuisine. “Indian food is the reflection of the heritage of its people. It represents its historical development, religious beliefs, cultural practices, and above all, its geographical attributes”. Characterized by its aromatic, captivating fragrances and intriguing flavors
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“Indian food is the reflection of the heritage of its people. It represents its historical development, religious beliefs, cultural practices, and above all, its geographical attributes”
Great Deccan plateau lined on both sides by a chain of hills known as Ghat. Poor soil, lack of irrigation restrict agriculture. Northwest of Deccan lies Gujarat, rich soil for cotton, millet, barley, legumes, and varieties of vegetables
Bread is staple, vegetarian population uses lentil purees and vegetable cooked in sesame oil are common food.
To the northwest is Maharashtra, Goa and Malabar, tropical climate and monsoon rains, wet and humid. Rice is staple, dish (white non-oily fish called Pomfret and a small transparent fish called Bombil is sun-dried and sold as wafers), variety of shellfish (prawn, shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, and mussels), banana, palm (coconut, dates)
Common food: coconut and rice cooked with fish and seafood
Sabudana: made from latex of the sego palm
Summary of Climate: climate and monsoon rains, wet and humid. Rice is staple, dish (white non-oily fish called Pomfret and a small transparent fish called Bombil is sun-dried and sold as wafers), variety of shellfish (prawn, shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, and mussels), banana, palm (coconut, dates)
Four seasons: dry, cool winter (Dec-Feb)
Dry, hot summer (Mar-May)
Southwest monsoon (June-Sept)
Retreating monsoon (Oct-Nov)
Cultural: Hindu 81.3%; Islam 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikhism 1.9%; others: Buddihist, Jainism, and parsis 2.5% total
Religion’s influence on people’s food and eating habits is profound
Originated from India: Hinduism (no beef), Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism (no beef). Moslem (no pork) was brought to India 900 years ago, second largest population there in the world.
Invasion of new cultural is most influential in north. Natural barriers and long distance made migration to the south slow and infrequent.
Certain Hindus (Brahmins and Jains) are strict vegetarians. Meat forbidden are red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, and their products
Certain strict vegetarians won’t eat food that resembles meat, such as tomatoes, red beets, and watermelon because of their flesh like color. Neither do they use seasonings that are strong and generally associated with the cooking of meat, such as garlic and onion
North India has the most popular and refined style of cooking. Originated from Moghuls in sixteenth century. There are Turk-Mongols by origin and Moslem by religion. They admire most culture is Persian since they are influence by it on their way to India.
Moghul food: lovers of nature and food life, keen sense of beauty, and a passion for elegance. Good for meat preparations and rice pilafs, delicate flavorings and superb silk sauces (often mistaken for Persian dish).
Yogurt, cream, fruit and nut betters are incorporated into the food to mellow and velvetize the sauces
Mild but fragrant spices: cinnamon, cardamom, mace, nutmeg and clove; saffron (especially in rice pilafs)
It is an art than a science, highly personalized, reflecting individual tastes.
Knowledge of how to use spices and herbs is the key that will unlock the secrets of the Indian cooking
Some herbs and spices for aromatics, some lend coloring, others as souring agents, some give a hot taste, others thicken or tenderize a dish
The role of spices and herbs goes far beyond pleasing the palate and soothing the senses. They are medicinal properties known to ancient Indian (preventive and curative powers)
Example: North Indian appetizer is always sprinkled with black salt and lemon juice, both of which are known for stimulating the appetite and increasing blood circulation.
“warm” spices: generate internal body heat (recommended for cold weather). Examples: bay leaf, black cardamom, cinnamon, ginger powder, mace, nutmeg, red pepper (used often in cool climate of Kashmir). Tea is flavored by cinnamon and cardamom in cool climate.
“cool” spices: take heat away from one’s system. All other spices range from very cool to moderate warm and suitable at all times in all climates
In Plain region, ‘cool’ spices added to beverages “cool punch’ milk, almond milk, sunflower and cantaloupe seeds, fennel, cloves, and green cardamom
Spices induce perspiration: hot weather Indians drink hot spice-laced tea; some spices have several properties:
Saffron: orange-yellow color and a hypnotizing aroma to a dish
Coriander: thicken a sauce and imparts a nutty fragrance
Onions: thicken and perfume Moghul grains
Tomatoes: tenderizing and souring agents
Spices all have to be cooked before use, mixed well-balance, no once dominates.