Indian Food

Spice up the Table with Indian Food

Indian food is full of a variety seasonings, vegetables and beans. Distinguished by the use of a wide array of spices and herbs, food is an integral past of India’s culture. There are a number of ways to cook Indian food and each religion, region, state and cast in Indian society has its own particular take on each dish.

Staples

The main staples of Indian food are rice and legumes, which come in a number of forms and are used for a variety of purposes. Curry is a spice that is used in almost every traditional India food dish are cooked in vegetable oil.

Spices

The most common Indian spices are chili pepper, black mustard seed, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, coriander and garam masala which consists of a powder of five or more dried spices, commonly comprising cardamom, cinnamon and clove. It is also not uncommon to find leaves in Indian food dishes. These add another layer of flavor to the dish and include bay leaves, coriander and mint. To sweeten a dish, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron and rose petals may be used.

North vs. South

Indian food can vary widely from region to region, depending on religion and even caste. In Northern Indian food, there are a lot of dairy products used such as milk, cottage cheese, butter, yogurt and wheat. Many of the gravies are dairy-based in Northern Indian food and feature paste combinations of cashew and poppy seeds, used to heighten the flavor and thicken the gravy. Even many of the sweets and desserts are milk-based in Northern Indian food. Tandoori bread and na’an, commonly ordered and used as table bread in Indian-American restaurants comes predominately from Northern India. Tandoori cooking styles also hail from the same region, with dishes such as Tandoori Chicken.

Samosas, which are common all across India, came originally from northern cuisine. Countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, which once were part of Northern and Eastern India have similar food styles due to the heavy cross-cultural influences.

In Southern India, rice is considered to be the only staple, as opposed to that in Northern India. Coconut is often infused into Southern Indian dishes more than in the north and the oils are often derived from coconuts.

Indian food from the south tends to have a heavier vegetarian emphasis than in the north. Garam masala, heavily used in the north is usually avoided in southern Indian foods.

Right is Right

Indians always eat the food with the right hand, even if a person is left-handed, it is considered a high insult to offer the left hand in greeting or to use it to eat food. This is because the left hand is reserved for ‘dirty’ jobs, such as when using the bathroom.

Indian food has grown in popularity all across the world, especially in Western nations. The United States and United Kingdom are two particular big consumers of Indian food, although it is also popular in Europe and South America.

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