Food of India
Although a number of religions exist in India, the two cultures that have
influenced Indian cooking and food habits are the Hindu and the Muslim
traditions. Each new wave of settlers brought with them their own culinary
practices. However, over time they adopted a lot of specialties and cooking
methods from the Indian cuisine and blended the two to perfection. The
Portuguese, the Persians and the British made important contributions to the
Indian food culture. It was the British who started the commercial
cultivation of tea in India.
The Hindu vegetarian tradition is widespread in India, although many Hindus
eat meat now. The Muslim tradition is most evident in the cooking of meats.
Mughlai food, kababs, rich Kormas (curries) and nargisi koftas (meatballs),
the biryani (a layered rice and meat preparation), rogan josh, and
preparations from the clay over or tandoor like tandoori rotis and tandoori
chicken are all important contributions made by Muslim settlers in India.
North Indian Food
A typical North-Indian food culture would consist of chapatis or rotis (unleavened
bread baked on a griddle) or paranthas (unleavened bread fried on a
griddle), rice and an assortment of assessories like dals, friend
vegetables, curries, curd, chutney, and pickles. For dessert one could
choose from the wide array of sweetmeats from Bengal like rasagulla,
sandesh, rasamalai and gulab-jamuns. North Indian desserts are very similar
in taste as they are derived from a milk pudding or rice base and are
usually soaked in syrup. Kheer is a form of rice pudding, shahi tukra or
bread pudding and kulfi, a nutty ice cream are other common northern
South Indian Food
South Indian food culture is largely non-greasy, roasted and steamed. Rice is the
staple diet and forms the basis of every meal. It is usually served with
sambhar, rasam (a thin soup), dry and curried vegetables and a curd
preparation called pachadi. Coconut is an important ingredient in all South
Indian food. The South Indian dosa (rice pancakes), idli (steamed rice
cakes) and vada, which is made of fermented rice and dal, are now popular
throughout the country. The popular dishes from Kerala are appams (a rice
pancake) and thick stews. Desserts from the south include the Mysore pak and
the creamy payasum.
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