If we were to send you on an Indian food sojourn, how many days would you really need to just taste all the varieties of food items that can be found in India? Difficult to comprehend, right?
India is known for its uniquely diverse food culture and the habits pertaining to it. Unlike the fine dining of the West, where the sound of clinking crockery is considered as uncivilized, Indian food culture is a loud celebration in itself. Living in India, one realizes that food is often eaten socially, in groups, to enhance the experience. This comes with reverential hospitality, associated with serving food, in Indian households.
Masala of life
Indian cuisines date back over 5000 years. Each region has its own traditions, religions, and culture that influence its food. Historically, India has always been a melting pot of several foreign cultures with flourishing trade routes and influences of Mongolian, Persian cuisine, among many others. However, the common thread that has invariably, for centuries, given Indian food its flavor and aroma is the distinct mixing of spices. The mixing of spices in the rasoi (kitchen) is as varied as the Indian people and the available foods of each region. From Indian households to local street food, from dhabas to fine dining restaurants, what binds India and its food culture are its world-famous Masalas, They of the most important part of daily life with dal, rice, curries, chutney, and achaar, all comprising different permutations and combinations.
The other ingredient which makes Indian food Indian is the ‘Desi Ghee’, a type of clarified butter, which flavors almost all food from cooked vegetables to parathas to dosa and podi (chutney). The argument with Indian mothers about the benefits of this superfood (ghee), is a spoon full of debate you can never win. Chilies, mustard seeds, gram flour, coconut, and curd are other popular ingredients present in almost all types of Indian cuisine.
Purab se Paschim
Food choice in India varies across north, south, east, and west. Every state, every city will have its own flavours and versions of the lip-smacking dishes.
From chapati and naan being preferred in the Northern states, to rice and coconut being favourites in the South, to the traditional spicy curries of Western India, to rice, milk, and seafood in the East – India has a distinct food experience with every new place you visit.
You can visit Mumbai and have a vada pav with the spicy chutney, or quench your sweet tooth with mishti doi or roshogulla in Kolkata. You can devour a plate full of Chole Bhature or chaat in Delhi, or relish the Sambar, dosa and idli in Bengaluru. You will even encounter a difference in taste and style in the different cities of the same region – that’s how vast and diverse is the canvas of Indian food. The best way to discover food and savor each regional taste is only by exploring and travelling through the local streets of Bharat.
If one ever wonders how it is that a nation with such diverse cultures, languages, regions has remained connected – the answer, in most cases, involves the Food.