India has a long history of culture and tradition, and yet one of the best things that we may love about the country is its cuisine. Most people have a restaurant serving Indian cuisine in their neighborhood, and it’s one place that we need to visit once a month.
Interestingly, though, with India being the seventh largest country in the world, the food and its taste varies from region to region;North Indian food is completely different from South Indian food.
The one thing that remains same is that Indian food as a whole has a traditional typical touch with a rich heritage. Here are some of the secrets of Indian food that makes it so popular around the world.
Spices are the key ingredients for the rich taste of Indian food. The right amount, proportion, and combination of spices is what makes the dishes delicious. The word “masala” is a common term in India. Each masala has different combinations of spices, and different proportions of spices and each masala are meant for certain specific dishes.
Rice is the staple food of India. The Indians have a very strong knowledge on the varieties of rice. They have a prominent idea of what rice goes well with what dish. For instance, basmati or jeera samba is used for biriyani, Idly rice is used in the making of dhosa and idly batter. Raw white rice (pacharisi or pachari) is used in the making of desserts and snacks.
The flour varies from dish to dish. Atta which is wheat flour is used to make the popular main course dish other than rice called roti or chapatti. This is basically an Indian bread. Maida is also a kind of wheat flour but is bleached and has a different texture. They are basically used in the making of naan bread whereas corn flour is used in the making of pakodas, an Indian snack.
There are different kinds of oil that are used for different kinds of dishes. The taste of a dish also relies majorly on the type of oil that is being used. For instance, sunflower oil is majorly used in the cooking of the main course dishes. Whereas, gingelly oil is used in the making of dhosa, a popular South Indian dish and coconut oil is majorly used in Kerala dishes.
Garlic and ginger
Garlic and ginger are used in most of the Indian dishes which brings in an exotic new flavor to the dish. Ginger and garlic have a rich history in India. They are not only known for their exclusive flavor but also for their medicinal values.
Hing (Asafoetida powder)
This powder is one of the many spices that are used in India. It plays a crucial role in the Indian vegetarian dishes. They are added in a small amount, but they bring in a strong mellow flavor to the dishes.
These trees are grown in almost all the Indian homes in their kitchen gardens. They are used in the seasoning of Indian dishes. The fragrance and flavor of these leaves are dominant and pleasant. It is an important medicinal herb as well.
Pulses play a vital role in Indian vegetarian dishes. All the pulses are used by Indians in various dishes. The pulses are generally used in making vegetarian curries. They are generally soaked in water or boiled before being added to the curry. This gives it a mashable consistency which is very well suited with rice or roti.
The reason why Indian dishes are delicious is that the Indians have explored the distinguishing tastes and flavors of the ingredients, and they are aware of the right pairing and proportions of the ingredients to bring out an exotic, delightful dish.
There are different kinds of rice and different kinds of oil for various dishes though the underlying taste of these ingredients is the same – all because the right pairing of ingredients makes some really good dishes.
What do Studies Say?
A group of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Jodhpur examined through 2500 Indian recipes to find out what makes Indian dishes distinct from the other cuisines. They have discovered that Indian food is delicious because there are a very few overlapping of flavors. The other cuisines always put in the ingredients of identical tastes to present a delectable dish.
Indian dishes have ingredients of different flavors, which are blended to bring out a unique yet palatable dish.