Indian Cuisine

Biryani is meat mixed with orange-colored rice and
seasoned with dry fruits and nuts
Photo by: snowpea&bokchoi, Creative Commons

Indian cuisine is world-famous for its abundant use of spices and herbs, which create a unique, aromatic eating experience for the eaters everywhere. Indians also use a variety of cooking techniques to perfectly blend meats, vegetables, sweeteners, and seasonings. When it comes to seasoning, what Westerners call as “curry” is actually a collective term for the 25 or more spices that are usually included in the Indian diet.

Basic dishes in India are made of vegetables, fish, chicken, lamb and pork—served with rice in the North and roti in the South. The Dahl, a dish made of stewed lentils, is the most common of all Indian food items with a total of 57 varieties available throughout India. Considered part of Mughal cuisine, Tandoori refers to food that has been marinated in a mixture of yogurts and spices before cooking. One of its most ordered variants is the Tandoori Chicken, which is completely coated with flavor and is less oily than other chicken dishes. Also a Mughal dish, the subtly spiced Biryani is meat mixed with orange-colored rice and seasoned with dry fruits and nuts.

As India is a large and culturally diverse country, its regions tend to have their own specialty dishes. In Northern India, the curried red lamb dish Rogan Josh is a favorite among locals and foreigners. Kashmir in North India also boasts of Guntaba, which are spiced meatballs cooked in yogurt sauce. Chicken Mahanwala is a Northern specialty that is cooked in tasty butter sauce. The North also boasts of Kababs, which are either skewered (Sikka) or wrapped (Shami). In Western India where fish and seafood are bountiful, Pomfret and Bombay Duck are some of the commonly eaten fishes. Goa and Bombay in the West are also famous for their fruit ice creams, yogurts and fruit juices. In Southern India where most of the population is vegetarian, the specialties are vegetable dishes cooked in mustard oil and served with rice.

Rice is the staple food of Indians, especially among those in the South. Known as the finest long-grained rice in the country, the popular Indian Basmati is grown in the Dehra Dun Valley and has a delightful “bas” or sweet smell. For Indians in the north part of India, rice is substituted with bread called Roti.

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