Traditional Indian cuisine has ancient roots. It was formed under the influence of many peoples, so in different regions the diet is different. The main features of Indian cuisine are the predominance of vegetarian food and the use of a large number of spices. Due to the use of vegetables, legumes, rice, seasonings, it is useful for the body.
General characteristics of the national Indian cuisine
The cuisine of India is striking in its diversity. The main products are rice, wheat, legumes, vegetables. Spices are added to any food. Hindus practically do not eat meat, preferring vegetarian dishes.
For cooking, Hindus always use all sorts of spices.
More than 80% of the population of India does not eat meat, so the local cuisine is vegetarian. Hinduism forbids eating beef because the cow is a sacred animal. But Hindus love dairy products. In some states, chicken, beef, lamb are eaten. Dishes include many vegetables, rice, beans.
The second feature of Indian cuisine is the sharpness that spices give. The most popular seasoning is curry. It includes turmeric, garlic, a mixture of cayenne pepper and chili, Indian cumin, coriander. Often cinnamon, cardamom, asafetida, cloves, saffron, nutmeg are added to dishes.
Despite the presence of spicy and fatty dishes, Indian cuisine has a positive effect on health. The secret lies in the spices that are present in the food. Cardamom contains a lot of magnesium and calcium, so it supports the heart. Cumin is good for the thyroid gland because it is rich in iodine. Coriander has a lot of vitamin P, which stimulates the work of the digestive tract.
Indian cuisine originated at the beginning of the III millennium BC It combined the culinary traditions of dozens of peoples. During the period of the Shraman movement (VIII-V centuries BC), Buddhism appeared, under the influence of which most of the population became vegetarians. During the reign of the Mughals, Islam spread in the northeast. Therefore, here people stopped eating pork. Local cuisine was replenished with new dishes: biryani rice, pilaf, sweet cream, dried fruits. With the advent of merchants from Europe, the locals learned to cook European food.
Culinary traditions in the regions are different. Hindus in northern India eat meat, fish and seafood are cooked near the Bay of Bengal. But in the rest of the territory they adhere to vegetarianism.
Indian cuisine is very different, depending on the region.
It is dominated by dishes characteristic of Central Asia. Residents of the northern states use a lot of ghee (ghee) and wheat. Food includes a large number of spices and nuts. The main seasonings are fennel, anise, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, chili. It is customary to cook food on a tandoor. Popular dishes include lamb leg (raan), baked chicken fillet (murg teak), tandoori chicken, pilaf. The most useful and healthy is the cuisine of the state of Punjab.
Most of the population adheres to vegetarianism. In the southern part of the country, Tamil cuisine prevails, which is famous for its spiciness. The basis of cooking is boiled rice, dates, yellow lentils, bananas. A lot of coconut palms grow here, so coconut is added to any food. The main spices are mustard, chili pepper, curry leaves, asafetida, fenugreek seeds, tamarind. Often eat vegetable curry (bhujaya), spicy lentil soups (rasam, sambar), dumplings with different fillings (idli).
The local cuisine is based on seafood. On the west coast, the famous delicacies bombay duck (fried or curry fish) and licorice fish (Indian salmon) appeared. In Rajasthan, it is prepared using a large amount of ghee and sesame oil, buttermilk, milk. The main ingredients are wheat, rice, lentils, sorghum, dried fruits. In Goa, they eat pork with the addition of coconut, vinegar, chili. The cuisine of maharashtra is dominated by seafood and fish, vegetables, rice, cashews, coconut, mangoes.
Indian dishes include vegetables and meat. A lot of spices are necessarily added to food, and desserts are prepared on the basis of dairy products.
In India, about 200 types of spices and their combinations are used. Common spices are curry, turmeric, black pepper, Indian cumin, garlic, ginger, saffron, cardamom, coriander. Often they are fried in a dry frying pan to fully reveal the flavor.
Indian cuisine in the northern part of the country includes many meat dishes. The main ingredient is chicken or lamb. In the state of West Bengal, beef and veal are eaten. They are served with various hot sauces and marinades.
India is a country of vegetarians, so vegetables along with rice, legumes and wheat form the basis of the diet. Potatoes, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, cauliflower, eggplants, okra are often used. Common dishes are pakora (crispy vegetables in a batter of chickpea flour), sabji (vegetable stew), stuffed vegetables with yogurt and nuts. In some states, sweets are prepared from them (carrot pudding with nuts and raisins).
Indispensable products are pressed fatty cottage cheese (paneer) and yogurt (dahi). Desserts are prepared from dairy products. Among them are kulfi, rasgulla, sandesh, pista parfi, srikhand. Ghee butter is used to roast vegetables, spices. Yogurt with mint and grated cucumber is served to the table to reduce the sharpness of the dish.
Indian chefs fry, boil or bake products. Meat or fish is often marinated in spices, fruits, yogurt to give the dish a delicate consistency and unusual aroma. Vegetables are prepared in a dry or wet way. In the first case, they are first stewed, then boiled in a small amount of water. The second method involves frying spices with vegetable oil and ghee. Later, water and thickener (yogurt, tomato puree, coconut) are added.
Nuances of submission
Food is served on a metal tray of thali, but in the southern regions large banana leaves are used. Meals include many dishes that are taken out in metal bowls (katori). Additionally, a container with cold water is placed in front of the guests to drink spicy food. Hindus eat only with the right hand, as the left hand is considered unclean. Before breakfast and between meal changes, wash your fingers in a bowl of warm water and lemon juice. At the end, they chew the panel – betel leaves, in which the seeds of fennel, spices, betel nut are wrapped.
Traditional dishes that are definitely worth trying in India
Indian cuisine is considered exotic. The most popular dish is curry from vegetables or meat. Hindus cook different types of flatbreads, meat on a tandoor, cheese in spinach sauce, lentil soup. Always a lot of spices are added to the food.
Vegetables or legumes stewed in a thick sauce are prepared in all states of India. There are many curry options that include meat, fish, seafood. First, the spices are fried, then the main ingredients are added. An unusual taste and sharpness are given by chili, fenugreek seeds, ginger, coriander. The cooking process takes about 40 minutes.
In India, different flatbreads are popular: roti, chapati, dosa, bhaturi. They are made from chickpea, rice, wheat, barley or millet flour. The dough is always covered with a towel and left for half an hour. The flatbread is fried in a heated frying pan on both sides. When bubbles appear, the product is placed in a bowl.
In India, they are very fond of flatbreads: dosa, chapati, bhaturi, roti.
Paneer Butter Masala
This is paneer in a spicy sauce, so you will need a lot of spices (fenugreek, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, chili, cumin, cinnamon). The dish is prepared from paneer, tomatoes, cream. Add ground cashews, onions, some fresh ginger and sugar. Spices are fried, tomato puree is poured. The mixture is stewed over medium heat, cream and sugar are introduced, salted. At the end, pour cashews and put a diced paneer.
This is a common Indian dish that consists of batter-fried flatbreads (puri) and spicy water (pani). It is better to cook the latter in the evening the day before baking puri. For her, the juice of half a lemon and water are mixed in a blender with fresh chili, tamarind, garlic, cumin, ginger, black pepper.
Flatbreads are made from semolina and wheat flour. Balls of dough are dipped in hot vegetable oil (150 ° C). When they inflate, the products are shifted to a napkin. Before serving in the puri make holes for the filling (potatoes with greens, boiled chickpeas). During use, they are dipped in pani.
It is a popular food in northern India. To prepare tandoori chicken, the following products are used:
- 1 chicken;
- 125 ml yogurt;
- 5 cloves of garlic;
- 3 dry chili peppers;
- 2.5 cm of fresh ginger;
- 1 tbsp. cumin, coriander;
- 2 tbsp lemon juice;
- 2 tsp. garam masala;
- salt, butter.
Chicken is well beaten. In a dry frying pan, coriander and cumin are fried (over medium heat), then ground in a mortar. To them add grated garlic, ginger, garam masala, chili, salt. At the end, squeeze lemon juice and yogurt, mix. This marinade is spread over the chicken.
Tandoori chicken is cooked mainly in the north of India.
Meat in a bowl is covered with film, sent overnight to the refrigerator. Chicken is grilled at an average temperature until brown appears. It should be soft. Meat can be baked in the oven at 180 ° C. On one side keep 15, on the other – 10 minutes.
Rogan Josh (lamb curry)
For dishes of Kashmiri cuisine, you will need lamb, yogurt, meat broth. Spices (paprika, curry, garam masala, cloves, chili, turmeric) are mixed with water (3 tbsp). Squeezed garlic is fried in oil with ginger paste. When it turns brown, pour a spicy liquid. To the spices add diced lamb, yogurt and broth. Curry is cooked for at least 1 hour.
Batter chicken (chicken in creamy tomato sauce)
One of the most common dishes of India was invented by a chef from New Delhi in the middle of the XIX century.
- 800 g chicken thighs;
- 150 ml yogurt;
- juice of half a lemon;
- 2 cloves of garlic;
- 1.5 tbsp grated ginger;
- 20 g ghee;
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil, spicy paprika;
- 1 tsp. garam masala, turmeric, tandoori masala.
Cut the meat into pieces, sprinkle with lemon juice, wipe with salt and paprika. Leave on for 20 minutes. For marinade, mix crushed garlic with ginger, vegetable oil, yogurt, spices. Add chicken to the mass, send to the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Then grill the meat, periodically greasing the ghee.
For the sauce, you will need tomatoes, yogurt, garlic, seasonings (fenugreek, cinnamon, chili, ginger, cloves). In the finished mixture, pour the crushed cashews, salt and put the meat. Simmer everything under the lid for 15 minutes on low heat.
Alu gobi (potatoes with cauliflower)
To prepare vegetable curry, the following products are used:
- potatoes – 350 g;
- cauliflower – 500 g;
- 1 can of tomatoes in its own juice;
- 1.5 liters of water;
- 1 onion;
- 4 cloves of garlic;
- 1 tsp. turmeric, chili, black cumin, mustard seeds, cumin;
- 2 tsp. ground coriander;
- 1 tbsp. crushed ginger, garam masala;
- a pinch of salt, butter.
Cabbage is divided into inflorescences, potatoes are cut into cubes. Mustard, cumin, cumin are fried in heated oil. Potatoes are added to the spices. It is slightly fried, then covered with a lid and stewed for 5 minutes, stirring. The finished cubes are transferred to another container. Cabbage is prepared in the same way.
A lot of spices are added to the stewed potatoes with cauliflower.
Chopped onions and garlic are fried for 5 minutes. Then they pour spices, salt. Add tomatoes and potatoes. Stew stew for 10 minutes, not forgetting to stir. Inflorescences are added to them, water is poured in. They languish for 5 minutes. The container is removed from the heat, the vegetables are mixed with a mixture of garam masala.
This is a black tea with milk and spices. Cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon are poured into boiled water and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Then add crushed ginger (0.5 tbsp). After 3 minutes, milk (250 ml) is poured, mixed with sugar. The drink is kept on fire for 5 minutes, 1 tsp. sugar is poured. Before serving, tea is insisted for 2-3 minutes.
To prepare lentil soup, you will need lentils, tomatoes, celery, spices (ginger root, cumin, garam masala, chili, turmeric, black pepper). Legumes are poured into boiling water, stirred constantly. Spices are fried into ghee, diced celery and tomatoes are added. Vegetables are cooked until soft, then transferred to lentils. Sprinkle with turmeric and chili.
It is a sauce based on yogurt and vegetables. According to the classic recipe, take 2 small cucumbers, remove the seeds and finely chop. Mix with a crushed bunch of mint and garlic (2 cloves). Everyone pours 150 ml of yogurt, sprinkled with coriander.
A vegetarian dish consists of meatballs that languish in a sauce. To prepare it, boiled potatoes need to be ground in a blender with paneer. From the puree, make balls, deep fry. Grind ginger and tomatoes in a blender. Fry the finished mixture in a frying pan, adding spices, and pour boiling water. Next, put the meatballs in the sauce, simmer for about 5 minutes. At the end, pour the yogurt, hold on the fire for 3-4 minutes.
For spicy tomato soup, tomato pulp without a core is used. Onions, garlic, fresh chili peppers are fried. Tomatoes are added to them. Vegetables are stewed for 5 minutes. The resulting puree is combined with vegetable broth or water. In the soup pour a little curry, salt, bring to a boil. It is cooked for up to 7 minutes.
Spicy soup-puree of boiled beans is prepared on the basis of the following components:
- 250 g mash;
- 5 tbsp. water;
- 1 onion;
- 1 sweet pepper;
- 1 tomato;
- 1 head of garlic;
- 1.5 tsp. ginger root;
- salt, pepper, spices to taste.
Soup-puree based on legumes is the main dish of Indian vegetarians.
Pour the peas with water, put on medium heat. When the liquid boils, the fire is made minimal and boiled for 30 minutes. Then add 1.5 tbsp. boiled water. Vegetables are cut into cubes, garlic and ginger are rubbed. Onions are fried, the rest of the ingredients and spices (turmeric, black pepper, garam masala) are added. The mixture is salted, stewed under a closed lid for 15 minutes. When the mash is boiled, 1.5 tbsp. water is added. Dressing is added to the soup. It is slightly beaten with a blender, cooked for 10 minutes.
Different versions of this salad are prepared on the south coast, where there is a lot of seafood. You will need 150 g of tuna meat, fresh cucumber, sweet pepper, tomato, 3 bean pods, greens. Beans are cut, boiled for about 5 minutes. All ingredients are chopped and seasoned with vegetable oil.
This dish includes paneer cheese, which is made in spinach puree (palaka). Use the following products:
- 400 g paneer;
- 600 g of fresh spinach;
- 100 ml yogurt;
- 1 onion;
- 2 medium tomatoes;
- 4 cloves of garlic;
- 15 g ginger root;
- 1 fresh chili pepper;
- 1 tsp. ground chili, turmeric, garam masala.
The cheese is fried into ghee. Tomatoes without peel, chopped garlic, onions, chili are fried separately, grated ginger is added. They are constantly mixed, later spices are added and set aside. Spinach is boiled in salted water for 2-3 minutes. To preserve the color, from the pan it is placed in cold water. Then the greens are transferred to a frying pan, salted, yogurt is poured. Beat the mixture with a blender into a homogeneous mass. The finished sauce is heated, combined with fried bread.
Cheese Garlik Naan
Indian naan flatbreads are prepared with garlic and paneer. Cheese filling is mixed with cilantro, black sesame. It is placed in the center of the cake, folding the edges to the middle and re-rolling. The product is fried on each side for about 2 minutes.
This dish of dough resembles dumplings, which are served with a spicy sauce. They can be fried, boiled, baked. To prepare momo, 2 tbsp. flour is combined with salt, vegetable oil and hot water (0.5 tbsp.). The dough is left to rest for 20-30 minutes. For the filling, rub carrots, cut cabbage and celery. Spices (asafetida, black pepper, paprika, cumin) are fried in a frying pan. Vegetables are added to them. When they are ready, put some paneer. The dough is cut and rolled out, as if on dumplings. In the center of the circle put the filling, pinching the ends. Steamed momo cook for 20-30 minutes.
The dish is very similar to Asian manti or Georgian khinkali.
Biryani rice is similar to pilaf, but unlike the latter, meat and vegetables are fried separately. In India, there are many variants of this dish with different combinations of spices, vegetables, meat or seafood. Its basis is basmati rice. Chicken or lamb is marinated in yogurt with spices (cardamom, ginger, chili, nutmeg). Later, the meat is simmered for a long time. Half-cooked rice and fried onions are laid out on it. Then simmer for about 45 minutes.
This is a traditional Indian lunch that includes several dishes. In the center place boiled rice. In separate bowls around it are served dal, sabji (stewed vegetables), raitu, palak paneer. Nearby they put chapati cakes or papadamas. Depending on the region, the set of food varies.
Street Food in India
On the streets of Indian cities offer a variety of inexpensive snacks. Tourists can try delicious samosas, dos cakes, omelets. But most street food is fried, so it’s not considered healthy.
These are large flatbreads made of rice or lentil flour. They are baked only on one side in large flat pans. In the middle put different fillings. Masala dosu (with potatoes, onions and seasonings) is often prepared. In the regions, rava dosu (dough includes semolina), cheese dosu (with paneer), egg dosu (with egg) are made. Such pancakes are sold for 0.4-0.8 dollars.
Samsa, or samosa
The most popular street food is triangular pie, deep-fried. Carrots, peas, eggs, boiled potatoes are placed in the samosu. There are sweet products with nuts and dried fruits. Their cost is about 5 rupees.
It’s a satisfying alternative to samos. Eggs are beaten with spices and fried. The mixture is placed in a bun resembling pita. Cheese, tomatoes, cabbage, onions and other vegetables are added to eggs. Everyone is poured with ketchup. Such a sandwich will cost $ 0.3 per barrel.
Delicious tomato soup is prepared everywhere, but it is made from powder. It has the consistency of a thick tomato juice with a small acid. Serve it with crispy croutons. Signor Tomato costs between $0.4 and $0.7 per barrel.
Indian dishes amaze with aroma and taste, which are obtained thanks to spices. But cooking such food is not difficult, so it can be made at home.
For this rice, you will need the following components:
- 1 tbsp. basmati rice;
- 1 kg of chicken;
- 1 onion;
- 200 ml yogurt;
- 100 g ghee;
- 5 cloves of garlic;
- 5 fruits of cardamom.
- Cumin, dried ginger and chili, nutmeg are ground with garlic and cardamom.
- 100 ml of yogurt is poured into the finished paste, meat and salt cut into large pieces are added. It is sent to marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
- Onions are fried until golden in color, then transferred to a napkin.
- The chicken with the marinade is stewed in a frying pan over low heat for 45 minutes.
- In a bowl mix 4 tbsp. ghee, remaining yogurt, 150 ml of water, salt.
- Rice is boiled until half-cooked, evenly distributed over the surface of the meat. On top, it is poured with the resulting sauce, sprinkled with onions. The ingredients are stewed for 35-40 minutes.
For its preparation, the following ingredients are used:
- 1 potato ;
- 3 eggplants;
- 2 leeks;
- 1 onion;
- 800 g tomatoes;
- 1-2 cm ginger root;
- 1 clove of garlic;
- 300 ml of vegetable broth;
- 2 tsp. curry powder;
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil;
- sea salt to taste, a pinch of cumin.
- Potatoes and leeks are thinly sliced into rings, eggplants into large cubes. Onions are finely chopped.
- Vegetable oil is poured into the pan, vegetables are fried over low heat.
- Separately, in a frying pan for 1-2 minutes, fry chopped garlic, ginger, curry seasoning. When they are browned, pour them into the vegetables.
- Everything is mixed, tomatoes are added, salted and gloved. Then pour in the broth, stew for 10 minutes.
Due to unsanitary conditions, nutrition in India can be harmful to health. Before eating, you can drink an adsorbent to avoid poisoning. It is better to buy vegetables and fruits that are easy to peel. The café chooses dishes that have undergone heat treatment. Fresh salads should be abandoned. You can not eat kulfi, dairy products, street food, because they may contain harmful bacteria.