Indian Food -
Because India is such a huge country with a very large population, its food varies extensively from region to region. American restaurants have popularized an Indian menu that is familiar and popular to many – curries, Dal, nan, are among the favorites. Yet that is a limited palette when you think of all the possibilities. It will excite the new cook to explore foods of the various regions. We’ve listed a few ideas here to begin your exploration and invite you to share your favorites as well.
“Indians are exposed to more combinations of flavors and seasonings than perhaps anyone else in the world. Their cuisine is based on this variety which, in flavours, encompasses hot & sour, hot & nutty, sweet & hot, bitter & sour and sweet & salty, in seasonings. It stretches from the freshness and sweetness of highly aromatic curry leaves to the dark pungency of the resin asafoetida, whose earthy aroma tends to startle westerners.
All Indian food is served with either rice or bread or both. In the North it is the whole wheat breads that are commonly eaten and in the South it is plain rice. The traditional Indian bread use to be flat, baked on cast-iron griddles, rather like tortillas. The Muslims introduced ovens where sour dough and plain breads, such as ‘Naans’, could be baked. At most Indian meals, aside from the meat, vegetables, split peas and rice or bread that are served, there are also relishes, yoghurt dishes, pickles and chutneys. They round off the full cycle of flavors and textures, adding bite, pungency and often vital vitamins and minerals as well. Tandori chicken originated from this country, becoming a very popular way to cook chicken.”
Why Indian food is not just Curry -
“What an overseas Indian family eats at home is rarely the same flavour and taste to what is available in Indian restaurants. The locals’ only exposure to Indian food is through Indian restaurants and most people don’t have enough interaction with Indian families to see what is eaten on a daily basis.”