The cuisine of India is characterized by the use of various spices, herbs and other vegetables grown in India and also for the widespread practice of vegetarianism across many sections of its society. Each family of Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. As a consequence, it varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse Indian subcontinent. Also, it's often "spicy", in a definitive sort-of-way.
India's religious beliefs and culture have played an influential role in the evolution of its cuisine. However, cuisine across India also evolved due to the subcontinent's large-scale cultural interactions with neighboring Persia, ancient Greece, Mongols and West Asia, making it a unique blend of various cuisines across Asia. The spice trade between India and Europe is often cited as the main catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery. The colonial period introduced European cooking styles to India adding to the flexibility and diversity of Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine has had a remarkable influence on cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia.
See also: Punjabi cuisine, Mughlai cuisine, Cuisine of Kashmir, Awadhi cuisine, Cuisine of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthani cuisine, Bhojpuri cuisine, Bihari cuisine, and Sindhi cuisine
Punjabi cuisine - Starting from the left, Gobi Aloo, Seekh Kehbab, and Beef KarahiNorth Indian cuisine is distinguished by the proportionally high use of dairy products; milk, using the "tawa" (griddle) for baking flat breads like roti and paratha, and kulcha, main courses like tandoori chicken also cook in the tandoor. Other breads like puri and bhatoora, which are deep fried in oil, are also common. Goat and lamb meats are favored ingredients of many northern Indian recipes.
The samosa is a popular North Indian snack, and now commonly found in other parts of India, Central Asia, North America, Britain, Africa and the Middle East. A common variety is filled with boiled, fried, or mashed potato. Other fillings include minced meat, cheese (paneer), mushroom (khumbi), and chick pea.
The staple food of most of North India is a variety of lentils, vegetables, and roti (wheat based bread). The varieties used and the method of preparation can vary from place to place. Popular snacks, side-dishes and drinks include pakoda, bhujiya, chaat, kachori, imarti, several types of pickles (known as achar), murabba, sharbat, aam panna and aam papad. Popular sweets are known as mithai (means sweetmeat in Hindi), such as gulab jamun, jalebi, peda, petha, rewadi, gajak, bal mithai, singori, kulfi, falooda, khaja, ras malai, gulkand, and several varieties of laddu, barfi and halwa.
Popular North India Cuisine
- Seekh Kebab
- Tandoori Chicken
- Shab Deg Kashmiri Roghan Josh
- Makki di Roti
- Sarson Ka Saag
- Murg Mussallam
- Shami Kebabs
- Punjabi Chole
- Lassi Patiala
- Navratan Korma
- Shahi Paneer
- Gobi Manchurian
- Badaam Pasanda
- Gosht Biryani
- Dal Makhani
- Apple Kheer
- Badaam Kheer
- Chocolate Burfi
- Gajar Ka Halwa
- Gol Papdi
- Kala Jamun
- Khoya Burfi
- Mootichoor Ladoo
See also: Assamese cuisine, Bengali cuisine, and Oriya cuisine
Nollen Sandesh, a popular sweet from West Bengal, India.East Indian cuisine is famous for its desserts, especially sweets such as rasagolla, chumchum, sandesh, rasabali, chhena poda, chhena gaja, chhena jalebi and kheeri. Many of the sweet dishes now popular in Northern India initially originated in the Bengal and Orissa regions. Apart from sweets, East India cuisine offers delights of posta (poppy seeds).
Traditional cuisines of Orissa, Bengal, and Assam are delicately spiced. General ingredients used in Oriya, Bengali, and Assamese curries are mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella, green chillies, cumin paste and the spice mix panch phoron or panch phutana. Mustard paste, curd, nuts, poppy seed paste and cashew paste are preferably cooked in mustard oil. Curries are classified into bata (paste), bhaja (fries), chochchoree (less spicy vapourized curries) and jhol (thin spicy curries).These are eaten with plain boiled rice or ghonto (spiced rice). Traditional breakfasts includes pantabhat or pakhaal, as well as cereals such as puffed rice or pressed rice, in milk, often with fruits. The cuisine of Bangladesh is very similar to eastern Indian cuisine, particularly that of West Bengal. Fish and shellfish are commonly consumed in the eastern part of India. The popular vegetable dishes of Orissa are Dalma and Santula. The most popular vegetable dish of Bengal is Sukto. Deep fried, shallow fried and mashed vegetables are also very popular. As in southern India, rice is the staple grain in Eastern India too. A regular meal consists of lentils, a primary non vegetarian side dish usually made of fish and a few other secondary side dishes made of vegetables.
Main article: South Indian cuisine
See Also: Cuisine of Kerala, Cuisine of Karnataka, Cuisine of Tamil Nadu, Cuisine of Goa
Idlis with coconut chutney, a well-known dish from southern India . South Indian cuisine is distinguished by a greater emphasis on rice as the staple grain, the ubiquity of sambar and rasam (also called chaaru/saaru and rasam), a variety of pickles, and the liberal use of coconut and particularly coconut oil and curry leaves. Curries called Kozhambu are also popular and are typically vegetable stews cooked with spices, tamarind and other ingredients. The dosa, poori, idli, vada, bonda and bajji are typical South Indian favorites. These are generally consumed as part of breakfast. Other popular dishes include Kesaribath, Upma/Uppittu, Bisibele Bath, Rice Bath, Tomato Bath, Pongal, Poori & Saagu, Pulao, Puliyogarai and Thengai Sadham. Hyderabadi biryani, a popular type of biryani, reflects the diversity of south Indian cuisine.South Indian cuisine obtains its distinct flavours by the use of tamarind, coconut, lentils, and a variety of vegetables.Udupi cuisine is a popular cuisine of South India.
Andhra, Chettinad, Tamil, Hyderabadi, Mangalorean, and Kerala cuisines each have distinct tastes and methods of cooking . In fact each of the South Indian states has a different way of preparing sambar; a connoisseur of South Indian food will very easily tell the difference between sambar from Kerala, sambar from Tamil cuisine, Sambaru from Karnataka and pappu chaaru in Andhra cuisine. Some popular dishes include the Biriyani, Ghee Rice with meat curry, seafood (prawns, mussels, mackerel) and paper thin Pathiris from Malabar area.
See also: Goan cuisine, Maharashtrian cuisine, Saraswat cuisine, and Gujarati cuisine
Ragada in a pani puri, a popular snack from Mumbai.Western Indian cuisine has three major regions: Gujarati, Maharashtrian and Goan. Maharashtrian cuisine has mainly two sections defined by the geographical sections. The coastal regions, geographically similar to Goa depend more on rice, coconut, and fish. The hilly regions of the Western Ghats and Deccan plateau regions use groundnut in place of coconut and depend more on jowar (sorghum) and bajra (millet) as staples. On various special occasions sweets like pooran poli, shrikhand, modak etc. are prepared. Maharashtrian fast food includes one of the most popular dishes called Pav Bhaji. For breakfast Maharashtrians eat various preparations of rice flakes called Pohe. It is becoming popular in Indian restaurants all around the world. Saraswat cuisine forms an important part of coastal Konkani Indian cuisine. Gujarati cuisine is predominantly vegetarian. Many Gujarati dishes have a hint of sweetness due to use of sugar or brown sugar or gur (also called as jaggery). Goan cuisine is influenced by the Portuguese colonization of Goa. Use of Kokum, triphala is a unique feature of Goan and Konkani cuisine.
A vegetarian thali. Gujarati cuisine offers a wide range of vegetarian delicacies because Hinduism, practiced by majority of Gujarat's populace, encourages vegetarian diet. North Eastern
See also: Naga cuisine, Sikkimese cuisine, and Tripuri cuisine
Assamese cooking is chiefly based on fish and rice.In Arunachal Pradesh, people here generally take non-vegetarian diets. Apong is famous local Arunachali drink made from rice and millet.Uti (lentil cooked with edible soda for flavor), hawwai jar (fermented soya beans), otonga (fermented fish), and ngari (dried fish) are some of the most popular delicacies in Manipuri cuisine. Ushoi (fresh bamboo shoots) is a unique fermented Manipuri dish. There is a variety of boiled and fermented type of dishes in Manipuri culture, although there is good variety of fried dishes also. The iromba is another popular fermented dish made from fish, vegetables and bamboo shoots.
Jadoh — a spicy dish of rice and pork — is one of the most popular dishes in the Indian state of Meghalaya. Kyat, a local brew made from rice, is an integral part of most local Meghalayan celebrations.Zu is a popular tea-based drink from Meghalaya. Sikkimese specialties include the Tibetan thupka and momos.