Indian Cuisine“Indian food is the reflection of the heritage of its people. It represents its historical development, religious beliefs, cultural practices, and above all, its geographical attributes”
• Characterized by its aromatic, captivating fragrances and intriguing flavors• India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, and Sri Lanka were once part of the single nation of India, in Indian Subcontinent.
• North most Part of India (Highland climate), valley of Kashmir with magnificent Persian gardens and terraced lakes, brisk, cool fresh air is lured with fragrance of pine and saffron flowers. Walnuts and fruit orchards, morels and black cumin seeds grow wild, cool climate for sheep, thus lamb forms the basis of many Kashmiri dishes.• Long grain rice known as Basmati grow in the foothills of the mountain
• Northern plans, irrigated by the great rivers of Indus and Gonges, with soil extreme climate variation, fierce heat (120F) to subfreezing cold with dry chilly winds, wheat, corn, millet, barley, and innumerable variety of legumes and vegetable flourish.• Man are tall and hardy and diet rich (Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh)• Clarified butter used as cooking oil, goat, chicken are common• Bread is primary staple of the people
• On the east, plains of Bengal where Ganges flows into the Bay of Bengal. Climate is hot and human.• Both freshwater and sea fish, shellfish, coconut palms, mustard plants are common• Rice is abundant. Further northeast, cool air and seasonal rains create ideal conditions for cultivating tea (Darjeeling tea)
Great Deccan plateau lined on both sides by a chain of hills known as Ghat. Poor soil, lack of irrigation restrict agriculture. Northwest of Deccan lies Gujarat, rich soil for cotton, millet, barley, legumes, and varieties of vegetablesBread is staple, vegetarian population uses lentil purees and vegetable cooked in sesame oil are common food.
To the northwest is Maharashtra, Goa and Malabar, tropical climate and monsoon rains, wet and humid. Rice is staple, dish (white non-oily fish called Pomfret and a small transparent fish called Bombil Sabudana: made is sun-dried and sold as from latex of the wafers), variety of shellfish sego palm (prawn, shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, and mussels), banana, palm (coconut, dates)Common food: coconut and rice cooked with fish and seafood
Summary of Climate:Four seasons: dry, cool winter (Dec-Feb)Dry, hot summer (Mar-May)Southwest monsoon (June-Sept)Retreating monsoon (Oct-Nov)Cultural: Hindu 81.3%; Islam 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikhism 1.9%; others: Buddihist, Jainism, and parsis 2.5% totalReligion’s influence on people’s food and eating habits is profoundOriginated from India: Hinduism (no beef), Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism (no beef). Moslem (no pork) was brought to India 900 years ago, second largest population there in the world.Invasion of new cultural is most influential in north. Natural barriers and long distance made migration to the south slow and infrequent.Certain Hindus (Brahmins and Jains) are strict vegetarians. Meat forbidden are red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, and their productsCertain strict vegetarians won’t eat food that resembles meat, such as tomatoes, red beets, and watermelon because of their flesh like color. Neither do they use seasonings that are strong and generally associated with the cooking of meat, such as garlic and onion
Cooking styleNorth India has the most popular and refined style of cooking. Originated from Moghuls in sixteenth century. There are Turk-Mongols by origin and Moslem by religion. They admire most culture is Persian since they are influence by it on their way to India.Moghul food: lovers of nature and food life, keen sense of beauty, and a passion for elegance. Good for meat preparations and rice pilafs, delicate flavorings and superb silk sauces (often mistaken for Persian dish).Yogurt, cream, fruit and nut betters are incorporated into the food to mellow and velvetize the saucesMild but fragrant spices: cinnamon, cardamom, mace, nutmeg and clove; saffron (especially in Tandoori oven rice pilafs)
The foundation of Indian cooking rests on the flavorings of spices and herbs,not on special techniques or expensive ingredientsIt is an art than a science, highly personalized, reflecting individual tastes.Knowledge of how to use spices and herbs is the key that will unlock the secrets of the Indian cookingSome herbs and spices for aromatics, some lend coloring, others as souring agents, some give a hot taste, others thicken or tenderize a dishThe role of spices and herbs goes far beyond pleasing the palate and soothing the senses. They are medicinal properties known to ancient Indian (preventive and curative powers)Example: North Indian appetizer is always sprinkled with black salt and lemon juice, both of which are known for stimulating the appetite and increasing blood circulation.
Spices“warm” spices: generate internal body heat (recommended for cold weather). Examples: bay leaf, black cardamom, cinnamon, ginger powder, mace, nutmeg, red pepper (used often in cool climate of Kashmir). Tea is flavored by cinnamon and cardamom in cool climate.“cool” spices: take heat away from one’s system. All other spices range from very cool to moderate warm and suitable at all times in all climatesIn Plain region, ‘cool’ spices added to beverages “cool punch’ milk, almond milk, sunflower and cantaloupe seeds, fennel, cloves, and green cardamomSpices induce perspiration: hot weather Indians drink hot spice-laced tea; some spices have several properties:Saffron: orange-yellow color and a hypnotizing aroma to a dishCoriander: thicken a sauce and imparts a nutty fragranceOnions: thicken and perfume Moghul grainsTomatoes: tenderizing and souring agentsSpices all have to be cooked before use, mixed well-balance, no once dominates.
Lend Lend Lend Color Act as NotesName aroma or taste or or visual thickeners fragrance flavor appearAsafetida yes Are dried gum resins from roots of certain Iranian and Indian plants; Use as substitute for Onions for Hindu and JainsBay leaf yes Leave if cassia tree native to China, Southeast Asia, and northeastern India; for meat dishes and pilaf in Moghul cookingCardamom yes Black sees of the fruit of the cardamom plant native to south India and Sri Lanka; Green cardamom: used in dessert, sweetmeats, conserves; black cardamom: in meat and vegetable dishes, relishes, sweet pickles, pilaf in Moghul cookingCarom yes Seed of the thymol plant; flavoring vegetables, breads, and pastries, fish, pickles(lovage) of sweet and hotCinnamon yes Bark of cassia or cinnamon trees; used in Moghul pilafs (not in desserts)Clove yes Dried bud of plant Syzygium Aromaticum, native to the Molucca islands in eastern Indonesia; in meat, pilafs, and seafoodsCoriander yes yes Dried ripe fruit of the coriander plant native to Asia Minor and Southern Europe; use as sauces and gravies, and in appetizers and yogurt saladCumin yes Dried ripe fruit of the cumin plant; very important in northern and western Indian cooking; white cumin: native to Egypt and western parts of Asia Minor; uses in appetizers and yogurt salad; black cumin: grow in mountains of southeastern Iran and along the valleys of Kashmir; use in lab dishes and Moghul pilafsFennel yes Seedlike fruit of the fennel plant native to the Mediterranean region; pickles, meat, vegetables, and pilafsFenugreek yes An annual herb of the bean family native to India and Asia Minor; vegetarian cooking and pickling; dried leaves for potatoes and yams, stuffing for breads, flavoring for crackers
Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni, William Morrow and Company, Inc, New York, 1980,541pp.Nutmeg yes Dark brown shell enclosed within the mace membrane; uses in Moghul and Kashmiri cooking, vegetable preparations and relishesOnion yes Nigella, nothing in common with onion plant; uses in pickling, vegetable dishes; sprinkling on top ofseed tandoor-baked breadPaprika red From mild variety of chili pod of the plant Capsicum grown in the valleys of Kashmir; uses in Kashmiri cooking for read coloring like kabobs, kaftas and other meatPomegran Sweeti Fruit of the tropical tree native to Asia Minor and Mediterranean regions; uses in vegetables and lentilsate sh- in north Indian cooking; and in pastries sourPoppy yes White poppy seed plant native to Asia Minor (no opium); uses in meat, dish, and shellfish as thickenerseedRed hot Red chili; sun dried chili pod of the plant Capsicum; uses for hot and enhance other flavoringspepperSaffron Yes orangi Dried stigmas of flowers of the saffron plant native to Asia Minor and southern Europe; Most expensive sh- spice in the world ($2,000 per pound; takes a quarter of a million dried stigma from 75,000 flowers to yellow make a pound); uses in meat and poultry, rice, desserts, and pilafsSalt Yes alkalin Many varieties of salt; cold appetizers; relishes and cold drinks in north eTamarind Tangy Pulpy pod of the tropical plant Tamarindus Indica, native to India; in North uses in relishes, vegetable, -sour lentil and beans; in south and southwestern regions as souring agentTurmeric yes Golde A perennial tropical herb native to India; Roots are the main ingredient in curry powder; uses in n vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood; never used in dishes containing cream; most important and sacred yellow spice of Hindus and used in religious and social rituals (bride neck thread is dipped in turmeric paste; not as popular in north and northwestern region (Saffron and other coloring flowering replace it);