The attractive, intensely brilliantly colored world of Indian foods found an ever-increasing fan base all around the world right after travellers began to travel via India during the 1960s and ’70s. Nowadays, many thanks to greater immigration, Indian food is seen all across the world and we have a increasing appreciation for its numerous regional variations.
Every region of India has its very own style of cooking and unique flavours. The North is regarded for its tandoori and korma dishes; the South is famous for very hot and spicy foods; the East specialises in chilli curries; and the West uses coconut and seafoods, whereas the Central part of India is a combination of all. As the vast majority of India’s population practices Hinduism, vegetarianism is widespread across the continent, but Hindu food habits also differ according to regional cultures.
In the Ganges, a meal generally consists of plain rice, accompanied by vegetables sautéed with spices, dhal (a blend of pulses), unleavened bread and a sweet. Bengali cuisine is regarded somewhat more sophisticated and refined, being the only location in India in which meals are served in different courses.
In the south, where rice is the staple, it is consumed in many forms, such as thin crepes known as dosai or steamed to form idli.
Goans are known for their usage of vinegar and fiery chillies, with the hot curry known as vindaloo hailing from this region. The name, on the other hand, actually came about from the Portuguese words for vinegar and garlic.
Spices are undoubtedly the foundation of Indian cooking and are extensively cultivated according to region. For example, cardomom, cloves and peppers are harvested mainly in the south, while chillies and turmeric come mainly from Rajasthan, Kashmir and Gujarat.
The period of British colonial rule left its mark on the food of India and the blending of eastern spices into western food that began at that time has endured to this day. Examples include kedgeree (a rice and lentil breakfast dish), mulligatawny (“pepper water”) soup and the ubiquitous curry. Curry is a catch-all term used originally by the Raj to refer to any sauced dish of spicy meat, fish or vegetables and is probably an adaption of the Tamil word kari, meaning “sauce”.