Indians have been eating their native cuisine for centuries—regardless of whether they lived in India or not. Today, Indian culture has left an indelible mark on the world through the foods Indians eat. The flavors of India are rich and varied, ranging from spicy to tangy to salty. Indian cuisine can be broken down into regional cuisines that each have their own unique tastes and flavors. From home-cooked dishes to restaurant staples and everything in between, Indian food is flavorful, diverse, and delicious. Let’s explore the many ways that Indians around the world express themselves through their food!
What is Indian cuisine?
Indian cuisine is a style of cooking that has a long and rich history. It originated in South Asia, where it remains immensely popular. Indian cuisine can be broken down into 4 main regions: Northern, Western, Southern, and Eastern. Each of these regions has its own distinct styles and variations, as well as a range of dishes and flavors that make it uniquely Indian. Indian cuisine is characterized by its use of spices, herbs, and vegetables. It is a reflection of the diverse cultures and people that make up modern-day India.
Varieties of Indian Cuisine
Most of Indian cuisine is made up of vegetarian dishes, although there is a growing number of Indian communities who eat meat. To this end, there are three main regional cuisines that make up the majority of Indian food. These are: North Indian Cuisine: This style of cooking is characterized by the use of a lot of spices. Food is generally eaten with naan, a type of flatbread. Common dishes include butter chicken, paneer, and Dal Makhani. South Indian Cuisine: This cuisine is known for its use of lentils and rice as staples. It is often eaten as a one-dish meal, accompanied by a side of yogurt. Common dishes include idli, vada, and dosa. Western Indian Cuisine: This cuisine is known for its use of meat, fish, and spices. It is often eaten with roti, another type of flatbread. Common dishes include tandoori chicken, prawn curry, and lamb curry.
Where is Indian food popular?
Food lovers around the world love Indian cuisine. In fact, it is considered to be the most popular cuisine in the world! This is most likely due to the fact that it is both flavorful and relatively inexpensive to make. Interestingly, the highest percentage of people who eat Indian food live in Great Britain, where it is especially popular with younger people. The second highest percentage of people who eat Indian food live in Australia. This is likely due to the high number of immigrants from India that now live there.
The Importance of Spices in Indian Cuisine
One of the most iconic things about Indian cuisine is the importance of spices. In fact, Indian cuisine wouldn’t be nearly as flavorful without them! Indian spices can be traced back for thousands of years. They were introduced to India by ancient traders and travelers—and have been used in Indian food ever since. Indian spices may vary in variety and type depending on the region of India they come from. Most Indian dishes rely heavily on some combination of the following spices:
- Cumin: This herb is often used in Indian-style curries. You can find it in a variety of dishes, including dal and other stews.
- Cardamom: This is one of the most common spices used in Indian desserts and coffee. It is also used in Indian-style curries, but not as often as cumin.
- Turmeric: This is a common ingredient in Indian-style curries, as well as in some desserts. It is often used to season meat and is a popular choice for cooking a lot of different Indian-style dishes.