The History of Indian Cuisine


The History of Indian Cuisine
Share
Indian Cuisine reflects an 8,000-year history of various groups and cultures. Indian Cuisine is known for being diverse, ancient, and steeped in tradition. India is known to be one of the largest countries in the world, but in history, it has dealt with other cultures and they have also influenced Indian Cuisine. Known to have the most varied foods it is characterised by its subtle and sophisticated use of the many vegetables, grains, fruits, and spices that grow across the country. Some of the most popular spices used in Indian Cuisine are Cloves, Ginger, Saffron, and Coriander.  One of the most central parts of Indian vibrant history is the wonderful cuisine. In Indian History, fruits and vegetables have been the foundation of Indian diets. Over time, food in India has gradually moved towards vegetarianism due to the widespread and different religions in the region.

Religious and Foreign Influences of Indian Food 

India’s culture and religious beliefs play an important part in the development of the Indian cuisine.  Vegetarianism is commonly practiced in many Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu communities. Over 80% of Indians follow the Hindu religion and its offshoots such as Jainism. Hinduism prescribes respect for life forms and has contributed to the prevalence of vegetarianism in India especially in the North. One of the main impacts on cuisine is that the main source of protein is lentils and beans as opposed to meat and fish. Cows are sacred to Hindus, milk and milk products such as vegan cottage cheese, curd, and sweets made of milk solid parts are considered auspicious and are part of the cuisine.

In 1194 AD, when the Muslim rule became established in India, Islamic influences began to reflect the cuisine. The use of meat and fish was the main difference from the Hindu cuisine. Central and West Asian cooking techniques and ingredients came about such as dates, nuts, rice, and grilling of meat into kebabs. Muslim rulers were famous for their lavish courts, great gourmets, and meal rituals and many dishes are now a part of today’s Indian heritage. The Christian tradition is as old as Christianity itself. Like the Muslims, Christians are fish and meat eaters also but developed their own cooking techniques over time. Christians have no restrictions on meat eating unlike Muslims they are prohibited from eating Pork and Hindus are Vegan.

 

Interesting Facts about popular Indian foods 

Petha 

Petha is a soft candy from North India. It is made from ash gourd vegetable. Petha is known to be as old as the Taj Mahal. If you want to eat in the city of Taj Mahal Petha is the best thing to eat in Agra. During the monument construction, 21,000 workers were bored with their daily meal compromising of only roti and dal. The emperor at the time Shan Jahan shared his concern with Ustad Isa Effendi a master architect, he wished Pir Naqshbandi Sahib for a resolution to the emperor’s worries. The story believes that during Pir’s prayers one day he went into a trance and he received the recipe of Petha from the Almighty. 500 cooks decided to make petha for the workers.

Del Bati 

The best food to eat in Rajasthan was Bati. The origin of this food is the famous Chittorgarh fort in Mewar. Bati is made from a dough of wheat dipped in ghee, it is a long-lasting food and was a great mean of survival during wars. It could be made with a few different ingredients. The invention evolved into a delight with two other items Churma and Dal.

Mysore Pak 

Mysore Pak is a sweetmeat of South India. The Mysore Pak history is traced back to the early 20th century when Nalawadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar was the king. The royal cook of the palace wanted to please his king with different food dishes. One day he made a sweet dish with the ingredients ghee, sugar, and chickpea flour. Once the king had tasted it he then asked the name of the dish and the cook invented the name “Mysore Pak”.

Dum Biryani  

The recipe of Dum Biryani is known to be as old as the Mughal history of India. Dum Biryani was a meal that was cooked for the poor people in Awadh. A huge amount of food was cooked with minimum resources in covered and sealed pots. The art of this cooking became known as “Dum”.

The impacts of climate 

The climate varies across the whole country and the different regions are characterised by distinct food habits based on what is available locally. The key difference in cuisine linked to climate is the type of cereal that is consumed. Wheat dominates in the North Indian diet, whilst the rice is a key cereal in South India. There are many different varieties of wheat bread in North India. In Northern India, it has distinct seasons summer, rainy season, and winter which brings changes in seasonal vegetables that are available, whilst in the south, it is humid and warm all year round with no major changes in the types of vegetables that are available. The most common vegetable in the South are roots, raw bananas, and leafy greens.
To understand the difference in the Indian cuisine one must try individual dishes as they all vary. Across the whole country, the traditional diet is extremely healthy, with vegetables and cereals forming the bulk of consumption. Fish and meat are eaten in very small quantities along with wheat and rice. Spices are generally used a lot of the time to ensure medicinal value such as turmeric.