Indian Cuisine in Brief

Indian cuisine refers to the food items prepared in India. India is a country with around 500 language and 6 Region and the cuisine differs from one region to another as we go. The main variation in Indian cuisine is due to invasion , trade and colonialism. The distinguish feature of Indian cuisine is use of Herbs and spices . spices are either used as whole , ground  or in Roasted form. The spices create flavour and gives aroma to the dishes. The food items are spicy , sour , sweet , hot or all at same time. Indian recipes are little harder to cook due to the spices used. It uses upto 10/15 spices at a time. Indian cuisine has a very rich history dating back to thousand years.  Around 80 % Indian are Hindu so beef is not consumed and banned. There are lot of vegeterian resulting it the number one country in consuming dairy products. Varieties of legumes are used in Indian cuisine and Rice is a staple food found almost in all region. The Indian cuisine is dependent on curries which is gravy like sauce available with different food commodities. Indian Cuisine is simple but the spices used are complex   sometimes more than 30 spices are used in a single dishes. Indian eat three times a day. 



INFLUENCE ON INDIAN CUISINE

Indian cuisine is influenced mainly due to invasion, trade and colonialism. We will see influence of Mongolians, British , Persian , Chinese and Portuguese as we go in different regions. Indian spices were traded to Europe and Arab which increased the use throughout country. Similarly, Portuguese bought tomato , potato and chilly which we still see used on almost all curries and gravy. The mughal conquerors infused Indian cuisine with Persian flavours example- use of cream and butter in curries , biryani , samosas , pulao . The British introduced soup and Teas, curry powder. Indian cuisine varies in every region as we go but beef is not consumed as cattles are believed sacred and Muslim don't eat pork believing it to be unclean.


INDIAN COOKING TECHNIQUES

Indian cuisine taste is a result of various cooking techniques used . Indian cuisine uses variety of cooking techniques to create perfectness in a dish. Some common Indian cooking techniques are :-

1. Tandoor cooking 
2. Frying ( Talna )
3. Tempering ( Tadka/Baghar)
4. Roasting ( Bhunana )
5. Smoking ( Dhaundar )
6. Steaming ( Dum )
7. Deep frying ( Tarna)
8. Bhunao ( sauteing + stir frying )
9. Tawa


Tandoor cooking is a North Indian cooking technique where food item are cooked in tandoor clay. The food items are marinated before coming in tandoor.

Tempering is done to bloom spices. This will add flavour to Vegetables and daal. Oil and whole spices are added and let to sizzle . The tempering technique varies for example tempering is done at first in vegetables while at last for daal. Ghee/oil is heated to a smoking point and then, ingredients are added after reducing heat.

Frying is also Technique used in Indian cooking. The food items are either shallow fried or deep fried . Usually onion are fried till golden brown colour. Deep frying is known as Tarna. Frying is done in kadhai or wok. Even frying can be done to bulk volume good.

Roasting is usually used to create thick spice paste by stirring in medium heat. Usually ground spices , GG paste and tomato are sauted till oil separates and float.

Steaming also dum cooking technique is used by heating in heavy bottom pot with closed lid in slow heat. A little water is added to cook on its steam. Food are cooked in handi , covered with lid and sealed with atta(dough) to capture moisture within food. Meaning of dum is to mature dish or to steam the dish

Smoking is a North Indian technique where smoked is trapped in food. Usually a bowl is added in food with charcoal on pot . Ghee is added on charcoal , now the pot is covered with lid. It is known as dhaundar . Glowing charcoal is placed in bowl and cook meat are placed around it. Dry spices and ghee are poured in top of coals and lid is closed.

Handi : This type of cooking is done in thick bottom pan so that food doesn't stick or burn. The lid helps to retain aroma and flavor. Both bhunao and dum are aspect of handi cooking.

Kadhai : it is quick cooking and no water is used in this style of Cooking. The major ingredients are cooked in natural juice releasing from tomatoes and meat in the dish is constantly stirred in kadhai untill cooked.

Tawa : It is thicker version of household griddle which is used to cook food very fast 




HERBS AND SPICES USED 

Some herbs and spices used in Indian cuisine are Turmeric, garlic , ginger , cumin , coriander , cardamom , fennel seeds , Nutmeg, Asafoetida, curry leaves , Bay leaves, cloves , garam masala , cinnamon , amchur powder, Mustard seed e.t.c

VARIOUS WAYS OF USING THE HERBS AND  SPICES 

There are many ways in which spices are used in Indian cuisine. 

1. Dry roasting : it is done in the case of seed spices such as cumin , corriander, fennel , mustard, poppy seed to bring out full flavour of seeds and to expel the moisture, that helps to grind then in powder.

2. Frying in oil : whole spices are usually fried in oil or ghee. There is volatile oil present in spices that brings out real flavour of the spices when they come in contact with warm oil. 

3. Grinding : spices contain moisture so it becomes difficult to crush them to powder. It is advisable to broil the spices on low heat to expel moisture without the loss flavours . 

4. Grating : spices like nutmeg , ginger are grated before use

5. Shredding : fresh spices are mostly chopped before being used in cooking. Example , curry powder, fresh coriander leaf  

6. Infusing : Few spices are infused in warm liquid before use example ; saffron , Tamarind e.t.c

COOKING EQUIPMENTS USED 

The cooking equipment used varies in Indian cuisine  which includes - Charni , jhara ,  masala box , colander , Degchi , spice grinder , pressure cooker , chimta , Tawa , kadhai , belna chakla , deurre ( saucepan ), daadu e.t.c 

INDIAN SWEETS

Sweets are also known as mithai. Indian are very fond of sweets. It is very common to see sweet shops crowded in India. There are very wide ranges of sweet available. They are part of celebration and happiness. When ever something good happens, they shared sweet. The sweets varies in colour , shape , ingredients used and mainly made of Milk, sugar , condensed milk . Indian sweet are much heavier and sweeter. Some Indian sweets are :-

1. Rasgulla : It is very popular sweet in India made of cottage cheese and sweet syrup. Rasgulla is very popular in Bengal bl. The chhena are made in ball shaped dumpling which are then cooked in light syrup 

2. Rasmalai : They are sugary white dessert. The word rasmalai meant juicy cream. 

3. Phirnee : phirnee are consumed during summer. They are made of soaked rice which is grounded to paste and then added in milk. The milk is usually sweeter and cooked till thickened. 

4. Laddu : Laddu is small ball shape dessert . The world Laddu comes from ladduka. It is usually made of flour and sugar usually of gram flour. The flour and sugar are cooked in ghee / oil and made ball shaped. 


5. Gulab jamun : khoya is rolled in ball and fried at lower temperature which is then dipped in sugar syrup. The sugar syrup is flavoured with cardamom seed and saffron


6. Chum chum : chum chum is garnished by coconut flakes . The ingredients in chum chum are flour , cream , sugar saffron . It is Bengali sweet 

7. Kheer : It is rice pudding and popular in India

8. Barfi : Barfi is available with various name like kaju Barfi , saffron Barfi , pists Barfi , almond barfi . It is always covered with metallic leaf which is edible and also known as vark


9. Batica : To prepare Batica a batter is prepared of grated coconut, sugar , butter, egg . The batter is kept overnight , poured in baking dish and baked.

10. Kulfi : It is a frozen dairy dessert . Kulfi can be easily differentiated from ice-cream as it is denser and  creamier. 

11. Basundi : It is Indian dessert made of milk. The milk is reduced to half while boiling and sugar is added. Basundi is served chilled and garnished with slice of almond or posts. It is very popular in Gujarat and Maharashtra. 

12. Badushahs : Ap flour , ghee and baking soda are made into stiff dough. It is fried in ghee and dipped in sugar syrup. 

13. Balushahis : It is made of Ap flour which is deep fried in butter and dipped in sugar syrup. 

14. Jalebi : 



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