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Indian Traditional Food

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    The traditional food of India has been widely appreciated for its fabulous use of herbs and spices. Indian cuisine is known for its large assortment of dishes. The cooking style varies from region to region. India is quite famous for its diverse multi cuisine available in a large number of restaurants and hotel resorts, which is reminiscent of unity in diversity. The staple food in India includes wheat, rice and pulses with chana (Bengal Gram) being the most important one. To know more about the Indian traditional food, read on.

    Indian cuisine is characterized by the use of various spices, herbs and other vegetables, and sometimes fruits grown in India and also for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society. Each family of Indian cuisine includes a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. As a consequence, it varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically-diverse Indian subcontinent. India’s religious beliefs and culture have played an influential role in the evolution of its cuisine. However, cuisine across India also evolved as a result of the subcontinent’s large-scale cultural interactions with ancient Greece, Persia, Mongols, and West Asia, making it a unique blend of various cuisines. The spice trade between India and Europe is often cited as the main catalyst for Europe’s Age of Discovery. The colonial period introduced European cooking styles to India, adding to the flexibility and diversity of Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine has influenced cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia.

    Maharashtrian (or Marathi) cuisine : is cuisine of the Marathi people, those from the state of Maharashtra in India. Maharashtrian cuisine covers a range from being mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar, vegetables, lentils and fruit form important components of Maharashtrian diet. Popular dishes include puran poli, ukdiche Modak and batata wada. Staple dishes : The staple dishes of Maharashtrian cuisine are based on bread and rice: * Ghadichi Poli or chapati – unleavened flat bread made of wheat, more common in urban areas. Bhakri – bread made from millets like jowar and bajra, form part of daily food in rural areas. The bhaaji is a vegetarian dish made from a vegetable, with Goda masala essentially consisting of some combination of onion, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, green chillies and mustard. A particular variant of bhaaji is the rassa. Vegetarians prepare rassa or curry of potatoes and or caulifower with tomatoes or fresh coconut kernel and plenty of water to produce a more fluid behaviour than bhaaji. Varan is nothing but plain dal, a common Indian lentil stew.

    Aamti is variant of the curry, typically consisting of a lentil (tur) stock, flavored with goda masala, tamarind or amshul, jaggery (gul) and in some cases coconut as well. One of the masalas that gives Maharashtrian cuisine its authentic flavor is the goda (sweet) masala or kalaa (black) masala. Non-vegetarian dishes mainly use chicken, mutton (mainly goat), fish and other seafood. The Kolhapuri taambda rassa (red curry) and pandhra rassa (white curry) of chicken and mutton from the southern city of Kolhapur and the varhadi rassa or (varhadi chicken curry) from the Vidarbha region are especially well known throughout Maharashtra.

    The coastal regions of Konkan are more famous for the fish and seafood dishes. A typical lunch or dinner usually starts with Poli (bread), accompanied by one or more bhaaji(s) (vegetable) and a koshimbir (salad) along with some side (usually pickles). This is usually followed by a second course of varan, aamti or rassa with rice. As with most of Indian cuisine however, each region has its own quirks, preferences and variations of the above general format. Koshimbir is very common and healthy addition to the plate. Typically made from raw vegetables mixed with yogurt and ground roasted peanuts Danyache Kut.

    Raitas made with different types of vegetables such as cucumber or carrots are variants of koshimbir. The plate (thali) served has a specific place for each food item served. The bhaaji is served in the plate on the right hand side while the chutney, koshimbir are served from left going up the periphery of the circular plate. The papad, bhaji are served below the koshimbir with the rice and poli served at the bottom of the circle closed to the diner’s hand. The puran is served at the top in the inner concentric circle. The amti, rassa is served in separate bowls placed on right hand side of the diner.

    Water is placed on the left hand side. It is considered ill mannered to use left hand while eating Gujarati Food The traditional Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian and has a high nutritional value. The typical Gujarati thali consists of varied kinds of lip smacking dishes. Gujarati cuisine has so much to offer and each dish has an absolutely different cooking style. Some of the dishes are stir fry, while others are boiled. Gujarati food is more often served on a silver platter. Gujaratis use a combination of different spices and flavors to cook their meals and this is what makes their food truly exotic.

    The traditional Gujarati thali mostly encompasses rotli, dal or kadhi, sabzi also known as shaak and rice. People in Gujarat eat one or the other type of curry along with rice and roti in almost every meal Gujarati dishes usually have a very subtle taste that makes it truly distinct from other Indian cuisines. Lot of emphasis is laid on maintaining hygiene while cooking. Most of the Gujarati dishes are sweet, while others have a quite larger concentration of sugar as compared to salt and spices. Sometimes, jaggery is used as an alternative to sugar. Gujarati food is highly energy efficient and thus do not cause much of fuel wastage.

    The staple food of Gujarat consists of homemade pickles, chhaas (buttermilk), salad etc. main course includes vegetables which are usually steamed and dal. Vaghaar is a blend of spices, which is purified in hot oil and then added to the dal. To prevent the body from becoming dehydrated, lot of salt, sugar, tomato and lemon is used. Gujarati cuisine differs from season to season depending on the availability of vegetables. People in the urban areas are starting some new eating trends. In the summer season, spices such as black pepper and its constituent spices are used in lesser quantities.

    People fast on a regular basis and limit their diet to milk, nuts and dried fruits. In the modern era, more and more youngsters have started developing taste for oily spicy food. Even, the modern chefs are coming up with fusion food concept by combining Gujrati food and Western food. Desserts, which were in the ancient times offered only on festivity or some special occasions, have now found their way in the daily meals. Popular Gujarati Dishes Sweets •Basundi •Ghari Ghebar or Ghevar •Halvasan •Keri no ras •Malpua •Puran Poli •Shrikhand •Sutarfeni Diwali Special Snacks •Cholafali •Ghooghra •Mathia Soonvali Farsan (Snacks) •Daal Dhokli •Dhokla •Fafda •Farsi Falafel •Ganthia •Hahdwoh •Kachori •Khakhra •Khaman •Khaman Dhokla •Khandvi •Khichu •Lilva Kachori •Muthia •Sev Khamani Shaak and Daal: Vegetables and Curries •Meethi (Sweet) Kadhi •Sev Tameta nu Shak •Undhiyun Breads •Bajri no rotlo •Bhakhri •Dhebara •Thepala Bengali Food Bengali cuisine is appreciated for its fabulous use of panchphoron, a term used to refer to the five essential spices, namely mustard, fenugreek seed, cumin seed, aniseed, and black cumin seed. The specialty of Bengali food lies in the perfect blend of sweet and spicy flavors.

    For Bengalis, food is one of the most essential aspects of their day to day lives. Ladies spend lot of time in the kitchen cooking delicious feast for the family. The staple food of people in Bengal is rice and fish. A typical Bengali needs to have fish in every meal; otherwise there is a feeling that the meal is incomplete. There is an ample stock of fish in every household, because fish is cooked frequently, almost on a daily basis. Even the Brahmin Bengalis relish fish. Fish is a part of every festivity celebration. To lend a distinctive flavor to the fish, it is deep fried in mustard oil and then cooked in gravy.

    Most of the cooking is done using mustard oil. Traditional Bengali food always ends up with mishti and sweet curd. Bengali food is famous for its mithais (sweets). The origin of typical Bengali sweets can be traced back in the traditional household kitchens. The most popular Bengali mithai is rasogolla, which is enjoyed by people all over the country. When it comes to cooking fish, there are unlimited options. You can either fry, or cook it with gravy. Some Bengalis prefer eating steamed fish to avoid the intake of extra calories. Another great option is to saute the fish with curd.

    The fish market in Bengal is always stocked with wide varieties of fish, the popular ones being salmon, hilsa, bhekti, magur, carp, rui and prawns. To fully relish their meal, Bengalis eat the food with their fingers. It is indeed quite exigent to find authentic Bengali dishes outside the Bengali kitchen. Popular Bengali Sweets •Chum Chum •Pantua •Pitha •Rasgulla •Sandesh Popular Bengali Snacks •Muri •Jhal-Muri •Moa South Indian Food The cuisine of South India is known for its light, low calorie appetizing dishes. The traditional food of South India is mainly rice based.

    The cuisine is famous for its wonderful mixing of rice and lentils to prepare yummy lip smacking dosas, vadas, idlis and uttapams. South Indian dishes are not just delicious, but also very easily digestible. The best part is that South Indians do not use much of oil for cooking their meals. Sambhar is like a must in the main course. It is usually a companion to most of the food items then be it idli, vada or dosa. Most of the South Indian dishes consist of sambhar, rasam, vegetable curry and pachadi (yogurt). When it comes to rice preparations, South Indians are real experts.

    Their lemon rice is savored and appreciated by almost all the people. Other preparations of rice include coconut rice, carrot rice and fried rice made by using coconut, curry leaves, urad dal, tamarind, peanuts, chilies, and fenugreek seeds. South Indian chutneys are well liked by people. Infact, chutney, especially the one made from coconut, is the major attraction for many people to visit a restaurant that specializes in South Indian cuisine. The main ingredients for preparing varied chutneys are coconut, peanuts, dal, tamarind, fenugreek seeds, and cilantro.

    Dals cooked in the South Indian style are also quite different from that of North Indian preparation. They are more soupy in comparison to the dals cooked in the North Indian style. The cuisine of South India is hotter than the North Indian cuisine. South Indians do not make much use of garam Masala and other dried spices. However, turmeric, black pepper and cardamom are an exception. For the cuisine of South India, it can be said that it is a perfect blend of flavor, color and taste and also takes care of the nutritional balance. Even, the visual appeal of the South Indian dishes is quite alluring.

    South Indians usually prefer drinking coffee after having their meals. Well, coffee has become a popular beverage in the entire country. Coconut milk is also quite common in South India. South Indian cuisine consists of the cuisine of four states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. All the four cuisines have lot many things in common; however, they differ in terms of the spice content in their food preparations. Andhra Food Andhra food is the spiciest and the hottest of all the South Indian cuisines. There is a liberal use of oil, tamarind and chilli powder (Guntur).

    An interesting thing is that though Hyderabad is the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, its cuisine is absolutely distinct from that of Andhra cuisine. Popular Vegetarian Food: Pesarattu, gongura, pulihora, avakkai (cut raw mango) pickle Popular Non-vegetarian Food: Kodi iguru(fry), Kodi pulusu(gravy), Chepa pulusu etc Karnataka Food In Karnataka, lunch is mostly served on a plantain leaf. There is a higher percentage of vegetarians in Karnataka; therefore, their cuisine mainly consists of vegetarian dishes. The food of Karnataka is the mildest of all. Here, the use of chilli powder is done sparingly.

    They make a liberal use of palm sugar or brown sugar. Udupi food forms part of the cuisine of Karnataka. Popular dishes: Ragi rotti, Akki rotti, Khara Bisi bele bath, Kesari Bath, Vangi Bath, Saaru, Bath, Davanagere Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde, and Uppittu. In South Karnataka, Rava Idli, Mysore Masala Dosa and Medhu Vada are extremely popular. Among the sweet dishes, Karnataka is well known for its wonderful preparation of Mysore Pak, Dharwad pedha, Pheni, Chiroti. Kerala Food Kerala cuisine mainly consists of coconut based foodstuff. Since, Kerala is the chief exporter of coconut; therefore coconut is used liberally over here.

    Kerala is a place well known for its beautiful backwaters and thus, this place is a paradise for seafood lovers. There is an abundance of seafood specialties. Popular Vegetarian Food: Aviyal, olan, Popular Non-vegetarian Food: Shrimp coconut curry, fish poriyal Tamil Food The cuisine of Tamilnadu consists of plenty of mouthwatering vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. Tamilnadu has a lot to offer, when it comes to food. Popular Vegetarian Food: Idli, sambar, rasam, vada, thayir sadam (yogurt rice), thayir vadai, murukku, kootu, poriyal, uthappam, appalam and papadum and thayir pachadi

    Popular Non-vegetarian Food:, Chettinad pepper chicken and karuvadu kozhumu (dried preserved fish flavored curry) Punjabi cuisine can be non-vegetarian or completely vegetarian. One of the main features of Punjabi cuisine is its diverse range of dishes. Home cooked and restaurant Punjabi cuisine can vary significantly, with restaurant style using large amounts of clarified butter, known locally as ghee, with liberal amounts of butter and cream with home cooked concentrating on mainly upon preparations with Whole Wheat, Rice and other ingredients flavored with masalas (spices).

    Roh Di Kheer, is cooked using rice. Rice is cooked for a long time in sugar cane juice. Within the area itself, there are different preferences. People in the area of Amritsar prefer stuffed parathas and milk products. In fact, the area is well known for quality of its milk products. There are certain dishes which are exclusive to Punjab, such as Mah Di Dal and Saron Da Saag (Sarson Ka Saag). The food is tailor-made for the Punjabi lifestyle in which most of the rural folk burn up a lot of calories while working in the fields.

    The main masala in a Punjabi dish consists of onion, garlic and ginger. Tandoori food is a Punjabi speciality especially for non-veg dishes. Many of the most popular elements of Anglo-Indian cuisine – such as Tandoor, Naan, Pakoras and vegetable dishes with paneer – derive from the Punjab. Typical dishes Meat (Standard English) or Non-Vegetarian (Indian English * Chicken – Tandoori Chicken, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka, etc. * Lamb – Rogan Josh, Bhuna Ghosht, Kadhai Ghost, Raan Gosht, Dal Gosht, Saag Gosht, Nihari Gosht, Rara Gosht, Paye da Shorba, etc. Beef – Nihari Beef, Beef Pasanda, Kadhai Beef, etc (especially popular in West Punjab). * Fish – These are all Freshwater fish dishes like Amritsari Fish, Tandoori Fish, Fish Tikka, Fish Pakora, etc. * Kebabs – Various Lamb, Chicken and Beef Kebabs. * Biryanis – Chicken Biryani and Lamb Biryani. * Keema Naans – Chicken mince and Lamb mince stuffed Naans. * Pickles – Lamb Pickle and vegetable Pickle. Vegetarian Pulse, bean and / or lentil preparations: * Sarron Da Saag(a dish prepared from green mustard leaves and stem with Makki Roti(bread made by flour of Corn. Mushroom & Beans Sabzi * Dal makhani/Dal HandiPulses with butter. * Rajma (Red kidney bean) and Rice * Dal Amritsari * Rongi (Black eyed bean) * Choley (eaten with Naan or Kulcha) * Punj ratani dal A 5 lentil dish; the lentils are soaked for at least 8 hours and then cooked in a tandoor along with ginger, garlic, garam masala, tomato or dried mango. Other vegetarian dishes * Kadhi Pakora(Traditional curry with Pakoras) and Rice Kadhi(Curry) is made by cooking gramflour with curd or buttermilk. Fried lumps(Pakoras) of gramflour with salt,chillies are also added.

    It is eaten with Rice. * Kadhai Paneer * Shahi Paneer Cheese is prepared in water with spices. * Phirni * Jalebi * Malpua. : * Sheer korma (also called Seviyan) * Pakoras * Samosas Rajasthani Food The cuisine of Rajasthan is primarily vegetarian and offers a fabulous variety of mouthwatering dishes. The spice content is quite high in comparison to other Indian cuisines, but the food is absolutely scrumptious. Rajasthanis use ghee for cooking most of the dishes. Rajasthani food is well known for its spicy curries and delicious sweets.

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