Indian cuisine has a rich and varied history that has evolved from time immemorial. India is a land of strong religious and spiritual beliefs and so strong are these beliefs and the value systems attached to it that it has influenced and affected the India’s culinary history itself.
Food in India is considered sacred as it is with many other cultures. It is believed that nourishment not only supports the body but also plays it part in soothing the mind and spirit. Thus there is a belief that food should always be consumed in its freshest form and should be pure, natural and balanced. Food had thus come to play the role of natural remedies too and is still considered and prescribed by grandmothers and mothers for any common aliments.
Indian cuisine has at its core the approach of balancing the six tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent and astringent. It is believed that the food that a man eats affects his mood, his temperament, intellect and character. Thus in the ancient days, each section of the society, from the kings, soldiers, merchants to the lower class workers like sweepers and cleaner had a diet assigned to them. This knowledge is found in the Indian Vedas themselves, which are one of the holy scriptures of India.
The culinary history of India had become rich and varied through the new and exotic preparations and recipes that new rulers and invaders often brought along with them and as they settled down to make India their home, their cuisine and food became an intrinsic part of the mainstay Indian culinary history. Arabic, Chinese, Mongolian and Persian cuisines all have left a mark and given a part of their taste and appeal to Indian cuisine.
Even most of the ingredients used in Indian cooking, especially haldi (turmeric) and tulsi (holy basil) have anti inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-toxic, anti-oxidant and even anti carcinogenic properties. Cumin, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, poppy seeds and the entire medley of spices that complete an Indian kitchen each have a specific medicinal property of its own and is often used separately for ailments like common cold, headaches, cuts, burns, stomach aches, indigestion and stomach problems.
Indian cuisine varies so greatly from one end of the nation to the other, east to west or north to south; that one may as well think that he/she has reached a different country. From spicy to sour food to simple and flavorful, Indian cuisine is full of surprises and never fails to delight and captivate the olfactory senses of even the most finicky eaters and fussy diners. So go ahead and cook up something essentially Indian and your every meal will be a success!
This article was contributed by content editors at ifood.tv. For more Indian recipes, visit ifood.tv.