Food in India is wide ranging in variety, taste and flavor. Being so diverse geographically, each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian cuisine, renowned for its exotic sauces seems very complicated.
In India, recipes are handed down from generation to generation.
The unique and strong flavors in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. Most of the spices used in Indian cooking were originally chosen thousands of years ago for their medicinal qualities and not for flavor. Many of them such as turmeric, cloves and cardamoms are very antiseptic, others like ginger, are carminative and good for the digestion. All curries are made using a wide variety of spices.
In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal contains all six tastes, not always can this be accomplished. This principle explains the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavor in Indian recipes. Side dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, daals and Indian pickles contribute to and add to the overall flavor and texture of a meal and provide balance needed.
Since many people living in India are vegetarian for religious reasons, Indian cuisine has a great selection of vegetarian food!
A nutritious and flavorful dish made from lentils
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 slice ginger, 1 inch piece, peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 4 teaspoons dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Rinse lentils thoroughly and place in a medium saucepan along with ginger, turmeric, salt and cayenne pepper. Cover with about 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that forms on top of the lentils. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and soupy.
- Meanwhile, in a microwave safe dish combine oil, dried onion and cumin seeds. Microwave on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute; be sure to brown, but not burn, onions. Stir into lentil mixture.
An Indian bread
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- oil - 1 Tblsp (Vegetable oil)
- warm water - 1/2 cup
- Mix the flour, salt and warm water and knead the dough. (You can add little warm milk/yogurt along with water to get softer chappattis.)
- Apply few drops of oil to the container and the dough and knead once again. Knead the dough nicely to make it soft and pliable.
- Cover it with moist kitchen towel and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
- Knead the dough again and make lemon sized balls.
- Dip each ball into dry flour and roll out using a rolling pin.
- Place a griddle or dosastone on the stove at medium-high heat. When the griddle is hot, put the rolled out chapatti on it.
- While light brown spots appear, flip the chappatti. Drizzle/Spray few drops of oil on this side.
- After 30 seconds, flip once again and spray little oil. Press gently all around the chapatti with a crumbled up paper towel or clean kitchen cloth or the back of a spatula. This will help the chappatti to puff up.
- Remove when both sides are cooked (brown spots appear on both sides).