Indian cuisine is made up of hundreds of regional cuisines which can be traced back thousands of years. The dishes consist, primarily, of spices, herbs, lentils, rice, bread, potatoes, and vegetables. Hindu beliefs have played a large role in the formation of Indian cuisine, as well as the influence of other cultures that have come in contact with the peoples of the country throughout its history.
In the Andaman and Nicobar Island region of India, seafood is the main staple of their cuisine, due to the fact the original inhabitant of the area having little contact with the greater population. Therefore, the indiginous raw fish became their primary dietary element and remains a major ingredient.
The dishes in Assam, India, are flavorred moreso with local herbs, fruit and vegetables than with spices. Fish is often eaten, as are birds, such as duck or pigeon. Meals there usually conclude by eating tenga, which is a sour dish, and the chewing of betel nut.
In Bihar, it is common to eat roti (a type of bread) soaked in milk, and poha (made of flattened rice) is complimented with sugar and yoghurt. Bihar is also well known for parathas (a flatbread) stuffed with chickpea flour, chokha (spiced mashed potatoes), and fish curry. Also very popular is tangy raita, which consists of un-riped papaya, yoghurt and a mixture of various spices.
Madyha Pradesh’s cuisine varies, depending upon the region. The north and the west’s staple is primarily wheat and meat, while south and east are dominated by rice and fish. A popular dish throughout the entire region is Dal Bafla, a steamed and grilled wheat cake dipped in ghee, eaten alongside a pungent lentil broth.
The area of Goa, located in a tropical climate, has a menu primarily made of seafood, coconut milk, rice and paste. Kingfish is considered a delicacy and a great deal of its food is influenced by hundreds of years of Portuguese colonialism.
Mizoram has a cuisine that is quite different from most other regions of India. It is a blend of Chinese and Northern Indian cuisines. Dishes might be served on banana leaves, and are usually more bland in taste. A common dish, Bai, is made of spinach, pork and bamboo shoot, and is eaten with rice.
Punjab cuisine has a wide range of dishes. Many of the most popular Anglo-Indian foods originated in Punjab, such as Tandoor, Pakoras, and naan. Tandoori chicken and vegetable dishes with paneer are very common.
In the Tamil Nadu region, rice, legumes and lentils are heavily used. Its menu’s distinct flavor is mainly due to its curry, which is made by combining curry leaves, tamarind, coriander, ginger, garlic and several other spices. The word “curry” is actually derived from the Tamil word “kari”, which means “an additive to the main course or a side dish”.
In the West Bengal region there is an emphasis on fish and lentils. One of their more traditional meals is Macher Johl, which is translated to “fish in gravy”. Bengali’s prepare their fish in any number of ways, with sauces that are made with mustard or poppy seeds.
As for desserts in India, many of them are made with sugar, milk and condensed milk, and cooked by the method of frying. Bafi is made of dried milk and ground pistachios or cashews, while Chikki is made of peanuts and molasses. Kalfi is an Indian form of ice cream and laddu (known for its simplicity) consists of ball shaped sweets dipped in sugar syrup.
Regardless of the region, Indian cuisine, as a whole has influenced various cuisines across the globe, and is becoming increasingly popular within countries far from its borders.