The Indian cuisine is a collection of regional cuisines in india which are heavily influenced by different religions and cultural choices. Well known for its extensive use of spices, this cuisine features a wide variety of dishes from different combinations of spices.
It is more commonly refered to as the north indian cuisine and south indian cuisine due to the significant variances between these sub divisions.
Although the history of this cuisine dates back to early civilizations, the indian cuisine has been influenced by foreign invasion over the years. Colonization and trade relations with other countries has strecthed the list of ingredients used. It is more evident in the dishes from north than the south of india.
Indian cuisine is now famous and well loved by everyone around the world due to the rich palate it offers. It continues to evolve extensively due to cultural interactions with other countries around the world.
Kerala, south-west state of India lies on the Malabar Coast, a beautiful tropical region made up almost entirely of inland waterways, coconut groves and spice plantations. Although in ancient times the term malabar was used to denote entire south-western coast of india, in the present day it refers to just the state of kerala.
The malabar cuisine is well known for serving dishes with unique rich flavour and extensive usage of spices. It has been influenced by many cultures such as the arabs, Brahmin, zahmorin and chirakkal. The incorporation of these cuisines is clearly visible from the wide range of varities offered by the malabar cuisine.
The delicacies of this cuisine are not only famous for its distinctive taste but also the overpowering aroma it possess. The heavily flavoured and aromatic biriyani is a good example to support this.
India is one of the largest producer of spices in the world. The tropical climate and fertile soil of india favors for extensive growth of spices. There are a total of 52 spices bought under the purview of the spices board of india.
Spices are used in differeny forms in the indian cuisine such as whole, chopped, ground, roasted, sautéed, fried and as toppings. Cardamom, black pepper, chilli, turmeric and ginger are the most commonly used spices in thhe indian cuisine.
Kerala is a prominent spice exporter which has traded its spices – cardamom, ginger, turmeric and black pepper – with Arab, Chinese and European merchants from 3000 BCE. As Sugatha Kumari, a Keralite poet and ecologist, said: “Once there was a time when the whole world was enamored of the fragrance of Kerala”.
The India culture is a mix of different regional cultures influenced and shaped by religion and history that spans thousands of years. India is a secular country where religion plays a significant role in the way of life with more than 80% of the population being religious. Although all religions exist in india, the dominant religions are hinduism, christianity and islam. In fact india is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, jainism and sikhisim.
Since religion plays such a definitive role and due to vast historical influences, the multi-cultural soceity in india celebrates a wide range of festivals. Diwali, Holi, Dusshera, Eid ul Fitr, bakr Eid, Christmas and Easter are some of the festivals celebrated.
India is also culturally rich in dance and music. Different regions in india have their own versions of music and dance which are influenced by their traditions and language. Bharatanatyam, kathakali, kuchipudi, lavani, dandiya are some of the most famous dances in india.
The regional cuisines in india are heavily influenced by the locally produced ingredients. The freshness of the ingredients plays a significant role in indian dishes. This is the reason why the commonly consumed dishes of region is made from locally produced ingredients. In some states some dishes are seasonal due to primary ingredients being unavailable locally.
In northern and western india, dishes are cooked in peanut oil. Mustard oil is used to prepare dishes in eastern india and cocunut oil is used in kerala. This is one of the most primary reasons why the dishes vary so extensively across india.
In Kerala, your dishes are served on a huge fresh banana leaf, a disposable platter. Contact with your food is direct and tactile as you eat with your right hand, mixing wet into dry ingredients – a messy business for the uninitiated.
Rice flavored with enriched with selected spices and fresh herbs with a choice of vegetables, succulent chicken, lamb, prawn or fish.
A north indian speciality of tandoori chicken cooked in a rich creamy tomato gravy topped with butter for a heavy taste.
A platter consisting of many dishes to offer all flavours of sweet, salt, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy on one single plate.