Indian Food – Cuisine of India

India is a land of vivid cultures and each of them is full of variety and uniqueness. Among the various cultures one of the most prevalent and unique culture of India is the Food Culture. Food in India is not just a physical eatable entity but it has a purposeful significance for the people living out here. Food is treated to be sacred and such an offering that not just helps the physical body to grow but that which unites the people. Food as a commixture of various components and tastes reflect various meanings and purposes in the life of Proud Indians. Food culture of India can apparently be dated around 5000 years old that encompasses a vast variety of cuisines, spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits coming from different regions and parts of India. Different states, regions and place of India possess their own unique way of preparing food, variety of cuisines and the elements used. Due to the different kinds of soils, fertility, climate conditions and water resources, each part of the country has a huge variety of spices, herbs, food grains, vegetables and fruits to be offered, that also enables the food culture to grow in its own unique way.

Indiancuisine

Indian food culture has been highly influenced by many religious, traditional and cultural factors. Food culture has been evolving for a long period of time that has led to the variations in flavors and cuisines. Many historical events such as the influence of Mughals, invasion of Britishers and Portuguese, colonialism and trade relations had introduced new patterns and ingredients to the Indian food culture. Specifically the international trade of Spices between India and Europe was considered to be a remarkable impetus.

Indian food culture has primarily been known for its famous trend of Vegetarianism that consists of the intake of fruits, grains, pulses, dairy products and vegetables. In fact the ancient Hindu food culture  categorized the food into three broad categories such as Saatvik, Raajsic and Tamasic food respectively. Our food culture firmly believes in the fact that food has a deep impact on the mind and the soul, hence our thoughts and actions are directly linked with the kind of food we intake. Food  including the items ; vegetables , fruits and grains are supposed to be pure food and motivate purity in thoughts whereas meat/non-vegetarian items are believed to raise anxiety and stimulation in the mind of the person. Food culture in India has been subjected to the inclusion of many different kinds of food items and experiments in the preparation of cuisines/dishes. Food is not only prepared but also served with etiquettes and hospitality. There is a strong faith in dining manners among the Indian which they follow with their heart. Since food is believed to be a sacred offering thereby in Indian families it is foremost served as an offering to God. Food is always served with right hand. The trend has been changed now but till the middle age food was taken while sitting on the earth.

Indian Food

Indian cuisines represent an enormous conglomeration of spices, pulses, herbs, oil , methods, food items and flavors. Most commonly used pulses and grain in Indian cuisines are; rice, pearl millet (Bajra), wheat flour (Atta) red lentils (Masoor), pigeon pea (Toor), black gram (urad) , mung bean (Moong dal), chickpea (Channa), kidney beans (Rajma and Lobiya). In oils, coconut, mustard, sunflower, soybean and gingelly (sesame) oils are most prevalent. Vegetable oil is known as Vanaspati ghee, Desi ghee is commonly used cooking oil. Spices and herbs which add the fabulous flavor to the Indian cuisines are many such as; red chilly powder (Laal Mirch), Mustdard seeds (Sarso), cumin (zeera), turmeric (haldi),  coriander (dhaniya), garlic (lehsun), garam masala (a mixture of all the spices), cardamom (illaichi), bay (tezpatta), mint leaves, nutmeg, saffron, rose petals.

In this article we would discuss about the varied cuisines belonging to different Indian States. We shall now begin with the cuisines of East Indian States :

ASSAM

Assame cuisines are mostly famous for the strong flavors of herbs, fresh fruits and  green vegetables served fresh and in some dishes as fermented or dried. The cooking methods of some cuisines are preferably the frying and fermenting the food ingredients. The basic and widely used ingredients are Rice, Fish and Meat of birds such as duck and squab. Usage of spices is least preferred rather it is the exotic flavors of herbs and dried or fresh vegetables and fruits which bring variations and exotic flavors in the cuisines. Rice is used in a variety of ways. A special kind of cuisine is prepared from rice known as the Pithas that has further many kinds such as Sunga pitha (made by roasting green bamboo over the slow fire) Kholasapori pitha (made by baking and rolling the green bamboo over a hot plate) Xutuli pitha, Gila pitha, Til pitha, Tekli pitha and Tora pitha

Tenga also known as the sour fish dish is the most famous cuisine prepared with fish. The major ingredients of this dish are tomatoes, lemon and mangosteen. The fish is fried in mustard oil and the gravy is made up of either bottle gourd or spinach. Khar has been yet another traditional and popular cuisine of Assam. It is prepared with banana. The variety of banana preferred for this dish is called Bheem Kol. The cover of the banana is burnt till it turns into ashes then the water is filtered through the ashes. That filtered water is called Khar. This water is then used to prepare delicious dishes by using different vegetables like bottle gourd, papaya, fish or rice. These cuisines are restricted to be served with sour dishes. Poibhaat (boiled rice served with mustard oil, onion, pitika, pickles and chilli), Aloo Pitika (mashed potatoes served with chilli, onion, mustard oil) are also popular dishes among Assame cuisines. Pickles and chutneys are also widely used in meals.

MANIPUR

Manipuri cuisines are very simple and organic. Cuisines are usually prepared without oil but they are popularly known for their spices. The chili pepper is highly used and all the cuisines are typically spicy. There are various kinds of spices used in Manipuri cuisines few are; awaa phadigom (Mexican coriander), maroi naakuppi (Chinese chives), toning –ton (chameleon plant) and etc. there is a huge variety of vegetables used in the cuisines such as peruk (centella), komprek (Japanese parsley), thaanjing (foxnut), a variety of mushrooms; kanglayen (split gill mushroom), Uchi-na (jelly ear) chengum mushroom. Few other ingredients are also used to enhance the flavor of the cuisines such as; hawaijaar (fermented soya bean) ngaa-ri (the fermented fish) and sobium i.e the fermented bamboo shoot.

Few famous and traditional cuisines of Manipur are; Singju this a kind of a salad prepared with chopped banana stem, lotus stem, banana flower, herbs such as komprek, kollamni, coriander leaves, tree beans, ginger , vegetables and naagri. Chili flakes and sesame powder are sprinkled over the salad. Eromba is a dish prepared with red chillies , fermented fish, dry fish all mashed together, then garnished with coriander leaves, toning-ton, phakpai, lomba and many other herbs. Kangshoi is a dish that has a soupy gravy and usually served with rice. It is prepared with seasonal vegetables along with chopped  spring onions , ginger, nagri, dried fish, nakuppi and napakpi and water. Morok Metpa is a paste that is made by mixing up the dried green or red chillies with chopped onions and coriander leaves. It is garnished with herbs. Dried fish and pieces of fried fish are also added to this paste. This dish is accompanied with the meals on a usual basis. Other popular Manipuri cuisines are Paaknam that is a kind of pancake made from a mixture of pea flour, herbs, and Nagari baked in a pan and also wrapped in turmeric leaves. Chagem Pomba prepared with fermented soya, dry fish, mustard oil and herbs. Sana Thongba made with paneer in the Manipuri style of cooking.

MEGHALAYA

the prime cuisine of Meghalaya is rice prepared with fish and spicy meat. Meat is availed from different animals like pigs, goats, fowl, ducks and cows. In the Khasi tribe and the Jaintia Hills district the popular cuisines are Ki Kpu, Jadoh, Tung-rymbai and bamboo shoots. In the Garos tribal people meat of an animal is preferable to be eaten. Usually their cuisines are simply comprised of rice that is cooked in the ash filtered water called kappa. Other popular cuisines among the Goras are Mini Songa that is sticky rice cooked by steaming, Momo or Dumpling, Nakam the dry fish and dry meat. Fermented rice beer is also very much popular in these tribes.

BIHAR

Bihari cuisines are predominantly vegetarian in which dairy products are widely consumed such as Mattha, Dahi, green leafy vegetable and watery fruits are most frequently used. Watermelon and squashes prepared from juicy fruits are very popular beverages in the summer times. Among the traditional cuisines of Bihar there is Kadhi Bari; a spicy gravy made up of yogurt and besan in which small fried dumplings of gram flour are cooked. Litti Choka are small cakes made up of wheat flour in which the mixture of gram flour, chopped onion, coriander, chillies and lemon juice is filled. These cakes are either fried or baked.

Sattu Parantha; sattu is the powdered gram flour mixed with chopped onion, chillies and coriander and stuffed in the parantha usually served with butter or Desi ghee. Choora is a cuisine of beaten rice that is served with a layer of curd and jiggery or sugar. This is served along with the spicy mixture of onions and peas. Khichdi is yet another traditional dish that is prepared by mixing rice, pulse and lots of vegetables. It is served hot by adding ghee to it. In the non-vegetarian dishes Salan is the most popular dish among the Bihari cuisines that is made up of mutton preferably the goat meat mixed with cubed potatoes with soupy gravy. Bihari Kebabs made up of mutton are also quite popular which are served with roti/boiled rice and chutney. Saag (made up of spinach/fenugreek/poi saag). Few desserts are also very famous such as Malpua that is made up of Maida, banana, milk cinnamon and different dry fruits. Tekua is also a sweet dish made up of whole wheat flour, jaggery, and ghee.

WEST BENGAL

Bengali cuisines are popularly known for using the panchphoron that indicate towards the five essential ingredients of Bengali cuisines such as ; fenugreek seeds, mustard, aniseed, black cumin seed and cumin seed. Bengali cuisines are a perfect blend of spicy and sweet flavors in the food and particularly known for their subtle flavors. Rice and fish are the staple food of Bengal. In fact bread or Roti is not so common in the Bengali cuisines. But Luchi is a deep fried version of  Various cuisines with fish as the main ingredients are usually and widely prepared in every household of Bengal. Rohu, Koi, Hilsa and Pabda are a famous variety of fishes used in Bengali cuisines. Fish dishes are prepared in many ways but usually mustard oil is used to fry the fish and mustard seeds and coconut milk to make the gravy. Bengal cuisines also lay emphasis on using lots of green and leafy vegetables along with chillies and lentils. Bengali cuisines are also very much popular in their different desserts. Shandesh is one of a very famous sweets in Bengal this is made up of fresh finely ground cheese. Along with this Chum-Chum, Rasgulla, Pitha and Pantua are also famous desserts.

ORISSA

Odissi cuisines are famous for their subtle and slightly spiced curry based meals.  Panch Phutana that is a commixture of mustard, fennel, cumin, fenugreek and nigella (kalonj) is highly used to give a different and a nice taste to vegetable curries and dals. Seafood such as fish, crabs, prawns and shrimps are most popular, mutton and chicken are also widely used. Turmeric and garam masala are particularly used for preparing curries/gravy of non-veg cuisines. A cuisine called Pakhala is very popular among the rural areas of Orissa. It is made up of rice, water and yogurt that is fermented for the whole night. The traditional an typical Odissi cuisine is basically consists of meal and the desserts. Sweets are very much famous and preferred in Orissa. A few most popular desserts are; Chenna Kheeri, Chenna Malpua, Chakuli Pitha and etc. different types of lentils are widely consumed in Odissi cuisines, few other famous curries and dals among Odissi cuisines are; Alu Bhaja, Dalma, Dahi Bhendi, Badi Chura, Chadachadi, Dahi Maachha, Chungdi Jhola and etc.

SIKKIM

 the population of Sikkim consists of people of distinctive ethnic groups such as the Bhutias, Nepalese and Lepchas who have their own special and popular cuisines. Dairy product is predominantly consumed among each household and Rice is the staple food of Sikkim. Since Sikkim is all covered with hills, lots of different kinds of vegetables, potato, soya beans, buckwheat, barley, and finger millet are grown in the varied altitudes of the hills and land. Momos are the traditional and most popular dish of Sikkim that is available at almost every corner of the market and in the menu of every restaurant. Gya-Thuk is yet another famous cuisine that consists of noodles cooked in soup with lots of vegetables or meat added. A different kind of bread is prepared by the Nepalese that is called the Saelroti. It is made up of fermented rice batter that is further deep fried in the shapes of ring, it is usually served with potato curry or meat. Sikkimes cuisines are famous for their cooking procedure of fermentation. Here another fermented cuisine is Chhurpi that is basically made up of fermented cow milk, it gives a slight sour flavor and also used for making pickles and soups. Fermented soya bean is known as Kinema that is very rich in proteins and a different taste. It is served with rice. Sinki and Gundruk are again fermented vegetables which are dried under the sun and later stored for preparing curries, achar and soups. The most exotic Sikkimese cuisine is Sishnu Soup that is made up of a wild variety of leaves of nettle. Chaang is a fermented alcoholic beverage prepared from cereals.

MIZORAM

 cuisines of Mizoram basically a blend of Tibetan and Burman cuisines that highly comprised of non vegetarian dishes. Cuisines are less spicy and meals are served on the banana leaves. The most popular cuisine is Bai that is prepared from boiled spinach, pork and bamboo shoots and served with rice. Fish is commonly consumed at local level that is cooked in mustard oil and possess a unique flavor. Duck meat is very much liked by the Mizo people. Vawksa Rep is a smoked pork, Sawchair is a traditional dish of rice served with pork or chicken. Arsa Buhchiar is yet another dish of rice served with local herbs and chicken. Lubrusca Grape Wine is the most popular beverage and Zu is a famous form of Tea in Mizoram.

Famous Cuisines of North Indian States are as follows :

JAMMU & KASHMIR

Kashmiri cuisines have been evolving over a hundred of years, Kashmiri food culture is said to be highly influenced earlier by the Kashmiri Hindus and Buddhist and later by the Timur culture. Kashmiri cuisines are most famous for their vast variety , there are numerous of cuisines with different flavors available. The most popular Kashmiri cuisine is Wazman that is a non-vegetarian dish made up of meat. Surprisingly it is basically a 36 course meal whose preparation is considered to be an art. Kashmiri cuisines offer a number of non-vegetarian cuisines while Jammu is recognized for a variety of vegetarian dishes. A blend of vegetables , potatoes and cottage cheese are used to prepare yummy meals. Few of the popular vegetarian cuisines are ; Zafrani Pulao, Kashmiri Pulao, Aloo Dum/Dum Aloo, Nadeir Vakhaen, Tsaman, Rajmah and Ladyar. Chicken, mutton and fish also compose an important part of Kashmiri cuisines. There are numerous of ways or methods to prepared meat curries and dishes. Lots of herbs and spices and vegetables are also mixed to enhance the flavor of meat curries. Most commonly used spices are saffron, cloves, cinnamon and Kashmiri chillies ( which are less spicy but rich in color). Kashmiri Kebab is also very much liked cuisine that is prepared with different ingredients. Methi Kebab, Kabargah, Pasanda, Rogan Josh and Vakhni are few other famous non-vegetarian food. Rice makes an essential part of the meal in J&K. There are various kinds of Pulaos’ prepared such as Tursh Zarda, Mutton Pulao and Shree Pualo. In breads Kulcha and wheat Roti are very famous. Desserts complete the Kashmiri meal hence there are also a variety available for desserts such as, Phirni, Gulab Jamun, Sevaiyaan and Barfi. Kashmiri flavors are distinctive and full of exotic aroma.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Himachali cuisines make use of all the lentils, green and leafy vegetables, seasonal vegetables, and breads. However non-vegetarian food is also popular in many areas of Himchal. The composition and ingredients of Himachali cuisines are almost similar to the cuisines of other parts of North India still there are few very famous cuisines which are liked and consumed by Himachali people. Such as Sepu Bedi prepared by Urad ki Daal, water and spices like black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, fenugreek and turmeric. Chha Meat prepared with mutton and lots of spices and herbs, mustard oil, cloves and dalchini give a  unique flavor to the dish. Khatta Kaddu made of pumpkin with a sour flavor, Channa Madra made by Chana and lots of spices and herbs, ginger and coriander, Chicken Anardana, Kachalu Kaa Salan, Sidhhu Ghee, Bathu Ki Kheer and Malpuda are few most favorite cuisines of Himachali people.

UTTARANCHAL

 cuisines of Uttaranchal come from its major sub regions; Garhwal and Kumaon. However the methods of preparing food in these two regions are almost same and there is a lavish consumption of ghee, vegetables and lentils in the cuisines in both the regions. Since Uttarakhand is a mountainous place the meal/diet taken in each household is very much richer in protein diet comprised of lots of vegetables, pulses and soya beans. The cooking methods over here is also very traditional, the meals are cooked in big iron utensils over charcoal fire. Saag is a foremost popular cuisine in Uttranchal that is prepared from spinach, Bathu and fenugreek. There is a liberal consumption of other seasonings to enhance the flavor of cuisines such as, bhangira, jambu timmer and ghandhraini. Few other famous delicacies of Uttranchal are; Jholi, Dubuk, Chudkani, Rus, Chadanji and etc. salads and sauces also make an important part of the cuisines such as Nimbu Mooli ka Raita, Daarim ki Khatai, Kheere ka Raita  and Aam ka Fajitha are quite popular ones. Sun dried balls made up of Urad ki Daal known as Mungodi are much liked and prevalent in both the major regions of Uttaranchal. In fact this is used as one of the substitutes of vegetables. Festive cuisines are also different, sweets and refreshments are quite famous delicacies during the festivals such as Pua, Bada, Singal, Singodi, Malai Laddu, Bal Mithai and etc.

UTTAR PRADESH

Uttar Pradesh is believed to be the originator of many of the most famous cuisines, snacks and desserts in India. Basically this place endorses two major kinds of cuisines; the Awadhi and the Mughlai cuisines. Both of the cuisines have their own unique ways and methods of preparation of food. Few famous snacks such as Pakoras, Samosa and Chaat had been originated from U.P. The vegetarian Thaali is one of the most famous delicacies of Uttar Pradesh that consists of club of different food items in a platter; roti, naan, rice, shahi paneer, raita, salad, and makhani daal are the main items. Awadhi cuisine comes from Lucknow that is the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Awadhi methods are however very much influenced by Mughlai cooking techniques. Lucknow is much famous for the Nawabi cuisines, in fact it has also been known for the Dum style of preparing food. Both veg and non-vegetarian cuisines are much prevalent in Lucknow such as Kormas, Biryani, Kebabs, Zarda, Roomali Roti, Warqi Paranthas and Nahari-Kulchas. The spices, herbs like cinnamon, cumin, saffron and cardamom make the flavor of the curries and the gravy of the cuisines truly exotic. The Mughlai cuisines are very much moved by the Persian cuisines of Iran and share a lot of similar features of Kashmiri as well as Punjabi regional delicacies. Mughlai cuisines contain a different yet exotic aroma and flavor that is brought by the whole lot of spices. There are some very famous desserts in Uttar Pradesh such as, Gulab Jamun, Ghewar, Ras Malai, Kheer and Sheer Qorma.

PUNJAB

 Punjab is a land of lavish and elaborated meals. The cooking style of Punjabi cuisines is purely traditional that makes a liberal use of butter, Desi ghee, curd, milk and cream. Punjabi delicacies are truly mouth watering and being highly liked by most of the people of North India. Wheat is the staple food in Punjab however Rice is also very much liked by the Punjabis. Different kinds of breads usually make a significant part of the Punjabi cuisines, Tandoori roti, Tava Roti, Naan, Laccha Parantha, Missi Roti, Makki ki Roti, Rumali Roti, Garlic Naan and especially the Stuffed Paranthas is widely famous all over the Punjab. Onion, Garlic & Ginger paste is highly consumed to give an exotic and aromatic flavor to all the cuisines. Dairy products are most commonly consumed in each household in fact in the rural areas of Punjab, Lassi and Chaach, white butter and Curd are liberally consumed. Different kinds of pulses such as Urad-Chane ki daal, Chane ki daal, Maa-Dhoti daal is usually consumed among which Makhani Daal and Urad Daal are quite popular. Along with that, special combos like Chole-Bhaturas, Amritsari Naan & Chole, Aloo Puri and Kulcha –Chole are too much popular among Punjabis. Saag is one of the most popular delicacy that is served with Makki ki Roti and a lot of butter/ghee poured on the Saag. Green and Leafy Vegetables such as Sarso, Palak, Bathu all are widely consumed. Punjabi cuisines are also famous for their lavish non-vegetarian dishes. Butter Chicken and Mutton Korma, Kebab, chicken tikka are few most liked and popular delicacies. Tandoori delicacies are quite famous and much cherished by Punjabis such as, Tadoori Paneer Tikka, Mushroom Tikka, Tandoori Chicken. Few other vegetarian Punjabi cuisines are ; Amritsari Aloo, Aloo Gobhi, Fried Bhindi, Baingan ka Bharta, Navratan Korma, Shahi and Butter Paneer Masala, Paneer Pasanda, Zeera Pulao, Malai Kofta, Channa Masala and etc. while in non- vegetarian there is; Chicken Biryani, Murgh Curry, Amritsari Fish, Egg Curry, Egg Bhaji, Fried Garlic Pepper Chicken and Murgh Musallam Chicken Curry. Without desserts the Punjabi cuisines are just incomplete most popular sweets are; Gajar Halwa, Kaju Barfi, Jalebi, Soan Papdi, Imarti, Suji Halwa, Gulab Jamun and Kalakand.

HARYANA

Cuisines of Haryana are purely traditional and hardly possess any artificial flavor. Since there is a huge cattle population in Haryana, dairy products are very common and largely consumed items.  Haryana is usually famous for the roadside Dhabas where a huge variety of traditional cuisine is available. These meals available at these dhabas are feasible and rich in flavors one can cherish a good food at affordable prices. Most popular dishes of Haryana are; Kadhi Pakora, Besan Masala Roti, Churma Kheer, Bajra Aloo Roti, Bathua Raita, Gajar Methi, Pethe ki Sabji,Singri ki Sabji, Mitthe Chawal,Bhura Roti Ghee and Tamato Chutney. Haryana is well known for breads and particularly known as the land of rotis. Famous beverages are Nimbu Pani, Sharbat and Lassi. Ghee and Butter is usually home made, people make butter and Ghee at their homes only. And all the vegetables and pulses are prepared by liberally using the ghee and butter.

We are now heading to the South Indian States which include the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh :

KERALA

 since Kerala is a coastal state it has an abundance of Coconuts, spices, seafood and covered with green paddy fields. That is why spices, coconut and seafood composite an essential part of the cuisines of Kerala. Besides this, Rice is widely grown and consumed over here. Seafood is the common part of the cuisines, that is prepared with a liberal use of spices like cloves, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Mussels are very liked and consumed seafood in cuisines. Coconut is used in many forms like coconut milk, coconut rusk, dried coconut in order to thicken the gravies and to enrich the flavor. Coconut water is the most liked natural beverage in Kerala. Hindus, Muslims and Christians residing in Kerala excluding the Brahmin people, consume fish and other non-vegetarian foods such as beef, chicken, pork, Pathiri and Khozi Curry (chicken curry) are quite popular delicacies. Green vegetables and dishes made up of rice most commonly used. Breakfast delicacies are very popular in Kerala like Idli, Dosa, Uttampam, Puttu, Idiyappam and Pathiri. Main course of Keralian Cuisines usually comprised of rice, pulses (dal) seasonal vegetables cooked in coconut and other spices, seafood curry and a dessert like Payasam that is cooked with coconut extract, milk, cashew, sugar and dry grapes. Sadhyas is a very famous vegetarian meal that is comprised of boiled rice, few other dishes, chutneys, banana chips, jackfruit chips and poppadums.  Malabar Biryani is an enriched preparation cooked with rice, meat, chillies, spices and onions. It is a most famous dish of Malabar cuisines, the northern regions of Kerala highly cherish this delicacy.

KARNATAKA

karnatic cuisines are very much influenced by its three neighboring regions; the south Indian states, Goa and Maharastra hence the cuisines represent a vast variety of spices, vegetables and seafood. The cuisines are generally spicy and depict a liberal usage of raw mangoes, coconut and Kokum. Since Karnataka is also a coastal area it specializes in seafood too. The Kodagu district of Karnataka is most popular for the spicy pork curries, while the district of Dakshina Kannada is specialized in seafood cuisines chicken and bamboo shoots curries in which coconuts are extensively used. The district of Udupi strictly follows the vegetarian dishes even devoid of garlic and onion. Masala Dosa is said to have its origin in Udupi and besides this, Sambhar, Rasam, Ajadinas (dried curries) and chutneys are also essentials of Udupi cuisines. A most famous delicacy of Karnatic cuisine is Bisi Bele Bath that is prepared from rice, spices, lentils and lots of vegetables. The typical Kannadiga Oota/ meals are served on banana leaves. Butter milk is the most popular beverage and any meal ends with it. Talking about the Manglorian food particularly, it is actually very spicy and rice based delicacies are prepared. Fruits composite an essential part of the cuisines over here. A perfect blend of Manglorian and Coorgi cuisines is the Malnad Food The traditional South Karnatic cuisines are Jolada Rotii, Ragi Rotii, Saaru, Chapati, Huli, Vangibath, Benne Dose, Ragi Mudde, Kesari Bath, Uppittu and Akki Rotti. Desserts also make an important part of Karnatic cuisines, few famous sweet dishes are Mysore Pak, Chiroti, Holige, Gokak, Dharwad Peda and Shavige Payasa.

TAMIL NADU

typical and traditional cuisines of Tamil Nadu are well-known for their full of a variety vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Lentils, vegetables, spices and herbs like curry leaves, red chillies, cloves, black pepper, mustard seeds and coconut. The cuisines are little sour in flavor hence tamarind is added to the foods as a souring agent. Chutneys and pickles are also most liked and make an essential part of the meal.  Idlis, Sambhar, Uttappam and Dosas are commonly consumed for the breakfast in the typical Tamilian households while Rice, Rasam, Curd and Sambhar are preferred in the lunch meals. Traditional meals are served on the banana leaves. Filter coffee is the most popular beverage. Adhirasam, Benian, Kuzhi Pariyanam, Paruppu Payasam, Rava Laddu and Theratti Pal are the famous sweets of Tamil Nadu.

 Tamil cuisines can be exclusively divided into two types of cuisines Chettinad Cuisine and Kongunad Cuisines. Chettinad cuisines come from the Chettinad region while the Kongunad cuisine come from the Kongu region including Ooty, Coimbatore, Palladam, Pollachi, Avinashi, Tiruppur and Dharapuram. Chettinad cuisines are one of the spiciest and aromatic cuisines all over the India. A huge variety of spices, fresh grounded spices, boiled eggs, dried meat, salted vegetables composite an essential part of the delicacies. Non vegetarian foods are only limited to chicken, lamb, fish, seafood, prawns, crab and lobster excluding pork and beef. Variety of Dosas and Idlis are widely consumed.  Other Famous delicacies are; Idiyappam, Paniyaram, Vellai, Karuppatti Paniyaram, Masala Paniyaram, and Seeyam. Kongunad cuisines make a liberal use of grounded peanuts and  freshly grated turmeric to give a unique flavor and aroma to the curries and Khurmas. The flavors are enriched by using dried coconut, pickles and gingelly seeds. Spicy Rasam prepared from tamarind pulp and small onions known as Pachaipuli Rasak is the most popular dish in the Kongu regions. Karimeen Kolambu; a fish curry made up of mutton stock and cubes, Pallipalyam Chicken Fry, Thirunelveli Kozhi Kuzhambu are also famous delicacies of non-vegetarian food.

ANDHRA PRADESH

cuisines of Andhra Pradesh are also known as the Telugu cuisines which are famous for the use of lots of spices in the cuisines. A variety of lentil soups, broths, spices and curries is highly consumed in the preparation of the meals. A traditional meal is comprised of rice, curry, yogurt, pickles, Poppadum and buttermilk. Paan made up of betel leaf and araca nuts eaten after the meal finishes. Andhra Cuisines are a commixture of both non-vegetarian and vegetarian food. In the Vegetarian dishes veggies like brinjal, tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, lady fingers, bottle gourd, jackfruit and potatoes are quite famous. Cinnamon and Black Pepper are highly used spices along with tangy flavors that comes into the cuisines by using Tamarind. Rice and fish are widely consumed in the coastal areas of Andhra. There is an influence of Mughlai cuisines in the cuisines of Andhra particularly of the Hyderabadi delicacy. Hyderabadi Biryani is one of the most popular delicacies prepared in Andhra. The western region of Andhra known as Telangana show few unique kinds of cuisines such as Sajja Rotte (broken rice), Jonna Rotte (sorghum). Few famous curries of Andhra are Vepudu, Kaaram Petti Koora and Pappu Koora. Kandi Pappu (toor daal) and Pesara Pappu (Moong daal) are famous lentils. Pachi Pulusu is a popular curry made up of metthi challa cooked in sour buttermilk, chili paste, methi seeds and oil. Poornalu, Bhakshalu, Ariselu, Gavvalu, Kobbari and Lavuju are among the famous sweets of Andhra.

Following are the West Indian States including the state of Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra :

RAJASTHAN

 Although Rajasthan is a place with the hot weather but still the most exotic and warm food items are highly consumed here such as Bajre ki Roti, Lehsun (garlic) ki Chutney, butter and ghee.  Rajasthani snacks are widely famous such as Bikaneri Bhujia, Mirchi Bada, Pyaaz ki Kachori, Meva Kachori a specialty of Jodhpur, Ghewar of Jaipur, Mawa from Alwar, Dry Snacks and Daal-Bati Churma famous in Bikaner while Malpuas a specialty of Pushkar. Dried mango powder is a most prevalent seasoning used as a substitute of tomatoes. Red chillies are the staple food of Rajasthan. Red chillies are highly consumed in every cuisines/curries although the big red chillies are rich in color but not spicy. These chillies are also used for pickles and chutneys. Marwari cuisines come from Jodhpur; a region of south-west of Rajasthan. These cuisines are originated from the Marwars. Marwari cuisines are purely vegetarian and consist of quite creative preparations of gram flour with vegetables to make curries. There is a wide range of fruits and vegetables to offer as well. These cuisines are rich in flavors. Gatte Ki Sabji is quite a popular dish among Marwari dishes.

A good range of different spices are used to enhance the flavor and aroma of the cuisines such as; Aamchur (Mango Powder), Hing (asafetida) , Saunf (fennel seeds), Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves), Laal Mirch (red chillies) and Haldi (turmeric). Vegetables like potatoes, cucumber, Gwar-phali, Sangri ki phaliyaan, Kachri, Parmal, kakri (English cucumber), white reddish (mooli) and fresh turmeric roots are highly consumed in the Rajasthan dishes. Few of the most famous Rajasthani cuisines are; Daal Bati, Gatte Ki Kadhi, Ker Sangri, Haldi ki Sabzi, Kanji Vada, Bajre Ki Khichdi, Raabri. In non-vegetarian delicacies there are LaaL Maas and Safed Maas (both are mutton dishes eaten by the royal Marwarhs). Bajre ki Roti, Missi Roti and Moong Dal Chila are few famous breads while Laapsi, Gujia, Churma, Imarti, Ghewar and Jhajariya are famous desserts of Rajasthani cuisines. Kairi ka pani (raw mango pulp mixed in water), Thandai are highly consumed beverages.

GUJARAT

Gujarati dishes are most liked for their all different flavors in one dish. Each cuisine gives a variety of flavors like sweet, salty, spicy and tangy.  A traditional Gujarati Thali is consists of Daal, Rotli (wheat bread), Bhaat (rice) and Shaak (vegetable curry). The North Gujarat includes Ahemdabad from which a large variety of dishes come such as Dhokla, Khandavi, Farsaan, Khaman and Chewda Papdi. Oondhiyo comes from the South Gujarat, Kathiawar presents all the spicy dishes which are not sweet like any other Gujarati dish. Khichdi, Dhokla, Theplas, Khakra, Kadhi, chutneys and pickles come from the land of the Kutch region of Gujarat. Gujaratis make use of few particular spices like cumin seeds, fennel seeds, garlic, hing, dry ginger powder (sonth), mustard seeds, jaggery or gur, curry leaves and Kokam. Bottle gourd, brinjal, lady fingers ans sweet potatoes are highly consumed vegetables in Gujarati cuisines. Gujarati desserts also deserve a mention with Shrikhand, Puran Potli, Malpua and Basundi. Chacch and Aam-Ras are highly liked beverages among Gujarati people.

MAHARASHTRA

Maharashtrian food can be broadly divided into two areas; the interior and the coastal.  In Maharashtra the food is treated equal to God. It offers many mouthwatering range as snacks like Vada Pao, Batata Vada, Bhel Puri, Sabudana Wada, Kande Pohey and Missal Pav. Basic ingredients of cuisines comprised of cashews, seasonal fruits, grains Bajra, Jawar, coconut and fresh vegetables. Tamarind and Kokam are highly used to give a sour flavor to the delicacies but it is also balanced with a sweet flavor by mixing jaggery as well. Ginger, garlic, peanut oil, ghee and a whole lot of spices are used in the Marathi meals. The traditional Marathi meal consists of vegetables in the form of bhaji, curries (Rassa), roti (Poli) or rice, chutneys, salads (koshimbir) and popadum. Aamti Dal, Bharli Vangi (stuffed brinjal) Dalimbi, Fansachi Bhaji (bhaji of Jackfruit) and Gajarachi Koshimbir (spicy carrot salad) are few famous vegetarian delicacies. The food is served on a low size table known as chowrang. Stuffed Vegetables are quite liked and consumed in the Marathi cuisines. Kolhapuri cuisines come from the Kolhapur region among which Pandhra Rassa, Kolhapur Missal and Kolhapuri Taambda Rassa are quite popular. The traditional Kolhapuri Thali (Taat) is just incomplete without  the spicy delicacy Zavla made up of fried fish/prawn.

Malvani cuisines come from Malvan region an area of the west coast of Maharashtra. These cuisines are an extension of Konkani cuisines including the basic ingredients like, seafood, fish, spices and coconut.  Tamarind, Kokam and raw mangoes are used to add a sour flavor to the curries but it is well balanced with the flavors of spices as well. Coconut milk is used liberally to thicken the gravies. Red chilies, cumin seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, garlic, cardamom and ginger are the chiefly used spices in Maharashtra food. Maharashtra also brings a variety of Parsi cuisines since Maharashtra has an abundant population of Parsi people. Parsi cuisines present a variety of snacks like Bhakhra, Batasa, Dar Ni Puri, Khaman Na Lavda. Rice is a staple food usually eaten with curry and no parsi meal is completed without Kachalu salad and dish of potatoes. Patri Ni Machhi ; a fish dish baked in banana leaf, Saas Ni Macchi, Zaedaalo Sali Boti are all famous non-vegetarian cuisines. The Vidarbha region presents Varadi cuisines which include the basic ingredients; coconut, gram flour, pulses in the preparation of cuisines like Pathawadi, Zunka Bhakar and Vadrana Bhat. Bhakri, Poli, Dashmi and Pav highly consumed breads. Modak, Puran Poli, Shankarpali, Shrikhand and Karanji are the most famous sweets.

GOA

cuisines of Goa how a wide range of seafood  (prawn, crab, lobster, Pomfret, tuna, mackerel, shellfish, tiger prawns squid and mussels) while Rice is the staple food along with Fish. Flavor of spices is rich, exotic and intense. Kokum is a highly used ingredient in regional food. Pork Vindaloo is a most popular curry based dish of Goa. Pao com Chouricos (bread roll served with sausages sauteed with onion ) and Galhina Piri- Piri are also quite liked dishes. Cashew and coconut milk are the most basic ingredients of curries. Feni an alcoholic local drink  made of cashew fruit is widely popular in Goa. Tourism has given a new dimension to Goan food to evolve and experiments with new delicacies and the adoption of many cuisines of North Indian food.

The Central Indian States

MADHYA PRADESH & CHATTISGARH

The Bastar region of Chattisgarh presents a variety of mushroom, bamboo pickles and bamboo vegetables however the tribal people of this region are believed to eat whatever is available to them. They usually drink a liquor made up of mahuwa flower. Rice is the staple food. In Madhya Pradesh the cuisines vary regionally such as the cuisines of south and east part of MP depict a variety of rice and fish on the other hand the north and west part of the state have meat and wheat as the common ingredients of their cuisines. Bhopal offers a range of non-vegetarian cuisines like, Rogan josh, Keema, kebab, Biryani and pilaf. Paya soup, nalli-nihari and bun kabab are few other popular delicacies of Bhopal. Indore and its nearby regions also offer some vegetarian snacks like Daal bafla and Daal ladoos. Ispoha is a regional delicacy generally eaten at the breakfast along with jalebi. Lassi, rum, sugar cane juice and beer are famous beverages.

Cuisines of Union Territories including Aandaman Nicobar, Lakshdeep, Daman & Diu, Chandigarh, Delhi, Dadar &Nagar Haveli and Pondicherry

Raw fish, seafood and fruits are the staple diet for the people of Andman & Nicobar. Pesarattu is the famous dish of this place that is a famous Andhra dish served with chutney prepared from coconut called kobbari pachadi. Cuisines of Lakshdeep show a lot of similarities with the cuisines of Kerala. Coconut is widely used while coconut water is the most famous beverage. Cuisines of Daman & Diu show a blend of Portuguese and Gujarati cuisines. Saag, Puri, Lapsee, Potaya and Dhaknu are few dishes prepared at the times of festivals. Chandigarh offers all the famous and highly consumed cuisines of Haryana and Punjab. Delhi’s cuisines are influenced by the food culture of many states altogether. Chandani Chowk is the hub place where various cuisines are available such as Paranthas, Doodh-Jalebi, Faluda Kulfi, Chole Bhature, Imarti, Rabri, Rajma Chawal and etc. cuisines of Dadar & Nagar Haveli show similarities with Gujarati delicacies. Ubadiyu is a local cuisine made up of vegetables, herbs and beans. Butter milk, chutneys is also liked very much. Rice, fish, crab and vegetables are few common food ingredients. Pondicherry depicts a firm influence of French cuisines. Soya dosa, tandoori Patato, stuffed cabbage, curried vegetables, baked beans and podanlangkai are few famous dishes.

India possesses an enormous range of Cuisines. Each cuisine is so vivid in itself. Different spices, herbs, vegetables, fruits and other food ingredients make the Indian Food Culture, truly versatile and abundant. It is only India, where people treat food equivalent to God. That is why so much of attention and efforts are put in to prepare different delicacies over here. Like any other gesture even food is also a way to show the joy and happiness at the times of festivals. In India we share Sweets and desserts on auspicious and festive occasion that plays such a significant role in not only feasting the tongue but to cater sweetness in the relationships as well. Each part/region of India possesses its own unique legacy of foods that altogether makes Indian food culture so much accomplished and multi colored.

Food-India-Cuisine

Image courtesy  – http://www.humanium.org/fr/wp-content/uploads/repas-inde.jpeg

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