About 5000 years ago, when the Aryans first came to Indian land, it was known as Ararat. They settled around the famous Indus valley, which did not receive much rainfall at that time as required for the cultivation and growth of rice, so they decided to harvest wheat.
The carvings & the paintings of that point of time depict the famous stone mill which was at that time used for grinding of wheat. From simple wheat to lavish Indian buffets laid out today, Indian food has made a long and complex journey.
Indian food and cuisine have gone through simple times, rough times & today with globalization; Indian cuisine is still struggling to find its appropriate niche in the world.
The reason for this is very simple and clear – to an uninitiated, Indian food and cuisine is just like a normal curry eaten with rice or bread. Indian food and cuisine have an impression of being spicy & hot, but we Indians know that this is far from true.
Revolution of Indian Food
In the Gupta era, around 650 AD, vegetables, bread & milk and other dairy products were an integral part of the diet. This is where sattvic food became popular to gravitate towards an ideal healthy diet.
It consisted of whole grains, fruits & dairy products. Some people bent more towards a rajasic food and cuisine diet which incorporated the use of onion, garlic, eggplants, mustard oil & sweet puddings made up of local rice.
Thus, the idea of a balanced diet that would include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes & soy, nuts, seeds, dairy products complemented with sweets, was rapidly adopted. Towards the eight century, more refined food ingredients began to be used.
The local food ingredients like garam masala are popularly used in many Indian dishes. It is a simple mixture of Dalchini or cinnamon, Laung or cloves, jeera or cumin, Dhaniya or coriander, black cardamom, black peppercorns & star anise.
The use of leaves in Indian food and cuisine cooking is another factor that contributes to the unique flavor. Coriander leaves, fenugreek leaves & mint leaves are used to enhance the flavor of dishes. All these were used to make flavorful Indian curries which have evolved in the subcontinent region since the early times.
The local sweet dishes were seasoned with saffron, cardamom & nutmeg for an added flavor. Betel leaves in the shape of the ‘pan’ were often used for refreshing the palate after the evening meal.
By this time, Indian food had different elements & the flavors of the land seeped through in each food recipe that was used. Thus, the origin of the Indian food and cuisine can be dated back to centuries ago where these different areas harnessed their local food elements to put together remarkably flavorful food and cuisine meals that are cherished even today.
These foods and cuisines are not only prevalent in Indian homes but are also enjoyed worldwide where a deep appreciation for the Indian spices can be seen. The diversity & flavor in Indian cuisine has enriched through the ages. Thus, these delicious Hindu dishes are adding color & spice to lives around the world.
Spices of India
All the food dishes in Indian cuisine, or most, are seasoned with ground spices, whose combination to make the dressings is called masala. The most widely used spices in curry, a mixture of spices such as ginger, cori&er, nutmeg, cardamom, poppy seed, & even cloves & saffron.
Indian Food Spices & their Medicinal Benefits
Black pepper is one of the Indian spices with the most medicinal value. It is often used in Indian food and cuisine, mixed with other condiments like herbs, or oils, which helps to eliminate discomfort.
In Indian food and cuisine, they use rice a lot, as well as legumes such as channa or toor (chickpeas), urad, & moong (black lentils & green lentils).
Bread is made with a particular type of whole wheat flour. To cook flatbreads like roti & paratha, they use the “Tawa” (grill), & the “tandoor,” which is a cylindrical oven heated with charcoal, to cook bread like naan, kulcha, & khakhra.
The famous tandoori chicken is also prepared in the tandoor. Other known breeds are puri & bhatura, which are fried in oil.