4 March 2016

A Culinary Tour of India

by Default Admin

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Every state in India has its own food culture. Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. These regional cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally and seasonally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Let's go on a quick food tour of India.

Food in North India:
(Includes - Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab)

To begin with, Kashmiri cuisines reflect strong Central Asian influences. In Kashmir, mostly all the dishes are prepared around the main course of rice found abundantly in the beautiful valley. Another delicious item cooked here is the 'Saag' that is prepared with a green leafy vegetable known as the 'Hak'. Kashmiri food also include Rogan josh (a lamb based dish cooked in a gravy using Kashmiri spices) and Yakhni. These are some of the world's finest non vegetarian cuisines.

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But on the other hand states like the Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi NCR region show high consumption of chapatis as staple food. These chapatis are prepared with a variety of flours such as wheat, rice, Maida, besan etc. Wheat is more common in the northern region than throughout much of the rest of the country. Besides chapatis other closely related breads baked in these regions include Puri, Paratha, Tandoori, Rumaali and Naan etc. North Indians favorite hot spice is garam masala, it is a mixture of cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, ground ginger and nutmeg. They use it in almost every curry. Punjabi Cuisine, Mughlai Cuisine and Kashmiri Cuisine form an integral part of the North Indian Cuisines.

Food In East India:
(Includes - West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, and Orissa).

In this region seafood, particularly freshwater fish plays a prominent role in the local cuisine, and so does various fresh fruits and vegetables. The Bengal is known for its yummy combination of rice and fish. Dishes in this region are lighter and prepared with fewer spices than in the northern or southern regions; usually mustard oil is the preferred cooking oil. Also if you have a sweet tooth then this is the place for you. Various mouth watering sweets are prepared by using milk and cream. Some of them are called 'Roshogollas', 'Sandesh', 'Cham-cham' (desert-style sweets and cakes), many of which are prepared using paneer (Indian cheese made from milk).
Parts of Orissa also share the love for fish and rice. People in Bihar and Jharkhand love their platter with all the colours of seasonal vegetables which grow in abundance and rich variety here. Influence of Buddhism is apparent here as majority of the population practice vegetarianism.

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Sikkim and Arunachal pradesh has a completely different cuisine as compared to other states of this zone. Due to its geographical location, food here is strongly influenced by Chinese and Mongolian cuisine. Steaming and frying are popular methods of cooking. Momos of Sikkim are loved by people all over the country.

While Manipur is known for its fish delicacies, Nagaland is better known for its bamboo and meat fare. Mizoram mainly has boiled and subtle preparations rather than the fried foods. Other than sweets East India is also a home to some of the most exclusive and special spices in the world including the world renowned raja mirchi or bhut jolokia (Ghost Pepper). Ghost pepper is the hottest chilli in the world according to the Guinness World records.

Food in West India:
(Includes - Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Daman and Diu)

If you are food lover touring Royal Rajasthan and Gujarat are a must as these are the states that represent the dessert flavor of Indian food. Here an immense variety of dals and achars (pickles/preserves) is used that simply substitutes the relative lack of fresh vegetables in these areas.

In the state like Maharashtra, the food is usually a mix of both north as well as south cooking styles. Here people use both the rice and the wheat with same interest. Along the coastline of Mumbai a wide variety of fishes is available. Some of the delicious preparations include dishes like the Bombay Prawn and Pomfret.

In Goa, which is further down towards south, one can notice Portuguese influence in the cooking style as well as in the dishes. Some of the major dishes of this region are the sweet and sour Vindaloo, duck baffad, sorpotel and egg molie etc.

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Food in South India:
(Includes - Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil nadu, Andhra pradesh)

South Indian cuisine is rice based; spices, fishes and coconuts are also greatly used. People in Tamil Nadu use tamarind frequently in order to impart sourness to the dishes. It simply distinguishes the Tamil Food from other cuisines.

In Kerala, some of the delicious dishes are the lamb stew and Malabar fried prawns, Idlis, Dosas, fish molie and rice puttu. Another famous item of this region is the sweetened coconut milk. Yet another dish is Puttu, which is glutinous rice powder steamed like a pudding in a bamboo shoot.

The Andhra cuisine has a great Mughal impact. Their food is known for its spiciness and hotness. The kebabs and the Briyanis are not to be missed.

Make sure you keep a look-out for new products with Indian inspired flavours in the months to come.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9165652