Indian cuisine is known for its delicious taste, savory flavor, and the rich culture behind all the recipes. Like me, you might be overwhelmed by the number of new names of spices, foods, and dishes at the beginning. However, after some learning, you can then order in an Indian restaurant quickly, and enjoy exploring all different flavors. This blog explains the basic of Indian cuisine. I hope this helpful for you to get start with this great journey. 😊
Indian think pig is nasty, and the cow is holy. Therefore, many parts of India doesn't eat pork or beef. The meat is more on lamb, chicken, and seafood.
Indian food is known for it's the wide choice of seasonings. An Indian dish on average has no less than ten different spices. Each spice has some typical usages, but they also can be used in many different ways.
South and North Indian Cuisine
There are two main categories of Indian Cuisine: Northern and Southern Indian cuisine. The East indian cuisine is more close to the North with more seafood like fish and prawns, and the West Indian cuisine is more close to the South but is more focused on the vegetarian food. Now, there are some mix between the two cuisines.
The North Indian cuisine consists of dishes developed in Medieval India (1206–1858 CE) at the centers of the Mughal Empire. It has strong Central Asian a influence and is more fragrant, pungent and with warm spices. The typical dishes are Chana Masala (鹰嘴豆咖喱), Matter Paneer (豌豆奶豆腐), Butter Chicken (印度奶油鸡)，Kati Roll (烤串卷饼)， Rogan Josh (咖喱羊肉)，Laal Maans (咖喱肉 - Very Spicy!), Shrimp Vindaloo (酸辣咖喱虾), Lamb Curry (咖喱羊), Chicken Kabab/Tikkas(烤鸡串), and Polanos (茴香炖饭). The following are some dishes that you'd like to know more:
India has some famous desserts (Mithai) or appetizers, you definitely want to try. They are Samosa (印度咖喱角), Chaat (酸辣包), Gulab Jamun (玫瑰蜜炸奶球), Lassi (奶昔), Badam Milk (杏仁奶) and Masala Chai (印度奶茶).
How to Eat
Don't eat with left hand. You either use knife and forks or use right hand to touch the food. You will find lemon water provided to wash hand in many indian restaurants. You normally start with the bread and then the rice.
You will find Thali (咖哩拼盘) in many indian restaurant. Thaili starts from the Indian philosophy that each person has six taste senses: bitter, astringent, spicy, sour, salty, sweet. A healthy dinner needs to have both these flavors and balance each other. Thali contains a variety of dishes (normally 4-6) , such as curry (咖喱), yogurt/Raita (酸奶), all kinds of sauces Chutney (酱料) and dessert such as Papad/Pappadoms (印度薄饼), Dal (豆子泥). The larger dishes in the middle are usually rice and bread such as Naan (馕) Puri (印度松饼), Roti (印度煎饼). When eating, you can mix the bread, rice and all kinds of sauce casually together. If you have Indian Papad （印度薄饼), then you can crush it and mix it in rice or sauces. In South India, we sometimes see the use of sewing banana leaves instead of the plate. If any dish is not enough, you normally can request addition without extra charge.
You will also find some acronyms in Indian Cuisine menu: vegan (V) , contains nuts (N), and Gluten free (GF).
Words to Know
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