India is a large country with a lot of regions that have their own cuisine peculiarities. But still there are some cooking styles and techniques that relate all Indian food. First of all, Indian food is very spicy – Indian chefs use a different variety of herbs and spices. Also Indian cuisine uses lots of different vegetables – there are many veggie dishes and dishes with poultry, but not with fat meat.
Long and varies history of India had a great influence on its cuisine. It has some tips, features and recipes from Aryan, Arab, Persian, Portuguese and, of course, British cuisines.
Hot climate influences regional cuisines too. In some provinces there is a lack of fresh vegetables and fruits, that's why people use preservatives and dried fruits and vegetables. In other regions grains and cereals are grown in large amounts, so chefs use them in many dishes.
The most popular and typical ingredients of Indian food are:
- cereals – rice, wheat, lentils (many different types), chickpeas, kidney beans etc;
- herbs and spices – chilli pepper, black mustard seeds, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, asafoetida, ginger, coriander, garlic, red chilly powder, garam masala (very popular spice mix), curry powder etc;
- vegetables – potatoes, tomatoes, paprika, green peas, cucumbers, onions, cauliflower, chilli, cayenne pepper, cabbage, parsnips, carrot etc;
- vegetable oils – peanut oil, mustard oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, vanaspati ghee (hydrogenated vegetable oil).
In India traditionally every woman must cook. People even say that if woman is not cooking or eating a meal, she's planning what to cook next. In this country there is a cult of food. Indian meal usually includes several dishes: one or two main dishes, some snacks and dessert.
Indian beverages are also very interesting and good-tasting. For example, Indians use no water when making coffee, they just take milk, ground coffee seeds, sugar and spices. That's because there is a lack of good fresh water in India. Also Indians drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices, because a great variety of vegetables and fruits grow in this country.