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Indian food

The cuisine of India is characterized by its sophisticated and subtle use of many spices and herbs grown across India and also for the widespread practice of vegetarianism across its society. Considered by some to be one of the world's most diverse cuisines, each family of this cuisine is characterized by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. As a consequence, Indian cuisine varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse Indian subcontinent.[1] India's religious beliefs and culture has played an influential role in the evolution of its cuisine. However, cuisine across India also evolved due to the subcontinent's large-scale cultural interactions with neighboring Persia, ancient Greece, Mongols and West Asia, making it a unique blend of various cuisines across Asia.[2][3] The colonial period introduced European cooking styles to India adding to its flexibility and diversity.[4][5] Indian cuisine has also influenced cuisines across the world, especially those from South East Asia.[6][7][8]

As a land that has experienced extensive immigration and intermingling through many millennia, India's cuisine has benefited from numerous food influences. The diverse climate in the region, ranging from deep tropical to alpine, has also helped considerably broaden the set of ingredients readily available to the many schools of cookery in India. In many cases, food has become a marker of religious and social identity, with varying taboos and preferences (for instance, a segment of the Jain population consume no roots or subterranean vegetable; see Jain vegetarianism) which has also driven these groups to innovate extensively with the food sources that are deemed acceptable.

One strong influence over Indian foods is the longstanding vegetarianism within sections of India's Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities. People who follow a strict vegetarian diet make up 20–42% of the population in India, while less than 30% are regular meat-eaters.[9][10][11]

Around 7000 BC, sesame, eggplant, and humped cattle had been domesticated in the Indus Valley.[12] By 3000 BC, turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and mustard were harvested in India[13]. Many recipes first emerged during the initial Vedic period, when India was still heavily forested and agriculture was complemented with game hunting and forest produce. In Vedic times, a normal diet consisted of fruit, vegetables, meat, grain, dairy products and honey.[14] Over time, some segments of the population embraced vegetarianism, due to ancient Hindu philosophy of ahimsa.[15] This practice gained more popularity following the advent of Buddhism and a cooperative climate where variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains could easily be grown throughout the year. A food classification system that categorized any item as saatvic, raajsic or taamsic developed in Ayurveda. Each was deemed to have a powerful effect on the body and the mind


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Indian cuisine".