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Food In Focus: The Flavors Of India

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 7:13 PM
Img-og by techgnotic

Food is a universal language

One we all speak on a daily basis. We indulge in its savory, sweet, salty, sour or spicy flavors depending on our cravings of the day. Its tantalizing flavors draw us in and delight our taste buds. With each region of the globe creating its own unique cuisine, there are numerous delicious journeys you can take. So let’s embark on a culinary adventure as we explore delicious faire from around the world. Today’s stop is India.

The Land of Spices

Indian food is known for its spices. They are the foundation of every dish and only India can claim it produces the most varieties of spices worldwide. Not everyone has had the pleasure of tasting the exotic flavors of Indian cuisine so we will dive into a little background about its origin and perhaps surprise you with some facts.

Indian cuisine can typically be divided into the styles of Northern and Southern India.

There are 28 states making up the country, each with its own culinary style; however, there has been a lot of influence from the outside world due to the colonization of India as well as through trade. Greek, Roman, and Arab traders can be credited with many of the foreign flavors found in Indian cuisine, including importing saffron.

Many of the staples we now come to associate with Indian food have been introduced from abroad. The Portuguese brought potatoes, tomatoes, chilies, and refined sugar to India. The very popular dish Tikka Masala, consisting of roasted chunks of chicken in a spicy orange-colored sauce, is said to have been invented at an Indian restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland.  Naan, another popular item, hails from Persia, where the first naan bread was created in the 12th century. Chickpeas found their way to India from the Middle East with an origin in either Turkey or Syria. As for Chai, it originally came from China. The British helped popularize tea in India as they competed with China in the tea trade. Rice has to be from India, right? Sorry, it was actually imported from Thailand.

If so many outside factors have shaped Indian cuisine, where can we find its true origins?

Let’s travel back 5,000 years to the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley where meals consisted of mostly barley, wheat, rice, chickpeas, lentils, vegetables and legumes. Traditional Indian food has a basis in Ayurveda, which is a system of Hindu traditional medicine. Ayurveda defines food as either Saatvic, Raajsic or Taamsic. The Saatvic food group made up of fresh vegetables and juices leads you to higher states of consciousness. The Raajsic food group comprised of oily and spicy food is the foundation of activity and motion. Taamsic food which includes meat and liquor produces negative feelings. These principles where long ago infused into traditional recipes, and while the medicinal properties of the herbs and spices used are no longer as well known, their benefits have been locked into the foods we enjoy today.

What about curry, you ask?

Curry and Indian food are synonymous even though it may be surprising to learn that in India there’s no such thing as curry. The word ‘kari’ comes from 15th century Tamil literature and means sauce or gravy. Over time its meaning morphed to reference the dishes we know and love today. Curry is made from blend of spices referred to as ‘garam masala’ and is typically comprised of tamarind, cinnamon, black and white pepper, cloves, cumin, and cardamom. It gained popularity in Britain during the mid-19th century and since the mid-20th century has continued to expand internationally as different countries have adopted and modified the original recipes to their tastes.

Whether you love samosas, tandoori chicken, kulfi or mango lassi, we’ve assembled a gallery of mouth-watering Indian cuisine for you to dine on.

Your Thoughts

  1. Are you a burgers ‘n’ fries person, or will you be joining us on our journey through world cuisines?
  2. Do you have a favorite Indian dish?
  3. What is your favorite cuisine or dessert?
  4. Can you describe the best dinner you ever had? Was the occasion romantic, celebratory or simply surprisingly satisfying? Do you remember each menu item?

Indian food is known for its spices. They are the foundation of every dish and only India can claim it produces the most varieties of spices worldwide. Not everyone has had the pleasure of tasting the exotic flavors of Indian cuisine so we will dive into a little background about its origin and perhaps surprise you with some facts.

Written by: spotted 

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Add a Comment:
Nontaroff Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2017
Wow! It looks very delicious!!! It's wonderful works.+fav 
Angelic-Alchemist Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017
I find it really funny, the thought of foreigners associating Indian cuisine with mostly curry(Yes, it's true we don't have anything called just curry) and garam masala at max (being an anime fan that's again a funny stereotype shown) 
India is a lot more than simply spices, rice and butter chicken.... now you find we have transcended into a new space of fusion dishes. Already there is a big variety considering the diversity in terms of ethnicity and social groups but it has reached a global level now. 
This(India) is a place where you can try out Special Paratha's with an Italian fusion to it along with different sauces or maybe some Moussaka with a tinge of buttered chicken favor. Too much love here :D 
Fundelstein Featured By Owner Edited Feb 12, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
1. I can only do one or the other?

2. Samosas, definitely.

3. Favorite cuisine? Is that a trick question?

4. Too many lovely nights to count...
nebedisew Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2017
My Uncle Henry recently got an almost new gold Audi RS 5 Convertible just by some part time working online at home...
see it here for more info>>>>>>>>>>>
Midnight-Lovestruck Featured By Owner Edited Jan 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
1. I'm somewhat of both - a burgers 'n' fries person, and there are some nice Indian dishes that I've eaten. I'm Indian, and my grandmother and mother make some wonderful Indian dishes.  

2. Yes, my favorite Indian dish is butter chicken. It's so yummy!

3. My favorite dessert is kheer, also known as rice pudding. Delicious!

4. The best dinner I've ever had? I don't know. I'll go with the celebratory occasions. One thing that I enjoy about Indian parties are the buffets. There are a lot of good choices. You start with salad, then you get to the entree/main course, and you finish your meal with dessert.
menaaz Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017   Traditional Artist
Andorada Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2017
Awww, now I am sooo hungry! HungryLa 
PaMonk Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2017  Professional Artist
This so Pretty, and all the Awesome here.♥♥♥⭐⭐♥♥♥
Flibberteegibbet Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh! Definitely Pani Purri (hope I'm spelling that right) and Gulab Jamun. It's like my go-to comfort food!

On that subject, I also really love Persian cuisine! Koobideh and Baghali Polo are my everything haha
drawingmusician48 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love pani puri and gulab jamun too! Although I am not Indian, I have been raised on Indian food. 
Franklansburg Featured By Owner Edited Mar 2, 2015  Professional General Artist
I like Keralan, Telugu, Assamese and Manipuri food
Zaydawadallah Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Zayd Awadallah

# indiancuisine
RZ-desu Featured By Owner Edited Feb 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
1. yes I'm joing, but I'm also a big burgers and fries fan, because at my house indian food is all I get to eat
2.Fav dish would be either tandoori chicken or butter chicken or gulab jaman. my fav dessert ever!
3. , gulab jaman and pandah (idk what its actually called, but its a indian sweet that's small, round, white, and sometimes has a pistachio or something on it.) dinner I had was during Ramadan and it was with my family a my grandma's house. family dinners are the best. no I don't remember the menu because I was like 8 or younger at the time.
Bloodlust-Okami Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
1. Already there.
2. Yes I do.
3. I love Spicy Vegetable Curry.
4. I was on patrol in Afghanistan and we were at a patrol base with some of the Afghan police. They made us some rice, curry, lamb, and bread. It wasn't fancy or anything, in fact, we ate with our hands, but it was amazing.
Rosielis Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015  Professional General Artist
1. I'm def joining!
2. I haven't tried any indian food yet, but all these photos are making me want to!
3. I don't have one; I love food.
4. Best dinner ever would have to be my mother's sancocho(it's a hispanic soup perfect for winter days and it has beef or chicken, carrots, potatoes, yams, plantains, corn, yuca and served with a side of rice. yum!)
ReThinkable Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I love the idea, but it seems that this article, like most American impressions of Indian food, is primarily focusing on North Indian cuisine. Being of South Indian (Tamil Nadu) heritage, I'm inclined to say that South Indian food tastes better, but that's just me.

Now, onto the questions!

1. Of course I'm joining! c:

2. Masala dosa, naan, gulab jamun, pakora, vada... you can't make me choose! Then again, I've been raised on this stuff, so..

3. Italian or Indian.
jfk24 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015
so beautifull picture and good food....
xandraclay Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
A feast for the eyes! I'm ready to go on a food adventure!
2. Do you have a favorite Indian dish?
I actually haven't had any... but it looks delicious! What's the best thing to try that's not to spicy?
gossj10 Featured By Owner Edited Feb 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is a great journal on indian food but it covers only a tiny bit of it .i know it cus im frm india lol ...nd my favorite food frm india is biriyani chicken biriyani of corse its the best nd soo easy to make too, you just need 5 minutes to make it lol nd your stomach will be full that you cant eat anymore lol  ...nd for desert i love gulab jamun it sooo good nd thers many other  too lol...nd it the most delicious when it home made by my mother lol nothing beats that
JerryFrank Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015
uma12 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
bloodysuxgirl Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It looks disgusting
PolarCatP Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Vaya, se ve delicioso :D... Me da ganas de comerlo ^^
CrazyMai Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Student Writer
Now I got really hungry.. 
alankrita-sweetstar Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This article would serve to be quite a good source of information for people who know nothing about Indian food.
However, the article is lacking in some places and it's painfully obvious to me because I'm Indian. (LOL)
Indian cuisine differs from almost state to state. You got the whole "Northern" and "Southern" cuisines right, but you totally forgot about the Western and Eastern parts of India.
In the Western part of India we have Gujarat and Rajasthan while in the Eastern and North-Eastern end we have West Bengal, Assam, etc.
West Bengal and Bangladesh used to be the same state before India's independence so their food is similar.
Bengali food is so unique, you won't find it in any other state of India.
Similarly, Rajasthani and Gujarati food is totally different from the other states.
Items like Dhokla are synonymous with Gujarati cuisine.
Then we have Kashmir, at the absolute North of India. Kashmiri food is again, nothing like that of Punjab or Uttar Pradesh, both of which are in the North.

Thus, it is quite difficult to sum up Indian cuisine with just Northern and Southern.
Nevertheless, I'd say that you have done a good job with the article :) I'm elated to find that you haven't equated India to Chicken Butter Masala and Kebab xD This stereotype of Indian cuisine irritates me to no end.
I'm very pleased to see the references to Vedic ideologies of food. I didn't even know that :O

Overall, I'd say this is a good article but could have been better :)
Angelic-Alchemist Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2017
The scope of Indian cuisine is soooo large that even we Indians are not able to completely explore it haha. I mean if you are from North India you won't ever be satisfied with the kind of chole bhature they serve in South and same goes for south Indians and their inclination towards the perfect dosa.
But nevertheless, it is a good exposure for rest of the world. We are a lot more than curry so I hope they can at least stop the generalization with that now :P 
gossj10 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
agreed but they have shown only a little of the food that we eat theres lots of other delicious food here ..nd its diffrent in evry state lol ..but still im happy they made somthing like this in da tho :) 
gossj10 Featured By Owner Edited Feb 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh nd north and south areas got waaay more food that its told here lol cus im from southern india
alankrita-sweetstar Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
DUH. Of course :D It's not just idli, sambhar, dosa hahahah :P
RoyalAnnaLestrange Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Student Digital Artist
It seems you have only concentrated on one region's Indian food. North Indian. 
Zorinstellings Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
The funny thing is I just ate indian food, chicken tiki masala to be exact. But I just found this. It's fascinating to learn about the food I eat! Thanks!
Vrghr Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015
What a fantastic article! And so many delicious and delightful images to set this wuff's mouth to watering! As to a favorite food, there are so many that rank at the top of the list, its not possible to pick just one. Depending on the taste and desire of the evening, they shift order a bit. But Chicken Makhani definitely occupies the top tier. 
AndreaMorrow Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Student Artisan Crafter
Hungry hungry LADrooling Smiley Emoticon/AvatarDrool Emoticon Drooling emoticonDrool revamp :retarded-drool: ABSENCE OF MIND. :drool: rvmp Cutie Hungry Drooling Tard
HeruKemet Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015
Nice Feature
Grapazo Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Student General Artist
I am an Indian and its a common sense I eat Indian food most of the time ..........but choosing a single dish is so confusing........but still.......I really love to eat shahi paneer with naan.............
RZ-desu Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
fellow indian! hi! I like shahi paneer too. but naan... just a picky eater ^^
Grapazo Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015  Student General Artist
Hi nice to meet u......... Can I know from where do u belong to??? (^o^)
RZ-desu Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
if you mean where I'm from. I'm from the US but my parents are from Gujarat. Where are you from?
Grapazo Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015  Student General Artist
I live near new Delhi ......... If u know about that.............
RZ-desu Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Student Digital Artist
i haven't been to new Delhi but i know its an awesome place to visit :3
bobbyjohnford Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Isn't posting pictures of your food for instagram?
RebellingLemming Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1. World Cuisine! That's life!
2. Curry!
3. Indian? Roti! Anywhere else Fruit cake.
4. If it's on indian dinner, I have never dine any of indian but lunch once in my life! If it's about the best dinner, I must mention dinner at home with family, enjoying watching our favorite programs without anything disturbing outsides like from workplace. It's just simply SURPRISINGLY satisfying because I really have no idea what will be the menu at the moment! My mom is very good at this. Proud of her!   
dhirajkyawal Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Student General Artist
I'm a Pani Puri fan! 😋
Moonbeam13 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
YAY I love this idea so much!

1. I love burgers but I love world cuisine and trying new things! So let's start the journey, I'm ready :D

2. My favourite Indian dish is Sag Aloo, a delicious combination of spinach, potatoes and spices. I also really love Vindaloo curries :) The spicier the better!

3. I'm Italian so by default and tradition, that's my favorite cuisine. That being said, I'm a huge fan of Ethiopian food.  (To be honest I really just love food)

4.  This changes constantly! But the most recent was at an Ethiopian restaurant with my husband and step-daughter.  There are no utensils so it's really a bonding moment as you tear off pieces of injera bread and dig into a variety of different dishes. We ordered "Bayaaynatu" which means "Of Each Kind" and is an assortment of many items on the menu.  It stood out because of the food and the people I was with :)
TheMaidenInBlack Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015
:giggle: what, you're Italian? Your name really doesn't give it away! :O 
(I will soon be moving to the US from Italy and I'm already weeping every time we go to my favourite pizzeria. :( I'm threatening the owner that I'll just kidnap his mother - who's the lady who makes the pizza there - and take her with me)

PS: :eager: I love this idea too! So many foods I haven't tried or don't know of, and it's a nice break from the artsy articles that are shared. 
Moonbeam13 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
My father is Italian. My parents separated early but my Nonna was very much a part of my life early on :) My mom is part Irish and part Scottish :D
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