The Indian cuisine, like its country’s diversity, is found to have astoundingly wide varieties that differ from region to region. Here, in this country, the cuisine changes a little or more for at least every hundred miles that you drive from one location if I am not exaggerating. So one can imagine about the diversity in terms of food as well. With the goal of explaining about the Indian cuisine diversely, I have divided it minimally and I’ll be starting from the North. Let’s start cooking (I’ve not started it yet, don’t panic)!
North Indian Cuisine
Though there are noticeable differences in the cuisines of states in North India, there are a couple of things that remain in common. Central Asia heavily influences the North Indian cuisine, both, in terms of culture and food. The staple food here, unlike South India, is not rice. Higher priority is given to paranthas, kulchas and naan popularly termed as ‘Indian bread‘ by non-Indians (trust me, not many in India get it when you mention it).
Jammu and Kashmir cuisine
I presume you wouldn’t enjoy many of its delicacies if you are a vegetarian. As Kashmir is not only popular for its beauty but mainly for its non-vegetarian dishes. Particularly lamb meat (mutton), such as Rogan Josh and Aab Gosht. Mughals have influenced the delicacies in this region. Hot spices like ginger, cinnamon and cardamom play a major part in this cuisine. It gives the food a mild taste and a rich flavour. Apart from mutton, other items that are used on a daily basis are fish and chicken.
It turns out, Mughals weren’t the only influence here, a combination of the influence of Persian and Aghan invaders in the culinary practices shaped this cuisine. Also, chefs that settled down during the Timur invasion had a powerful influence on the cuisine. Thus, the popularity of the delicacies in Jammu and Kashmir is explained
As I mentioned earlier, naan and paranthas dominate this particular region. Punjab is well-known for its thick curries, most of which are spicy. The cultivation of two major crops i.e. wheat and rice covers major parts of the land in Punjab. So we can see why the ‘Indian bread’ is popular here.
One of the things that make this cuisine unique is tandoor. The Punjabi tandoor is a traditional bell-shaped oven, usually found in the courtyards of Punjabi households. Some others call it clay oven. You have probably heard about tandoori food items. These are all prepared in the tandoor. The tandoor contributes largely to the preparation of roasted tandoori chicken and naan
When a survey was made in 2014, it turns out that Rajasthan is the most vegetarian state with 75% of the population as vegetarians. Even the influence of the food here is extraordinary. Extreme climatic conditions, vegetation and scarcity of water has moulded the cuisine. After preparing the food, just wrap it up and keep it up on a shelf and trust me, it will not spoil. That is the speciality of this cuisine. Heating these food items is not essential before consuming it because of its way of preparation. Due to water scarcity, there is extensive use of dairy products like milk and butter. The Rajputs, who savoured non-vegetarian items, influence the Rajasthan cuisine.
Some of the popular dishes are Bajre ki roti and dal-baati-churma. Bajre ki roti is flatbread which composes of millets had with chutney. It is consumed on a daily basis. Dal-baati-churma is one of the signatures of Rajasthan. People all over the world recognise this delicacy.
South Indian cuisine
Unlike the North Indian delicacies, South Indian cuisine does not see many variations. Henceforth, you can understand why there is no diverse classification, as such. This is probably due to the cultivation of the crop. Rice is a staple food in South India. No matter if there are chapattis or not, rice is the primary priority. This cuisine plays around a lot of low-calorie food items. Idli-vadas, dosas and uttapams which are also prepared from rice and lentils play a major part in making the South Indian cuisine’s signature. Rice is the staple food here. In here, rice, especially basmati, goes very well with sambhar.
Oh, and that is what idli and vada look like: