Wednesday, August 20, 2008

INDIAN COOKING 101- REGIONAL FOODS

Its a week already since my introduction to Indian cooking. With constructive responses from fellow blogger, I was happy to know that there are a lot of folks who would love to know more about Indian cooking. Well I hope, I can provide all the readers with as much good stuff as possible.

"variety is the spice of life" is personified by the cuisines India. with so many different regional cuisines, the food varies not only in taste, but in the method of cooking, the use of authentic cookware, dominant ingredients, way of eating the food and the use of typical spices.

If I were to delve into all the regions of India and their speciality cooking, I would probably have to dedicate an entire blog to that and not just a weekly series.

The regional food scene in India is divided into four major categories.
  • North
  • South
  • East and West
with further divisions among them.

UP NORTH

North indian cuisine is made up of cuisines of punjab,kashmir, rajhasthan, himachal, delhi and uttar pradesh
This cuisine is the most popular cuisine of India not only in India outside India too.
the mouth watering chicken butter masala, the tandoori chicken, the naans, that one gets to savour in any of the popular Indian restaurants, outside India, are just a portion of the plate.

STAPLE FOOD

the dry, arid and cool climate of the north makes it ideal for growing wheat. which is the staple food in the form of chapatis, or "rotis", naans, puris (thin discs of rolled out dough that is deep fried).


stuffed paranthas, a kind of flat bread, are a staple for breakfast all over north india. the stuffing is done with spiced potatoes,cauliflower, radish, or onions and then the rolled out parantha is

cooked over a hot griddle or "tawa"

The use of dairy and dairy products are very prevalent in northern cuisine.
paneer or the indian cheese, ghee or clarified butter, milk and yogurt are used in abundance all over nothern india.
lentils or 'dal" as they are called is the basis of a complete meal.
chicken and lamb are eaten the most. fish is not a staple of this region.
for more on the main dishes of all the various north indian regions click here

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

the main influence in the northern part of India was that of the Moguls. not only is the influence seen in art and architecture, it is also seen in the food. their cuisine saw a use of nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashew to make gravies. they introduced Indians to the process of cooking over charcoal on "dum" or steam. the process involved mixing the meat, or rice with all the spices and letting it cook slowly in a clay pot over charcoal. the sides of the pot was then sealed with dough, so that none of the flavours escaped.
till date authentic mughlai delicacies are cooked in this way.
the Mogul influence is felt in the cuisines of extreme northern regions like Kashmir, which is famous for its 24 course banquet called the wazwan. I wonder how long would that take to eat!!!!
the all time famous kabobs are yet another speciality of the region. minced meat mixed with spices like cardamom and nutmeg, cooked to melt in your mouth perfection.
Biryani is yet another speciality bought to us by the Moguls.

SWEET AND SAVOURY
snack items include samosa, which is a flour dough, shaped in a triangle and filled with minced meat, vegetables, potatoes or paneer and then deep fried. pakodas or gram flour batter mixed with spices and then fried are also very famous.
sweets often make use of ghee or clarified butter as the cooking medium. these include "halwa" . this means a mixture made out of sugar and butter along with some nuts. the most famous being "gajar ka halwa" or carrot halwa.
other sweets that are a speciality of the region are "koolfi" a milk based frozen dessert.
"jalebi"spiral rings of fried and flavoured dough dipped in sugar syrup.

AT THE END
Initially when I started to write this post, I had thought that I would cover a little about all the regions. But as I went on to write, I realised that , that was not going to happen. With so much to talk about each and every region, how could I cover everything in just one post. so I thought about doing them all separately. I would love to hear more comments and feed backs. And all those who have tried out any north Indian speciality, I would love to add those recipes here.
some of the all the time famous north Indian recipes that I have prepared so far

8 comments:

LG said...

Nice Post Karuna..will keep following up..this post

notyet100 said...

wow,..nice post,..have some north indian recipes..ill mail u the links...ndya waitin for next post...

Priti said...

Gud post with lot of info...great going..waiting for next post now...

Sangeeth said...

great going yaar..keep it up!

Kitchen Flavours said...

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Suma Rajesh said...

nice reading ur post and pic r yummy and tempting..

Jo said...

Love Indian food! In fact there is a famous banana leaf rice restaurant just outside my apartment. So will go there at least once a month.

VEGETABLE PLATTER said...

hey this is a very nice read ..