The Indian cuisine
boasts of an immense variety not restricted to only curry. An authentic
Indian curry is an intricate combination of a stir-fried Masala - a
mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes; various spices and
seasonings with which meat; poultry, vegetables or fish is prepared to
produce a stew-type dish. Note: the word Masala also means spice.
Food in India is wide
ranging in variety, taste and flavour. Being so diverse geographically,
each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian
cuisine, renowned for its exotic gravies seems complicated for any
newcomer. The Mughlai cuisine of North differs sharply from the
preparations of the south. The Wazwan style of Kashmir is luxurious but
the same can be said about Bengal's Macher Jhol, Rajasthan's Dal Bati,
Uttar Pradesh's Kebabs and
Punjab's Sarson Ka Saag and Makki di Roti. In
India, recipes are
handed down from generation to generation.
The unique and strong
flavours in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and
nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and
legumes. Most of the spices used in Indian cooking were originally
chosen thousands of years ago for their medicinal qualities and not for
flavour. Many of them such as turmeric, cloves and cardamoms are very
antiseptic, others like ginger, are carminative and good for the
digestion. All curries are made using a wide variety of spices.
In Indian cuisine,
food is categorized into six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter
and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal contains all six tastes, not
always can this be accomplished. This principle explains the use of
numerous spice combinations and depth of flavour in Indian recipes. Side
dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, daals and Indian pickles
contribute to and add to the overall flavour and texture of a meal and
provide balance needed.