Evolution of Indian cooking
The roots of Indian cooking were laid down almost 8000 years ago with the advent of the Aryans who settled around the Indus Valley. That was when legumes, fruits, grains, milk, vegetables, and honey consisted of the main ingredients and spices like turmeric, cardamom, black pepper, etc. were being harvested here.
Around 2000 BC, the Ayurvedic system of cooking brought in a holistic approach to cooking and believed that Indian recipes were sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic and affected our body and soul.
Indian dishes further evolved with the advent of several dynasties over time. The Mauryan Empire around 300 BC brought with it vegetarianism. The Mughal rulers brought with them meat-based dishes and milky desserts and the British came with their famous teas and made curries an important part of Indian dishes.
Famous foods of Indian states- A taste of our diversity
Indian recipes are broadly divided into four parts depending on the geography i.e. north, south, east, and west. The north Indian recipes are characterized by heavy use of milk in the form of paneer, ghee, yogurt, etc. It also includes bread like naan, roti, kulcha, etc. served with vegetable curries, lentils, pickles, etc.
The East Indian recipes involve the use of mustard and poppy seeds, green chilies, cumin, etc. to make dishes like luchi, bhaja, Sukto, jhol, etc. served mostly with rice.
South Indian recipes, divided into Andhra, Chettinad, Tamil, Hyderabadi, etc. are focused on rice-based dishes like dosa, idiyappam, etc. served with lentil-based sambar, rasam, and coconut chutney. Fragrant biryanis are also popular southern Indian recipes.
West Indian recipes are divided majorly into Gujarati, Maharashtrian, and Goan. These are dominated by coastal ingredients and foods like coconut, fish, kadhi, buttermilk, rice, and seafood.
Why is Indian food amongst the healthiest in the world?
You go to any corner of the world and you have an Indian restaurant! Indian food recipes have become extremely popular around the world not only owing to their taste but also for the tremendous health benefits that they have.
Here are some reasons why Indian food recipes are considered to be super-healthy:
- Veg recipes of India use a lot of vegetables and fruits and are cooked in a way that retains their freshness and nutrition.
- Freshly cooked Indian recipes use zero preservatives and are made with health-boosting spices and ingredients like turmeric, cloves, garlic, green chilies, etc. These have immunity-boosting functions that are important for a healthy body.
- The use of grains in Indian recipes offers the right amount of carbohydrates, fibers, antioxidants, and minerals that help reduce the risk of heart diseases, gastrointestinal issues, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and cancer.
- The various oils like mustard oil, ghee, peanut oil, etc. that are used to cook Indian food recipes lend cancer-fighting benefits, have anti-inflammatory properties, and are immunity boosting.
- Indian snacks and main course foods that are served with pickles and chutneys have antioxidant and probiotic properties.
- Indian desserts are made with milk and yogurt, etc. that have proteins and amino acids. Besides, the use of dry fruits in Indian desserts is a good source of calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, etc. Ingredients like sesame seeds, peanuts, and jaggery in Indian desserts are a great source of carbohydrates and energy.
Indian recipes that you can’t miss
The popularity of Indian dishes has grown worldwide in the last few decades. Here are some of the best recipes, both traditional and fusion, that show the stupendous and diverse tastes of India:
The best Indian breakfast recipes:
- Aloo paratha: The quintessential Indian breakfast recipe, aloo paratha is made by mashing boiled potato with coriander seeds, chili powder, turmeric, cumin powder, ginger paste, and salt. Add this to a ball of wheat dough and roll. Cook in ghee and serve with pickle and white butter.
- Masala French Toast: One of the most popular Indian breakfast recipes, this is made by beating eggs and adding chili flakes, salt, and black pepper. Take a bread slice and dip it into this mixture. Spread green chilies, onions, and coriander and cook on both sides. This Indian breakfast recipe is best served with masala tea.
- Spinach mushroom scrambled eggs: This healthy Indian breakfast recipe is made by whisking the egg with salt and pepper. Saute spinach and mushroom in butter and add the egg mixture. Roast until the eggs are cooked. Serve this healthy Indian breakfast with toast.
The best Indian snacks recipes:
- Samosa: Samosa tops the list of Indian snacks and is often referred to as India’s national dish. Make samosa dough with maida, ajwain, salt, ghee, and water to make a smooth dough. For the filling, splutter cumin seeds, minced ginger, green chilies, garam masala, amchur powder, and hing. Add mashed boiled potatoes and sauté. Fill this in to cone-shaped pieces of the dough and fry. Serve this lip-smacking Indian snack with mint chutney.
- Orange dahi kabab: One of the most popular Indian snacks recipes, this is made by adding onions, cashews, coriander leaves, orange rind, and green chilies to hung curd. Add breadcrumbs and make them into balls. Roll these in besan and shallow fry. Serve with green chutney.
The best dinner Indian recipes:
- Amla Kala chana: One of the most delicious Indian recipes, this is made by soaking Kabuli chana with dry amla pieces. For the masala, add coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder, ginger, cumin powder, and garam masala to ghee, green chilies, ginger & garlic paste, and curd. Add boiled chana and cook for 10 minutes. Serve with hot paranthas.
- Aloo from Jaipur: One of the best dinner Indian recipes, to make this, add bay leaves, garlic, ginger, green chilies, baby potatoes, and onions in mustard oil. After 5 minutes of cooking, add tomato puree, curd, turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala, and salt. Serve this amazing dinner Indian recipe with paratha.
- Broccoli and zucchini ki sabzi: One of the most delicious veg recipes of India, this is made by sautéing onions, capsicum, cabbage, garlic, broccoli, and zucchini. Add chili flakes, mixed herbs, salt, and spinach.
Other great Indian recipes that you can try are:
- Diabetic-friendly raw banana sukki sabzi
- Butter chicken
- Hyderabadi biryani
- Idli sambhar