ndian food is conquering the world. And why not? India's cuisine is as diverse as its culture, languages, regions, and climate. Yes it is spicy, but not always hot. Traditionally cooked with tastes rather than with recipes, Indian cuisine has very wholesome tastes designed to satisfy not only the taste buds but also the human physiology.

Indian food has evolved over centuries and has flourished under the many rulers that India had.
Chefs vied with one another to create exotic delicacies for their Maharajas. The result is centuries
Typical Rajasthani Thali with Makke Ki Roti, Dal & Dahi of patronage to the art of cooking and a large repertoire of delicious recipes. Probably India is the only land on earth that boasts of such a wide variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Every region of India has its own unique dishes as well as subtle variations to popular dishes.

Taste of any Indian dish could not be delightful without the aromatic spices, the essence of Indian cuisine. Spices such as Coriander, Cumin, Cinnamon,
Clove, etc., give Indian food its distinct flavour but the skill lies in the subtle blending of a variety of spices to enhance the basic flavour of a particular dish. Indian cuisine also uses plenty of milk products like ghee (clarified butter) and dahi (yoghurt), a variety of dals (lentils) and regional vegetables. Depending on the region and the season the variety of vegetables available differ and the way the vegetable is cooked depends on the main dish being served. For example Sarson ka saag (mustard greens) is a perfect complement for the Makke ki Roti (corn flat bread) eaten in Punjab, while sambhar (lentil soup) and coconut chutney are a staple with idlis (steamed rice cakes) and dosas (rice pancakes).

Although a number of religions exist in India, the two most influential to Indian cuisine are the Hindu and the Muslim traditions. The latter is most evident in dishes like Mughlai food, Kababs,
Kormas, Koftas (meat-balls), Biryani (rice with meats), Rogan Josh, and barbecued preparations like tandoori rotis and tandoori chicken, which are made in clay ovens popularly known as the tandoor. A majority of these are staple foods in the North India, which was mainly ruled by Mughals.

Hindu cuisine in the North mainly comprises rotis (unleavened flat bread) or parathas (unleavened fried flat bread), rice and an assortment of dishes like dals, fried vegetables, curries, chutney, and pickles.

South Indian cuisine is rice based. Rice is combined with lentils to make

Enjoying the spicy taste of South Indian Cuisine at the famous MTR Restaurant of Bangalore

wonderful dosas, idlis, vadas and uttapams. These items are glorious and delicious besides being nourishing and digestible (due to the fermenting process). They are combined with sambhar (lentil soup), rasam (tamarind dal), dry and curried vegetable and pachadi (yoghurt).

A typical traditional meal in South India is served on a banana leaf. Size of the leaf varies from one community to another. The top half of the leaf is reserved for accessories, the lower half for the rice. The lower right portion of the leaf may have a scoop of warm sweet, milky rice payasam, which
Colourful display of delicious Snacks should be lapped up quickly. While the top left includes a pinch of salt, a dash of pickle and a thimbleful of salad, or a smidgen of chutney. In the middle of the leaf there may be an odd number of fried items like small circles of chips, either banana, yam or potato, hard round discs of spiced, ground dal known as VADA, thin papads, or frilly wafers.

Indians are also renowned for their sweet teeth. In India one can easily see sweetmeat shops by the roadside. The range of sweets, which are displayed in these shops, is breathtaking. Fairyland silver and gold, rich yellow, deep brown, and pale milky white confections are made from the simplest of ingredients (ghee, milk, sugar) but make the most unbelievably rich sweet, decadent concoctions.

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