India is a land of vivid cultures and each of them is full of variety and uniqueness. Among the various cultures, one of the most prevalent and unique cultures of India is the Food Culture. Food in India is not just a physical eatable entity. It has a purposeful significance for the people living out here. We believe that food is sacred. It is such an offering that not just helps the physical body to grow but that which unites the people. Food as a commixture of various components and tastes reflect various meanings and purposes in the life of Proud Indians.
Indian food culture is apparently around 5000 years old. It encompasses a vast variety of cuisines, spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits coming from different regions and parts of India. Different states, regions, and places of India possess their own unique way of preparing food. The variety of cuisines and the elements used are different too. Due to the different kinds of soils, fertility, climate conditions and water resources, each part of the country has a huge variety of spices, herbs, food grains, vegetables, and fruits, which also enables the food culture to grow in its own unique way.
The Food Culture
Indian food culture has been highly influenced by many religious, traditional, and cultural factors. Food culture has been evolving for a long period of time that has led to variations in flavors and cuisines. Many historical events such as the influence of Mughals, invasion of Britishers and Portuguese, colonialism and trade relations had introduced new patterns and ingredients to the Indian food culture. Specifically, the international trade of Spices between India and Europe was considered to be a remarkable impetus.
Indian food culture has primarily been known for its famous trend of Vegetarianism that consists of the intake of fruits, grains, pulses, dairy products, and vegetables. In fact, the ancient Hindu food culture categorized the food into three broad categories such as Saatvik, Rajasic, and Tamasic food respectively. Our food culture firmly believes in the fact that food has a deep impact on the mind and the soul. Hence our thoughts and actions have a direct connection with the kind of food we take.
The Food items
Food including the items; vegetables, fruits, and grains are pure food and motivate purity in thoughts. Meat/non-vegetarian items are believed to raise anxiety and stimulation in the mind of the person. Food culture in India subjects to the inclusion of many different kinds of food items and experiments in the preparation of cuisines/dishes. Here, people don’t only cook food but also serve it with etiquette and hospitality. There is a strong faith in dining manners among the Indian which they follow with their heart. Since food is a sacred offering thereby in Indian families it is foremost served as an offering to God. Food is always served with the right hand.
Indian cuisines represent an enormous conglomeration of spices, pulses, herbs, oil, methods, food items and flavors. Most commonly used pulses and grain in Indian cuisines are; rice, pearl millet (Bajra), wheat flour (Atta) red lentils (Masoor), pigeon pea (Toor), black gram (urad), mung bean (Moong dal), chickpea (Channa), kidney beans (Rajma and Lobiya). In oils, coconut, mustard, sunflower, soybean, and gingelly (sesame) oils are most prevalent. Vegetable oil is Vanaspati ghee, Desi ghee is commonly used cooking oil. Spices and herbs which add the fabulous flavor to the Indian cuisines are many such as; red chilly powder (Laal Mirch), Mustard seeds (Sarso), cumin (zeera), turmeric (haldi), coriander (dhaniya), garlic (lehsun), garam masala (a mixture of all the spices), cardamom (illaichi), bay (tezpatta), mint leaves, nutmeg, saffron, rose petals.
Cuisines of Uttarakhand come from its major sub-regions; Garhwal and Kumaon. However the methods of preparing food in these two regions are almost the same. There is a lavish consumption of ghee, vegetables, and lentils in the cuisines in both regions. Since Uttarakhand is a mountainous place the meal/diet is very much rich in protein. The diet contains a lot of vegetables, pulses, and soya beans. The cooking methods over here are also very traditional. In villages, we use a big iron utensil over a charcoal fire to prepare the meals. Saag is a foremost popular cuisine in Uttranchal, the people here prepare it with spinach, Bathu, and fenugreek. There is a liberal consumption of other seasonings to enhance the flavor of cuisines such as, bhangira, jambu timmer, and ghandhraini.
Few other famous delicacies of Uttranchal are; Jholi, Dubuk, Chudkani, Rus, Chadanji and etc. salads and sauces also make an important part of the cuisines such as Nimbu Mooli ka Raita, Daarim ki Khatai, Kheere ka Raita, and Aam ka Fajitha are quite popular ones. Sun-dried balls made up of Urad ki Daal known as Mungodi are much liked and prevalent in both the major regions of Uttarakhand. Festive cuisines are also different, sweets and refreshments are quite famous delicacies during the festivals such as Pua, Bada, Singal, Singodi, Malai Laddu, Bal Mithai and etc.
For more such kind of information, visit our Life Style section.