History of Indian Food – Introduction

Once considered the shining jewel in the British Empire’s crown, India can today be easily deemed as the huge, 60-carat diamond in the World’s flavored cuisine ring. The large variety of dishes, appetizers, snacks, side dishes and desserts have found numerous fans on an international scale, as Indian restaurants spread at an incredible rate, with an enormous success in every possible culture and in every possible corner of the World. Combining all tastes possible, the Indian cuisine is bound to satisfy spice-lovers, “salty” people and persons with a sweet tooth alike (although the latter will feel right at home, since India is a “sweet” country).

Some say that the Indian cuisine is almost as diverse as the entire European cuisine, because of the four different main regional styles: the North Indian cuisine (the regions Benaras, Kashmir, Mughlai, Punjab and Rajasthan), the South Indian cuisine (regions Andhra, Kannada, Kerala and Tamil), East Indian cuisine (regions Assamese and Bengali) and Western Indian cuisine (regions Gujarat, Maharashtrian and Malwani). The northern part of India is mostly rural, although it contains large cities such as Delphi or Calcutta, thus its cuisine is more agricultural than anything, wheat being a primary constituent of this region’s dishes. Southern regions however tend to be more exotic, more spicy in their dishes and rice is a constant ingredient in their food. To give the taste of their main dishes, North Indians use onions and coriander whilst southerners use a more exotic coconut base for their dishes.

The history of Indian food tells us that during the reign of the British Empire in India (the British Raj), the local cuisine was considered by the Europeans closely to what Gods taught of ambrosia: a delightful, heavenly and delicate dish. Many times, we ask how the Indian cuisine grew to be so popular, so diverse and so delightful. In truth, the question is quite dim…from a population of one billion people, is it really that hard to believe some of them are great cooks?…

But let’s take a closer look at what Indian dishes and snacks have to offer, providing a history of Indian food and a few related legends alongside. Ready your taste buds, because it’s going to be one juicy ride!