Indian cuisine


Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterized by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society. Each and every family of Indian cuisine includes a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques. Indian cuisine also varies from region to region, reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically-diverse subcontinent.
Hindu beliefs and culture have played an influential role in the evolution of Indian cuisine.[1] However, cuisine across India also evolved as a result of the subcontinent's large-scale cultural interactions with the Mongols and the British, making it a unique blend of some various cuisines.[2][3] The spice trade between India and Europe is often cited as the main catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery.[4] Indian cuisine has influenced cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.[5][6]
Indian cuisine has been influenced by a 5000-year history of various groups and cultures interacting with the subcontinent, leading to the diversity of flavors and regional cuisines found in modern-day India.

Spices at a grocery shop in India

Lentils are a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine.
The staples of Indian cuisine are Pearl millet (bajra), rice, whole wheat flour (atta), and a variety of pulses, of which the most central to this cuisine are masoor (most often redlentils), channa (bengal gram), toor (pigeon pea or yellow gram), urad (black gram), andmoong (green gram). Pulses may be used whole, dehusked – for example, dhuli moong ordhuli urad – or split. Split pulses, or dal, are used extensively. Some pulses, such aschanna and mung, are also processed into flour (besan).
Most Indian curries are cooked in vegetable oil. In northern and western India, peanut oil is popular, while in eastern India, mustard oil is more commonly used. Coconut oil is used widely along the western coast, especially in Kerala; gingelly (sesame) oil is common in the south, as well. In recent decades, sunflower and soybean oil have become popular across India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as Vanaspati ghee, is another popular cooking medium. Butter-based ghee, or desi ghee, is used very frequently, but still less used than before.
The most important or frequently used spices in Indian cuisine are chilli pepper, black mustard seed (sarso), cumin (jeera), turmeric(haldi), fenugreek (methi), asafoetida (hing), ginger (adrak), coriander (dhania), and garlic (lehsun). One popular spice mix is garam masala, a powder that typically includes five or more dried spices, especially cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. Each region, and sometimes each individual chef, has a distinctive garam masala blend. Goda masala is a comparable, though sweet, spice mix that is popular in Maharashtra. Some leaves commonly used for flavoring include bay (tejpat), coriander, fenugreek, and mint leaves. The use of curry leaves and roots is typical of Gujarati and all South Indian cuisine. Sweet dishes are seasoned with cardamom, saffron, nutmeg, and rose petal essences.
Regional cuisines
Cuisine differs across India's diverse regions as a result of variation in local cultures, geographical locations (e.g., whether a region is close to the sea, desert or the mountains), and economics. It also varies seasonally, depending on what fruits and vegetables are ripe.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Andhra Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh


Palak paneer, a dish made fromspinach and paneer cheese

Raita is a condiment based oncurd and used as a sauce or dip.
Daman and Diu

Pomfret fried fish


Khaman is a popular Gujarati snack.

Himachal Pradesh
Jammu & Kashmir



Madhya Pradesh


A dish of Batata vada.



Luchi, is an unleavened flour bread deep fried in oil, mostly eaten in Orissa.


Dal makhani, is a treasured staple food from Punjab.



Momos served in a tomato-based broth
Tamil Nadu


Uttar Pradesh


West Bengal

Imarti, a popular sweet made from lentils.
Barfi is a sweet made of dried milk with ground cashews or pistachios. It is customary to attach a thin layer of edible silver foil as decoration.
Chikki A simple sweet made out of peanuts and molasses.
Gulab jamun is an Indian dessert made out of fried milk balls soaked in sweet syrup.
Jalebi is made by deep-frying flour in a circular (coil-like) shape and then dipping in sugar syrup. Imarti is a variant of Jalebi, with a different flour mixture, and has a more coiled texture. Typically Jalebi is brown or yellow, while Imarti is reddish in color. Often taken with milk, tea or even yogurt (or Lassi)
Khaja is a sweet food of Orissa and Bihar states in India. Refined wheat flour, sugar and oils are the chief ingredients of khaja.
It is believed that, even 2000 years ago, Khajas were prepared in the southern side of the Gangetic Plains of Bihar. These areas which are home to khaja, once comprised the central part of Maurya and Gupta empires. Presently, Khajas are prepared and sold in the city of Patna, Gaya and several other places across the state of Bihar. Khajas of the Silao and Rajgir are known for their puffiness.
Eating habits
People in India consider a healthy breakfast, or nashta, important. They generally prefer to drink tea or coffee with the first meal of the day. North Indian people prefer roti, parathas, and a vegetable dish, accompanied by achar (pickles) and some curd; people of western India, dhokla and milk; South Indians, idlis and dosas, generally accompanied by various chutneys.
Lunch in India usually consists of a main dish of rice in the south and east and rotis made from whole wheat in the northern and western parts of India. It typically includes two or three kinds of vegetables. Lunch may be accompanied by items such as kulcha, nan, or parathas. Curd and two or three sweets are also included in the main course.[clarification needed] Paan(betel leaves), which aid digestion, are often eaten after lunch in parts of India.
Indian families will gather for "evening breakfast" to talk, drink tea, and eat snacks.
Dinner is considered the main meal of the day, and the whole family gathers for the occasion. Dinner may be followed by dessert, ranging from fruit to traditional desserts like kheer,gulab jamun, gajraila, qulfi or ras malai.

Paan usually accompanies post dinner
Several customs are associated with food consumption. Traditionally, meals were eaten while seated either on the floor or on very low stools or cushions. Food is most often eaten without cutlery, instead using the right hand. Often roti (flat bread) is used to scoop the curry without allowing it to touch the hands. Etiquette dictates eating only with one's right hand. Along the coast to the south, where the staple is parboiled rice. In the wheat growing/consuming north, a piece of roti is gripped with the thumb and middle finger and ripped off while holding holding theroti down with the index finger. Traditional serving styles vary from region to region in India.
In South India, cleaned banana leaves, which can be disposed of after the meal, are used traditionally. When hot food is served on banana leaves, the leaves add aroma and taste to the food. Leaf plates are still utilized on auspicious and festive occasions but are less common today.
Traditional ways of dining are being influenced by eating styles from other parts of the world. Among the middle class throughout India, spoons and forks are commonplace.

Chicken tikka masala, a modified version of Indian chicken tikka. It has been called "Britain's true national dish."[23]