The typical Indian diet
The most captivating feature about Indian cuisine is its diversity and complexity. You could pick any part of a meal like appetizers, main course, desserts, snacks and festive feasts and you’ll find that there are hordes of varieties spanning the length and breadth of this great country. Each region has its own version and flavor depending on the homogeneous crops pertaining to the particular state.
America, being a melting pot of nationalities is quite familiar with Indian cuisine, owing to the sheer number and popularity of Indian restaurants overseas, albeit heavily altered to suit the Western palate. However, the menu is limiting. Indian cuisine is so much more than chicken tikka masala and Naan. It has millions of recipes for crying out loud! There is a whole school of authentic recipes but the growth is relentless as many cooks try to innovate by borrowing ideas from other nations like Roti pizza and Desi masala pasta.
Indian food is time tested and has won several accolades and honors. India is particularly known for its spices. Back in the day, Europeans traded spices with India. The culinary art here can be researched by checking out various restaurants or just having a traditional home cooked meal. Either way, you’ll be promised with an unforgettable experience.
The chilli might be a bit much for a Foreigner but with time, they end up acclimatizing themselves to the spice.
What does an Indian meal comprise of?
A traditional Indian thali is basically made up of roti with a vegetable curry, rice with lentils and side dish.
Vegetarians in India never have to face a dearth of variety as there are thousands of vegetable dishes but for meat eaters, there is both red meat and seafood that is roasted with spices and condiments. We also have a range of chutneys and pickles. The pickles are soaked in mustard oil as a preservative.
The beauty of Indian cuisine is that it has a perfect balance of all flavors alike, sweet, spicy, sour, tangy, bitter etc. Some foods have a unique blend of multiple flavors such as Mango chutney that is cooked with a bountiful amount of both green chilli and jaggery. Spices are used liberally but proficiently. The proportions of each spice is well known to a seasoned cook in India. They expertly measure with their hand and produce wonders!
A very spicy meal like Biryani is usually accompanied with something much milder like raita which is basically grated cucumber marinated in yogurt.
When it comes to drinks, we mostly just stick to plain water, healthy as it is. Occasionally, we have lassi and chaas (buttermilk). Lassi is popular in regions like Punjab in Northern India. It is thinned yogurt and fresh sweetened cream. Buttermilk is essentially yogurt diluted in water that is known for its cooling properties and aids in the process of digestion.