Imagine the cuisine of a massive country with over a billion people, a heterogeneous cultural tradition, the influence of two major religions, and countless regional dialects and traditions. Think India. With a long, long history and incredible range, the food of India is among the best on the planet and Indian recipes became much popular that ever.
The cuisine of this complex country is reflective of the intricacy of the civilization that gave birth to it. Cuisine in India Indian recipes are indeed an art form that runs like a thread through the generations. The regional diversity of Indian cuisine is far too considerable to digest as a whole here. Suffice to say that from one state to another, the appearance, aroma, color, and flavor of a dish can vary.
One uniform trait of the people of India, however, is the symbolic sanctity given to mealtime. Food plays a key role in traditional celebrations, as well as, everyday life and it is prepared and consumed with great passion.
The dominant faith in India is Hinduism, which does promote vegetarianism and is reflected in the Indian recipes. However, on an official basis, not all who claim to be Hindu abstain from meat. Vegetarianism is widespread, above all in the South of India and in the state of Gujarat, but meat dishes are prevalent as well.
The main features of Indian cuisine and Indian dishes are the exotic and pungent spices. Visit a spice market in Chennai, for example, and experience a sensory overload. There you'll find turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, saffron, fenugreek, and of course, chili. In addition, the creative use of large vegetables is unique in India, though not in the rest of the continent. Other than that, however, there is a significant amount of regional difference.
Contrary to some who believe that spices were an agent to mask taste, the intention has always been to enhance flavor. The delicate balance of spice mixes is a serious skill in India and in the capable hands of a master, can transform a meal into pure bliss.
A spice blend in India is a mere microcosm to represent the blend of regional culinary diversity that has become the envy of the world. The hallmark of the country is the wonderful mosaic of culture and food available to the ambitious and fortunate traveler.
For the visitor, however, the task is no simple feat. Luxury hotels that cater to the West in Calcutta, Delhi and Chennai, for example, feature good fare but a bastardization of the real deal nonetheless. To uncover the diamonds in the rough and taste India the right way, one has to pound the pavement and explore.
Like every good treasure hunt, there is a glorious prize to be found at the end of the journey. Venture off the beaten path to the provincial capitals and smaller towns, and discover why the cuisine of India, a most sophisticated civilization indeed, is unlike any other.
Visit an Indian restaurant or try to cook one of the Indian recipes, a huge number of which you can find in cookbooks. Good luck and have fun!