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Indian cuisine

Indian cooking is very diverse and in a sense, there is no such thing as 'Indian' cuisine. Broadly, it can however be divided into a Northern and a Southern tradition.

The staples of Indian cuisine are rice, atta[?] (a special type of whole-wheat flour) and at least five dozen varieties of pulses, the most important of whicch are chana (bengal gram[?]; similar to the chick pea[?] but smaller and more flavorful), toor (pigeon pea or red gram), urad[?] (black gram[?]) and mung[?] (green gram). Pulses are used almost exclusively in the form of dal, except chana, which is often cooked whole for breakfast and is processed into flour (besan[?]).

The most important spices in Indian cuisine are chili pepper, black mustard[?] seed (rai), cumin, turmeric, fenugreek[?], ginger, coriander and asafoetida (hing[?]). In sweet dishes, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and rose petal essence are used.

Regional specialties:

  • Dosa from Southern India.
Tends to be about at least 2 different base types of sauce, onion-based which works with only particular vegetables, and tomato-based which works with most succulent vegetables. Gujarati cuisine is pure vegetarian.
Main ingredients used include coriander, cumin seed, chilli, pepper, cinnamon bark, cloves, garlic and ginger.

  • Idli, also from Southern India.
Steam-cakes, which are prepared from a fermented batter of rice and urad[?] dal (gram). Soak rice and gram in water for about 12 hours, then grind the stuff to a watery paste. Place the paste into plates that contain small compartments with tiny holes under them, then cook in a pressure-cooker.
Idlis are very tasty when eaten with chutney or sambhar as a side-dish.

  • Upma/Uppit from Southern India
Made from wheat(rava) and vegetables.It is partly fried and boiled along with the cut vegetables and spices added.

  • Bonda
  • Bajji
  • Vada
  • Dahi Vada
  • Puri
  • Goli Bajje (Mangalore)

Other famous Indian dishes:

  • Curry
  • Dum gosht
  • Tandoori chicken (a tandoor is a clay oven)
  • Vindaloo

There are several Indian bread known by various names such as roti prata, thosai and naan bread.

Some sweets:

  • Gulab jamun (probably the inspiration behind the American donut)
  • Rasgulla
  • Mysore Paak
  • Coconut Burfi
  • Doodh Pedha

Indian Cuisine Abroad Britain has a particularly strong tradition of Indian cuisine that originates from the British Raj. At this time there were a few Indian restaurants in the richer parts of London that catered for British officers returning from their duties in India.

In the 20th century there was a second phase in the development of Anglo-Indian cuisine, as families from countries such as Bangladesh migrated to London to look for work. Some of the earliest such restaurants were opened in Brick Lane in the East End of London, a place that is still famous for this type of cuisine.

See also: cuisine, Indian Food, Andhra Food



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