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indian cuisine

One of the most widely celebrated cuisines in the world, Indian dishes offer an incredible variety of flavors. The country’s diverse population has a rich cultural heritage, and many of its recipes are influenced by the principles of Ayurvedic medicine. These teachings emphasize balance between mind, body, and spirit, which in turn have an effect on ingredient choices and cooking practices. While meat is often eaten in India, there are plenty of plant-based options. Judicious use of spices and sauces can breathe new life into vegetables like eggplant, potatoes, spinach, and chickpeas.

Many of India’s most popular dishes are vegetarian. This is partly due to the influence of Hinduism, which has a strict ban on eating foods that cause illness. The religion also teaches ahimsa, or nonviolence toward animals and humans. The result is a cuisine that’s rich in flavor, but without meat.

The region’s coastal areas offer a different Indian cuisine, with dishes that include fish and rice. The southwestern state of Goa is known for its seafood and coconut, while the food of West Bengal and Odisha uses more rice and gram flour than its northern neighbors.

A strong Mughal influence can be seen in the North of India’s cuisine, which has a high proportion of dairy products. Milk, yogurt, and paneer (Indian-style cheese) are used in many dishes. The region’s clay ovens are also often employed, giving dishes a distinct charcoal taste. A common Northern snack is samosa, fried pastry pockets filled with savory ingredients like potatoes, onions, and peas.

North Indian curry dishes feature sizzling aromatics, such as turmeric, ginger, and garlic. Tomato-based curries are especially popular. They can be served over rice, naan, or other breads. They can be mild or spicy, and can contain any number of spices and vegetables. The Punjabi version of a tomato-based curry, called kadhai, is particularly famous.

Desserts in India are typically rich and sweet, with many featuring nuts. Barfi is a traditional Indian sweet that resembles fudge and can be flavored with pistachios, almonds, saffron, rose water, and ghee. Other common Indian sweets are gulab jamun, jaggery ice cream, and kesar mithai.

Besides a wide selection of sweets, India also has delicious snacks. Chaat is a popular street food. It usually starts with a base such as fried bread, puffed rice, or samosas. Then it is topped with lots of crunchy raw vegetables, a drizzle of sweet or savory chutneys, and finally a sprinkle of chaat masala spice blend.

Other tasty snacks to try include dahi puri, a chaat dish that features two sauces, one brown and the other green. Another delicious Indian snack is golgappa, a type of chaat consisting of small hollow crusty round pastries filled with a dense filling of mashed potatoes and peas. These are usually paired with tamarind sauce and mint or other herbs.