At Sula, our regular customers wonder how did Indians started using spices or started cooking with spices.
Indian food has one the most intriguing history when it comes to its core. It is rich with external influences and interesting ingredients. External cuisines influence so many Indian snacks; from Persian and Central Asian to Arab and Mediterranean. Some of the most popular ones are actually imports like samosas, jalebis, and gulab jamuns.
It has influences from neighboring countries like China, Malaysia, Nepal, and when it comes to tandoori oven cooking it was the period of Mughal ruled India.
The state of Goa is heavily influenced by Portuguese rule.
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Now, here are the interesting Indian food facts:
Indian Cuisine is Diverse and Regional
Since India is vast and diverse, you can’t expect just one type of Indian food. The more the cultures, the more variations of Indian cuisine. From north to south, from east to west and even the middle India has different native dishes ideally based on their locally available ingredients. Outside India, northern Indian food is what we are accustomed to such as thick curries, rotis, and meals flavored with garam masala spice mix. The north Indian cuisine is less spicy, and curries are creamier compared to what you can see in southern cuisine which is generally hotter, featuring thinner dishes like stews and plenty of lentils and rice.
Three categories of food
There are three primary categories of food as per India’s ancient medicinal system, Ayurveda, and they are Satvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic. Satvic food would comprise of all the natural and minimally processed food, people considered it to have a purifying, calming, and positive effect on both body and mind. Rajasic food is generally oily and spicy, which is believed to drive ambition, competition, and egocentric pursuits. Tamasic food is overly processed, making it difficult to digest and toxic that has adverse effects on the body and mind.
History of pepper
Black Pepper from the state of Kerala had its reach overseas, during ancient times the spice was known as the ‘Black gold’ and thus held much importance in different parts of the world. However, chili that is known as one of India’s staples, is now one of the world’s leading chili powder producers. Being so popular as a part of India it is actually not native to the subcontinent. It was introduced to Indians by the Portuguese in the 15th century.
London has more Indian restaurants than Mumbai
The very first legal Indian restaurant opened in the U.K. in 1809. Ever since Indian food had gained popularity among the British, and it was reported that London has more Indian restaurants than Mumbai, an Indian state itself.
Chicken Tikka Masala is actually a non-native Indian dish
The classic Indian dish chicken tikka masala is a non-Indian dish. It was invented in Scotland, due to having no rivalry and increasing popularity it became synonymous with authentic Indian cuisine across the U.K.
Indian cuisine and spice go hand in hand.
India produces the most varieties of species in the whole wide world which earned it the name ‘The Land of Spices.’ India produces over 70% of the world’s spices, and it is also home to a greater variety of spices than any other in the world. So if you are hiring a catering service in Vancouver, remember that you are in for a lot of spice.
Historic staple diet
India has been cultivating the same category of grains and pulses and has been consuming it for thousands of years. Staple foods like lentils, whole-wheat flour, rice, and millet have been a part of the Indian diet from around 6000 B.C.E.
Indian Cusine is a Blend of 6 Flavours in Harmony
Authentic Indian cuisine balances six different flavors: sweet (madhura), salty (lavana), sour (amala), pungent (katu), Bitter (tikta), and astringent (kasya).
Along with chilies even tomatoes and potatoes that are the active ingredient in modern Indian cooking don’t have origins in the subcontinent. They were again introduced by the Portuguese to Indian cooking during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Candy originally has an Indian root
During the 5th century C.E. the crystallization of sugar from sugarcane juice became widespread, which first began in India. Locally it was known as khanda; it is the source of the English word candy. Portuguese even introduced India to refined sugar. Before that, fruits and honey were usually used as sweeteners in Indian food.
World’s hottest chili
Bhut jolokia or ghost pepper is one of the world’s hottest chilies that is produced in India. It is estimated to be about 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. You will see this pepper grow in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur. It is also certified as the world’s hottest chili in 2007 by Guinness World Records, though it lost its spot in subsequent years.
Dum biryani has a story
When faced with the shortage of food in Awadh, the Nawab of Awadh ordered a meal to be cooked for all the poor in huge handis that were covered with a lid and then sealed with dough. This technique would help prepare lots of food with minimum resources which later turned out to be a new style of cooking, that is now known as ‘dum.’
Non-native Indian food
Every Indian’s favorite Gulab jamun first existed in the Mediterranean region, and it was called by the name of Luqmat al Qadi, much before it came to India. Gulab Jamun is still included in almost all Indian food catering services as a dessert. The samosa was originated in the Middle East much before the 13th 14th century when it came to India. Daal Chawal/Daal Bhaat was actually originated in Nepal. Britishers in India popularized coffee.
We agree that these Indian food facts might have come as a shock for you being an Indian or Canadian. However, now you have all the ammunition you need when asked about Indian food when you are here in Vancouver.
Visit us soon if this post made you think about spicy biryani