Countries around the world have their own different cultures, cuisines and traditions. With a rich heritage, the history of Indian cuisine is as old as the Indian civilization. The Indian food traditions are rooted in social custom, religious belief and the influences of the territories that invaded Indian land and brought their food traditions.
From Mughals to Britishers, all have added something to this diverse and sumptuous cuisine. Indian cuisine is so diverse that the food traditions primarily vary by region and religion. These traditions have passed down generations and influenced how we Indians regard food – sacred and pure.
You would be spellbound by all the variety that traditional Indian cuisine has to offer. The Indian customs are either backed by scientific logic or merely a belief that has been passed down the generations. So let’s dive in and get to know Indian food traditions up close.
Eating with hands
The tradition of eating with hands has its roots in Ayurveda. Since eating is supposed to be a sensory experience, it is believed that the real taste of Indian food only comes when you eat with your bare hands. As per Hindu texts, eating with hands does not just feed the body but also the mind and the spirit. According to ayurvedic texts, fingers are an extension of the five elements and eating with your fingers stimulates these elements and brings forth digestive juices in the stomach. Eating with hands will also help you really taste the food, feel the texture and truly indulge in your food.
Offering food to god
In Hindu culture, food is offered to Hindu deity as a part of worship ritual before consuming it; hence, tasting food during preparation is strictly forbidden. This way, the food is considered a medium of sacrifice and eating is seen as a selfless act. Hindus believe that when food is eaten after being offered to god becomes free from bad omen and is then considered a blessing.
Thali style eating
You must be wondering what ‘Thali’ means exactly; it means a large plate. It has also become synonymous with a style of eating in India in recent years. A thali basically includes little compartments to put your food in so that you can try everything that’s on the table for you. Since an Indian meal consists of various food items, thali makes it easy to serve.
Curd and Sugar custom
A spoonful of curd and sugar is considered auspicious when before stepping out of your home for an important task like an exam or a job interview you would want to nail. Scientifically, curd and sugar, when had together can boost concentration and memory retention. Plus, curd works as a coolant and has a soothing effect on the mind and body.
Keep your left hand off your plate while eating.
In many parts of India, it is obscene to eat with the left hand. The left hand is basically considered to be used for ablutions, which forbid it from doing activities like eating or passing gifts. It is deemed impure, and all the low work must be done with the left hand like washing feet or taking off shoes.
Indian culture is deeply connected to its roots and is passed down the generations to date. In Indian culture, we highly encourage sharing food with others. For instance, if you are dining with a friend and both of you order different dishes, then customarily, you must share your food with one another. This also falls in the category of ‘sharing is caring’!
Indian culture despises leaving food on the plate; it is considered disrespectful. Indians abide by the rule of taking sufficient food on the plate and entirely finish it. Even playing with food or distorting it in any way is not appreciated either.
Eating is an elaborate ritual in Indian culture and its identity. Experience some of the ancient food traditions from our land and Indian cuisines in Vancouver itself at Sula.
Indian food is undeniably one of the most delicious cuisines of all. If you, too, think the same, why not give authentic Indian food a shot? Get the feel of this appetizing journey of culinary art and dive deep into the roots of the Indian culture with Sula.