The living memory of India’s culinary history

Indian food in history
September 10, 2020
Discovering Indian food
September 18, 2020

Traditional indian food has been widely valued for its fabulous use of herbs and spices. Indian food is recognized for its large assortment of dishes. The cooking style varies from region to region and is largely divided into South Indian & North Indian food. 

India is a famous country for its diverse multi cuisine available in different restaurants and hotel resorts, which is reminiscent of unity in diversity. The staple indian food  includes wheat, rice and pulses with chana (Bengal Gram) being the most important one. In modern times Indian palette has undergone a lot of change. In the last decade, as a result of globalisation, a lot of Indians have travelled to different parts of the world and vice versa there has been a massive influx of people of different nationalities in India. This has resulted in Indianisation of various international cuisines. Nowadays, in big metro cities one can find specialised food joints of international cuisines include indian food in their options.

In a country famous for its rich red curries made from tomatoes and the texture of its naan, a lot of the most famous ingredients that go into typical indian food aren’t actually native to India. Potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and peas, which are now staples in contemporary Indian cooking, arrived in the subcontinent relatively recently. Accounts from the late-18th Century report that the Dutch brought potatoes to India primarily to feed other Europeans. At the present, potatoes are boiled, baked, roasted, stuffed and fried in nearly every kitchen in India.

 

Religious Shraddha Rite 

Shraddha is a ceremony performed in honour of a dead ancestor. The rite is both a social and a religious responsibility enjoined on all male Hindus (with the exception of some sannyasis, or ascetics). 

The rite it’s intended to nourish, protect, and support the spirits of the dead in their pilgrimage from the lower to the higher realms, preceding their reincarnation and reappearance on Earth. 

The food eaten after the religious shraddha rite showcases the indigenous biodiversity of the Indian subcontinent. It’s a rich medley of unripe mangoes, raw bananas, cluster and broad beans, sweet potatoes, banana stems, taro roots and a succulent called pirandai (veld grape). These indian food ingredients are flavoured with pepper, cumin and salt, while soft yellow mung dal provides much of the protein. Elaborate as it was, the meal only incorporated a very small slice of India’s food diversity.

After the ritual was complete, the cooks placed a large serving of rice and a few spoonfuls of salted, boiled mung beans on a banana leaf for each person before adding the rest of the dishes. This is the work of generations of chefs who are preserving India’s living culinary history. 

 

Charaka-Samhita

The  Charaka-Samhita is an along it is one of foundational Hindu texts of this field that have survived from ancient India. The pre-2nd century CE text consists of eight books and one hundred and twenty chapters. 

Two thousand-year-old texts, like the Indian medicinal tome Charaka-Samhita, have described a bewildering variety of oils, fruits, local grains, vegetables, and animal products used for preparing indian food – many of which continue to be used in the country.

 

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