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Indian cuisines are famous all over the world for a generous texture, exquisite flavors and hot, spicy, tangy, sweet and bitter tastes. Each region, be it north, south, east or west has its separate set of cooking style and tradition, distinct from one-another. Indian cuisines cover a diverse range of items native of India.  As the Indian soil type is diverse, the food type and taste also varies and rather diversifies according the locally available spices, meat, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Indian food finds a wide influence of the religious and cultural preferences. There is a growing trend of vegetarianism in Indian cooking, which, follows the trends and traditions in the different sects.

There are proper traditions and habits included in Indian eating and drinking, which happens to be a widely respected part of the Indian culture and custom. The table manners keep varying from culture to culture  maintaining some simple basic rules for all through.

Indian Kitchen

Most of the North-Indian kitchen essentially keeps the altar inside. The kiln even some 40 years earlier has been the earthen one, which burnt on wood logs or coal. The Indian villages still home these earthen urns, commonly known as chulha. Dried stems of different plants and trees, along with the chaff from rice stems and mustard stems is used for making medium fire flames. The Indian ladies know the skill of controlling the flames and heat according to the requirement.

Tandoor is the world famous Indian cooking oven which can prepare innumerable mouth watering bread types and roasted preparations. Because the Indian tandoor uses coal, the aroma and the texture of the food cooked in these ovens is really unique and delicious.

The modern Indian kitchen in the urban areas has the western style of the kitchen running on Liquified Petroleum Gas or LPG. These are really easy to use, saves unnecessary cutting down of trees, plus environment friendly mode of cooking.

North Indian Cuisine

The varieties are of such diverse characters in these kitchens that it is truly difficult to mention all the dishes that are available in the main course of a regular lunch or dinner. However, the chapati, rice, Dal (pulses), one vegetable curry with sour curd or raita and some sweet finds regular place in North Indian cuisine. Most of the Indian ladies of the family take pride in cooking for the household. There is a lot of use of the oil, ghee and butter in North Indian cuisines. Spices like ginger, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, sesame paste, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric find a wide use in different rich and mouth watering dishes.

There are at least a hundred different recipes that can be prepared with the different kinds of dal (pulses). The development of Indian cuisines is shaped by different religious beliefs like Hindus and Jains particularly by vegetarianism and trends in a diet of the Indian society. North Indian cuisine has also been influenced by Cental Asia from the Turkic and Mughal Sultanate imperialism.

South Indian Cuisine

Sour, especially tamarind finds extensive use in all its dishes. Eating fermented food by soaking the rice and pulses for a day or two is the general custom in Southern India. The finger licking tasty tangy dishes like Dosa, Idli or Vada with Sambhar are famous worldwide. Coconut oil and sesame oil is the common medium of cooking. Coconut paste is a regular side dish in the South India. A very popular temper is the curry leaves and the black mustard seeds. Red chili too finds a wide use in the tempers. The red hot, tangy and salty dishes from states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are famous not only in their native places, but, around the world.

Fruit drinks and raw coconut juice are found in abundance in these regions also with the seafood being highly popular. Sambhar and Rasam, thin lentil soup made with different vegetables, chili, curry leaves and tamarind are a must for every lunch and dinner. South India being extremely hot and humid also uses curd in its recipe a lot. Curd rice, Dahi Vada and other dishes of curd or simply the raw sour curd with salt and chili is served in every household through all the meals. Though most South Indians are strictly vegetarian, the ones who have turned Christain do take meat, fish and egg.

East Indian Cuisines

Regions like Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal, Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Sikkim are the regions of the East India. The food culture varies distinctly from one state to another. Meat, fish, egg and potato are used extensively in these regions. Most of the hilly states eat both beef and pork along with other types of meats like goat, chicken, duck etc. The cooking style in the hill states of Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur and Nagaland is simple and bland with less oil and spices, however, hot. Soups, momos, dry fish, Dried Yak Meat etc. finds wide application in the kitchen. The Eastern hill tribe kitchen finds abundant use of salty and hot food stuffs, sour and sweet taking a back seat.

Bengal, however, holds a unique place in the Indian as well as international cuisine with its thousands of varieties of hot, sour and salty tastes. Fish is an integral part of Bengali palate, there are at least 50 to 100 different kinds of small, medium and large fishes that are relished.

West Indian Cuisine

The West Indian cuisine is undoubtedly diverse. Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji, Pohay, Shrikhand are all good old delicacies of the Maharashtrian cooking. Use of coconut, rice, seafood, ko kum, cashew-nuts are widely found in the Goan cuisine. Both Maharashtra and Goa blend an adequate mix of both veg and non-veg items. However, Gujarati kitchens are exclusively vegetarian and with the prohibition of alcohol. The Gujarati Thali with different kinds of Papads, Dal, Curries and special pickles is one of the most delicious vegetarian food available anywhere.

Indian cooking finds various color combinations, flavors and aroma. Any state in India can come up with a 100 different food varieties from its districts and villages. Modern India has also welcomed the global cuisine, inviting foods from all around the world. The Moghlai kitchen has almost been adapted into most of the urban Indian families and is considered an integral part of India today. Other countries like Italy, Mexico, Spain, China etc. are also gradually making a permanent home in the Indian kitchens these days. The flavor of India lies its food and the condiments complementing the taste and aroma of each dish being baked, fried, saute’d or simply boiled.

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