Cuisines of India :
BY Sormista Pal : Kolkatta - India
India is a heaven for food, the sub-continent does not have few types of cuisines, but myriad of cuisines, each one differing from the other from each and every aspect. Here, in India , the soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group, occupations, etc. vary extensively, needless to say all these factors affect the growth of spices, vegetables, fruits .Thus, the cuisines differ from one region to the other depending on the spices, herbs, vegetables, fruits obtainable locally. Indian cuisine is profoundly affected by religious and cultural choices ,and obviously traditions. Indian Cuisine embraces several other cuisines which happens to be regional cuisines of other neighboring or distant countries. History says that certain incidents like foreign conquests, , business associations and colonization played a very significant role in influencing the cuisine of India.
According to history, India was invaded by the Mughals, and the Mughal dynasty ruled India for a quite a long period of time. Mughals actually came from the region of Central Asia. Moghlai cuisine developed in the kitchen of the Mughal kingdom, in this subcontinent. The taste of this type of cuisine vary from extremely spicy to mild and it is totally inspired by the central Asian cuisine. Moghlai Cuisine strongly influenced the cuisines and the style of cooking of north India , mainly the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh follow this pattern of cooking.
The food of Jammu and Kashmir comprises of the food from three regions, namely Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The most prominent component of Kashmiri cuisine is mutton, there are innumerable Kashmiri dishes of varied taste, prepared with mutton. Rogan Josh is a very familiar and well-known Kashmiri dish. Kashmiri Muslims prepare traditional dish called Wazwan, the preparation of which, is considered to be a talent or skill. Kashmiri Pundit prepare food which are quite complicated and they consider it to be an integral part of their traditional uniqueness. They do not use onion or garlic but they generously use yogurt, oil, fennel, turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin, ginger for cooking. Kashmiri food has developed over 100 years. Initially , Kashmiri food was influenced by the cooking style of the Kashmiri Hindus (Kashmiri Pundits) and the Buddhists, later on Kashmiri cuisine was influenced by the culture of modern Uzbekistan with the invasion Timur, successive invasions have resulted in the cuisines influenced by the Central Asian, Persian, and the North Indian plains style of cooking.
Himachal Pradesh has cuisine which is very much similar to any of the State in Northern India. In this particular state , the regular diet of the people include lentils, broth, rice, vegetables, and bread, but here non vegetarian dishes are preferred to vegetarian dishes. To name a few special food of himachal Pradesh are sidu, patande, chukh, rajmah and til chutney.
In the state of Punjab , milk is available in plenty, thus making milk products a significant part of daily diet. In cooking too, Punjabis use clarified butter or ghee and spices generously. Without lassie or butter milk no meal is a complete meal in Punjab. Punjabis are mainly wheat eaters, parathas or bread fried in ghee are available with various kinds of stuffing like aloo (potato) paratha, gobi (cauliflower) paratha , makki ki roti (maize bread).Sarson saag or mustard leaf curry, rajma chawal or kidney beans with steamed rice and kadhi or gram flour and yogurt curry , dal makhni are also very famous . Punjabis have also successfully amalgamated recipies of northwest frontier cuisine and mughlai cuisine to create delicious non vegetarian dishes….for instance, the most prevalent chicken tandoori !
The cuisine of Haryana is almost the same as the state of Punjab.
Traditionally, Uttar Pradesh is the state which is famous for various types of mughlai and Awadhi cuisine. A vast portion of the inhabitants of Uttar Pradesh is stern vegetarian, their diet consists of dal, roti, sabzi, rice, kachori, puri. In fact, Uttar Pradesh is the birth place of samosa, chaat, which are famous as snacks all over India. As far as concerned non vegetarian cuisine is concerned dum biryani, kebabs and several other mutton recipies are famous in Uttar Pradesh. This state is popular for dessert like Sheer Qorma, Ghevar, Gulab Jamun, Kheer and ras malai.
As said earlier ,Uttar Pradesh is famous for Awadhi cuisine, its capital Lucknow is renowned for this type of cuisine. In Lucknow, the cooking style followed resembles the Central Asian and Middle Eastern cooking style. Lucknow is recognized for the Nawabs, thereby the various food available as Nawabi food. Awadhi cuisine includes both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. The technique of cooking over a slow fire commonly known as the dum style of cooking, was born in Awadh. The secrets of the richness and sumptuousness of Awadhi cuisine are the rich spices used like saffron, cardamom, and the ingredients like mutton, chicken, paneer etc. Some of the examples of typical Awadhi cuisines are dum biriyani, kormas, kebabs , kaliya, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, and warqi parathas etc.
Uttarakhand is a state surrounded by mountains.The cuisine of Uttara khand is known as Kumauni cuisine. Kumauni food is cooked in such a way so that it helps the eaters or the consumers to sustain the cold weather of the region.This particular cuisine is a combination of food from two sub regions namely Kumaon and Garhwal. The food is generally rich in protein where lots of soya beans,pulses, Badi (sun-dried Urad Dal balls) , Mungodi (sun-dried Moong Dal balls) ,vegetables are used. Some outlandish elements that are used in the cuisine of Uttarakhand are jambu, timmer, ghandhraini and bhangira. Saag a very famous Kumauni dish is prepared with spinach and fenugreek. Traditional Kumauni dish like rus, chudkani , dubuk, chadanji, jholi, kapa, Kheere ka raita, nimbu mooli ka raita, daarim ki khatai and aam ka fajitha. The method of cooking is very much alike the method practised in northern India. The cuisine of Uttarakhand offers a wide range of sweets which are very much traditional in nature like…. pua, singal, singodi, bal-mithai, malai laddu.
Once upon a time Delhi was the capital of the Mughal Empire, therefore Delhi became the India’s kitchen for moghlai cuisine during those days. Today people from all corners of the subcontinent of India reside in Delhi. Thus, the cuisine of Delhi is a combination of cuisines of varied states, varied culture and various tradition. But truly speaking, Punjabi cuisine dominates the cuisine of Delhi compared to all other cuisines available in the city, the reason being Punjabis are the predominant community residing in Delhi. The Parathewali Gali in Chandni Chowk is a gastronomic attraction for all food lovers, here uncountable varieties of stuffed parathas or flatbreads are available.Delhi is also renowned for its street food, like various types of chaat, gol gappa, kababs,Kachoris, Indian sweets, kulfi (Indian ice- cream), etc. Western food items like sandwiches, patties are prepared in distinctive way are well-liked in Delhi.
Rajasthan happens to be the desert region , needless to say there is immense scarcity of water, fresh vegetables and fruits. As there is severe defiency of water, rajasthani cooking style is intensely dependant on ghee or clarified butter, milk, butter available in plentiful, unquestionably making the cuisine highly calorific. Due to the non availability of fresh vegetables gram flour became the backbone of almost all rajasthani food, like like gatta ki sabzi, pakodi etc. Factually in Rajasthan, food that could be stored for a very long period of time and could be eaten without heating was favoured like, daal-baati, tarfini, raabdi, Ghevar, bail-gatte, panchkoota, chaavadi, laapsi, kadhi and boondi. Traditional snacks item include mirchi bada, Pyaaj Kachori, Dal Kachori, bikaneri bhujia , dal-moth , mathrf bhujia , khatta-meetha sev etc. Daal Baati (lentil curry with balls made of dough baked in hot coals)–Choorma (a mixture of dry flaky baked rotis with sugar, almonds, raisins and ghee) happens to be the most favourite and famous dish of Rajasthan. Though mughal cuisine and style of cooking influenced the kitchens of northern India but the kitchens of Rajasthan remained unaltered. The kitchens of Rajasthan continued using the simple native components for cooking. In Rajasthan Food is cooked depending on the requirements of everyday life of the people,for example , Dal baati choorma is a type of food which the warriors of Rajasthan carried with them to the war zones as they could store this type of food for several days. Soola or roasted meat was one of the non vegetarian items which the warriors depended on for their survival. Soola was invented by the hunters of Rajasthan , mainly the Rajputs when they headed for their hunting excursions. Rotis ,rabdi and Kheechdi are made of Bajra and corn. Rajasthani sweets are excellent as far as their taste is concerned…to name a few…mishri mawa and ghewar from Jaipur , malpua from Pushkar, sohan halwa from Ajmer, laddoos from Jodhpur and Jaisalmer and rasgullas from Bikaner, diljam rom Udaipur, and not to be missed the very syrupy,mouth watering kesar jalebis found in every corner of Rajasthan.
Gujarat offers a splendid collection of vegetarian cuisines. Gujarati cuisine is strictly vegetarian. Gujarat ‘s kitchen also remained unchanged , even though it swallowed several external influences. To name a few popular Gujrati dishes….Srikhand (a dessert which has yogurt as the main component and is spiced up with saffron,nuts,cardamom and dry fruit), khamam dhokla (it’s a salty, sweet and sour cake made up of chickpea flour), kadi (it’s a curry made up of yogurt and chopped vegetables),doodfipak (it’s a dessert made up of thick sweetened milk with dry fruit and nuts),undhyoo (its a baked food item made with,potatoes, sweet potatoes, brinjals and broad beans, baked in an earthen pot over a mud oven), paunk(mixture of various roasted cereals). A grand meal of Gujarati cuisine can be seen in a splendid “Gujarati Thali” which is actually a large dish containing several bowls full of various types of vegetable curries, dals,(lentils based gravies), different types of rotis,parathas, sweetmeats, a number of sweet and sour chutneys and pickles. The uniqueness about a Gujarati thali is that one gets the taste of all kinds of vegetables, lentils and overall its an absolutely balanced diet of all flavours like sweet,sour,salt,spicy,crispy,soft, low in fat and deep fried food items.
Coming to the east of the subcontinent of India, Bengal occupies a high pedestal for its mouth watering various types of food and sweets. Various dishes are made using fresh sweetwater fishes. The exclusive feature of Bengali cuisine is fish, Bengalis are pronounced fish lovers and fish eaters ….Bengalis prepare fish in innumerable methods…like steaming, casseroling, frying, or simply stewing in vegetables , different types of sauces based on mustard or coconut milk. Cuisines like Hilsa fish cooked in mustard sauce and tiger prawn malaikari (tiger prawns cooked in gravy made with coconut milk) are famous all over the world. Aloo posto(poppy seeds cooked with potato) is another predominant dish of bengal . Luchi (deep fried fluffy wheat pancake made with wheat flour) with aloo dum (dish made with potato and various spices) is also very popular. The extensive use of mustard oil in cooking along with several other spices is a notable feature of Bengali style of cooking. Bengali cuisine accentuates on fish, vegetables, lentils,rice. Lunch and dinner are extravagant matters. First part of lunch or dinner would be with rice ,daal (lentil curry) with fried items, vegetable curry,second part would be rice with fish or meat or both. In Bengal no meal is complete without sweets….an immense collection of milk based sweetmeats originate in Bengal namely… the light and spongy rosogolla, delicious sondesh , lip-smacking misti doi (rich sweet yogurt).
The food of odisha depends strongly on the components or the ingredients available locally. The cuisine is not heavily spiced , the flavours are usually mild. Fish, seafood,crab and shrimp, are well-liked,along with these chicken and mutton are also eaten. Pakhala, a preparation made of rice, water, and yogurt, that is fermented overnight,is a common dish which is eaten with Saga (spinach and other leaves) in the rural areas during the summer season. Some other common dishes are anna(rice), kanika, dalma, khata, dali(dal),moong, and various other lentils. Both Amisha(non veg) and niramisha(veg) dishes are popular in Odisha. In Odisha sweets are very prevalent , therefore no meal is complete without sweets or desserts.
Bihari cuisine is nutritious and simple. A most popular dish of Bihar is Litti chokha, a baked salted wheat flour cake filled with sattu(baked chickpea flour) and few other distinctive spices. Among meat items, meat saalan is very common . Meat saalan is made of mutton of mutton or goat curry with cubed potatoes in garam masala. Dalpuri is another well liked dish of bihar. It is salted wheat flour bread( with a filling of boiled, crushed, and fried gram pulses). Malpua is a well accepted dish of Bihar, prepared by a mixture of maida, milk, bananas, cashewnuts, peanuts, raisins, sugar, water and green cardamom. Balushahi is another distinguished sweetmeat of Bihar. Balushahi is prepared by a specially treated combination of maida, sugar ,ghee . Thekua is another exclusive sweet item, which is made with whole meal flour, jaggery, ghee,flavoured with aniseed. Thekua is made during the very famous festival of Bihar, Chhath.
Now, lets have a look at the cuisine of Hyderabad and the stae of Telengana district. Hyderabadi cuisine is also known as Nizami cuisine. Telangana cuisine is an amalgamation of hyderabadi cuisine and Telegu cuisine. Telegu cuisine includes both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes, whereas Hyderabadi cuisine is mainly based on non vegetarian elements. Rice is the staple food of the Telegu people.Telegu cuisine is extremely rich when it comes to the usage of spices and chillies.Tamarind and lime juice is used generously to make the food tangy. Biryani, Haleem, Baghara baingan and Kheema are some of the exclusive Hyderabadi dishes. Various pickles form a part of local cuisine, the most popular amongst them is gongura (a pickle made from red sorrel leaves).Yogurt is common at the end of all meals.
Coming to the cuisine of Tamil Nadu, it is of utmost importance to mention that Tamalians have a stern belief that serving food to others is a service to humanity.Tamil Nadu offers cuisine which includes both traditional vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. Tamil food is branded by its use of rice, legumes,lentils,along with exclusive aromas and savours obtained by the mixing of spices such as curry leaves, tamarind,coriander, ginger,garlic, chilli pepper, cinnamon, clove, cardamom,cumin,nutmeg,coconut and rose water. In this state the traditional way of having food is ….sitting on the floor, having the food served on the banana leaf, and then clean fingers of the right hand is used to put the food into the mouth. When the meal is complete, the ilians wash their hands properly,and the banana leaf becomes food for cows. A certain meal called Saapadu which includes rice,and several othe traditional tamil dishes is served on a banana leaf. According to the Tamilians, having food on a banana leaf gives different flavour to the food. Otherwise, food is also served on a stainless steel tray(a plate with a collection of dishes in small bowls). Tamil food is typified by tiffins, which is a light food taken for breakfast or dinner, and meals which are normally taken during lunch. In Tamil Nadu, dosa,idli, and pongal are some of the very well known dishes,served with sambar and chutney. Fish and other seafood are also very common as because this particular state is located on the coast. Regions like Tirunelvali,Madurai, Paramakudi, Karaikudi, and Chettinad are remarkable for their spicy non vegetarian dishes.
Karnataka has a gorgeous history of food. Various South Indian dishes like Idly, rava idly, Mysore masala dosa were created in Karnataka,and today they have become famous all over India. The cuisine of Karnataka shares lot of similarities with the three other neighbouring south Indian states. Not only that,the food of this state is has similarity with the food of the states of Maharashtra and Goa which lies to its north. In festivals and functions, it is very usual for the food to be served on a banana leaf. Karnataka cuisine can be categorised into four groups:
1) Mysore/Bangalore cuisine
2) North Karnataka cuisine
3) Udupi cuisine
4) Kodagu/Coorg cuisine
5) Karavali/coastal cuisine
Traditional dishes include bisi bele bath, jolada roti,badanekai yennegai, Holige, Kadubu, chapati, idli vada, ragi rotti, akki rotti, saaru, huli, kootu, vangibath, khara bath, kesari bhath, sajjige, chiroti, benne dose, ragi mudde, and uppittu. Cuisine of Karnataka include a wide range of food from pure vegetarian to meats like pork and various types of sweets. The Kodagu district of Karnataka is known for pork curries which are heavily spiced up. Coastal Karnataka is famous for seafood. The coastal district of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi have slightly different cuisines, here coconut is used extensively in curries, and they often include seafood. A traditional Kannadiga Oota i.e. Kannadiga meal is served on a banana leaf.
Talking of the cuisine of Kerala, its of utmost importance to mention that traditional cuisine of this state is vegetarian, though in Malabar area non vegetarian food is preferred. Sadhya , a typical traditional meal of Kerala is prepared during festivals and ceremonies , but present day Kerala food also include Non-vegetarian dishes. A complete Sadya , consists of rice, with about twenty various accompaniments and desserts is the festive meal of the state eaten normally on occasions like marriages,Onam,Vishu etc. and is served on a banana leaf. We all know that the state of Kerala has large water bodies, thus river fish and lake fishes are available in plenty, thus fishes play a vital role in everyday meal. In most of the household, regular meals consist of rice and fish curry. Fish curries are made of Sardines, Mackerel, Seer fish, King fish, Pomfret, Prawns, Shrimp, Sole fish, anchovy, Parrot Fish ,etc. Seafood is also very common in Kerala, like , Mussels, oysters, crabs, squid, scallops etc. Coconuts grow in plenty in Kerala, therefore grated coconut and coconut milk are generously used for thickening and flavouring curries.
In Kerala, breakfast is normally eaten with non vegetarian dishes like Chicken/Mutton stews,lamb/chicken/beef/pork/egg curry, fish curry with tapioca are common. This type of breakfast is very much popular in Malabar and in Central Kerala. On the otherhand, breakfast dishes like idli, dosa, appam, idiyappam, puttu, and pathiri are also very common.The muslim community of Kerala merge Arabian, North Indian, and indigenous Malabari cuisines using chicken, eggs, beef and mutton. Thalassery biryani is the only authentic biryani of Kerala, which originated in Talassery located in the Malabar area. This particular biryani is truly different from all the other biryani available in India. The Pathanamthitta region is very popular for Kaalan and fish curries. Appam with wine and curries of cured beef and pork as accompaniments are quite popular amongst Syrian Christians of Central Kerala. In Kerala, popular desserts are payasam and Halva. The payasam made at temples of the Hindu community,like the Ambalappuzha temple is recognized for their rich taste. Kozhikodan Haluva is very famous in Kozhikode and all over Kerala. This special type of Halva is normally found in bakeries.
Kerala’s long coastline and uncountable rivers have given rise to a very powerful fishing industry .Rice and tapioca are grown in plentiful making them the staple food of Kerala. Kerala is very famous for production of spices for thousands of years.Spices like black pepper, cardamom, clove, ginger, and cinnamon are grown in abundance and facilitate successful trading.
Goa offers cuisine which is the ultimate outcome of the combination of local Konkani and Portuguese food. This awesome merger of food styles have resulted in the creation of hot coconut based curries and stews with pork and beef as ingredients, delicious cakes and pastries, wide range of port, white and red wines. Pork vindaloo prepared with spicy red hot chilli peppers and vinegar, is a local favourite of Goa. Few other specialities of Goan cuisine are : Xacuti (a chicken or meat dish), Chourisso (spicy Goan sausages), Sorpotel(a pig liver dish) and Prawn Balchao. Dodol and Bebinca are well liked desserts of Goa, with which a meal is believed to be complete.
Fresh seafood is an essential part of Goan cuisine,this includes mouth watering dishes of prawns, crabs, mussels and fishes in cooked in locacal style. Lobster cooked in wine and cheese is also a famous dish of Goa. Feni, a local cashew fruit or coconut drink is well known in Goa. Those who are not very daring ,can try the various types of local red, ports, white wines or the very refreshing coconut water from the green coconut.
The cuisine of Maharashtra maintains a widespread equilibrium of varied tastes, from mild to very spicy tastes. Maharashtrian diet includes Bajra, rice, wheat, jowar, vegetables, , lentils, and fruit . Popular dishes include puran poli, ukdiche modak, batata wada, masala bhat, pav bhaji and wada pav. The cuisine of Maharashtra can be divided into two main groups…the coastal and the interior.
The Konkan , on the coast of the Arabian sea, has its own unique cuisine, a balanced combination of Malvani, Goud Saraswat Brahmin, and Goan cuisines. In the interior of Maharashtra, the Vidarbha and Marathwada areas have their own special cuisines.
The cuisine of Vidarbha includes groundnuts, poppy seeds, jaggery, wheat, jower, and bajra to a large extent. A typical Konkani meal includes rice,roti,”poli” or “bhakar “with “varan” and “aamtee” i.e lentils and spiced vegetables. Here people love spicy food. Savji food from Vidharbh is renowned all over Maharashtra . Peanuts and cashews are frequently served with vegetables , grated coconuts are used to add flavour to many types of dishes. Kokum, usually served chilled in an appetiser digestive known as sol kadhi is predominant. During summer, Maharashtrians consume a drink made of raw mango known as panha.
The tropical area which extends from the shore of Devagadh Malwan to Sawantwadi is known as the Malwani region. The staple food are rice and fish. The unique savour of Malwani cuisine from the liberal usage of Malwani masala , coconut, and kokam. Few well known Malawani dishes are varied types of red and green fish, prawns, crab and shell fish curries, kombadi (chicken) wade and mutton cooked in Malwani style, Mohari mutton. Some of the fishes commonly available in this area are bangada, surmai, bombil(Bombay duck), karali, paplet (pompret), halwa, tarali, suandale, kolambi (prawns), tisari (shell fish), kalwa (stone fish) and kurli (crab).These fishes are available in fresh as well as dried form, called sode.chutnies and local curries are also prepared with dried fish. Various types of rice breads and pancakes are added to the variety of Malwani cuisine , like tadlachi bhakari, ghawane, amboli, patole, appe, tandalachi and shavai (rice noodles) etc. The rice breads are eaten with an exclusive flavoured coconut milk,fish curries, and chicken or mutton curries. An exclusive drink called Sole kadi ,made from Kokam and coconut milk is an outstanding appetizer drink served in this region.
As far as the vegetarian dishes are concerned , Malwani cuisine has many dishes in its stock, for example, alloochi bhaji, sambara (black gram stew). Varieties of sweets and desserts are many like ukadiche modak, shegdanyache ladu etc.
In Chhatisgarh the staple food is rice. The food habit is almost the same as in other parts of India. But the tribals of the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh eat certain food items which are pretty uncommon in other parts of India, like mushrooms, bamboo pickle, bamboo vegetables, etc. Many Chhattisgarhi drink liquor brewed from the Mahua flower.
In this state the cuisine varies from region to region. Daal Bafla, is a popular dish in Madhya Pradesh. Wheat and meat are very popular in North and West of the state, on the otherhand in the wetter South and East fish and rice are common. Milk is a very common constituent in Gwalior and Indore. The street food of Indore is well known. Bhopal is popular for meat and fish dishes like rogan josh, korma, qeema, biryani, pilaf and kebabs. In old Bhopal there is a street named "Chatori Gali" where one would find traditional Muslim non-vegetarian dishes, Paya Soup, Bun Kabab, and Nalli-Nihari as some of the specialties.
Daal bafla is a popular meal in this region , it can be easily found in indore and its nearby region. Dal Bafla is a wheat cake immersed in rich ghee, which is eaten with daal and ladoos. The food speciality of the Malwa and Indore regions of central Madhya Pradesh is Poha, usually eaten for breakfast with jalebi. Lassi, beer, rum, sugarcane juice constitute the beverage of this region, like Chhatisgarh , here also people drink a liquor brewed from mahua tree. Date palm toddy is also popular.In the tribal region of Madhya Pradesh, the sap of the sulfi tree is considered to be a popular drink, which could be alcoholic if it has gone through fermentation.
Assamese cuisine intense flavours, due to the use of endemic herbs, vegetables, fruits, served fresh, dried or fermented. Fish forms an essential part of Assamese cuisine. A traditional meal in Assam starts with a khar, a group of dishes which is named after the chief ingredient and ends with a sour dish called tenga. Home brewed rice beer or rice wine is served before a meal. Paan or betel nut is served for chewing at the end of meals.In Assam food is usually served in bell metal utensils. Few other non vegetarian items consists of chickens, ducks, pigeons, snails, silkworms, insects, mutton, pork, venison and turtle etc. The cooking style followed in case of preparing Assamese cuisine is simple, mainly barbecuing , steaming, boiling or fermenting.
The cuisine of Tripura consists mainly of non-vegetarian dishes. 111] The main elements of Tripuri cuisine consists of pork, chicken, mutton, turtle, fish, shrimps, crabs, and frogs. Though there is a minority of Vaishnavites, who are vegetarians.
Meghalayan cuisine is matchless and is no similarity with other North eastern states. Meat from goats, pigs, fowl, ducks, chickens, and cows are eaten and cooked with lot of spices. Few food items which are prevalent in Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts are jadoh, tung-rymbai, and pickled bamboo shoots. Other popular foods in Meghalaya include steamed sticky rice(minil songa), sakkin gata, momo dumplings. The Garos ferment rice beer which is consumed by them in festive occasions.
The principal food of Arunachal Pradesh is rice, with fish, meat, and leafy vegetables. Lettuce is the most common vegetable eaten, normally cooked by boiling with ginger,coriander,and green chillies. Another common snack is boiled rice cakes wrapped in leaves . Thukpa , a noodle soup is very popular amongst the Monpa tribe of this region. The native tribes of this state are meat eaters,fish, eggs, beef, chicken, pork and mutton to prepare their food. Rice beer or apong is prepared from fermented rice or millet is a common refreshing drink in this state.
Mizoram offers a cuisine which is very different from rest of the country,but many shades of this particular cuisine is similar to other regions of Northeast India and North India. Mizos, are fond of non vegetarian food items like Fish, chicken, pork and beef. Here also rice is the the principal food of the Mizos. Dishes are served on Banana leaves. Boiled vegetables with rice,is well liked by Mizos,normally Mizos prefer less spicy food. Few well known dishes are bai , prepared with vegetables(spinach,eggplant,beans,and other leafy vegetables) with fermented soya beans or fermented fish and served with rice, Sawhchiar, which is made of rice and cooked with pork or chicken.
Nagaland is famous for exceptional pork dishes cooked with simple and ingredients, like fermented bamboo shoots, fermented soya beans, hot bhut jolokia pepper etc. Naga people use fermented fish extensively .Naga cuisine make use of fresh herbs, local greens etc. Naga people use oil scantily, they prefer to dry, ferment, and smoke their meats and fish. In Nagaland, traditional homes have external kitchens which serve as smokehouses.
Manipuri cuisine is known for for its spicy taste, for which the extensive use of chilli pepper is responsible.In this state the staple diet consists of Black rice, leafy vegetables, and fish. Most of the Manipuri people are stern followers of Hinduism , called Meitei brahmans and are stern vegetarians.But few Manipuri people are non vegetarians,chicken and pork are common in valleys and hills. Snails, crabs, eels etc. are also eaten along with a large variety of vegetables, leaves, herbs, Bamboo shoots (fresh and fermented), fermented dry fish, fermented soybeans . Kangsoi, a soup of potatoes, tomatoes, dried fish and other vegetables, prepared without spices is very popular. Umarok , a very popular chilli,grown in Manipur is very famous and is known by several names like naga jolokia or ghost chilli.
In Andaman and Nicobar Islands seafood plays an important role.
The cuisine of Daman and Diu includes gujrati food,traditional Portuguese food.Here too seafood is very popular.
The cuisine of Dadra and Nagar Haveli also resembles the food of Gujarat.
Lakshadweep offers a cuisine which is similar to the cuisine offered by Kerala.
Thus we can conclude by stating the fact that Indian cuisine is a cuisine which is traditional, at the same time it is very much contemporary ,with the various shades of foreign culture.
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