India is a land of mouth-watering culinary preparations.
Indian cuisine has always been an exciting challenge to the
international traveller, providing its own reward in terms of
the array of culinary delights on offer.
It would be no exaggeration to say that there are as many culinary
styles in the country as there are regions. In fact, each state
has its own distinctive style of cooking, which is what creates
that mind-boggling variety of dishes encompassed in the generic
Say the word 'curry'and you might just draw a blank, for the
word is alien to most Indians, being a coinage of the British
for the Indian gravy (an amalgam of chunks of mutton, ducken
or in a sauce composed of onions, tomatoes, yoghurt coconut
milk) which is a predominant feature in Indian cuisine.
| Much like the arts
and crafts, it was royal patronage that propelled the development
of different schools of culinary traditions. Among the rather
well known are the Mughiai, Awadhi and the Hyderabach styles
of cooking, which, as the names suggest, originated in the royal
kitchens of the Mughals, Awadh and the Nizams of Hyderabad.
In the northern most state of Jammu & Kashmir, mutton is
the piece de resistance in the wazwan, the traditional 24-course
The Goanese, in fact, make full use- of their proximity to the
sea coast by not hmiting their cuisine to just fish, but also
including crustaceans like crabs, lobsters and tiger prawns,
which not only provide variety but also make the cuisine exciting.
And to top it all, there is the locally manufactured wine and
vermouth, served alongside, which is a major temptation for
In sharp contrast are the states of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat which
display a clear penchant for vegetarian dishes. f you're one
of them, we can guarantee that the choice of hp-smacking and
mouth watering vegetarian preparations, served alongside enticing
accompanitnents, will simply make you fall for them
It would be no exaggeration to say that the gourmet in you will
not be satisfied tifl you've discovered for yourself the magic
of the tandoori delights. Unique to this part of the world,
the tandoor is a day oven whose history stretches baci to centuries.
With temperatures inside reaching a whopping 600*C- the fuel
being burning coals--cooking time is reduced to mere seconds.
One of the joys of partaking tandoori cuisine is the fact that
minimal oil is used in the cooking process, which should make
it a favourite with the weight conscious.
Take the example of sarson ka saag, originating from Punjab.
This dish of mustard greens simmered over coals, sometimes overnight,
is a de rigeuer at Punjabi food festivals and at restaurants
serving north Indian cuisine. Similar signature dishes of other
regions are Pau Bhaji, a combination of vegetables and bun,
very popular in Mumbai and Gujarat, Bhelpuri, also in Mumbai
and Chaat in Delhi.
What's life without a little sweetness? Since India is the largest
producer of milk in the world. Generalising Indian sweets as
derivatives of milk would be grossly unfair to a craft that
equires utmost dedication for, Indian desserts are a specialisation
by themselves. Many culinary styles are renowned for their desert
section, prominent among these being Bengali, Bikaneri and Punjabi.
A close second in popularity, and probably the clear leader
in northern parts of the country, is Lassi or butter milk, a
vigorously churned mixture of yoghurt and water, servedsweet
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