India’s Tryst with Taste – Our Culinary History
Indian cuisine dates back to an 8000-year-old history, where each region has its own culture and tradition that influences the techniques and tastes that go into preparing dishes. We have also been richly influenced by the food culture of the Persians, Portuguese, Mongolians and the British among others. However, our cuisine has evolved significantly by varying influences that were brought by the rulers and travellers who have set foot on our soil. Every region’s dish has not lost its original flavour identity but has rather become an amalgamation of myriad influences.
Many of the regional recipes had first emerged during the Vedic period. The land was a heavily forested area and was complemented by game hunting and agriculture. The normal diet consisted of grain, fruit, vegetables, meat, spices and dairy products. After a period of time, some regions embraced vegetarianism, which was facilitated by cooperative climatic conditions and the advent of Buddhism. Food was classified and categorised as saatvic, raajsic or taamsic.
The Royal Influence
Travellers from around the globe who visited India carried spices, recipes and food knowledge. Later, India saw the emergence of Afghan and Central Asian conquerors – the period where Mughlai cuisine became popular. Mughlai food was enticingly rich and included the addition of nuts, exotic spices and saffron. It was prepared by the “Dum” method, in which food was cooked in a heavy-bottomed pot, sealed and then placed over a slow fire to allow more flavours to develop. British rule was established in India during the 18th century. The British adapted several of our food choices to their cuisine and developed their version of curry with simple spices. This resulted in the emergence of the Anglo-Indian cuisine tradition called “high-tea”, an elaborate course prepared during the late afternoon and served with tea.
The Regional Difference
Today, each region of our country has it own delicacies and specialties at provincial levels. The cuisines derive influences from geographical locations, economic conditions, seasonal produce and local culture. People from the north eat flatbreads like chapati, paratha and naan while people from the south prefer to eat rice and coconut-based gravies.
From Mumbai to Kashmir, Madurai to Hyderabad, India is united by its cuisine and the flavours have crossed borders and captured hearts. Annapoorna aims to rediscover, revive, and rejoice over our regional delicacies by delving deep into the history of each region and its special dish. Join us as we take you on a gastronomic journey into our country’s incredible food and its heritage.