Indian Street Food
Street food in India: what to eat and how to be careful when trying out the Indian street food?
India is a country of diverse cultures and traditions. It has rightly been called as a ‘Subcontinent’. Most states of India are different from each other in terms of culture, ethnicity, language and the food they eat.
Foods are tempting and if you aren’t a foodie then you will miss a lot on your trip to India. Apart from the region specific menu in India, there is one particular menu that is not only mouth-watering but available in almost the entire country.
The history of Indian food can be traced back to the ancient days when the culture of preparing food with proper methods was introduced by the two ancient Indian civilizations – The Harappa and the Mohenjadaro. The first preparation of food included a number of cereals and pulses. Gradually, the ancient Indian civilization moved towards perfection. This was noticed during the Vedic period, which defined better forms of cooking with innovative recipes. In this period of time, a regular diet consisted of vegetables, fruits, grains, meat, honey, dairy products, beverages and special kind of spices.
The Aryans who travelled from Central Asia introduced a number of cuisines, which complemented the Vedic food culture. Food in ancient India further faced massive changes during the rule of Maurya and Gupta Empires. During these periods of time, the consumption of meat was strictly condemned due to some sacred beliefs. Most of the people remained vegetarian due to the influence of religion. Overall the food during ancient period significantly contributed to the development of body, mind and spirit which eventually reflected the growing changes of Indian food habits.
During Medieval period, the food habits underwent changes with the introduction of the most popular Mughal cuisine by the Muslims from Central Asia. They brought various kinds of fruits and flat breads among Indians. Sumptuous dishes were prepared during the rule of Shah Jahan and Jahangir. Next, the Nizams and the Portuguese developed their own style of cooking with the notable dishes like Biryani and Indian Vindaloo dish respectively. This was followed by the Chinese, British and Anglo-Indian influence on Indian food. This continued in modern days as well.
In modern India, the history of Indian food mainly carried the traditional trends of Indian cuisines including the Hindu vegetarian food, Mughal delicacies, Chinese and other foreign delicacies. Sweets became the major attraction not just during Indian festivals but also during special occasions. People in India enjoy all kinds of delicacies. Idli, Paratha or different types of Dosa for breakfast, proper meals for lunch and delicious food for dinner, this is how Indians enjoy their food. As such in the way of highlighting Unity in Diversity, the Indian food history has been an amalgamation of all cultures that inhabit India.
Food of the indian
What Indians eat varies by region and religion. Northern Indians eat more flat breads, while those from southern India prefer rice. In coastal states, such as Kerala and Bengal, fish dishes are popular. Chicken and mutton (sheep) are eaten more often in mountain and plains regions. While many Hindus avoid eating beef, Muslims avoid pork. In addition, many Indians—particularly Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains—are vegetarian.
Spices are used in many Indian dishes. When it is hot, spices such as chili peppers and garlic help the body sweat and cool it down. In colder weather, spices such as cloves, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, and nutmeg help warm the body.
Indian cuisine is varied, but many dishes are cooked in a similar way. The preparation starts with frying onion, ginger, garlic or spices such as cumin seeds in oil at a high temperature. Meats, vegetables, flavorings such as yogurt, and spices such as turmeric then are added. The dish then simmers at a low heat until the ingredients are cooked. At the end of the preparation, leafy herbs such as cilantro and flavorings such as lemon juice are added.
This style of preparation may be linked to the traditional use of cow dung. For centuries, families would cook by placing a pan on top of patties made from cow dung. Like the charcoal used in modern-day barbecues, dung initially produces a high heat, but then burns slowly. Although middle-class and urban Indians have electric or gas stoves, many rural households still use cow dung (waste).