“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseperable from those from the get-go.” -Anthony Bourdain
Food connects us to our own culture and makes us feel drawn to others. It brings friends, families and even foes together. Conversations around a dinner table can be insightful, inspiring and emotional. Food has the power to break down stereotypes and social barriers when individuals savour new dishes that become their favourites.
Whether its Italian, Greek, Mexican, Brazilian, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian or Indian the power of international cuisine causes us to get new cultures.
Indian food is very beloved and has the same effect of pizza: available practically everywhere!
The spices, flavours and aromas of Indian cuisine take people to its roots and make them envision being in a street market in Mumbai or sampling delicacies from food stands in Delhi.
Butter chicken, chicken tikka masala, samosas, chole, naan bread, papadums, tandoori chicken and rogan josh have become favourites in all the corners of this earth. Many Indian immigrants have moved to other countries and have shared special recipes from their motherland with us.
The tastes of Indian are unique and have influenced other culture’s cuisine. In the United Kingdom, Indian food has become British citizens favourite takeaway due to the variety of restaurants available in most towns and major cities.
Without further ado, Superprof is here to show budding chefs a basic guide to Indian food. There is so much to learn before planning your next dinner party and filling your kitchen with India’s aromas.
Samosas are commonly known in all parts of the world. Some countries have slightly modified the way of preparing them and their flavours. (Source: Visual Hunt)
According to the Ministry of External Affairs in India, there are over 31.2 million Indians living outside of India. The countries that have the most Indian immigrants are the United States, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Canada and South Africa.
It is a very common fact that wherever there is a community or influx of Indian immigrants, there will be authentic Indian restaurants offering delicious dishes to customers.
North Indian and Punjabi dishes are the most commonly known to people living outside of India.
Although there are many Indian restaurants, the authenticity of Indian food has been slightly modified in different cultures. For example, in North America Indian curries have been toned down to be less spicy and staple ingredients such as butter and cream have been completely cut from typical recipes to please consumers.
The demand for Indian food is growing in North America with over $40 million in profits but still not as popular as Mexican or Hispanic food taking a $1.4 billion share of the $2.2 billion ethnic food market.
South America is not known for having an abundance of Indian immigrants and restaurants. However, there are some typical options in the major cities of Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lima, La Paz, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santiago. It is important to mention that when there are not a lot of Indian immigrants working in Indian restaurants food is less typical and more of a fusion dish.
Other countries in Asia such as Singapore and Malaysia widely accept Indian influences in their typical dishes and can readily savour typical Indian food due to all the eateries available. Many other nations such as Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam have Indian food elements in their typical cuisine.
Typical Indian dishes such as roti canai and nasi kandar have experienced a Malaysian twist.
The majority of Indian restaurants in Europe can be found in the United Kingdom. The first Indian restaurant in the UK was opened in 1810. That means that Brits have been enjoying delicious curry infused meals for over 200 years! The Indian influence is so strong in the UK that the authentic dish chicken tikka has been modified to being called chicken tikka masala and has been hailed as being “a true British national dish.”
Due to many Indian immigrants in Australia and New Zealand, these two Oceanic countries have various authentic Indian restaurants that are cherished by all citizens.
In Western Africa, Indian immigrants during the colonial period introduced curry that is still used and known as Mchuzi. Also, due to the constant influx of Indian immigrants, South Africa has always enjoyed Indian delights such as samosas, biriyani and curry. A cheap and filling dish called bunny chow was even invited for poor black citizens which consist of a hollowed out bread and a bean curry.
Since India is densely populated with over 1.3 billion inhabitants and geographically large with many regions, territories and states, there are unique flavours and typical dishes in each section of the country.
Northern Indian cuisine is what foreigners are most familiar with. Authentic North Indian dishes include rogan josh, aloo samosa, butter chicken and almond malai kulfi. There are many more recipes that make North Indian cuisine an absolute delight but the aforementioned are the most popular.
The east of India is known for having rice as a staple food, the constant use of mustard seeds in recipes and delightful sweets. No other Indians like their desserts as much as Indians living in the East on the Bay of Bengal. The most typical and authentic recipes from the East of India include Jhaal-Muri, Sandesh and Rasgulla. The latter two are desserts that are indispensable at the end of each meal.
The South of India is very humid and surrounded by water. Due to this fact, many of the dishes in this region feature seafood and tropical ingredients such as coconut. The most authentic foods from this area include dosas, Hyderabadi biryani and idlis. Many of the typical dishes in this geographical region as known as being India’s most spicy.
Western India has a strong influence of Hinduism and this makes many of the inhabitant’s vegetarians. Gujaratis love their snacks and Goans enjoy their seafood. Some of the best authentic recipes in this area are pork vindaloo, laal maas and ghevar (a delicious disc-shaped dessert served in August for the festival of Raksha).
Authentic dishes from all over India can be easily cooked in the comfort of your own kitchen if you have the right ingredients, patience and time.
Probably the most commonly known Indian bread, naan is served in Indian restaurants everywhere. (Source: Visual Hunt)
It’s almost impossible to limit the absolute best Indian recipes or dishes to only 20 because there are so many delicious recipes from all over India that suit everyone’s distinct tastes.
Nevertheless here are Superprof’s 20 best Indian recipes divided into 4 categories.
Northern Indian desserts such as Gulab Jamun and Jalebi are extremely common all across India. (Source: Visual Hunt)
Indians like most other residents of the world have a sweet tooth and love to indulge in delicious desserts after a meal. Every region and state has their own specific sweets.
In Northern India, there are various desserts that can be enjoyed at any time of the day such as:
The East of India is best known for its wide variety of desserts sure to please anyone’s palette:
The South of India has no shortage of desserts, therefore, here are some of the most famous ones:
Last but definitely not least, there are wonderful dessert recipes that be tried at home originating from Western India. Here are some of the most recognized:
The United Kingdom has many cooking schools offering Indian food cooking classes due to the constant influx of Indians immigrating. (Source: Visual Hunt)
Since the United Kingdom is home to more than 1.825 million Indian immigrants there are many private chefs and cooking schools offering authentic Indian food cooking classes.
No matter where you live in the UK, you are sure to find a cooking school near you that offers Indian cuisine cooking classes.
Here are pour picks of the most highly recommended cooking schools in the United Kingdom to learn tricks and tips about Indian cooking:
Indian cooking is fun, flavourful and fragrant. Learning the basics of Indian cuisine can cause you to host an Indian themed dinner party in style!