Culinária indiana de norte a sul
The cuisine of India is one of the world’s most diverse cuisines, characterized by its sophisticated and subtle use of the many spices, vegetables, grains and fruits grown across India. The cuisine of each geographical region includes a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques reflecting the varied demographics of the ethnically diverse Indian subcontinent. India’s religious beliefs and culture have played an influential role in the evolution of its cuisine. Vegetarianism is widely practiced in many Hindu, Buddhist and Jain communities.
A typical assortment of spices and herbs used in Indian cuisine
The staples of Indian cuisine are rice, atta (whole wheat flour), and a variety of pulses, the most important of which are masoor (most often red lentil), chana (bengal gram), toor (pigeon pea or yellow gram), urad (black gram) and mung (green gram). Pulses may be used whole, dehusked, for example dhuli moong or dhuli urad, or split. Pulses are used extensively in the form of dal (split). Some of the pulses like chana and “Mung” are also processed into flour (besan).
Most Indian curries are fried in vegetable oil. In North and West India, groundnut oil has traditionally been most popular for frying, while in Eastern India, mustard oil is more commonly used. In South India, coconut oil and sesame (gingelly) oil are common. In recent decades, sunflower oil and soybean oil have gained popularity all over India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as Vanaspati ghee, is also a popular cooking medium that replaces Desi ghee (clarified butter).
The most important and most frequently used spices in Indian cuisine are chilli pepper, black mustard seed (rai), cumin (jeera), turmeric (haldi, manjal), fenugreek (methi), asafoetida (hing, perungayam), ginger (adrak, inji), and garlic (lassan, poondu). Popular spice mixes are garam masala which is usually a powder of five or more dried spices, commonly comprised of cardamom, cinnamon and clove. Every region has its own blend of Garam Masala. Goda Masala is a popular spice mix in Maharashtra. Some leaves like tejpat (cassia leaf), coriander leaf, fenugreek leaf and mint leaf are commonly used. The use of curry leaves is typical of all South Indian cuisine. In sweet dishes, cardamom, nutmeg, saffron, and rose petal essence are used.
The term “curry” is usually understood to mean “gravy” in India, rather than “spices.”
Tandoori chicken is a popular dish in Punjabi cuisine.
Kebabs are an important part of Uttar Pradesh’s cuisine.
North Indian cuisine is distinguished by the proportionally high use of dairy products; milk, paneer, ghee (clarified butter), and yoghurt (yogurt, yoghourt) are all common ingredients. Gravies are typically dairy-based. Other common ingredients include chilies, saffron, and nuts.
North Indian cooking features the use of the “tawa” (griddle) for baking flat breads like roti and paratha, and “tandoor” (a large and cylindrical coal-fired oven) for baking breads such as naan, and kulcha; main courses like tandoori chicken are also cooked in the “tandoor,” a cylindrical shaped clay oven. Other breads like puri and bhatoora, which are deep fried in oil, are also common. Goat and lamb meats are favored ingredients of many northern Indian recipes.
The samosa is a popular North Indian snack, and now commonly found in other parts of India, Central Asia, America, brazil Africa and the Middle East. A common variety is filled with boiled, fried, or mashed potato. Other fillings include minced meat, cheese (paneer), mushroom (khumbi), and chick pea.
The staple food of most of North India is a variety of lentils, vegetables, and roti (wheat based bread). The varieties used and the method of preparation can vary from place to place. Popular snacks, side-dishes and drinks include mirchi bada, buknu, bhujiya, chaat, kachori, imarti, several types of pickles (known as achar), murabba, sharbat, aam panna and aam papad. Popular sweets are known as mithai (meetha means sweet in Hindi), such as gulab jamun, jalebi, peda, petha, rewdi, gajak, bal mithai, singori, kulfi, falooda, khaja, ras malai, gulkand, and several varieties of laddu, barfi and halwa.
Some common North Indian foods such as the various kebabs and most of the meat dishes originated with Muslims’ incursions into the country. Pakistani cuisine and north Indian cuisine are very similar, reflecting their shared historic and cultural heritage.
East Indian cuisine is famous for its desserts, especially sweets such as rasagolla, chumchum, sandesh, rasabali, chhena poda, chhena gaja, and kheeri. Many of the sweet dishes now popular in Northern India initially originated in the Bengal and Orissa regions. Apart from sweets, East India cuisine offers delights made of posta (poppy seeds).
Traditional Bengali cuisine is not too spicy, and not too faint. General ingredients used in Bengali curries are mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black cumin, green chillies and cumin paste. Mustard paste, curd, nuts, poppy seed paste and cashew paste are preferably cooked in mustard oil. Curries are classified into bata (paste), bhaja (fries), chochchoree (less spicy vaporized curries) and jhol (thin spicy curries). These are eaten with plain boiled rice or ghonto (spiced rice). A traditional Bengali breakfast includes pantabhat (biotically degenerated boiled rice), doi-chirey, and doodh-muree with fruits. Bangladesh’s cuisine is very similar to that of West Bengal, corresponding to the link between Pakistani and northern Indian cuisine. Fish is commonly consumed in the eastern part of India, most especially in Bengal.
Rice is the staple grain in Eastern India, just as it is in South India. A regular meal consists of many side dishes made of vegetables. The popular vegetable dishes of Orissa are Dalma and Santula. The most popular vegetable dish of Bengal is Sukto. Deep-fried, shallow-fried and mashed vegetables are also very popular. Fish is frequently featured in a regular meal.
Idlis with coconut chutney, a well-known dish from southern India
South Indian cuisine is distinguished by a greater emphasis on rice as the staple grain, the ubiquity of sambar (also called saaru, a vegetable stew based on a broth made with tamarind and toovar dal) and rasam (also called rasa, a soup prepared with tamarind juice or tomato, pepper and other spices), a variety of pickles, and the liberal use of coconut and particularly coconut oil and curry leaves. The dosa, poori, idli, vada, bonda and bajji are typical South Indian favorites and are generally consumed as breakfast. Hyderabadi biryani, a popular type of biryani, reflects the diversity of south Indian cuisine.
Andhra, Chettinad, Tamil, Hyderabadi, Mangalorean, and Kerala cuisines each have distinct tastes and methods of cooking. Each of the South Indian states has a different way of preparing sambar; a connoisseur of South Indian food can easily tell the difference between sambar from Kerala, sambar from Tamil cuisine, Sambar from Karnataka and pappu chaaru in Andhra cuisine. Some popular dishes include the biryani, ghee, rice with meat curry, seafood (prawns, mussels, mackerel) and paper thin pathiris from Malabar area.
Tamil cuisine generally classifies food into six tastes: sweet (milk, butter, sweet cream, wheat, ghee (clarified butter), rice, honey); sour (limes and lemons, citrus fruits, yogurt, mango, tamarind); salty (salt or pickles); bitter (bitter gourd, greens of many kinds, turmeric, fenugreek); pungent (chili peppers, ginger, black pepper, clove, mustard) and astringent (beans, lentils, turmeric, vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage, cilantro). Traditional Tamil cuisine recommends that all of these six tastes be included in each main meal to provide complete nutrition, minimize cravings and balance the appetite and digestion. A typical meal, served on a banana leaf, includes steamed rice along with a variety of vegetable dishes like sambar, dry curry, rasam and kootu. Meals are often accompanied by crisp appalams. After a final round of rice and curds or buttermilk, or both, a meal is concluded with a small banana and a few betel leaves and nuts.
Ragada made with yellow peas or lentils in a pani puri, (fried bread), a popular snack from Mumbai.
Western India has three major food groups: Gujarati, Maharashtrian and Goan. There are two main types of Maharashtrian cuisine, defined by geographical circumstances. The coastal regions, geographically similar to Goa, consume more rice, coconut, and fish. In the hilly regions of the Western Ghats and Deccan plateau, groundnut is used in place of coconut and the staples are jowar (sorghum) and bajra (millet) as staples. Saraswat cuisine forms an important part of coastal Konkani Indian cuisine.
Gujarati cuisine is predominantly vegetarian. Many Gujarati dishes have a hint of sweetness due to use of sugar or brown sugar. The typical Gujarati meal consists of Rotli (a flat bread made from wheat flour), daal or kadhi, rice, and sabzi/shaak (a dish made up of different combinations of vegetables and spices, which may be stir fried, spicy or sweet). Staples include homemade pickles, Khichdi (rice and lentil or rice and mung bean daal), and chhaas (buttermilk). Main dishes are based on steamed vegetables and daals that are added to a vaghaar, which is a mixture of spices sterilized in hot oil that varies depending on the main ingredient. Salt, sugar, lemon, lime, and tomato are used frequently to prevent dehydration in an area where temperatures reach 50C (120F) in the shade.
The cuisine of Goa is influenced by its Hindu origins, Portuguese colonialism, and modern techniques. The staple food of Goans is rice and fish and the cuisine is mostly seafood-based. Kingfish (Vison or Visvan) is the most common delicacy; others include pomfret, shark, tuna and mackerel. Popular shellfish include crabs, prawns, tiger prawns, lobster, squid and mussels. Goan Hindu cuisine is less spicy, uses little or no onion or garlic, and incorporates a variety of vegetables, lentils, pumpkins, gourds, bamboo shoots, and roots. Goan Christian cuisine includes beef dishes and the well-known Vindaloo, first introduced by the Portuguese as “vinha d’alhos.”
The food of the North East is very different from that of other parts of India. North Eastern cuisine is strongly influenced by neighboring Burma and the People’s Republic of China, and makes less use of well-known Indian spices. Yak is a popular meat in this region of India.
While masala chai (left) is a staple beverage across India, Indian filter coffee (right) is especially popular in southern India
Tea is a staple beverage throughout India; the finest varieties are grown in Darjeeling and Assam. It is generally prepared as masala chai, by boiling the tea leaves in a mixture of water, spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger, and large quantities of milk to create a thick, sweet, milky concoction.
Different varieties and flavors of tea are prepared all over the country. Another popular beverage, coffee, is largely served in South India. One of the finest varieties of Coffea arabica is grown around Mysore, Karnataka, and is marketed under the trade name “Mysore Nuggets.” Indian filter coffee, or kaapi, is especially popular in South India. Other beverages include nimbu pani (lemonade), lassi (made by blending yogurt with water, salt, pepper, ice and spices until frothy), chaach, badam doodh (milk with nuts and cardamom), sharbat (juice prepared from fruits or flower petals) and coconut water.
India also has many indigenous alcoholic beverages, including palm wine, fenny, bhang and Indian beer. The practice of drinking a beverage with a meal, or wine and food matching, is not traditional or common in India. People prefer to consume drinking water with their food, and it is customary to offer drinking water to guests before serving hot or cold drinks.
In southern India, a well-rinsed banana leaf is used as a plate for hygiene purposes and its visual impact
Several customs are associated with the manner of food consumption in India. Traditionally, meals are eaten while seated either on the floor or on very low stools or cushions. Food is most often eaten without cutlery, using instead the fingers of the right hand (not the left since that hand is used for cleaning oneself after a bowel movement). Indian culture dictates that eating with your hands is a pleasurable experience, activating a so-called sixth sense, rather than using cutlery. Furthermore, the food is already in bite-size pieces making the use of a knife and fork unnecessary.
Traditionally, the fingers are also used to feel the temperature of the food to one’s taste, and combine flavors such as by tearing a small portion of bread (Roti, Naan) folding it into a small pocket to scoop a desired amount of food. However, these traditional ways of dining have been altered under the influence of eating styles from other parts of the world.
Traditional serving styles vary from region to region in India. A universal presentation is the thali, a large plate with samplings of different regional dishes accompanied by raita, breads such as naan, puri, or roti, and rice. In South India, a cleaned banana leaf is often used as a hygienic and visually interesting alternative to plates.