Indian food is as diverse as India as a whole. Just as the multiplicity when it comes to religion, culture and environment, Indian food tradition offers an almost endless source of ingredients and spices. Every region, every city has their own culinary expressions.
However, Indian food can be distinguished into two main traditions: North Indian and South Indian. North Indian food is much represented by the state of Punjab, whose tandoori dishes such as Chicken Tandoori and Chicken Tikka have reached popularity in various parts of the world. South Indian food is often spicy is served with rice, whereas North Indian food is served with bread.
India has a great number of vegetarians, which is reflected in the food tradition. When it comes to meat, chicken and lamb are popular alternatives, since Hinduism does not allow beef and Islam opposes consumption of pork.
Each dish cooked according to Indian tradition consists of a great number of spices. However, some spices are found in almost all dishes, for example garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, coriander, chilli and cumin.
Small Indian Vocabulary
- Masala – spices or spice mix
- Tandoor – charcoal oven
- Tikka – small pieces, often marinated
- Curry – when something is served in a sauce, as well as the yellow spice mix of turmeric powder, coriander, fenugreek leaves etc.
- Paneer – Indian cheese
- Nan – traditional wheat bread
- Chapati – unfermented bread
- Palak – spinach
- Saag – spinach or other green herbs such as fenugreek leaves or mustard leaves cooked with spices.
- Gosht – meat
- Murgh – chicken
- Dahl – lentil or bean dishes