Indian cuisine consists food in india of a variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. Given the diversity in soil, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substantially and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits.
Indian food is also heavily influenced by religion, in particular Hinduism and Islam, cultural choices and traditions.
Historical events such as invasions, trade relations, and colonialism have played a role in introducing certain foods to this country. The Columbian discovery of the New World brought a number of new vegetables and fruit to India. A number of these such as potatoes, tomatoes, chillies, peanuts, and guava have become staples in many regions of India.
Indian cuisine has shaped the history of international relations; the spice trade between India and Europe was the primary catalyst for Europe’s Age of Discovery. Spices were bought from India and traded around Europe and Asia. Indian cuisine has influenced other cuisines across the world, especially those from Europe (especially Britain), the Middle East, Southern African, East Africa, Southeast Asia, North America, Mauritius, Fiji, Oceania, and the Caribbean.History
Indian cuisine reflects an 8,000-year history of various groups and cultures interacting with the Indian subcontinent, leading to diversity of flavours and regional cuisines found in modern-day India. Later, trade with British and Portuguese influence added to the already diverse Indian cuisine.Prehistory and Indus Valley civilization
See also: Meluhha, Indus-Mesopotamia relations, and Maritime history of India
After 9000 BCE, a first period of indirect contacts between Fertile Crescent and Indus Valley civilizations seems to have occurred as a consequence of the Neolithic Revolution and the diffusion of agriculture. Around 7000 BCE, agriculture spread from the Fertile Crescent to the Indus Valley, and wheat and barley began to be grown. Sesame, and humped cattle were domesticated in the local farming communities. Mehrgarh is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia. From circa 4500 to 1900 BC the rulers of Lower Mesopotamia were Sumerians who spoke a non-Indo-European and non-Semitic language, may have initially come from India and may have been related to the original Dravidian population of India.
By 3000 BCE, turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and mustard were harvested in India.
From Around 2350 BCE the evidence for imports from the Indus to Ur in Mesopotamia have been found, as well as Clove heads which are thought to originate from the Moluccas in Maritime Southeast Asia were found in a 2nd millennium BC site in Terqa. Akkadian Empire records mention timber, carnelian and ivory as being imported from Meluhha by Meluhhan ships, Meluhha being generally considered as the Mesopotamian name for the Indus Valley Civilization.Vedic age
The ancient Hindu text Mahabharata mentions rice and vegetable cooked together, and the word “pulao” or “pallao” is used to refer to the dish in ancient Sanskrit works, such as Yājñavalkya Smṛti. Ayurveda, ancient Indian system of wellness, deals with holistic approach to the wellness, and it includes food, dhyana (meditation) and yoga.Antiquity
Early diet in India mainly consisted of legumes, vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products, and honey. Staple foods eaten today include a variety of lentils (dal), whole-wheat flour (aṭṭa), rice, and pearl millet (bājra), which has been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent since 6200 BCE.
Over time, segments of the population embraced vegetarianism during the Śramaṇa movement while an equitable climate permitted a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains to be grown throughout the year.
A food classification system that categorised any item as saatvic, raajsic, or taamsic developed in Yoga tradition. The Bhagavad Gita proscribes certain dietary practices (chapter 17, verses 8–10).
Consumption of beef is taboo, due to cows being considered sacred in Hinduism. Beef is generally not eaten by Hindus in India except for Kerala, parts of southern Tamil Nadu and the north-east.Foods mentioned in ancient Indian scripture
While many ancient Indian recipes have been lost in history, one can look at ancient texts to see what was eaten in ancient and pre-historic India.Barley—(known as Yava in both Vedic and Classical Sanskrit) is mentioned many times in Rigveda and other Indian scriptures as one of the principal grains in ancient IndiaBetel leaf—primary use is as a wrapper for the chewing of areca nut or tobacco, where it is mainly used to add flavour; may also be used in cooking, usually raw, for its peppery tasteBreadfruit—fritters called jeev kadge phodi in Konkani or kadachakka varuthath in Malayalam are a local delicacy in coastal Karnataka and KeralaChickpeas—popular dishes are made with chickpea flour, such as mirchi bajji and mirapakaya bajjiCurd—a traditional yogurt or fermented milk product, originating from the Indian subcontinent, usually prepared from cow’s milk, and sometimes buffalo milk, or goat milkFigs—cultivated from Afghanistan to Portugal, also grown in Pithoragarh in the Kumaon hills of India; from the 15th century onwards, also grown in areas including Northern Europe and the New WorldGhee—a class of clarified butter that originated in ancient India, commonly used in the Indian subcontinent, Middle-Eastern cuisine, traditional medicine, and religious ritualsGrape wine—first-known mention of grape-based wines in India is from the late 4th-century BC writings of ChanakyaHoney—the spiritual and supposed therapeutic use of honey in ancient India was documented in both the Vedas and the Ayurveda textsMango—the Jain goddess Ambika is traditionally represented as sitting under a mango treeMustard—brown mustard is a spice that was cultivated in the Indus Valley civilization and is one of the important spices used in the Indian subcontinent todayPomegranate—in some Hindu traditions, the pomegranate (Hindi: anār) symbolizes prosperity and fertility, and is associated with both Bhoomidevi (the earth goddess) and Lord Ganesha (the one fond of the many-seeded fruit)Rice—cultivated in the Indian subcontinent from as early as 5,000 BCRice cake—quite a variety are availableRose apple—mainly eaten as a fruit and also used to make pickles (chambakka achar)Saffron—almost all saffron grows in a belt from Spain in the west to Kashmir in the food in india eastSalt—considered to be a very auspicious substance in Hinduism and is used in particular religious ceremonies like house-warmings and weddings; in Jainism, devotees lay an offering of raw rice with a pinch of salt before a deity to signify their devotion, and salt is sprinkled on a person’s cremated remains before the ashes are buriedSesame oil—popular in Asia, especially in Korea, China, and the South Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, where its widespread use is similar to that of olive oil in the MediterraneanSorghum—commonly called jwaarie, jowar, jola, or jondhalaa, sorghum is one of the staple sources of nutritionSugar—produced in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times, its cultivation spread from there into modern-day Afghanistan through the Khyber PassSugarcane—the earliest known production of crystalline sugar began in northern India; the earliest evidence of sugar production comes from ancient Sanskrit and Pali textsTurmeric—used widely as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cookingMiddle Ages to the 16th Century
During the Middle Ages, several Indian dynasties were predominant, including the Gupta dynasty. Travel to India during this time introduced new cooking methods and products to the region, including tea.
India was later invaded by tribes from Central Asian cultures, which led to the emergence of Mughlai cuisine, a mix of Indian and Central Asian cuisine. Hallmarks include seasonings such as saffron.Colonial Period