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Indian Cooking Recipes - Vegetarian and Nonveg from North to South

The Cuisine of India is generalized by its use of many spices and herbs. This is generally considered to be one of the world's most diversified cuisines, having a wide range of dishes and cooking techniques.

Diversity is a most important aspect of Indian geography. Indian cuisine varies from region to region, reflecting the varied traditions of the ethnically diverse subcontinent. Generally, Indian cuisine culture can be split into four categories: North Indian, South Indian, East Indian, and West Indian. There is little unity in diversity as it is said, but there are some bonds that emerge in the art of Indian cuisine. Varied uses of Indian spices are an integral part of food preparation, and are used to enhance the flavor of a dish and create unique flavors and aromas. Below is a quick description of the four main Indian cooking regions.

A traditional North Indian thali

Famous North Indian food has become an integral part of international cuisine throughout the world's metropolitan centers, even entering into the food cultures of many countries. Northern Indian cuisine is favored for its specialized Mughlai dishes and famous vegetarian delicacies.

North Indian Cuisine combines the different styles of cooking from Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Marwari, Garhwali and Pahari, UP, and Lucknow.

It is comprised by a rich usage of milk and dairy products. Desserts are prepared from khoya (boiling milk until it gains a thicker consistency), paneer, lentil flour, and wheat flour.  These are usually combined with dried nuts and garnished with a thin sheet of pure silver. Gravies are typically dairy-based as well. Other common cooking ingredients include chilies, saffron, and nuts.

This culture makes use of the "tawa" (griddle) for baking breads such as roti and paratha, and the "tandoor" (a large and cylindrical coal-fired oven) for baking naan, and kulcha. Main non-vegetarian dishes like tandoori chicken are also cooked in the tandoor. Breads like puri and bhatoora, which are deep fried in oil, are also common.

The main course of most of North India recipes is a variety of pulses, vegetables, and roti (wheat based Indian bread) and rice.


East Indian Cuisine is a combination of Bengal, Assam, the North Eastern States and Oriya.

East Indian cuisine is famous for its desserts, especially sweet such as rasagolla, chumchum, sandesh, rasabali, chhena poda, chhena gaja, and kheeri. These are based on chena (light cottage cheese) and hence are much lighter on the palate.

Bengali food is not too spicy, not too faint. General cooking ingredients & Spices used in Bengali curries are mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black cumin seeds, green chilies, cumin paste, mustard paste, yogurt, nuts, poppy seed paste, cashew paste, etc.  In general, food is cooked in mustard oil. Curries are classified into: paste, fries, less spicy vaporized curries and thin spicy curries. These are eaten with plain boiled rice or spiced rice. Fish and seafood dishes are very popular in the coastal states of Orissa and West Bengal.

Like South India, rice is the main stable food in East India. A regular meal consists of many side dishes made of vegetables.  Deep fried, shallow fried and mashed vegetables are also very popular.

South Indian cuisine is rice based with coconut being one of the main additions to the cuisine. Rice is combined with lentils to make wonderful dosas, idlis, vadas and uttapams.  They are combined with sambhar (dal), rasam (tamarind dal), dry and curried vegetable and pachadi (yogurt).  The curries and dals are soupy and hot. Almost all of the vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of this region have a rich use of popular Indian spices and coconuts.

The final tempering with oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, red chillies and urad dhal is almost always used for most of the dishes.

In South India, fish is the main constituent of non-vegetarian dishes though chicken and goat meat are used on special occasions. These dishes make use of coconut milk, oil, or gratings as the main cooking ingredient, which provide them their characteristic taste and smell.  The non-vegetarian dishes are usually considered too spicy and hot by people not from the South.


Maharashtrian Cuisine

Even within West Indian cuisine, there are different regional groups including Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa which influence the individual food styles.

The typical Maharashtrian thali consists of salt, a wedge of lime, a fresh chutney, achar (pickle), a raita (vegetables or fruits in spiced yogurt), and pakoras. Another amazing fact is rice should be kept at one side of thali not in mountain form but spread one. On top of the rice, thick thoordal puree is placed.  Next, one dry vegetable and one curry kept on the right-hand side of the thali. The vegetables are never over cooked and not very spicy.

Gujarati cuisine is one of the few cultures where a majority of people are vegetarians. The typical Gujarati thali consists of roti (a flat bread made from wheat flour), dal or kadhi, rice, and sabzi/shaak (a dish made up of different combinations of vegetables and spices, which may be stir fried, curry-like, or even dry boiled). Many Gujarati dishes have a taste of sweetness as compared to other parts of India. 
Gujrati Cuisine

Goan Cuisine

Goan cuisine is a perfect combination of different food cultures - the Konkan, the Portuguese and the Bahamani Nawabi traditions. Goan food is simple but also very hot and spicy. The major attraction of the cuisine is the seafood dishes: sea-fruits, fish, prawns, mussels, oysters, crabs, feni, gin and many more all are used.

Food is an important aspect of Indian culture, having a role in everyday life as well as during festivals. In almost all families, daily meals are generally taken by sitting down cross legged rather than sitting at a dining table. The meal is comprised of two to three main course dishes, along with supplements such as chutneys and pickles, carbohydrate foods such as rice and roti (bread), as well as Beverages.

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