Indian food is an explosion of colors, textures and flavors. Vibrant and diverse as the land itself, the cuisine has offerings that reveal the richness and variety of its different regions. From the north of India to the south, from the coastal areas along its eastern and western boundaries, the food blends ingredients and spices to create the dishes distinct to each region. The availability of this variety enables people to incorporate many healthy and flavorful meals that can be a source of complete nutrition on a plate.
Elements of an Indian Meal
Influenced by its colonial past and religious traditions, Indian food provides ample choices for a vegetarian diet as well as meat and fish-based dishes. A vast number of Indians are vegetarians and lentils and whole wheat form staples in their kitchens. By creative use of spices to enhance simple ingredients like these, home-cooked Indian meals are transformed into delicious and nutrient-rich dishes. Vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits and whole grains constitute most meals in the different regions of India.
The Persian influence of its past brought famous delicacies such as tandoori dishes. These clay oven creations brought distinctive flavors to meats, breads called naans and tandoori rotis, or flatbreads, lentils and vegetables. The use of herbs, garlic, ginger and spices such as chilli pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, cloves and cardamom lends further health-enhancing features to the cuisine and brings a burst of flavor to the staples.
Turmeric, for instance, a dash of which is used in practically all major dishes of India is known for numerous benefits to health. A natural anti-fungal and antiseptic, turmeric is also becoming known for its prostate cancer prevention and liver detoxifying properties. Ginger, another element of most Indian dishes is reputed for proven health benefits. From helping arthritis sufferers to treating fevers, common colds, coughs and headaches, the ginger root has many anti-inflammatory properties. Cumin is more than a condiment in a vast range of Indian dishes, from lentils to meats, fish and vegetables. It is a rich source of iron and highly beneficial to the immune system. With all of these spices and herbs thrown into the vast majority of Indian dishes, it becomes one of the healthiest diets to introduce into the modern lifestyle.
Yogurt as an Accompaniment
Indian cuisine is often composed of several accompaniments. In addition to the staples like lentils and whole-wheat flatbreads, it features sides such as yogurt and salad. Plain yogurt is eaten simply as is, or is turned into a delicious combination of yogurt, grated cucumbers, tomatoes and other ingredients topped with fresh cilantro to aid in the digestion of the main meal.
Flavor without Fat
Fat is not essential to Indian cooking. Flavors are derived from sauteing simple ingredients like onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and spices in a small amount of oil and building the rest from that base. Wholesome ingredients, balanced elements and variety make Indian cuisine a rich source of low-fat foods.
Deborah Martin, self acclaimed food connoisseur and freelance writer, is not afraid to try anything. She loves trying food from other cultures and informing her friends of the best places to eat! When recommending great indian food, she trusts Bombays Chutney to deliver! They offer a variety of meals, including meals for vegetarians, that are full of flavour and sure to please! Visit their website today to browse their menu!