Cinnamon Kitchen Indian Cuisine
1838 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC 28803, USA
Indian cuisine is distinguished by its sophisticated use of spices and herbs and the influence of the longstanding and widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society.Indian cuisine is the general term for the wide variety of cooking styles from India. In reality, India hosts an even greater number of distinct regional cuisines than the entire European continent.
Indian food is almost always prepared with fresh ingredients along with delicate mixtures of many different fresh and dried spices and the exact recipes often vary greatly from one household to the next.
Food is an integral part of India’s culture, with cuisines differing according to community, region, and state. Indian cuisine is characterized by a great variety of foods, spices, and cooking techniques. Furthermore, each religion, region, and caste has left its own influence on Indian food.
Many recipes first emerged when Vedic Hindus predominantly inhabited India. Later, Mughals, Christians, British, Buddhists, Portuguese, and others had their influence. Vegetarianism came to prominence during the rule of Ashoka, one of the greatest of Indian rulers who was a promoter of Buddhism. In India, food, culture, relition, and regional festivals are all closely related.
The staples of Indian cuisine are rice, atta (whole wheat flour), and at least five dozen varieties of pulses, the most important of which are chana (Bengal gram), toor (pigeon pea or red gram), urad (black gram) and mung (green gram).
Chana is used in different forms, may be whole or processed in a mill that removes the skin, e.g. dhuli moong or dhuli urad, and is sometimes mixed with rice and khichri (a food that is excellent for digestion and similar to the chickpea, but smaller and more flavorful). Pulses are used almost exclusively in the form of dal, except chana which is often cooked whole for breakfast and is processed into flour (besan).
The most important spices in Indian cuisine are chili pepper, black mustard seed (rai), cumin (jeera), turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, coriander and asafoetida (hing). Another very important spice is garam masala, which is usually a powder of five or more dried spices, and is commonly comprised of cardamom, cinnamon, and clove.
Some leaves are commonly used, like bay leaf, coriander leaf and mint leaf. The common use of curry leaves is typical of South Indian cuisine. In sweet dishes, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, and rose petal essence are used. In Indian cuisine, curry refers not to a spice, but to any dish eaten with rice, or more commonly, any dish with a gravy base. Indian spices are often heated in a pan with oil to intensify the flavor before adding other ingredients.
Curry Phenomenon: Simple dry powders, such as red chili powder and curry powder, often replace in Western countries, such as Great Britain and the United States, the complex formulations of fresh and dried spices.
The word Curry comes from the Tamil kari (type of thick sauce).
North Indian cuisine is distinguished by the higher proportion-wise use of dairy products; milk, paneer (cottage cheese), ghee (clarified butter), and yoghurt are all common ingredients. North Indian gravies are typically dairy-based and employ thickening agents such as cashew or poppy seed paste. Other common ingredients include chilies, saffrom, and nuts.
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