Tap your toes and dance to the festive beats of a Bollywood soundtrack. When you’re tired, whet your appetite with an assortment of scrumptious dishes from the various parts of India. There’s something here for everyone. But before you bite into that piping hot ‘wada’ or chilled ‘gulab jamun’, here are some fun facts that will help you see food from India in a different light altogether.
Ø Traditional Indian food has only ONE main course. Instead of a number of courses, food is based around a single main dish (rice or bread) served with a collection of savory side dishes.
Ø The Paneer, or cottage cheese, is a famous Indian delicacy. Cooked with gravy, fried, or added as a garnish over pilafs, paneer is the heartthrob of many yummy North Indian dishes.
Ø Traditionally, rice is cooked in water and the excess water with the excess starch is drained away. This is a healthy way of cooking rice. However, when it comes to the aromatic and delicious Basmati, the quantity of rice is balanced with the water used for cooking so that there is no water left to strain away once the rice is cooked. This preserves the rich flavor and taste of Basmati.
Ø Indians use a variety of milk products in their diet. Fresh, creamy yoghurt is added to vegetable curries. It is also used to make the ‘Lassi’, which is nothing more than a milk, er, yoghurt shake!
Ø All Indian cooking is carried out in a variety of vegetable oils like sunflower oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil and coconut oil. Animal fat is never used in cooking.
Ø Almost all recipes from India are rich in nutrients. Ranging from the heavily spiced curries to the rich desserts and ‘halwas’, these recipes make use of local vegetables and fruits.
Ø Indians use gur or jaggery instead of sugar. Known as ‘medicinal sugar’, this contains minerals, vitamins and iron. Thus, it is one of the most wholesome and healthy forms of sugar known to man.
Ø Ever wonder why the Indian curry is so spicy? Well, it’s stuffed with a lot of stuff like turmeric, chilly, garlic, ginger and mint which is good for you.
Ø The flatbreads from India (chapattis and Naans) can be made without oil or yeast. When they are made from whole grains, these items are rich in vitamins and fibers.
Indian food is tailor-made to suit the requirements of the body. If cooked properly, it is both healthy and delicious – a rare combination indeed!