The Punjab Region
Punjab literally means ‘land of five rivers’ in Persian. As it was divided into two at the time of partition a part of Punjab lies is in the north west of India and the other in north east of Pakistan.
Punjab mainly consists of large fertile plains and is India’s biggest producer of wheat. Milk and its products in the form of malai (cream), paneer (cottage cheese), butter and curds are used with almost every Punjabi meal.
The most popular form of Indian food served around the world is derived from Punjabi cuisine. The concept of using the tandoor oven in Indian kitchens originated here. Communal tandoors are still used in the villages of Punjab where women gather in the evening to cook bread and share gossip.
It shares several characteristics with the cuisine of Kashmir and other adjacent states. Punjabi cuisine is diverse, and varies regionally. Punjabi food served in the restaurants originated from the ‘Dhabas’ - roadside restaurants started by Punjabi people to provide food to truckers. It would not be wrong to say that in India ‘Dhabas’ were the first restaurants. Tandoori Chicken, Dal Makhani, Karahi Paneer, Chicken Tikka, Lassi, Kheer, Jalebi; are the popular Punjabi dishes found in restaurants all over the world.
Other popular seasonal dishes are; Sarsoon da Saag – prepared with green mustard leaves; Makki di Roti – maize flour bread; and Cholle Bhaturre – chickpeas served with fried bread.
Indian Chinese cuisine is the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. This cuisine is said to have been developed by the small Chinese community that has lived in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) for over a century. Most of these people are of Hakka origin; however, the dishes of modern Indian Chinese cuisine, such as Chicken Manchurian, bear little resemblance to traditional Chinese cuisine. Today, this Chinese food has become an integral part of the Indian culinary scene. In fact,Chinese cuisine ranks as India's favourite cuisine (after local food), growing at about 8% annually. It is the most favoured option when young people go out to eat and the second favourite (after south Indian cuisine) when families dine out.
Culinary styles often seen in Indian Chinese include chilli (spicy, battered-fried), Manchurian (a sweet and salty brown sauce) and Szechwan (a spicy red sauce). These correspond only loosely, if at all, with authentic Chinese food preparation.
Foods tend to be flavoured with spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, and turmeric, which with a few regional exceptions, such as Hunan and Xinjiang, are traditionally not associated with much of Chinese cuisine. Hot chilli, ginger, garlic and yogurt are also frequently used in dishes.
This makes Indian Chinese food similar in taste to many ethnic dishes in Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, which have strong Chinese and Indian cultural influences.
Some of the popular Indian Chinese dishes are;Hot and Sour Soup, Sweet Corn soup, Spring Rolls, Chilli Chicken or Paneer, Chicken or Vegetable Manchurian, fish or prawns in hot garlic Sauce, Chowmein (stir fried noodles), Chicken Lollipops(wings), Sweet and Sour Prawns, Chop Suey, banana toffee fritters with ice cream and of course, deep fried icecream!
The Cuisine of The Gurkhas'
The Gurkhas’ are soldiers from Nepal. Historically, the terms "Gurkha" and "Gorkhali" were synonymous with "Nepali," and derived from the hill town and district of Gorkha from which the Kingdom of Nepal expanded. The name may be traced to the medieval Hindu warrior - saint Guru Gorakhnath, who has a historic shrine in Gorkha.
The former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, once stated that "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha." Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, the people of Nepal have many different backgrounds and ethnicities, and this multitude of influences is reflected within the country’s cuisine.
Nepalese dishes are generally healthier than most other South Asian gastronomies, as they rely less on the extensive use of fats and more on chunky vegetables, lean meats, pickled dishes and salads. Whilst Nepal does take heavy influences from its closest geographical companions such as India, China and Tibet, this mountainous paradise only opened up its borders to outsiders in the 1950s. It is for this reason, in addition to problems with exports and imports caused by Nepal’s geographical setting, that there is a particular focus on using locally grown produce.
Dal-rice-vegetable is the standard meal eaten twice daily. However, with land suitable for irrigated rice paddies in short supply, other grains supplement or even dominate. Wheat becomes unleavened flatbread ( roti or chapati ). Typically yogurt (dahi) and curried meat (masu) or fish (machha) or chicken (kukhura) are served as side dishes.
Goa is located along India's west coast along the Arabian Sea. Seafood, coconut milk, rice and local spices are main ingredients of Goan cuisine. The area is in a tropical climate, with spices and flavours being intense.
The cuisine of Goa is influenced by its Hindu origins; four hundred years of Portuguese colonialism, and modern techniques. The state is frequented by tourists visiting its beaches and historic sites, so its food also has an international aspect.
The cuisine is mostly seafood based, with the staple foods being rice and fis h. Kingfish is the most common variety , with others including pomfret, shark , tuna and mackerel. S hellfish are plentiful with crabs, prawns, tiger prawns, lobster, squid and mussels all being popular.
The Hindu food of Goa is unique, while Goan Christians are influenced by the Portuguese , who brought potatoes, tomatoes, pineapples, guavas and cashews from Brazil. Of these, tomatoes and potatoes were not accepted by the Hindus until the late 20th century.
The most important part of Goan spices, the chili, was introduced to Goan cuisine by the Portuguese and became immensely popular. All these above - mentioned ingredients were not used in Goan cuisine before the advent of the Portuguese.
Celebrating Christmas in India
No regional focus over the festive season. We bring back some of your favourite dishes as our present for you to enjoy.
India is a secular nation and houses every community. Christians are a minority and form nearly 2.3% of the population. But the fact that there are only about 25 million Christians in India, in no way lessens the observance of the festival. Moreover, the occasion is celebrated not only by Christians but by people of other religions as well.
Many Christian houses in India decorate Christmas cribs and distribute sweets and cakes to their neighbours. In many of the schools that are run by the Christian missionaries, the children actively participate in Christmas programs. Also in many non-religious schools, there is tradition of Christmas celebration. Christmas is also increasingly celebrated by other religions in India. Christmas is known as "Badha Din" (Big Day) in North and North-West India and people often plant trees on this day. Celebrating Christmas in India No regional focus over the festive season. We bring back some of your favourite dishes as our present for you to enjoy.
Many Christians in India celebrate Christmas. The celebrations are most noticeable in states where there are many Christians such as Goa. Christmas Day is a statutory holiday across India but there are really no Christmas only dishes