Indian recipes encompass a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions.
The development of these cuisines has been shaped by Dharmic beliefs, and in particular by vegetarianism, which is a growing dietary trend in Indian society. There has also been Central Asian influence on North Indian cuisine from the years of Mughal rule. Indian cuisine has been and is still evolving, as a result of the nation’s cultural interactions with other societies.
The origin of Biryani is uncertain. In North India, it is traditionally associated with the Mughlai cuisine of Delhi and the Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow; in South India, it is traditionally associated with the Hyderabadi cuisine.
The word “biryani” is derived from Persian language. One theory is that it originates from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. Another theory is that it derives from “biryan” or “beriyan” (to fry or roast).
Historically, the most common varieties of rice used for preparation of biryani were the long-grain brown rice (in North India) and Zeera Samba rice (in South India). Today, the basmati rice is the most common variety. In Bangladesh, puffed rice is also used.
The spices and condiments used in biryani may include, but are not limited to, ghee (clarified butter), nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. The premium varieties include saffron. For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat, chicken and mutton are the most commonly used meat for cooking a biryani, special versions may include pork, beef, fish or prawn. The dish may be served with dahi chutney or Raita, korma, curry, a sour dish of aubergine (brinjal), boiled egg and salad.
2. Gulab jamun
Gulab jamun is a milk-solids -based dessert, similar to a dumpling. It is popular in countries of the South Asia such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, also in the Caribbean countries of Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname and Jamaica and in Mauritius. In Nepal, it is widely known as Lal-Mohan, served with or without yogurt. It is made mainly from milk solids, traditionally from freshly curdled milk. In India, milk solids are prepared by heating milk over a low flame for a long time until most of the water content has evaporated. These milks solids, known as khoya in Pakistan and India, are kneaded into a dough, sometimes with a pinch of flour, and then shaped into small balls and deep fried at a low temperature of about 148°C. The balls are then soaked in a light sugar syrup flavored with green cardamom and rosewater, kewra or saffron. These days, gulab jamun mix is also commercially available. Gulab jamun is often served at weddings and birthday parties.
3. Butter chicken
Butter chicken or murgh makhani is a classic Indian recipe. It originated in the 1950s, in the kitchens of Moti Mahal in Daryaganj, Delhi.
The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor; but may be grilled, roasted or pan fried in less authentic preparations. The gravy is made by first heating fresh tomato, garlic, and cardamom into a bright red pulp which is then pureed after cooling, then the chef adds butter, Khoa and various spices, often including asafoetida, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, fenugreek and fresh cream. Cashew paste is a frequent addition as a thickening agent.
4. Pav Bhaji
Pav bhaji (Marathi: पाव भाजी) is a Maharashtrian fast food dish that originated in Mumbai cuisine. While Bhaji is a traditional Indian name for a vegetable dish, the Pav or Pau or Pao was the Portuguese word for bread (small rolls) introduced by them during their brief presence in Mumbai (then Bombay), before it was gifted by them to the English as part of the dowry for Catherine of Braganza’s marriage to Charles II. The pav-bhaji is a spicy preparation with a mixture of vegetables, either whole or mashed, a generous dose of fresh tomatoes, a dollop of butter, optional toppings of cheese and dry-fruits and fresh fruits, consumed with warm bread gently or crispy fried in butter – an all-time, any-time favourite with Mumbaikars. It is native to Mumbai and has now become popular in most metropolitan areas in India, especially in those of central and western Indian states such as Gujarat and Karnataka. Pav means bread. Bhaji in Marathi means vegetable dish. Pav bhaji consists of bhaji (a thick potato-based curry) garnished with coriander, chopped onion, and a dash of lemon and lightly toasted pav. The pav is usually buttered on all sides.