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All about Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine is special due to its abilities to adapt to different factors - acquiring and accommodating different tastes. For instance, the Mughlai cuisine was brought here by traders and conquerers from western Asia, particularly Babar.

CULINARY ART in India has a long history. What is remarkable is how well aware the man in the street is about India’s past. The autowallah, riding his rickshaw might turn out to be a surprising mine of information on the story of his country. The reason behind this is perhaps as old as the country itself.

Like Indian history, our cuisine is also known throughout the world as sweet and Mughlai dishes, appetisers and snacks. How else would you call a country’s cuisine if almost half its dishes are either sweets or desserts? Actually, Indian cuisine has adapted itself over the years, acquired and accommodated several different tastes to find such great success in fancy restaurants throughout the whole world.
 
The Muslims from Western Asia brought the Mughlai cuisine to India in the 12th century when Babar and his subsequent descendants conquered large portions of India. This cuisine is common in India and Pakistan and the cooking style is strongly influenced by Persian and Turkic cuisines of Central Asia.
 
This food includes good ingredients, low flame cooking and rich spices. Dominating the northern parts of India, Mughlai dishes are rich in aromatic spices, ghee, and sauces consisting of curd, cream and crushed cashew nuts. The tandoor, an earth oven used in making rotis and kababs, is an integral part of Mughlai cuisine. The dishes include the famous tandoori chicken, seekh and boti kabab and tandoori fish. Rice preparations such as biriyani, hold a special place in Mughlai cooking. In the mean time, the Nizams of Hyderabad developed biryani as their own style of cooking, which is now considered as one of the main dishes in India.
 
When talking of sweets, rasogulla is one of the most relished sweetmeats in India, originating from the eastern part of the country. This dish is produced by boiling of small pops of casein in sugar syrup and then cooling them off. This sweet dessert can be found in almost all eastern Indian households. Another Indian dessert that blends with the Hindu culture is the payasam (or Kheer as it is called by the Hindi). This dessert has been an essential dish throughout the history of India. In Southern India, ancient traditions tell that a wedding is not fully blessed if payasam is not served at the wedding feast.

In the case of appetisers, they are related to each region's culture and traditions. Besides being extremely tasty and actually stimulating your appetite rather than diminishing it, these fast snacks are also quite low in fat, since they are based on a number of spices and herbs, such as ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cloves, asafetida, aniseed or coriander, rather that the fat rich appetizers you will find mostly anywhere else in the world.

Alu ki tikki is one of the oldest snacks in the history of Indian food. It is made out of mashed potatoes coriander and onions. Apart from this, samosa which came up during the British Raj is made out of steamed potatoes, peas and vegetables and is one of the many Indian recipes that were passed on from ancient times. You go to the North, in Punjab and try out a dahi barra yogurt and fritter appetizer, it will definitely taste and even look slightly different than a similar dahi barra appetizer dish in Southern India’s Tamil region.
 
There is an anecdote about our cuisine, namely that of the British cook William Harold. William was quite an experienced chef, working for a rather successful restaurant in central London, when he was sent to India to help the war effort with his meals. Because his dishes were so delightfully well done, he was promoted to be the personal cook of a high ranking officer in the British Empire’s Army. One day, the officer ordered William to get the recipe for a local dish he ate and thoroughly enjoyed that day, named by the locals bhel puri, in order to mass-cook it for the troops. Because there were very few written recipes in India back then (locals were passing on their cuisine with each generation, usually orally) William started walking from home to home, knocking from door to door, in order to find the recipe for the bhel puri, which, even today, is quite a complicated appetiser.
 
However he got varying recipes, with different spices. After a long day of inquiries in which the poor cook was unable to find a stable recipe, he returned to the barracks. Seeing that he was back, the officer asked if he could serve the first portion of bhel puri that night, but William told him he couldn’t get any real recipe in his hands and ironically stated that “we will have to stick to French fries again tonight, Sir!”. Legend says the officer berserk with fury, took out his handgun and shot the cook, causing a mutiny amongst the barrack’s soldiers, who were fed up with the officer’s cruel ways and in love with William’s heavenly cooking. That’s how a small bowl of bhel puri shook an entire British barrack and caused a long night in the court martial offices.
 
Other important traditional Indian sweets and desserts are gulab jamun (a popular Indian dessert made out of fried milk balls in sweet syrup), Mysore pak (a delicious dessert made out of ghee, sugar and chick pea flour), halwa (or halva in modern english spelling; made out of semolina and sugar, the halwa is one of the most popular Indian desserts that have spread in every corner of the World), the kulfi (often referred to as Indian ice cream, the kulfi is made out of boiled milk and a wide variety of mango, kesar or cardamom flavors), the jalebi (a common sweet dish from North India, the jalebi is basically a pretzel-shaped fried batter, which is soaked in syrup) and the jangiri (the South Indian look-alike of the North Indian jalebi).

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