Desi all the way

Why is India amongst the top 10 preferred cuisines around the world? Yogesh Amin answers...

Indian cuisine is among the top ten popular cuisines in the world, standing at number nine.

India, Bharat, Hindustan: these are same names just used interchangeably. India, having a sub-tropical climate, is a gold mine of spices, vegetables, fruits, and many species of animals. Food has played a pivotal role in the growth of human civilisation. Indian kings were at their highest pinnacle in the early ages and hence their food was very refined. Indian society is very religious, in which food is treated holy. Ayurveda scriptures explain food as nourishment to the soul, and not only to the body. The science of ayurveda also helped Indians to craft well-balanced recipes.

In the 1700s, European empires started spreading their colonies throughout India. British, Dutch, Portuguese and French ruled India, and mainly came here to increase their trade in the highly profitable and rare exotic ingredients, of which spices were a vital product. A lot of Indian food was analysed and taken to England. Chutneys and curries which could be imitated easily, entered the English country and brought flavour, body and robustness to bland European fare. The British officers and staff acquired a taste for mango chutneys, pickles, poppadums, rice and curry preparation, and took them back to their country.

The health industry, over a period, has identified the importance of consumption of turmeric, asafoetida, chillies, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, clove, pepper, mustard, and few more which are regularly used in Indian cuisine.

Other factors that make India cuisine so popular in Europe are as follows:

* India is an agriculturally surplus country which can afford to export the best quality of ingredients.

* Excellent connectivity between India and Europe by sea and air.

* Immigration of people from Indian subcontinent to Europe and have lived in Europe for over three generations.

* Indian cuisine is highly adaptable to any available ingredient.

* India has exported a lot of culinary talent in the last five decades.

Since Indian cuisine entered Europe in the last decade, more Europeans are familiar with regional cuisines of India, moving beyond the usual North Indian and South Indian fare. So, it’s desi all the way!

(The author is HOD, food production ITM IHM Nerul)

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