India Term Paper

This essay has a total of 776 words and 6 pages.


India: Background

by Mimi Rippee

Throughout its history, India has been invaded by armies, traders, and immigrants from all
over the world. Major culinary influences result from significant historical invasions,
including the Greeks, led by Alexander the Great in 326 B.C. Greek and Middle Eastern
ingredients and cooking techniques are obvious in Indian cuisine. Moghul invaders in the
16th Century introduced meat and rice dishes to India. Portuguese rulers introduced
chilies, and the more recent rulers from Britain in the 18th and 19th Centuries had an
influence on chutney development. Interspersed throughout these major historical events
were influences from Bactrian, Mongol, Scythian, Parthian, Kushan, Hun, Arab, Turk,
Afghan, and Dutch invaders.

In the northernmost areas of India, close to the Himalayas, the weather is temperate.
Wheat is the predominant grain and meat dishes can be elaborate. Much of the food is
cooked in oil.

To the south towards the equator, dishes become hotter - sometimes fiery. Rice is the
predominant grain crop, and a vegetarian lifestyle predominates. Much of the food is

Seafood dishes are prominent along the coastline of India, where the Arabian Sea, Bay of
Bengal, and Indian Ocean offer rich bounties of fish and shellfish. Jungle areas of India
offer mangoes, guava, papaya, bananas, and coconuts.

Vegetarian cuisine is widespread, resulting from the predominance of Hindus in India.
There are a wealth of dishes which solely rely on grains, legumes, and vegetables. In
contrast, the Muslims rely on beef and lamb as integral parts of their diets.

India: What to eat

by Mimi Rippee

Indian food can be enjoyed as much during the cooking process as during mealtime. The
aroma from cooking spices, herbs, onions, garlic, and chilies creates the best kind of
potpourri money can buy! When we think of Indian food, we typically think curry.
Unfortunately, the idea and use of commercial curry powder is limiting to the whole scope
of Indian cuisine.

Authentic curry powder is called garam masala (masala means mixture). These spice and herb
mixtures vary in recipes throughout India, and even vary from home to home in the same
region. But Indian seasoning is not limited to garam masala. Other spices and flavorings
are added to enhance and layer flavors.

Becoming familiar with Indian dishes requires becoming familiar with its common elements.
These are described below, followed by a menu guide of ingredients.

One staple in Indian food is dal, a word which includes peas, beans, and lentils (similar
to our use of legume). Lentils, which are red, yellow, orange, or pink, plus split peas
and other legumes, are the primary source of protein in vegetarian meals. Dal are cooked
whole or pureed, depending on the dish. Ground dal are used in unleavened breads and
Continues for 3 more pages >>