What is an Indian food : What comes first to our mind when we hear about the Indian food is hot, spicy, oily, fatty, difficult and time consuming to cook, something that has curry powder and sugar, and involves deep frying. Reality is that it is exotic, healthy, nutritious and sometimes complex, but always delicious. India is known for its varied, spicy and delicious food. It is renowned not only for its taste but also its aroma. From your house you can identify what is being cooked at your neighbour house, just by the aroma of the dish. The reason for this is the use of spices in each recipe.
How Indian food is cooked : Oil or ghee is often the first ingredient that goes into the cooking vessel and is essential to the making of a delicious dish. The use of oil differs from state to state based on region, culture and climate. Some recipes demand the use of ghee, particularly sweets like Halwa, Laddoo etc. The other oil used is the (Dalda) which is hydrogenated vegetable oil. It is loosing its popularity, though,
because the research has shown its harmful effects on health.
Indian food includes : Milk and milk products like curd, buttermilk, cream, cheese and paneer, are widely used throughout India. Milk, cream, and sometimes even curd, are used in vegetable gravies, curries, rice preparations and in desserts. Cereals like, wheat, bajra, jowar, maize, ragi, as well as pulses like rajma, chhole, moong, chickpea, as well as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Benefits of Indian Food
1. Balanced Nutrition: Indian food is full of nutrients as it take care of both macro and micro nutrients with the inclusion of carbohydrates (roti, rice etc.), proteins (non-vegetarian food, milk and milk products, pulses and legumes, fats (oils, ghee, nuts and seeds), fibre, vitamins and minerals (fruits and vegetables).
2. Protects Body : Indian cooking involves the daily use of certain spices like turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, heeng, ginger, garlic and green chillies, all of which have medicinal properties. Their use ensures that our body remains protected in all the seasons.
3. No preservatives : Indians have a tradition of cooking fresh food everyday. Due to this, the use of preservatives is avoided to a large extent.
Myths About Indian Food
1. All Indian Food is hot and spicy : There is difference between hot and spicy. The green or red chillies make the food hot whereas the spiciness is because of the spices used like cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. The food Indians prepare daily makes limited use of chillies and spices, which actually help maintain a healthy life due to the high level of antioxidants present in them.
2. Indian food is fattening and unhealthy : Excess of anything is bad for one's health. Since over-eating is known to store the extra food as fat in the body. While cooking one has to take care of the amount of oil being used while cooking. Food served in a restaurant is unhealthy and fattening as the oil and spices are used in excess amount to make the food tasty and look better using excess cream, oil, butter, sugar and so on. We do not get whole wheat roti which are made at home when we visit any restaurant so we order the parathas and naan with butter. They do not use ghee in restaurant because it is costly. So the Indian food is not unhealthy or fattening the way of making it is bad.
3. Indian Gravies are unhealthy : I would agree if these gravies and curries are cooked with lots of oil, cream, cashew nuts and cheese. People in India make curries with onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, coconut, yogurt, besan, and garam masala. This is the common practice in most of Indian homes. Some gravies all for specific ingredients like peanuts, dals, curry leaves, adding which is also a healthy option.