Indian recipes range in variety, taste and flavor. The strong flavors in Indian recipes are derived from spices, seasonings and leafy vegetables. Indian recipes have become famous world wide and are enjoyed by non-Indians too. Most of the spices included in the Indian recipes are used not only for their flavor, but also for their potent medicinal value and thus fulfil the requirment to a healthy eating.
Each state in India has its own style and combination in making Indian recipes. The Indian recipes are renowned for its gravies, which is a tasty attraction for a newcomer. In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent.
In Indian recipes, bread refers to roti, naan and paratha. The Indian roti is thin and flat made of atta (wholewheat) and cooked on a tava, cast-iron griddle or tandoor. The naan is soft and fluffy, made from maida (plain flour) with a little bit of yeast. Parathas are layered breads rolled out of wheat flour but fried in a little oil or ghee.
The Indian snacks consists of the famous mouth-watering samosas, aloo tikki, dhokla and bread rolls.
An Indian food is considered incomplete without sweet dishes like gulab jamun, kulfi, gajjar ka halwa, rasgulla, etc.
The Non-Vegetarian part of Indian recipes comprises of dishes like tandoori tikkas, kababs, roshan goshts, butter chicken, biryani and much more.
In North and West India, groundnut oil has traditionally been most popular for cooking, while in Eastern India mustard oil is more commonly used. In South India, coconut and gingelly oil is common. In recent decades, sunflower oil and soyabean oil have gained popularity all over India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, also known as ghee, is also a popular cooking medium that replaces Desi ghee, clarified butter (the milk solids have been removed).
North Indian recipes are predominated by high use of dairy products; milk, paneer, ghee (clarified butter), and yoghurt. Gravies are generally dairy-based and can include chilies, saffron, and nuts. East Indian recipes comprise of desserts as rasgulla, chumchum, sandesh, rasabali, chhena poda and chhena gaja. Apart from sweets, East Indian recipes are famous for its posta (poppy seeds) content.
South Indian recipes are based of rice as the staple grain. Sambar and rasam (also called saaru andrasa), a variety of pickles, and the liberal use of coconut and particularly coconut oil and curry leaves are prevalent. Curries called Kozhambu are also popular and are typically vegetable stews cooked with spices, tamarind and other ingredients. The dosa, poori, idli, vada, bonda and bajji are typical South Indian favorites.
Western India has three major food groups: Gujarati, Maharashtrian and Goan consisting of rice, coconut, and fish. The hilly regions of the Western Ghats and Deccan plateau regions use groundnut in place of coconut and depend more on jowar (sorghum) and bajra (millet) as staples. Gujarati recipes are predominantly vegetarian and have a hint of sweetness due to use of sugar or brown sugar.