India – A re-introduction to Indian cuisine

When you think India, you think food. Or at least I do. Whether it is the expectation of the magnificent amount of mouth-watering, aromatic street foods, or the fear that once you get that first curry down you, it’s coming straight out. Here too India is a land of contrast and it will give you a run for your money. Or in my boyfriend’s case, the runs for five fun-filled days. More than a third of all travellers will experience some form of Delhi-belly and it is no wonder with a country so profoundly unhygienic as this one is.

The food, however, when being eaten, is a feast for your palate and you will be spoilt for choice. There were Spicy Samosas, aromatic Masala Dosai, the lesser known Dabbeli, Chapattis, Masala teas, wonderful looking sweets and desserts and refreshing lassis. Here I truly let my inner fatty soar and went about my day according to meals, snacks, tea-breaks, and little bites of everything I could get my grubby little hands on. Every so often I stopped for a snack; spiced masala tea served from big aluminium pots, onion pakoras from a street cart covered in grease and stained by red curry powder or a fresh coconut sold by street vendors on the roadside. I stood eating from a banana leaf in front of a mosque and joined a large crowd all eating what appeared to be some sort of deep-fried potato ball in a gravy at a local market. I ate some of the best Indian food I have had and encountered the amazingly friendly people that prepared them.

Indian cuisine consists of wide variety of regional and traditional dishes native to India. Per region, dishes differ in the use of spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Not only is Indian food influenced by regional produce, is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural traditions.The most important and frequently used spices and flavourings in Indian cuisine are whole or powdered chilli pepper, black mustard seed, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, asafoetida, ginger, coriander, and garlic. Other popular spices are garam masala (which is typically made up of a cardamom, cinnamon, and clove), bay leaves, coriander leaves, fenugreek leaves, curry leaves, saffron, nutmeg and rose petal essences.

Admittedly, India is not the cleanest place you will ever enjoy a meal. However, the memories of the vast amount of enticing, mesmerising and scrumptious meals will stay with you far beyond your stay. If not due to the remembrance of the intake of amazing Indian food, then at the very least of the memory of it’s way out.

The taste of love is sweet
When hearts like ours meet
I fell for you like a child
Oh, but the fire went wild

I fell into a burnin’ ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

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