15 Interesting Facts About Indian Food You Should Know. How much do you know about the history of Indian food?

1. India is rightly called the Land of Spices. No country in the world produces as many varieties of spices as India.

India - the land of spice

2. Greek, Roman and Arab traders have contributed a lot to the first foreign flavours in Indian cuisine. Who did you think brought the amazing saffron to India?

Saffron

3. Staple ingredients of Indian cuisine like potato, tomato and chilli don't have Indian origin. They were brought to India by the Portuguese.

Portuguese origins

4. Not only this, the Portuguese also introduced us to refined sugar. Before that? Fruits and honey were used as sweeteners in Indian food.

Refined sugar

5. Here comes a blow! Our very favourite Chicken Tikka Masala, a popular dish in India, is not Indian. It was invented in Glasgow, Scotland!

Chicken tikka masala originated in Glasgow, Scotland.

6. The first Indian restaurant in the USA was opened in the mid 1960s. Today, there are around 80,000 Indian restaurants in America.

Indian restaurants in New York.

7. Very little is known about the food and eating habits of the earliest Indian civilization, Indus Valley Civilization, because the ancient language has not been deciphered yet.

Harappa

8. According to Indian Food Theory, our food has 6 different flavours: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy.

A proper Indian meal is a perfect balance of all 6 flavours, with one or two flavours standing out. So the next time you eat your meal, you know how to judge it.

Balance of 6 flavours in an Indian meal.

9. Who doesn't like chutneys? Indian food is incomplete without this delicious side dish. But do you know the Britishers loved our chutneys as much as we do? In fact, they named one of the chutneys as 'Major Grey's'. It is still sold in India and is quite famous.

Major Grey's chutney... Now that's something new!

10. Mithais are an important part of Indian cuisine and celebrations. Payasam, one of the favourite sweet dishes of South India, is a must-serve at important ceremonies like weddings. According to South Indian tradition, a wedding is not over until Payasam is served.

End of a perfect Indian meal

11. Traditional Kashmiri cooking, Wazwan, reflects strong Central Asian influence. The unique thing about this cooking technique is that the spices are boiled, not fried. It gives the food a distinctive flavour and aroma.

Wazwan, traditional Kashmiri cooking.

12. Pepper is known as the king of spices because it goes well with everything. Mix it with salt and it becomes the classic combination we all love. Imagine how bland our food would taste without this spice.

Types of Indian pepper.

13. Love eating dum pulao or dum biryani? Do you know how this style of cooking originated in India? Here's the story:

The Nawab of Awadh was facing a shortage of food in his region so he ordered a meal to be cooked for all the poor in huge handis, covered with a lid and sealed with dough. This would help cook a lot of food with minimum resources, but who would have thought that this would eventually lead to a new style of cooking, now known as 'dum'.

Dum cooking.

14. Indian food system classifies food into three categories - Saatvic (fresh vegetables and juice), Raajsic (oily and spicy food) and Taamsic (Meat and liquor).

Saatvic food leads you to higher states of consciousness.

Raajsic food is the foundation of activity and motion.

Taamsic food brings out negative feelings.

Saatvic, Raajsic, Taamsic.

15. Strictly speaking, this is not a fact but the 'cuisine map' of India will amaze you. It shows the huge and delicious variety of food Indians indulge in.

Cuisine map of India

Everyone loves Indian food. Everyone talks about it. Now you know about it. Go taste it at the finest Indian restaurant in Katmandu. Tasneem's Kings Kitchen, Jhamsikhel road, Lalitpur. Call Tasneem on 9803299610 / 9801282727 for reservations.

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