Who doesn’t love Indian food? Nothing quite beats the combination of bold, sophisticated spices, creamy sauce, and tangy heat. Not to mention all the extras that make traditional (and not so traditional) Indian dishes amazing; fluffy pulau rice, crispy onion bhajis, deep-filled samosas and chutney – there’s a reason it’s one of the UK’s best-loved options when it comes to ordering takeaway.
Must read Indian food facts:
But how much do you really know about Indian food culture? Don’t worry, we’re not going to quiz you, but we are going to fill you in with all the interesting Indian food facts you should know, from the origins of certain dishes to debunking particular myths. If you want to be the star of the show at your next Indian food feast, we’ve got you covered.
Authentic Indian cuisine balances six flavours
Indian food theory dictates that authentic Indian cuisine should be a balance of six different flavours: sweet (madhura), salty (lavana), sour (amala), pungent (katu), bitter (tikta), and astringent (kasya). Although, you’ll probably only be able to notice two of these flavours in your meal. Why not see which flavours you can taste next time you tuck in?
Spice Spice, Baby
No country on earth produces more varieties of spice than India, earning it the nickname ‘The Land of Spices’. Considering the number of dishes that use some sort of spice in traditional Indian cuisine, we shouldn’t be too surprised. In fact, you won’t find what we know as ‘curry powder’ in authentic Indian food, as every dish has spices blended and added separately to create unique flavours.
This one might surprise you. The classic Indian dish Chicken Tikka Masala isn’t from India. It was actually invented in Scotland! Due to its unrivalled popularity, it has become synonymous with authentic Indian cuisine across the UK, despite having very little connection to the country itself. So, the next time you order a Tikka Masala, just remember, it may taste amazing, but it’s not truly authentic.
Indian cuisine is extremely regional
Because India is so large and diverse, there’s really no such thing as one type of Indian food culture. Instead, each region uses different cooking methods and ingredients to create their recipes. Outside of India, Northern Indian cuisine is what we’re most accustomed to: thicker curries, samosas, rotis and meals flavoured with garam masala spice mix. Northern cuisine is generally less spicy and dishes are creamier, while Southern cuisine is usually hotter, featuring thinner dishes like stews and plenty of lentils and rice.
Rice is nice (even for breakfast)
When we think of rice, basmati or pulau probably spring to mind. However, with over 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice around the world, there are many more to discover. In particular, Southern India is home to a huge variety of rice-based dishes. In fact, in some regions, it’s not uncommon for rice to feature as part of your everyday breakfast – definitely not as takeaway leftovers from the evening before!
London has more Indian restaurants than Mumbai
The first legitimate Indian restaurant in the UK was opened in 1809. The popularity of Indian cuisine has since become so great, and the British have such an affinity for it, that it’s reported that London now has more Indian restaurants than Mumbai.