The spices of India have always been a subject of great global trade interest since eternal history. The lasting fondness of Africa, Middle East, China and Europe for Indian spices speaks volumes on their gastronomical and medicinal values, as well as the subcontinent's talent at producing them in their purest and richest form. No surprise, Indian margins are full of variety of regional cuisines that present a cocktail of tongue-tingling flavors and titillating aromas, each different from the other, yet culminating into a bold and balanced use of spices for health, taste and attractive appearance.
Indian food is concocted using a mix of spices, typically comprising of salt, turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander, and pepper, among other 20-30 basic Indian spices. Each spice present in the food is there for a reason. Besides lending flavor and tint, the spice tends to have indispensable health benefits. For example, while turmeric, cardamoms, and cloves are excellent antiseptics, ginger, garlic and Asafoetida are very good for digestion.
The Indian food is of particular delight for pure vegetarians who get plenty of options in the sub-continental menu to eat and relish. Each dish out of vegetables like potatoes, peas, cauliflower, spinach, cheese, eggplant, cabbage etc. involve the judicious addition of spices, seasonings and served with chapatti/ naan (a flat bread) are capable of putting any meat delicacy to shame.
Indian culinary science segregates food into six types of tastes, including salty, sour, sweet, spicy, astringent and bitter. An ideally balanced meal in India comprises of all the six tastes. This is achieved with condiments and side dishes like pickles, sauces, curries and pulses.
Every region in India has its own list of distinctive cuisines that form an integral part of traditional celebrations. The various regional foods in India can be broadly divided into four categories including North Indian cuisines, South Indian cuisines, and cuisines from East India and delicacies from West India.
One of the effective ways to relish authentic regional Indian cuisines would be to relish street food or live at one of the homestays during traveling to India. In any case, travelers must not shy away from Indian food lest a great parcel of Indian culture and traditions will remain uncharted.