6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Indian Cuisine
You may think you know your Indian cuisine, but there is much more to this nation than Cobra beers, sitars and chicken kormas. Here are our top sixfacts that we bet you didn’t know about Indian food; one thing is for certain though, after reading these Indian facts you will most likely end up in a curry coma… I hope you bought a soft pilau!
- Ancient edibles
India is one of the world’s oldest nations, with much of its cuisine and culture dating back 5,000 years to the Harappan civilisation. The Harappan ate mostly rice, chickpeas, lentils, wheat and a selection of vegetables. This diet firmly established India’s fondness for vegetarian dishes, with Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism furthering this preference.
- So you think you know curry…
Ah, Chicken Tikka Masala, the curry that Brits know and love, is not actually Indian at all. While it draws on Indian recipes, it’s thought to have been created by a Glaswegian curry house around 40 years ago. ‘Curry’ does not even have a corresponding translation in any of India’s 18 official languages, as it is an umbrella term used by the British to refer to all manners of Asian food. Given that we spend £250 million on curries each year, we should at least try the authentic ones!
- Feeling hot, hot, hot
India is the largest producer of chillies in the world, despite it only being introduced to the nation in the 15th century by the Portuguese. Contrary to popular belief, the Vindaloo is not actually the hottest ‘curry.’ Phaal may also have British influence, but it is so hot that many restaurants actually refuse to serve it and those who do, prepare it with a gasmask on.
- Naan is naat from India either
Naan bread is in fact Persian (modern day Iran) in origin, stemming back to around 1300 AD. In India they are delightfully referred to as ‘edible spoons.’ In 2014, a team of firefighters from Hampshire made the world’s biggest naan bread, measuring a whopping 3.79m by 1.4m – that’s a whole lot of naan!
- Land of Spices
India has more than earnt this title and you can guarantee that there is no curry powder here! The nation’s favourite blends include cinnamon, black and white pepper, cloves, cumin and cardamom. Scientists have found that Indian food creates a ‘sensory explosion’ of ‘clashing flavours’ that make it unlike any other cuisine – no wonder it’s so delicious!
- Rice, Rice Baby
Rice is a staple side for almost every meal (except in the north where rotis are more popular), yet despite this rice is not actually native to India. It was imported by the Harappan people centuries ago from Thailand.
There are now more Indian restaurants in London than there are in Mumbai, so how can you choose which one is best for you? If in doubt, head down to one of London’s best brasseries, where you can enjoy the most authentic and delicious dishes this side of Delhi!