Evolution of Indian Cuisine

Evolution of Indian Cuisine

In our last article, we tried to bring attention to Indian Food Culture & Indian food habits, which are unique and separate us from the rest of the world. Indian Food Therapy aims to bring not only information about the Indian culinary journey, but also focus on health benefits & regional cuisine. Our focus is to bring maximum information about Indian Culinary from way back to the Vedic age.

Most of us are unaware of how Indian Cuisine evolves- to know the evolution-one has to go back to 6000 years backs when Harrapan sowed the seeds of modern-day food. Study shows that In this era Wheat, Rice, Millet, Chickpeas, lentils, was a staple diet. They also cultivated mustard & sesame, which we use in our day-to-day life, but all these food habits were not recorded at that time and were identified by archaeologists & researchers from a site of Indus - Saraswati civilization.

Then comes the Vedic period ( 1500 BCE- 500 BCE), this is a period of late Bronze Age and early Iron Age when Vedas was composed in the Indian Subcontinent and an end of Indus Valley civilization. In this era, civilization started shifting to Indo-Gangetic plains. During this period agriculture was the major occupation of people. This Era defines the better form of cultivation to obtain better fruits of their hard work & during this era fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, milk products, and honey consider to be normal diets. 

Actual Indian food is born from the concept of Ayurveda that comprises of two words  “Ayus” means life and “Veda” means Knowledge, which begins from basic ingredient food. During this period people started composing the knowledge in a form of text, Ayurveda is one of the great examples of that which emphasize living life in accord with the law of nature. The guideline of Ayurveda is simple tools to maintain balance in life. Lifestyle, diet knowledge of herbs & food are mapped for each individual according to the nature of body type. Today people around the world are tending towards that.   

After Vedic era, various empires ruled the country and bought their own cuisine and culture. For example, Mauryan Culture taught us basic Kitchen etiquette. The influence of Buddhism and Jainism drew away from the cycle of animal scarifies and took of vegetarianism. The uses of Garam Masala in some curries started in the 8th century. During the 8th Century, people started using herbs like coriander leaves, mint leaves, and fenugreek leaves in food to enhance the flavors.

After the Mughal invaded India, they incorporated the flavors from Persian and Western Asian Cookery with Indian Cuisine. Many new dishes were invented, combining middle eastern nuts and dry fruits with Indian Spices. Indian cuisine became richer & cooked with spices, nuts & dry fruits. During this era, Indian food is infused with the Persian style cooking and given birth to Mughlai cuisine.

Portuguese establish a colony in India at the beginning of the 16th Century and was ruled from Cochin & Goa. Portuguese bought Potato, Tomato, Chilli, Papaya, cashew, and much more such products which we often used in our meals today. ‘PAV’- this bread is common in Mumbai & Goa, which was introduced by them. They also introduce wine & vinegar in Cooking & their influence is seen in Goan cuisine. British also bought carrots, cauliflower, etc during their rules on which Indians fell in love & these vegetables become a part of daily cooking.

All these different eras have some way or the other created an impact on our food culture that we enjoy today. So, if you observes the modern Indian Cuisine has an impact in all these eras & now the entire world is looking toward India and the concept of Ayurveda that originally belongs to this region. 

Manish Dubey – Blogger( Indian Food Therapy)