One country, more than forty languages and roughly 1600 dialects! India is diverse to say the least and its languages are just one aspect of this diversity. Every state in India has its own traditions, culture, lifestyle, food…. It is ironic then, that when the rest of the world thinks of Indian food, the one word that comes to most minds is ‘curry’. This is perhaps the greatest understatement ever as ‘curry’ does not begin to sum up the amazing variety that is to be had in Indian cuisine. Not only does every state have its own style of cooking, even individual households differ in their preparation of the same dish. Most have their own secret recipes for the powders and pastes that form the backbone of the dish. What unifies all Indian dishes is the spices that bring them their characteristic fragrance and flavor.

The common factor, you ask? Indians love their food. It plays a huge part in the country’s culture with festivals all having their own special dishes and certain foods being auspicious or even taboo on certain occasions. Food is a big deal! Even everyday meals are mostly sit-down affairs and comprise of two to three main course dishes, accompaniments like pickles, chutneys and papadums, staples like rice and roti (bread), all rounded off with something to satisfy the sweet tooth! Cooking for and sharing a meal with a guest is the ultimate sign of hospitality. While most people think Indians are largely vegetarian, Indian cuisine comprises of a dazzling array of meat, chicken and fish dishes!

Recipes in India are traditionally not written down, but, rather, are passed down verbally from generation to generation. Over the centuries, the cuisine has evolved to include pungent spices and rich flavors, and can be quite different depending on the region (India is nearly the size of Europe, after all).

Many Indian restaurants focus on Northern Indian cuisine, but there is a common thread that weaves all the types of Indian foods together: Ayurveda. This ancient science system is a comprehensive set of principles that integrates health, diet, wellness and balance to support the mind, body and spirit.

Most Indian food is based on Ayurvedic principles, and is made to support the body nutritionally and spiritually. It includes six basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.

Rather than being based on calories and fat grams, Ayurvedic tradition looks at a food's properties, its assimilation in the body, water levels, salt levels and characteristics of the individual person eating the food.

Much of Indian cuisine revolves around health-promoting herbs, spices and vegetables, and here we've compiled some of the healthiest among them.
Tips to Preserve Nutrition in Indian Cooking?
Instead of deep frying, you can stir-fry or saute them in very little vegetable oil. The over-cooked foods lose their nutrition because, in the process, the vitamins and minerals are leached out. You should leave the cooking of a vegetable when it is still crisp.
Never use trans-fat or vanaspati like dalda, rath, etcfor cooking, these are not healthy. Many restaurants and shops use trans-fats for cooking tikkis, bhaturas, parathas, puri (poori) and even sweets and vegetable curries
Do not chop the vegetbles into too small pieces. The vegetable will lose its nutrients if it has more exposed surfaces to the atmosphere.
Always chop the vegetables only when you cook them, do not chop and leave them for a long time.
Do not wash the vegetables like spinach, zucchini, lauki, etc. after chopping to preserve their nutrients.
When you stir-fry, do not overheat the oil.
If you make pakoras, keep the besan batter thick. Deep frying of thin batter pakoras absorb
too much oil during frying.
Do not add ghee or oil for making the dough of poori, otherwise the pooris will absorb too much oil during frying.
Like any food, Indian food can be fatty too. But, if you make right choice in using spices rather than fatty oils, Indian food can be the most healthiest food.

So, don't go by hearsay and common opinion. Dive in and discover for yourself, the amazing world of Indian cuisine. It is a journey you will never regret!

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