There is something satisfying about Indian cuisine, particularly when expert hands use seasonal and fresh ingredients.
Perhaps it is the unique blending of herbs, spices, seasonings, as well as meat (always in small quantities), pulses, vegetables, yogurt dishes and relishes that Indian cooks discovered centuries ago that titillate their collective palate that makes the cuisine so tempting.
India is a large country (some say it is a subcontinent measuring one million square miles). It has a mixed population consisting of Brahmins (upper class Hindus), who shun meat, eggs or fish; Hindus frown upon beef; Buddhists and Jains who are strictly against killing any animal (some Jains even don’t eat root vegetables for fear of disturbing and killing insects); Muslims are prohibited to consume pork; and millions upon millions of people are simply too poor to afford any expensive protein in the form of meat, fish, poultry or crustacean.
Lamb, goat and chicken are widely consumed by those of means.
Indian food is varies because of the various ethnic groups with a range of religions, but more importantly, geography. In coastal regions, fish is the main protein, whereas elsewhere, chicken, lamb and goat are more popular.
In India all animals are scrawny, as they must feed on sparse fodder that is available, and walk constantly in search of food. Their meat is always lean, though and chewy, and must be marinated (mostly in yogurt to tenderize it.
There is no Indian imperial or court cuisine as is the case with Haute Cuisine in France and Imperial cuisine in China (a k a Beijing).
Indian food is like Italian-regional and seasonal. Therein lies the beauty and taste of the Indian cuisine that some gastronomes rate after French, Italian and Chinese, the fourth most important in the world. There is no disputing Indian cuisine’s merits and taste, but one aspect lacks – presentation and colour. Most dishes are monochromatic and presented without artistic merit.
Indians cook what grows and is available around them according to season. Maybe nature provides with everything they need. The saying,” What grows together goes together”, applies here more than anywhere else.