8:18 am - Wednesday February 22, 2017

History of Indian Food

The history of Indian food has experienced extensive immigration and intermingling through many descents. The Indian subcontinent hasbenefited from numerous food influences.The diverse climate in India, ranging from deep tropical to alpine, has also helped to broaden the diaspora of food ingredients that are readily available in India. Food has become a marker of religious and social identity in India with varying taboos and preferences,
which has also bounded these groups to innovate widely with the food sources that are deemed good enough.History of Indian food is the saga of the travel of the Indian food. History unfolds that around 7000 BCE, sesame, eggplant, and humped cattle were domesticated in the Indus Valley. By 3000 BCE, turmeric, cardamom, black pepper and mustard were harvested in this country. Many Indian recipes first emerged during the initial Vedic period, when India was still heavily forested. Agriculture complemented game hunting, and forest produce. In Vedic times, a normal diet of an Indian consisted of fruit, vegetables, meat, grain, dairy products and honey.The history of Indian food was greatly influenced by the ancient Indian civilizations of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. The Dravidians or inhabitants of these civilizations were urban and not agrarian. They had huge granaries to store grain, houses with a drainage system, pathways or roads and public baths. They sowed the seeds of Ayurveda, or Life Sciences, which is the foundation of Indian cuisine. This system was derived after studying the physical needs, mental needs and needs of our psychology and spirituality.


The people of Mohenjodaro and Harrapa were pushed to the South part of India by the invasion of the Aryans who came from Europe or Asia Minor. It is not very clear where the Aryans originated from but Aryans are to be found only in Europe, Persia and India. The Harappans, probably ate mainly wheat and rice and lentils, and occasionally cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and chicken. Rice and chicken possibly came from Thailand, and wheat and sheep from West Asia. Some of the wheat was made into stews or soups, and some into flat breads called chapattis.Around 300 BC, under the Mauryans, a lot of Hindus felt that animal sacrifices added to one’s karma and kept him from getting free of the wheel of reincarnation. Animal sacrifices became less popular, and although people did not give up eating meat entirely, they ate much less of it, thus many Indians became vegetarians. In the Gupta period, around 650 AD, Hindus began to worship a Mother Goddess.Cows were sacred to her, and so Hindus stopped eating beef. Around 1100 AD, with the Islamic conquests in northern India, most people in India stopped eating pork as well, because the Koran forbids it.Eating sheep, goats or chicken was still prevalent but due to various religious reasons most of the people in India became vegetarians.The vegetarian food that Indians ate was mainly wheat flatbreads or a kind of flatbread made out of chickpeas, with a spicy vegetarian sauce, and yogurt. Extensively the vegetarians ate rice, yogurt and vegetables. A lot of spicy peppers grew in India and they were extensively used to make bland food tasty.During the Aryan period the cuisine of India concentrated on the fine aspects of food. The Indian cuisine then greatly contributed to the development of mind, body and spirit. The history of Indian food holds this account of changing tradition and food habits. Mongolians came up with the influence of hot pot cooking and introduced dishes mainly maid of milk products and meat. Persians introduced kebabs, fereni and halva. The Turkish influence brought about preparations made of eggplant, meat and cheese. Greek influence on Indian food brought about different kinds of soups, desserts and sweets.


Greek drinks also became popular in India. Chinese influence on Indian food has been the major one, popularising dishes like Chowmein, Choupsey, Momo and diverse types of tea with majestic aroma and flavor.Arabs brought about different kinds of dry fruits and flat breads among the Indians. Next the Portuguese introduced Indian Vindaloo dish and others. The British influence has been another major one, besides the Chinese. Indian Ketchup and tea were the basic importedtastes in India. Later the British rule brought about many more delicious dishes and preparations into Indian cuisine. The Mughals were great patrons of cuisine. Lavish dishes were prepared during the rule of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. The Nizams of Hyderabad state meanwhile developed and mastered their own style of cooking with the most notable dish being the Biryani, often considered by many enthusiasts to be the finest of the main dishes in India.The history of Indian food tells the tale of the influences on Indian food which further supported Indian food to attain today’s chic contour. One of the greatest influences on Indian cuisine occurred in the 2nd century B.C. The powerful and popular Emperor Ashoka once popularized a vegetarian cuisine. Even today a majority of Indians are vegetarian. The two other individuals that helped make India vegetarian are Mahavir and Buddha. Ashoka was also the first statesman in recorded history that had an environmental department in his administration. This department set environmental laws, posted these laws on stone billboards and had an environmental enforcement program.