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REFERENCE

About Indian Beauty

About India and its History

Indian Culinary History

India's Vegetarian Culinary Culture

The Jain Influence on India's Cuisine

The Muslim Influence on India's Cuisine

Indian Cuisine

What is Curry?

The Role of Indian Spices

North Indian Cuisine

South Indian Cuisine

Indian Cooking Techniques

Indian Restaurant Guide
North Indian Restaurant
South Indian Restaurant

Indian Entertaining

Food Pyramid

Glossary

Ayurveda

Healthy Eating


Origins of Indian Cuisine
 

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The Origins of Indian Cuisine lie with the ancient Indian civilization   of India that was called Harappa and Mohenjodaro.   The Dravidians or inhabitants of these civilization 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 be 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 in Europe, Persia and India.    (In fact the Swastika - a good luck symbol of the Aryan culture is still very prevalent in India).  The ideas of Ayurveda were developed further by the Aryans   Many of the texts on this subject were written in the Aryan period.

Influences from subsequent conquests on the Indian sub-continent
1. The Aryans
During the Aryan period the cuisine the Great Hindu Empires  concentrated on the fine aspects of food and to understand its essence and how it contributed to the development of mind, body and spirit.  After this period the cuisine was influenced by the following conquests from other cultures.
2. Mongolians (hot pot cooking)
3. Persians
The most notable was the influence of Persian rulers who established the Mughal Rule in India.  (click here for more about Mughal cuisine)
4. Turks
5. Greeks (Alexander the great)
6. Chinese (from trading and cultural and educational exchanges with them)
7. Arabs (traders)
8. Portuguese (the Indian Vindaloo dish is a result of the Portuguese)
9. British (Indian Ketchup, tea)


Personal Note : Even today I believe that the Idli/Sambar and Dosa which is the staple food of South India (where there is a concentration of Dravidians) is one of the most intellectual and also tasty cuisine that man could devise. Parboiled rice (helps preserve vitamins unlike polished rice) and dal (lentils) are taken in the right combinations and then fermented and steamed to deliver a profoundly nutritious, balanced and tasty meal. This cuisine is ultra light on the earth’s resources and on the digestive system and hence a true health and wellness meal for both the environment and the individual. - Kavita

 

A Special Mention

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One of the greatest influences on India’s cuisine occurred in the 2nd century B.C. The powerful and benevolent and popular Emperor Ashoka of that time 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. (Also the ancient, urban Dravidian civilization may have been vegetarian.)

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.

This work is dedicated to my dear friend Canalla Ellis with who I had the best of times planning, creating and giving my classes. Kavita Mehta

Click here for subscribing Culinary Journeys
Indian Cook Books and their Reviews

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This work is dedicated to my mother Shanta who taught me the tenants of Ayurvedic Cuisine and Knowledge.

BACK TO MAIN CLASS MENU

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1990 to 2001 - Kavita Mehta.  All Rights Reserved.
Kavita has been giving classes on Indian Cuisine in Minneapolis for the past 10 years.  She now shares her work on her website for all to enjoy.

 

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