Initial Write-up: If you want to enjoy the diverse styles of Indian food and cooking, it is important to first realize that there are several myths about Indian food going around. Only when you identify and defeat them, will you be able to appreciate what this form of cooking is all about.
The popularity of Indian food is growing around the world, and no one doubts the potential of India’s various cuisines in providing a tasteful indulgence. However, rather unfortunately, there are certain myths about Indian food that are spreading just as fast. A lot of people think that Indian food is synonymous with rich, spicy, oily, fatty and overcooked food, and it makes for unhealthy eating on a regular basis.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, and the most likely reason for these myths is that the only kind of Indian food people are acquainted with comes from restaurants. The difference between Indian food cooked at home and that available in restaurants, especially North Indian cuisine, is about the same as the difference between the food you will eat in a Chinese household and that available in a Chinese restaurant in Greece. Here are some common myths about Indian food busted.
You may be surprised to know that there is no generic ‘Indian cuisine’. India consists of 35 different regions, each with its own culture and styles of cooking. If you asked the average Indian person about Indian food, they would name 8 to 10 different cuisines, none of which would be identified as simply ‘Indian’.
Trying to put in Bengali food from the Eastern coast in the same category as Gujarati food from the West, is as big a blunder as trying to bracket an English breakfast and an Italian meal under the same category. Each region has its own ingredients, spices, herbs and tastes.
People also make the mistake of thinking that there is some base gravy known as ‘Indian curry’ which is an accompaniment in every meal. Once again, there is no such thing. Gravy preparations vary not only from region to region, but also household to household. There are over 50 herbs and spices grown in India, and every dish involves its own unique combination of anywhere between 5 to 15 of them. Even when the spices are the same, every person who cooks mixes them in his or her own proportions. So, you can imagine how much variety there is in Indian gravies!
Indian Food is Always Spicy
This is a very common myth about Indian food, but believe it or not, India has its fair share of people who have very poor spice tolerance levels and yet enjoy the food! Typically, restaurant and street food are exceptionally spicy, but home cooking is a lot more versatile. Any given dish has its own distinct flavor and can be prepared according to taste. The objective of adding spice is not to kill, camouflage or reduce the flavor of food.
Indian Food is Swimming in Oil and Overcooked
This is far from the truth, as far as home cooking goes. Quite to the contrary, a good chef will make sure that the food she cooks on a daily basis is light, fresh, filling and nutritious. The objective is to never overcook food and kill its nutrients. It is only the food that is cooked for special occasions that tends to be exceptionally rich, creamy and maybe even spicy.
Indian Food is Very Difficult to Prepare
Indian food consists of dozens of recipes that are practical, versatile and quite simple to prepare, especially with pressure cookers around. Within 30 to 60 minutes, you can have a tasty and nutritious meal ready for four people!
With these myths about Indian food busted, I would say that you are mentally ready to explore the exciting world of Indian cuisines.