Few civilizations in the world don’t even have a history, let alone a rich past spanning millions of years as India. It is a consequence of this rich historical past that we have been bestowed with an enviable fusion of cultural diversity. People all over the world look at us and learn not only from our great past but also from our beautiful present comprising of our philosophy, religions, textiles, languages and cuisine. Indian cuisine is as diverse as its culture. It is relished by people all over the world. Generally, a fusion of rich spices, each state of India bathes in the glory of its very own specialities. Some of the special Indian cuisines are listed state wise.
India is blessed with multi cuisines. However, the one thing common among most Indians is the craving for sweet. It is an unspoken tradition to have some sweet or mithai, especially after meals. Kaju katli has always been an all time favourite. Not only because it is savoured by the young as well as the older generation, but also because it is a sweet which can be stored for a longer time in comparison to many other Indian sweets. Kaju Katli literally means a slice of cashew nuts. Kaju means cashew in Hindi. Barfi is made by thickening milk and adding sugar (India has a plethora of different kinds of barfi). Kaju katli has an old world charm and it is savoured throughout the country. Traditionally it is distributed on Diwali, one of the biggest festivals of India. It is also common to receive Kaju Katli with a wedding card.
Indian sweets have evolved and one can see variations in almost all the traditional sweets. However, the sweet which always remained the same was the kaju katli. It has always tasted water watering but weren’t we bored of the same insipid shape and design? And then the kaju katli was touched by Amazeology India’s magic wand. It seemed to have passed through a prism and had a wardrobe change of vibrant colours and designs. You can now order customize kaju katli with the Amazeology team. Imagine a tile shaped kaju katli printed as a wedding card? Seems so farfetched. Not only does it blow the recipients off their feet, it also obviates the necessity of adding traditional sweets or dry fruits with the wedding card.
There are now an amazing amount of choices to customize your kaju katli. It can be printed as a picture with vibrant colours, photographs, colourful messages and more. You can print your company’s logo and a happy Diwali or happy New Year message and distribute it to your staff and clients. A forward leap from the same boring calendars and diaries distributed year after year.
Sometimes one does not need an excuse to buy or send sweets. This is more so when you are able to print a message because a printed message can say more than spoken words. How about proposing to you sweetheart with a “Will you marry me message”. Or letting your husband know that you are expecting a baby. Occasions are innumerable but there certainly is no better way than to say it the Amazeology way.
Punjab, the agriculturally rich state in north India, is known for its rich and extensive vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian cuisine. This state is called the “Granary of India” or “India’s bread basket”. Tandoor items are an essential part of their tradition and the exotic dishes prepared in the tandoor, or traditional oven, have a rich and spicy flavour. All-time favourites are tandoori chicken and malai tikka. The tandoor also boasts of delectable breads called the tandoori roti and naan. Some of the popular food items are parantha, chana bhatoora, amritsari kulchas, dahi vada, sarson ka saag savoured with makki ki roti, maa ki dal, rajma, shahi paneer, butter chicken, amritsari fish, etc. The traditional mouth-watering sweets are gajar ka halwa (made from grated carrots, milk, water and sugar and garnished with dry fruits), kheer, malpua, kaju katli, etc.
Kashmir, in the north of India, is famous for its mouth-watering Rogan Josh and Yakhni. These are lamb based dishes cooked in gravies rich in spices and flavours. Rice is the staple food of the Kashmiris but a varied range of breads such as the bakarkhani are available. The cuisine is basically non-vegetarian though a variety of vegetarian dishes are also available. Various spices such as cloves, cardamom and cinnamon are used in plenty. The food is rich in flavour and mild in spices. Kashmir is a leading producer and exporter of saffron, which is a colouring and seasoning agent. Saffron is used is used in many dishes especially sweets. Dry fruits are also used in plenty in the preparation of Kashmiri cuisine. The multi-course Kashmiri meal is called Wazwan and is a quintessential of their culture and tradition.
Gujarat, a state referred to as “Jewel of Western India”, is famous for its colourful mirror work and embroidered clothes. It is also the land of Garbha, their traditional, very popular dance. The famous Gujarati thali is characterized by a sweet flavour in all its dishes. They use a lot of sugar or jaggery in their preparation.The varied dishes include Puran Poli, Kadhi, Khaman, Dhokla, Khandvi and Bajri no rotlo. The long coastline can make it a haven for seafood but Gujaratis, influenced by Jainism, are predominantly vegetarian. Some communities do incorporate non- vegetarian items such as goat, chicken and seafood. The thali also has chopped cucumber, tomatoes and onions, and a variety of chutneys, that is, sauces and dips made by using different ingredients. The traditional sweet dishes are shrikhand or doodhpak which are milk or yoghurt based. They also enjoy wheat based sweet dishes such as ladoo or lapsi. Aam ras, made with pureed mango and sugar is savoured all through Gujarat.
Maharashtra, one of the most popular states of India, is situated on the western coast. Maharashtrians are crazy about food and pride themselves on for having some of the best restaurants in the country. One of the popular fast food dish, relished all over the country, is the famous Pav Bhaji. This is a vegetable curry served with soft bread rolls, all dipped in hoard of butter. The other popular street foods are Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Kothambir Vadi, Kanda Bhaji and Aluchi bhaji. The popular sweets are Puran Poli, Modak, Karanji, Basundi and Shrikhand. Mumbai, the capital city, is a haven for juice and ice cream lovers.
West Bengal, a region in the eastern part of India, is famous for its colourful Durga Puja celebrations, every year. Fish and rice are a dominant part of the cuisine. They follow a multi-course tradition and food is served course wise. It is the only cuisine in the subcontinent to have evolved so much. The meal will normally start with Shukto ( which is a bitter preparation). This is followed by leafy vegetables called Shak, Dal (pulses), other vegetables, fish/mutton/chicken curry. A special sauce made from mustard paste called Kashundi is the accompaniment with boiled rice and fish curry. Rice is consumed in various forms, be it simple boiled rice, puffed rice called muri, rice in its beaten form called Chira, and in fried form called Khoi. Left over rice is kept in a pot with water. This ferments slightly by the next morning. This is called Pantha Bhat and is commonly eaten as breakfast, especially in the villages. There are some famous wheat based foods such as Luchi, Porota and Kochuri. Bengal is famous for its traditional sweet dishes, Mishti Dohi, Sandesh, Rosogulla.
The crown jewel of Bihari cuisine, a state in eastern India, is Litti Choka. But Bihar, a large state, with a majority of vegetarians, has a lot more to offer food lovers. Sattu, which is a mix of ground pulses and cereal, is a very commonly used ingredient. This can be used as a paste or as a stuffing for paranthas. Sattu is also used to make drinks called Sherbet. Chana Dal is also savoured widely by the Biharis. This is made with pockets of rice flour, spices and is served with coriander chutney and tomato Chokha. People of Bihar like spicy food. They enjoy eating Aubergine Chokha and Aloo ka Chokha. Mustard oil is used in Chokha preparation. Panchporan is a distinct feature used in cuisines of eastern India. This is prepared by mixing Panch, that is, five spices, namely, cumin seed, black cumin seed, fenugreek, aniseed and mustard seed. The staple food is wheat and rice. People of Bihar enjoy their meal consisting of dal, bhat, phulka, tarkari and achar. Khichdi is served with papad and chutney. Biharis also enjoy traditional snacks such as Chiwra and Pittha. Traditional sweets are mostly dry. Some of them are Laktho, Khurma, Motichoor ka ladoo, Balushahi, Kala Jamun, Tilkut, Chena Murki and Khubi ka Lai.
Andhra Pradesh, a state in south India, boasts of a famous cuisine which is inspired by tradition, regional flavours and Royal Nawabi recipes. Andhra Pradesh is the largest rice producer in India and the people are extremely fond of eating rice with their meals. The food is tangy as well as hot and spicy. Pulihora or tamarind rice savoured with green chillies is a very popular dish. The other interesting dishes are Poppadams, Andhra pappu, Pulusu, Gutti Vankaya Kura, etc. Kodilguru (chicken fry), Kodi Pulusu (chicken in gravy) and Gongura mutton are some popular non vegetarian dishes. Hyderabadi cuisine (Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh) is greatly influenced by the Nizams of Hyderabad. The flavours are rich and food is cooked on slow fire. Dry fruits are used for garnishing. The foods cooked in this manner are Biryani, Bhuna Gosht, Boti Kebab, Murg ka Korma and Biryani. The popular traditional sweet dishes are Shahi Tukre, Gajar ka halwa, Bandhar Ladoo, Bobbatlu and Putharekulu.
Local food of Tamil Nadu, a state in south India, is popular throughout the country. Tamil Nadu food is different from food of other regions. One of the popular foods is uttampam. This is very similar to a dosa but is soft in the middle. It is given a topping of tomatoes, onions, capsicum and is savoured with Sambhar and chutney. Banana Bonda is cooked like Aloo Bonda but as the name suggests, has a stuffing of banana instead. It is sweet because of the presence of banana and is eaten as a snack with tea. Rasam is tamarind based. It is a light curry enjoyed with rice. It can also be had as an appetizer or soup. There are many kinds of dosas such as paper dosa, onion dosa, rawa dosa, masala doa, etc. Sambhar is a dal based curry prepared with tamarind and spices. Vegetables such as drum sticks, brinjal, tomatoes and pumpkin are also added. Sambhar is an accompaniment to just about all the foods. Idli and Vada are enjoyed immensely with Sambhar. Lemon Rice with its seasoning of onions, tomatoes, salt, lemon and curry leaf is easy and quick to make, Groundnuts are added to give it a distinct crunchiness. A simple sweet treat from Tamil Nadu is called Paruppu Payasam made by roasting moon dal and cooking it in the pressure cooker. It is rich and creamy and is served with cashew nuts garnishing.