The golden heritage of Indian cooking dates back to the times of famous kings, or ' rajahs', who were great patrons of art, music and architecture, as well as connoisseurs of exotic delicacies. Under the patronage of the rajahs of India, the art of food was elevated to a high level of advancement and professionalism. The royal chefs understood the finer points of food, the art of presentation and created exquisite preparations. Over the years, those royal recipes have retained their popularity in common Indian household, alongside ethnic Indian dishes.
Today, you will find Indian cuisine being vastly popular in Europe, America, and the Asian countries. Thanks to the various Indian restaurants abroad and its expert chefs, Indian culinary art has touched the skies today! Acclaimed politicians, world leaders, diplomats and celebrities like Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, Tony Blair, Ricky Martin, and others are big time admirers of Indian curries, kebabs and chicken tikkas.
The best part of Indian food is its easy preparation and health benefits. There are meals that are rich in carbohydrate or protein, or high on fibre. The benefits of different spices and herbs like turmeric, cumin seeds and ginger, is well known today. Yoghurt is an essential ingredient of Indian delicacies, which make many dishes easy to digest. Many dishes can be cooked in a pressure cooker or electric pan, which saves time. The whole wheat dough for chappatis and rotis can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. Full menus can easily be prepared in half an hour.
People residing in Southern part of India prefer food which are sour in taste, while those in the Northern part have a liking for spicy dishes. However, spices are used skilfully, because not all dishes are meant to be smoking hot! Spices are used in a way which adds aroma and color to the dish. Cooks in India have mastered the art of using spices and seasonings, keeping the health benefits in mind. Butter or ghee(clarified butter) is a favorite for frying and seasoning, but mustard oils, sunflower oils, sesame oils, and coconut oils are also widely popular.
Very few Indian dishes will be complete without condiments. You will find an array of various mouthwatering fresh herbal chutneys, dried fruit chutneys and hot pickles which complement an Indian meal. Popular fresh chutneys are cilantro, mint, amla, coconut chutneys and popular pickles include lime, mango, and eggplant. Indian pickles are preserved in oil as opposed to vinegar.