Indian food is very popular even among the people from other countries. It usually includes herbs, spices and different types of vegetables. Vegetarianism is much prominent in the Indian society and mouth-watering vegetarian dishes are specialty here. In India, every family has its own cooking techniques and prepares a wide variety of dishes. The food items vary from place to place depending on the taste and preference of the people living in that particular area. The Indian cuisine evolved due to the assimilation of diverse cultures and religions into Indian society. Various European cooking modes were introduced in India in the colonial era. It further added to the diversity and flexibility to the Indian food. It has been successful in influencing various cuisines throughout the world such as those belonging to Southeast Asia.
In India, the staple food items are wheat flour, rice and various types of pulses. The other food grains liked by many are black gram, channa, red lentil, green gram and yellow gram. Pulses may either be used as a whole or split and is extensively used in the country. People of north and west India make use of peanut oil to cook their food whereas in east India, mustard oil is more in use. South Indians basically use coconut oil. The other popular oils used by Indian families are soyabean and sunflower oils along with vanaspati ghee which is a hydrogenated vegetable oil. Indian food is treated with a variety of spices like garlic, coriander, ginger, turmeric, black mustard seeds, chilli and pepper. In South Indian foods, curry roots and curry leaves are used to give their food a distinct flavour. The seasoning used for the sweet dishes are saffron, cardamom, rose petal essences and nutmeg.
We can categorize Indian food on the basis of different geographical areas such as northern, southern, western, and eastern foods. Beginning with the northern food, vegetables, roti and various forms of lentils are their staple food items. They are fond of paratha, puri, bhatoora, kulcha and make use of dairy products on a daily basis. Various popular sweets liked by North Indians are laddu, barfi, halwa and ras malai. The eastern food is famous for its sweets like rasagolla, chumchum, sandesh, kheer etc. It is also known for dishes prepared from the poppy seeds (posta). They enjoy eating curries with plain boiled or spiced rice.
The staple grain of south Indians is rice and they like eating sambar, rasam, idli, vada, dosa etc. Other dishes include kesaribath, pongal, pulao and upma. Last but not the least, the western area includes regions like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. Gujarati enjoy vegetarian food only, Maharashtrian like coastal food, jowar and bajra and Goans make use of kokum and coconut in almost all dishes. Therefore, each place in India enjoys its own food and the eating habits largely depend upon the culture of the place.