Indian cuisine comprises of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. The differences found in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups and occupations affect these cuisines. They vary according to locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. In India, spices form the backbone of cooking. Although the list and techniques used to prepare some recipes can be intimidating, they provide tantalising flavours and bring sentiment to the cuisine. Wheat is commonly consumed in the northern, western and central states while rice is the staple in the south and the east.
Meal Plate in South India
The Southern region of India has a hot and humid climate. This region comprises of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Food in south India is not only about idlis or dosas. It consists of cuisines which have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delights, with one common link – rice. South Indian food is generally healthy but the substantial use of coconut and coconut oil adds to the calories. A healthy variation to this is to:
- Limit the use of coconut in the meals as it has lot of calories.
- Use sunflower oil or olive oil instead of coconut oil. Palm oil and coconut oil are high in saturated fats and are therefore not recommended.
- Do not over load your vegetables and curries with chillies. Instead, include lots of herbs and protective spices like methi (fenugreek), hing (asafoetida) , haldi (turmeric), elaichi (cinnamon), laung (cloves), badi elaichi (cardamom), sauf (fennel) and sarso (mustard) in the curries.
- Choose brown rice or basmati instead of polished rice.
- Go for roasted papad over the deep fried ones.
- Add appetisers like coriander/mint/raw mango/tomato chutney, oil-less pickles together with condiments and spices to your meal.