English | October 16, 2009 | ISBN: 8184244746 | PDF | 480 pages | 94 MB
Author: Uma Aggarwal
Indian cuisine is famous around the world and enjoys the enviable reputation of being unique.
Indeed, it reflects the variety and diversity of India that derives from a vibrant history dating back to more than six thousand years. Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first P Minister of India commented thus : Ancient India ... was a world in itself. A culture and a civilization which gave shape to all things. For influences poured in and often influenced that culture and were absorbed. Disruptive tendencies gave rise immediately to an attempt to find a synthesis. Some kind of a dream of unity has occupied the mind of India since the dawn of civilization.
That unity was not conceived as something imposed from outside, a standardization of externals or even of beliefs. It was something deeper and, within its fold the widest tolerance of belief and custom was practised and every variety acknowledged and even encouraged. [Italics inserted]. Through history, this vast and ancient country has seen the rise and fall of many empires and dynasties, both indigenous and for. The Greeks under Alexander the Great, the mighty Gengis Khan, Taimur the Lame, the Persians, Turks, Mongols, Arabs, the peoples of the Meditterranean, and later, Europeans, notably the British, the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese, were drawn to this land for power and pelf. However, the indigenous culture of India assimilated the for influences and out of this interface emerged a rich heritage distinctively Indian. Indian cuisine is a part of this heritage and this book explores its many facets.
For thousands of years, Indian have used spices to decorate and enhance the aroma of their cuisine. For conquerors came to India in search of these exotic spices for trade. The ethos of Indian cuisine, however, originates from the basic philosophy and thought enshrined in the ancient Vedas (nearly two thousand years B.C.) which clearly emphasizes the importance of indigenously found herbs and spices in one s daily food. The accent was not just on tastes and flavors but on health. Indian cuisine fascinates the gourmet with its great variety of tastes, colors and aroma derived almost entirely through the use of a large variety of exotic spices and herbs.
The author covers this aspect of Indian cuisine in great detail, often with annotations, helpful notes and glossaries providing English/American equivalents of Indian words for ingredients used in her recipes. The regional variations are innumerable and in no small way contribute to the variety that forms the exquisiteness of Indian cuisine. The author travels through the length and breadth of the country which stretches from the tropics to the temperate regions, from near the equator to the high and cold Himalayan regions. She traverses the country s twenty-eight states and seven Union Territories each with its own official language and culture. She collects recipes for every occasion from an easy and simple quick preparation to a classic weekend dinner that one might ask for at an upmarket restaurant, from dishes prescribed for religious rituals and festivals to celebrations of weddings or other gala events. She offers step-by-step preparation methods and photographs of recipes which can be of great help to the reader.