When one thinks of India, many things come to mind. Its population is the second largest country in Asia, second only to China. It has several languages and every state has a uniqueness in its traditions, but most importantly, in its cuisine.
Indians take their food very seriously. Mothers usually teach their daughters how to cook early and family recipes are passed down. Generally the foods are made from scratch with fresh ingredients. Some of India’s foods date back 5,000 years. Nearly every holiday in India requires a feast. Indians generally eat several small meals a day.
There is great diversity in the soil types and climate over such a large country, leading to regional cuisines native to each section of India. Locally available spices, vegetables, herbs and fruits affect the nature of cuisine from one area to another. A misnomer about Indian food is that it is spicy. It can be. It can be very spicy. But it doesn’t have to be – not all Indian food is spicy. It can be prepared mild, medium or hot. The food of India is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural traditions.
Some people think that curries are present in every Indian dish, but that is not so. Curries can be watery, dry, red, green, hot or very very hot! It is completely up to the chef in charge.
For those who have never tried Indian food, though it can be intimidating, it can also be surprisingly tongue-tingling due to its exotic ingredients. The entire palette of flavors are used – spicy, sour, sweet and hot, all at the same time. The spices have health benefits and a reason for being present in the dishes. The cuisine has an added bonus for vegetarians in that it is one of the friendliest cuisines around with exotic spices and sauces.
Silk Road, though primarily an Indian restaurant, also offers Asian cuisine. Since it is based in New Orleans, Creole foods are also available for those who want to experience local cuisine.