With all its unfamiliar dishes, exotic ingredients and tongue-tingling flavors, Indian food can be intimidating and exciting at the same time. It is a complete world of taste as it uses a whole palette of flavors – sour, spicy, hot and sweet all at once – which increases the anticipation to eat. Indian cuisine is totally different from any other cuisine from other parts of the world.
From the ingredients used and methods of preparation to how it is eaten, there are many ways in which it asserts its uniqueness. The stereotypes and terminology used when talking about Indian food is also different. In this write-up, we examine the meaning of different terminologies and explain different stereotypes of Indian food in Kelowna.
• Curry: While food from Asia was originally referred as curry in Europe, the term has a different meaning when it comes to Indian food. It refers to delicacies that contain sauce or gravy. Curries are usually served with flatbread (rotis) and rice.
• Aachar: These simply refer to pickles. In India, pickled vegetables, spices and oil constitute a complete dining table. Pickles are made from seafood or most vegetables, but in other parts of the world, they are available in stores. It’s however important to note that the best pickles are homemade.
• Chutney: These are pastes made from the grated fruit or raw vegetables. They can also be made from overcooked vegetables. Depending on how much chili or ginger is put in them, chutneys can be sweet or spicy. Chutneys are sometimes considered the equivalent of dips in American or European cuisine, and they go really well with fried foods.
• Masala: Refers to a mixture of spices or herbs, specific to Indian food. Masalas can be made from mixtures of as many as 20 different spices and herbs. In addition to adding flavor, masalas are also ingested for their health properties which include protecting against infection and helping the body to retain water.
Some of the stereotypes of Indian food that people have include:
• It takes a long to prepare Indian food: While this is partly true, dishes that use meat takes longer than those that use vegetable ingredients. Using ingredients that are fresh also helps to speed up the cooking process.
• Indian food is vegetarian: Most Indians practice Hinduism as a religion. It’s therefore understandable to think that Indian cuisine is only vegetarian since Hindus consider the cow as a religious animal and they therefore don’t eat it. However, this sentiment is not entirely true as lamb and poultry are consumed by Indians.
• Indian food uses a lot of rice: Rice is grown in the southern region of Indian and as such, it is used a lot. On the other hand, wheat thrives in northern India and so people eat chapattis or rotis with their meals. Chapattis or rotis are flatbreads made from grain, particularly wheat.
• Indian food is very greasy: Contrary to what you may think, Indian food is not just prepared by frying. It can also be prepared by baking or grilling. If you are conscious about your waistline or weight, consider using half the oil.
• Indian food is too spicy: We saved the most common stereotype for last. It is indeed true that Indian cuisine uses a lot of condiments and spices, but not all of them are spicy. Spices are used to add flavor to food and those who are not fond of them should consider using them in lesser amounts than required by recipes. Eating Indian food with mango lasse or yoghurt helps to reduce the spiciness of the food.
Visit our restaurant as we offer Kelowna’s best Indian food. While you enjoy your meal, talk to us about the stereotypes you may have heard about Indian food and let us separate the myths from the truth for you!