Many people love to experiment with different foods from different cultures and ethnicities. Some people love to go out for dinner and experiment with foods they’ve never had before. Other people like to reproduce their favorite dishes at home. Experimenting with cooking from other regions and cultures can be an exciting and fun process. Many cuisines have subtle differences from region to region. Or sometimes the ethnic cuisines are based strictly on different geographic areas.

Some of the most popular cuisines are Mexican, Italian, French, Greek and Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisines. While many people feel comfortable experimenting with Mexican, Italian, or Chinese, few people feel comfortable experimenting with Indian food. Nor do they understand the subtle differences in Indian regional cuisine. Indian cooking is as complex and diverse as India’s geography, climate, religion, and culture. The variety of dishes is extensive: from warm tandoori dishes with meat of Northern India, to the, saucy Southern mostly vegetarian dals (legume-based dishes), you’ll find incredible diversity and great taste.

Some of the regional differences to Indian cooking are as follows: Northern India: This region of India offers the some of the more familiar mix Indian dishes, including the popular tandoori-style of cooking. This region offers the dishes that are found in most Indian restaurants of the West, such as koftas (spicy meatballs), kormas (meats braised in creamy sauces with yogurts and fruits), and the delicious chewy, leavened bread, naan. The blend of spices used to flavor these dishes is Garam masala, more warming than fiery. You may also add Basmati rice for a regional flare, but breads are the primary starch in this wheat-growing region.Southern India: Some people think of Indian food as extremely spicy. Southern Indian cuisine is probably the cuisine most people think of, the spicy dishes such as vindaloo, a dish that relies legumes, including lentils and chickpeas. For the most part, the dishes from Southern India are primarily vegetarian, but you can certainly adapt the recipe to include meat for celebrations and special occasions. Rice is an essential ingredient in these dishes, especially the fragrant jasmine variety which is used in almost every dish during a meal, even dessert!

Eastern India: The region is most known for Darjeeling tea. In addition to tea, this hot, humid region near the Bay of Bengal cultivates rice, as many as 50 different varieties. Coconuts and bananas are popular ingredients in the cuisine of this area; in fact, coconut milk is often used as a substitute for cow or goat’s milk.Western India: This region of India incorporates a great deal of dairy products in their dishes: including yogurt, buttermilk, cow’s milk, and goat’s milk. Along the coastline of the Arabian Sea, you’ll find a popular dish referred to as “Bombay Duck,” which, despite its name actually refers to a small, transparent fish. Pickles are all an essential part of the meal from this region. India boasts a variety of cuisine that is as complex and unique as the country itself. There’s no reason to be intimidated by Indian food, not all of it need be hot and spicy, and most can be adjusted for personal preferences. Check for recipes on-line at and for your favorite Indian region and get cooking.

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