India has one of the largest populations in the world. It boasts an incredibly rich, evolved and diverse culture of indian recipes. Many of it’s culinary traditions are intertwined with an intense and exciting spirituality that are aeons old. Many Indian recipes have been brought to India over the countries long history by those who have arrived from other countries and settled or conquered. Other Indian recipes have evolved from the spices and foods that naturally thrive in India’s climate and geography.
The many and varied Indian recipes can be generally viewed as being from four different regions of India. North Indian recipes are distinct from the rest.
It is largely held that that the North Indian recipes derive in part from the early Aryan invaders which can still be seen, in the recipes, culture, and language.
North Indian recipes are made up of traditional culinary expertise of the numerous northern regions, these include Awadh, Marwar, Punjab, Kashmir, Gharwal, Pahar and Rajasthan. Because of the growing conditions and climate, a key ingredient in these indian recipes is wheat, this is more prominent than Indian recipes which come from other areas of the country. North India is also responsible for the well known Tandoori Indian recipes.
A critical element of any Indian recipe are the spices that provide the distinctive flavours, these spices are amongst the most aromatic and flavoursome in the world. As well as providing amazing flavour to indian recipes, these spices were just as important in the process of preserving food and also for their medicinal properties. Cumin, for example, is widely acknowledged for it’s ability to cure numerous ailments including the common cold.
Whilst a lot of the spices used in North Indian recipes are commonly used throughout indian cuisine, the way they are used and ratio’s in which they are added to North Indian recipes differ from other regions of the country, with some of the spices being more common in some areas and other flavors being more specific to certain areas. Spices used in North Indian recipes tend to be finely ground into powder form.
The powerful chilli pepper is synonymous with many Indian recipes – in the north the Kashmiri chilli, or the degchi mirchi chilli pepper is commonly used. Ground red chilli powder is a vital ingredient in many North Indian recipes. Other spices that are commonly used are cumin, sweet bay leaves, laurel leaves, coriander and turmeric, which provides a rich yellow colour to anything it’s added to. You will often find cardamom (both black and green), cloves, nutmeg, saffron, cassia tree bark, mustard seeds, fenugreek, fennel, curry leaves, asafoetida, tamarind and fresh coriander and mint leaves used in North Indian recipes.
An absolute staple within North Indian cuisine is Garam Masala – a roasted blend of spices which often differs from family to family. Garam Masala is based on a common set of spices, but the recipe is very different depending on the original region of the recipe. In Northern Indian recipes, garam masala is likely to include cinnamon, raw cardamom seeds, black pepper and cloves.
In general, a North Indian meal will include flat breads and infinite variety. Types of flat breads made include puri, chapattis, roti, breads cooked in a tandoori oven and a variety of parantha.
The flavours of North India have seriously influenced international cuisine – these recipes have spread throughout the world and taken their place in the cultures of numerous countries.
Why not take a look at our Indian recipes – many of the recipes on this site are anglacised but all are highly influenced and originate from the North of India.