Indian cuisine consists of a variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. Given the diversity in soil, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substantially and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religion, in particular Hinduism, cultural choices and traditions. Centuries of Islamic rule, particularly by the Mughals, also introduced Mughlai dishes in Indian cuisine.
Historical events such as invasions, trade relations, and colonialism have played a significant role in introducing certain overseas food items also to this country, bringing in a number of new vegetables and fruits to India such as potato, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrot, cabbage, beetroot etc , that have become staples in many regions of India now.
Indian cuisine has shaped the history of international relations. The spice trade between India and Europe was the primary catalyst for Europe’s Age of Discovery. Spices were bought from India and traded around Europe and Asia. Indian cuisine has thus influenced other cuisines across the world, especially those from Europe (especially Britain), the Middle East, Southern African, East Africa, Southeast Asia, North America, Mauritius, Fiji, Oceania, and the Caribbean.
Indian cuisine reflects an 8,000-year history of various groups and cultures interacting with the Indian subcontinent, leading to diversity of flavours and regional cuisines found in modern-day India. Later, trade with British and Portuguese influence added to the already vast and diverse Indian cuisine.
Early diet in India mainly consisted of legumes, vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products, and honey. Staple foods eaten today include a variety of lentils (Dal), whole-wheat flour (Atta), rice, and pearl millet (Bajra), which has been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent since 6200 BCE. Over time, segments of the population embraced vegetarianism during the Śramaṇa movement while an equitable climate permitted a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains to be grown throughout the year.
A food classification system that categorised different foos items as Saatvic, Raajsic, or Taamsic developed in Yoga tradition. Consumption of beef is a taboo in India, due to cows being considered extremely sacred in Hinduism. Beef is generally not eaten by Hindus in most part of India, barring a few regions.
Middle Ages to the 16th Century :
During the medieval times, travel to India introduced new cooking methods and products to the region, including tea. India was later invaded by tribes from Central Asian cultures, which led to the emergence of Mughlai cuisine, a mix of Indian and Central Asian cuisine. Hallmarks include seasonings with items such as saffron.
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