South and North Indian cuisine

Already before starting a new article about Indian food in North and South India. In India there is a deep belief that serving food is a service to humanity, considering it a privilege.

We want to talk about the differences between Indian cuisine and food in North and South India. This country is the seventh-largest on the planet with three million square kilometers, but it is also the second most populous with one thousand two hundred and forty million inhabitants. If Spain, being a medium-sized country of 504,000 km2, has that gastronomic variety in the north and south, you can get an idea of ​​the differences that we can find in Indian food.

In our journey to bring you closer to the secrets of India, we must stop at its gastronomic differences. We can talk about the different regions, but this time we are going to do it about the different areas, drawing a horizontal line that divides India and Indian food in two, both in raw materials and techniques, as well as in influences and time. But there are also some similarities that we will also deal with here.

Indian Food, A Fundamentally Vegetarian Culture

Indian food culture

Although it is true that Indian food uses meat such as chicken and lamb, it can be estimated that our cuisine has a large vegetarian base. There is a multitude of recipes that rely solely on the input and flavor of grain, vegetables, fruits, and vegetables. This is partly due to the vast plantations that we find from north to south in India but also to the climate, a climate that favors the cultivation of multiple and varied plants so that they are the center not only of Indian food but also of Our culture.

Vegetables and vegetables such as tomato, onion, pepper, or garlic are, in conjunction with cereals, an essential part of Indian cuisine and food. However, the climate and geography change substantially between the north and the south, and although it is true that both one area and the other share employment and a taste for vegetables, southern Indian food can be considered closer to vegetarian food.

Meat Or Fish?

Starting with the differences that may exist between one Indian food and another, we are going to talk about the consumption of meat or fish in the different areas. As you know, the consumption of beef is neither common nor admitted. There are religious, sociological, and cultural reasons why we Hindus do not eat beef and to explain it we would need a separate article, however in order not to separate ourselves from the subject we will accept the idea that the cow is the sacred animal in India and as such, its consumption is prohibited not only by religion but by culture and society itself. No recipe, nor any restaurant will have this meat on its menu, sometimes out of belief, many others out of respect for a culture they represent.

That said, the meat that Indian food uses in its dishes is based on chicken and lamb. Meat that is meticulously boned, so that it can be eaten and cooked without hindrance. It is in the north where the consumption of meat is more common, however in the south, thanks to the seas that bathe our coasts, southern gastronomy has been developing and specializing in the cuisine of fish and shellfish, using the sea as the most important animal raw material.

Bread And Rice, A Matter Of Influence And Nuances

Perhaps the most essential difference between northern and southern Indian food is, along with time, the influences they have had due to the weight of history. And it is that if in the South, recipes and culinary traditions have been more immovable, the North has suffered (and enjoyed) the settlement of other ethnic groups ranging from the Mongol Empire to the Arab community, this being one of the main predecessors of the most notorious techniques and recipes from North India such as tandoori and naan bread.

Some argue that today’s southern Indian food is essentially the same as recipes from several centuries ago, as they remain closely tied to the roots of Indian food tradition. It is in the north where it has evolved thanks to coexistence with Persians, Mongols, and Arabs who imported and exported different ways of cooking, such as their taste for bread.

Although rice is one of the hallmarks of Indian food, in the south its consumption is more important than in the north. It is true that rice continues to be essential in Nordic cuisine, and that it is in this area that the most characteristic rice in India (basmati) is produced, but it is also true that in the north, due to climate and tradition, Wheat consumption is more widespread. It is from the north of India that the well-known naan bread or chapatis come from, due to Arab influence as can be understood, being one of the bases of the cuisine of the area. In the south, on the other hand, rice does have greater relevance, being used beyond as an accompaniment with curries and being present in many recipes.

It is true that rice is one of the bases of Indian food but, as we have just seen and like everything in life, everything is a matter of nuances.

When Cooking, The Oil And Seasonings

As we said, India differs from one part to another in language, customs, culture, and cuisine. Although we can locate similarities, we already said in the previous blog post, the richness is in the plurality and the mixture. And there is no doubt that these differences are an important part of the charm of India. These differences also have their explanatory reason in the different settlements between Hindus. If the “Aryans” in their English terminology historically settled in the north, the “Dravidians” did so in the south, developing and maintaining each ethnic group’s way of understanding cuisine.

Another culinary difference between north and south is the oil used in both areas, if in the north the most used oil is sunflower, rapeseed, and mustard vegetable oil, in the south, it is sunflower oil and especially coconut oil. It’s fundamental. Coconut is a fundamental ingredient in southern Indian food, being present in all kinds of dishes and giving that unmistakable touch to the food.

In the north, in addition to vegetable oil (mustard or sunflower), particular emphasis must be placed on Ghee, the Hindu concept that refers to clarified butter. A fat that is used in special cases such as parties and family gatherings, being very recurrent for desserts and sweet dishes.

Seasonings, on the other hand, are essential in both northern and southern cuisine, being one of the reasons for the seduction and aroma that Indian food awakens in the palate. However, there are also differences in this. While in the south they prefer to cook with spices and fresh herbs; in the north, powdered spices are more common. In the south, there is also a greater predilection for spicy, with chilis being a very recurrent condiment and used together with tamarind. In the north, on the other hand, a range of seasonings are used, such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, anise, or fennel, with Garam Masala deserving special attention.

The Different Curries And The Dreaded Spicy

If there is something typical of Indian food, it is its curries, a kind of sauce that encloses the flavors of India and explodes in the mouth with a mixture that goes from sweet to bitter, all in a mixture of indecipherable and unique flavors. . But in such a case, there are also differences between northern and southern food.

South Indian food is the cuisine that plays the most with spice, perhaps because of the taste and the use of chilis; while the cuisine of the north, even with its spicy specialties, seeks more of a mixture of flavors. Another difference is the way of making the curries, since in the north curries are usually made with a base of milk, cream, or yogurt, unlike in the south where they are made with water. The result is the buttery curries of the north, in keeping with the liquids of the south. Both are equally exquisite, both balanced healthy.

As we can see, Indian cuisine is a world to discover, for some a treasure and for others a mystery; but always and at all times something worth discovering whether it is Indian food from the north or from the south.

You may also be interested in Wedding traditions in Mongolia, customs, rituals, costumes, and more

Wedding traditions in Mongolia, customs, rituals, costumes, and more

The traditions of Asian Weddings are one of the most rooted in beliefs and religions, as they have been celebrated for thousands of years with the birth of their culture, adding details of the new time, while retaining the most important in its history.

There is a set of folkloric and indigenous elements that we only find in wedding traditions in Mongolia, a country in East Asia that still continues to carry out ceremonies with ancient acts inherited from its ancestors.

Wedding Traditions In Mongolia

The Matchmaker

Although this is an ancient tradition, there are some Mongolian tribes that continue to carry out the intervention of a matchmaker, which will be in charge of analyzing possible women who are compatible with a man, since the recruitment comes from the man’s family.

From the age of 8, some families start looking for a wife for their male children so that in the future they can get married. If the matchmaker convinces the family of the prospective bride, then the man and his family go directly to ask for her hand at the correct age.

The Bride Must Be Difficult To Conquer

wedding traditions, customs, rituals

For Mongols, a woman’s acceptance or “yes” is much more valuable if she is slow to give an answer or repeatedly rejects it. This act symbolizes spiritual purity and family honor for the intended, as well as the mettle of the suitor.

If, on the contrary, the future boyfriend gets the yes from his parents or from the girlfriend herself during the first two attempts, then it could be considered as an act of contempt for the man, since it would mean that the woman is not worthy enough to conquer it.

A Ballad Of Love

Another of the great wedding traditions in Mongolia is the classic ballad of love, a local chant that is recited by the groom after the girl’s family accepts him as a suitor and future husband, taking with him some family present

That is why the groom offers some alcoholic beverages for the girl’s father, butter for the mother to prepare delicious dishes and sweets for the bride, as a special present. Some stories say that they also had fairies since the lyrics of the ballad say so.

The Wedding Date

As we commonly see in Asian weddings, the wedding date has a symbolic and determining character for the future of the bride and groom, according to their own superstitions. Therefore, it was preferable that significant days were chosen for the beliefs and religions of the Mongols.

The groom’s family goes to a Lama so that he can select the most appropriate date for the event since he has knowledge about local celebrations and about the days when he can have more luck and fortune. If the couple chose a negative date, their marriage would be the same.

Perpetual Commitment

If the commitment is made during the childhood of the future spouses, the groom acquires a perpetual and unchangeable responsibility with the bride’s family, which consists of visiting her during all the important dates and celebrations carried out by them.

If you do not come for any reason, the marriage could be reconsidered, since promises and commitments are of the utmost importance to the culture. In turn, the boy must bring a present to keep his future wife attentive.

Nine Gifts

For the Mongols, the number nine represents fertility, longevity, and happiness. That is why the groom’s family must bring 9 gifts and presents to the bride’s family, thus representing the royal commitment and luck or fortune for the marriage.

In the case of the engaged, he has to grant four additional gifts for the bride, which are 4 dresses for the 4 seasons of the year, with representative colors and ornaments. Gifts range from cows, camels, and, to a lesser extent, horses. All white.

The Suit Of The Bride And Groom

Unlike other cultures, in Mongolia the bride and groom wear practically the same suit since it is part of the indigenous clothing that they have used since the beginning of their culture, only differing by color and by some details and accessories.

This costume is called Deel, and it is a classic and traditional dress that Mongols wear at the time of marriage. This can be inherited from their parents, although they can also be designed by themselves to give the couple more luck.

A Song To Find The Bride

On the wedding day, it is the groom who looks for his fiancée to his parents’ house, riding a horse or a camel, and dressed in his wedding suit ready for the occasion. Upon arrival, he will meet the bride’s relatives forming a barrier at the door of the house.

At that moment, the groom must recite through a local chant, the reasons why he is going to look for his fiancée. If those on the barrier respond with rejection tunes, the suitor has to continue singing until he opens up and can pick up his future wife.

Camel Carriage

We have all seen the traditional carriages that take the bride and groom to church in Western cultures, but in Mongolia, they use camels, usually a couple of them and raised by the family so that “the load” is completely familiar.

In addition, there are times when the groom goes on one of the camels and the bride in the carriage, as an act that symbolizes the leadership and the role of responsibility that the man will have in the future marriage. If the family comes from far away, they try to leave in time to meet on the road.

The Red Veil

The bride’s dress has a peculiarity, and it is that her veil is not white but red, a wedding tradition that we only find in Mongolia. This is combined with a peach-colored tunic or cape to finish giving the final touch to the outfit.

The bride is dressed by her neighbors and the women of her locality, who are in charge of making all the necessary arrangements to make her presentable, just as tradition dictates. Also, they sometimes wear an accessory inherited from an ancestor for good luck.

Cheese And Lamb Banquet

The typical national dishes cannot be absent in a Mongolian wedding celebration, so their most favorite foods are national cheese and lamb. The family and those closest to them celebrate the wedding by tasting the most delicious dishes, prepared by themselves.

To the sound of the music and folk tunes of the region, traditional dances come together to celebrate a feast in style. Of course, the bride and groom always have to be together, since from that moment they have become an inseparable couple for life.

Three Laps About The Store

There are nomadic Mongols who live in special tents. In that case, the bride must get on a horse after having married, and give it three laps around what was her house, as an act of detachment and farewell to what was her home during her life.

After that, the groom takes control of the horse and they gallop together to their new home.

You may also be interested in Some types of marriage in Central Asia

Some types of marriage in Central Asia

The concept of marriage in Central Asia is still very attached to ancient traditions. Despite the industrialization process and the active struggle for the rights of women and children, there is still a long way to go. There are, even today, types of marriage in Central Asia that are linked to acts such as kidnapping, links with minors, or the well-known marriages of convenience.

Marriages Of Convenience In Uzbekistan

know marriage in Central Asia

Marriage plays a very important role in the life of Uzbeks. In fact, a process that both men and women must go through is taken as an obligation in order to improve, in most cases, their economic life. Marriage, generally arranged by the couple’s parents, is almost always accepted by the future spouses.

As tradition dictates, parents offer a dowry to secure the future of the couple. Although those of the bride is usually the ones that offer the most, the parents of the groom also contribute goods to the couple. The latter will be the ones who welcome the bride, who will become part of the husband’s family.

Although the majority of the population is Muslim, they are not very practicing compared to other Islamic countries. Similarly, although Uzbek women dress and behave like Europeans, they are very conservative. A vast majority of women maintain their virginity until the wedding. Even from the age of 28, they are labeled as spinsters if they have not married.

Marriage By Kidnapping In Kyrgyzstan

Although it also occurs in other Central Asian countries, it is in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan where the highest number of cases are registered. The increase in abductions of women is blamed on recent political changes and the economic situation of many of its inhabitants.

The marriage by kidnapping or kidnapping of the bride consists of kidnapping a woman, usually young and pretty, with the intention of marrying her. After kidnapping her and forcing her to have sexual relations, the man talks to the woman’s family using the loss of virginity and her transition from a girl to a woman as an argument.

This type of marriage can also occur through an agreement between the parents and the future husband. Thus, after a family meeting in which they discuss the pros and cons of the bond, the woman is kidnapped, traditionally on horseback, to take her to her new home.

Sometimes the woman’s family also takes part in this act, both to convince their own daughter and to oppose the marriage. However, although article 155 of the Penal Code punishes forcing a woman to marry, few are serving a sentence.

Marriage With Minors In Afghanistan

The precariousness in which thousands of families live in Afghanistan has led to an increase in marriages with minors. It is in the most rural areas where there is a greater number of cases. In this environment, women are considered material goods more than people.

In these rural areas, the influence of religious leaders and the roots of ancient traditions are the origin of this type of marriage. On many occasions, this practice is branded as something cultural and with the vague argument of proportional a future. The parents of minors are just as guilty as those who wish to take them as wives.

These girls are forced to have sexual relations with their husband, who locks them up and deprive them of a normal life. However, the fight against this terrible practice has been paying off in recent years. The number of cases of this type of marriage in Central Asia has been significantly reduced and minors have also been rescued from the hell in which they lived.

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