AND SO IT BEGAN
The Indian food, we know from restaurants around the world comes principally from the Northern areas of India. The development of this unique food culture sprang to life
in the 16th century at the start of the Great Moguls dynasty. The Moguls amassed great armies peopled by folk from across the central Asian continent: Turks, Arabs, Persians, Mongols and countless others. After the inevitable merging of all of these varied peoples, culinary practices, the food we today call “Indian kitchen” emerged.
The differences between cuisine in northern and southern India are far from few. On a most visible level, bread is a staple of the Northern Indian diet, and meat is consumed much more than in the south, where rice and vegetables are the main sustenance. The flat arid climate of northern India (Punjab) is ideal for growing wheat and raising livestock. The prevalence of Hinduism in the south dictates that flesh is seldom eaten, whereas the predominately Muslim and Sikh culture of northern India does not entertain the same religious prohibition to using animals as food.
The essential ingredients in basic curries are onion, tomato, ginger and garlic. All other ingredients vary from dish to dish and area to area. Many of the Great Moguls’ curry recipes call for rare and expensive spices such as turmeric and saffron. Many of these precious spices came from the mountains of Kashmir. The best plantations were secured for exclusive use of the Mogul Kings. It was also an ideal area for the cultivation of the so called ‘warming spices.'(cinnamon, cloves, cumin, etc.)
These spices have many valuable properties. They are useful in the preservation of food, they increase blood circulation, warm the body and are believed to be useful in preserving health. These spices were highly sought after in both Europe and China. The resulting ‘Spice Trade’ was a lucrative business for many, and brought great prosperity to the Kashmir region