Indian cuisine is known world over for its immense variety and taste. Each region has its own unique cuisine which is influenced by culture, region and the climatic conditions of that area. The Northern states of Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have a rich variety of cuisine which is popular all over.
The food of Punjab and Delhi like stuffed parathas, sarson ka saag with makki ki roti, dal makhani or lentils prepared with cream, red kidney beans, chickpea and bhature, potato and puri, paneer dishes, tanduri chicken, chicken tikka etc. is known for its rich spicy taste.
In Rajasthan sweet dishes like Imarti, ghevar, balushahi are eaten not only after a meal but also before a meal or during a meal. The main course vegetarian dishes include shahi gatte, lauki key koftey, besan gate ki sabji etc. and the non vegetarian dishes are mohan maans, laal maans etc.
Uttar Pradesh is known for its Awadhi and Mughlai cuisine, both vegetarian and non vegetarian. It is known for the Nawabi food of Lucknow. Some of the popular dishes are kebabs, dum biryani, mutton dishes, kofta etc.
The climate in North India is extreme, hot summer and very cold winter. Fresh vegetables and fruits are available in plenty. Dairy products like curd, cheese, milk, ghee, cream etc. are an important part of the cuisine.
Spices add that extra zing to the delicious food of these states. The many spices used to make these dishes are:
Bay leaves – Bay leaves have a sharp taste, and the light green coloured leaves give a magnificent flavor to the dish.
Cloves – It adds a strong, sweet, pungent smell to the food. It is also used as a mouth freshener.
Black Cardamoms – These large brown pods are used to flavor vegetarian as well as non vegetarian dishes.
Pepper Corns –It adds a pungent, hot taste to the dish. These are used whole or in powder form.
Ginger – This is hot and pungent to taste and has a sweet flavor. It is used in almost all types of dishes and it helps to digest the food.
Garlic – Garlic cloves are used to add flavor to curries, soups, sauces, salads chutneys etc.
Coriander –Its fresh green leaves and the dry seeds, both are used to spice up the dishes. The seeds have a sweet tangy flavor with a touch of lemony aroma.
Cumin – With their warm nutty flavor, these are used to flavor rice, vegetables, curries, curd etc.
Turmeric- Turmeric adds a bright tempting yellow colour to the dish. It is known for its curative and digestive properties.
Cinnamon – This has a sweet woody aroma. It has a pleasant smell which calms the nerves. It is used to add flavor to hot drinks, sweet dishes, and curries.
Saffron – Its honey like pungent aroma and the bright yellow colour give a rich look to the dish. It is used in sweet dishes as well as in rice and soups.
Ajwain (carom)- The strong pungent aroma of ajwain gives a beautiful flavor to the dish.
Fennel (soonf) – When added in moderation, it gives a sweet flavor to the dish. After a meal these are chewed for digestion and to make the breath fresh.
When you think of any dish from North India, you think of the lovely aroma, fragrance and the taste and also the spices that go in the dish to bring out that yummy aromatic taste.