INTRODUCTION TO REGIONAL INDIAN COOKING
My India My flavours
In this section I would like to share my culinary journey of learning & experiencing some of the regional Indian flavors which I am fortunate to learn by travelling, cooking & by eating on some of the infamous shops in nooks & corners of old streets in India.Coming from a Punjabi family flavors & taste are always a part of a meal whether it is served at home or in any social gathering. I think unknowingly during all this I was able to develop my taste buds before I joined a professional Kitchen as a chef.I believe cooking is an art so there are different ways of expressing and understanding that art & knowing the culture, climate & geography of a region helps you a lot to develop an understanding of a regional cuisine or flavours. This true perception of regional flavours helps you to develop your own styles of philosophies of cooking .I am glad to share my take on some of the regional cuisines which I have experienced during this journey & they are mentioned below –
My learning of Awadhi cuisine started in Delhi when I got an opportunity to work with chef Irfan qureshi . Whose forefathers are known for their reinvention of dum style cooking in 1990’s. During this time I have learnt that awadhi cuisine unlike any other Northern Indian Cuisine is more refined & flavour centric. cooking of onions to perfection results in smooth & velvetyy cuuries . Most of the spices blends are passed through multilayer clothes to yield fine dust like powders which are added in the kormas at last stage.cuts of meats are more specific to the type of curry prepared. use of dairy products like cream, yoghurt & butter is in abundance. also nuts are used in a paste form to add richness & enhance the taste kormas . Biryanis which are prepared here has resemblence to persian pulaos with more infused flavours of spices like cadamom & saffron. the popular breads from this region are sheermal, bagarkhani & naan which resemble to the breads from cenntral asia. slow cooking is another feature which I have seen in every dish prepared in this region.
Awadh – Awadh is a region which covers most of the cities of a state which is known as Uttarpradesh . The most popular among all those cities is Lucknow & it is considered as an epicenter of Awadhi cuisine. The other popular cities of Awadh are Faizabad, Kanpur, allahabad, Unao, Lakhimpur kheri & raebarelli.
Region experiences all five weathers in a year summer, monsoon, spring, Winter, autmn which offers lot of seasonal produce & diversity to the cuisine.
application of Ingredients in cooking process adds tremendous value to the end produce. There are some cooking techniques in this region which are truly amazing and unique. Some of the popular cooking techniues that are used in the awadhi cuisine are Dum cooking, bagharana & dhungar.
Some of the popular awadhi dishes are
Dum biryani, nehari, korma, galouti kebab, kakori kebab, Raan, sheermal, bagar khani, Zarda, phirni
As a part of my culinary studies was in South part of India . Therfore South Indian cuisine has always fascinated me as I was always used to relate what ever I am studying in my college with the food at I was having in day today life. Before I move to another states of south India Let me beging with keralite cuisine. Kerala is known for its spices therfoer the usage & application of spices in cooking is slightly diffrent. In most of the preparations spices are mixed with coconut & then they are grinded to a fine paste. which is then added to the curries or stews. this rehydration of spices in moist medium & then blending offers a unique use of spices showcasing diffrent level of aroma & flavour which to me as a person gives a moist, rainy & aromatic feel. though in some of the preparations spices are simply soaked in water or oil and blended to a paste which are further cooked with meats giving a robust, aromatic & oily feel. rice is the staple meal of kerala, served as boiled ,in biryanis or tempered with diffrent spice mix or herbs. rice is also blended to fine purees to prepare pancakes are steamed cakes like idlies or putt.use of rice is also seen in prepartion of snacks & dsserts. another important ingredients which is found in abundance in kerala is Coconut it is used in the preparation of most of the stews , chutneys , spice pastes & desserts. there are mainly three communities that lives in kerala Nambudiri which constitutes neary 50% of total population, then there is Muslims 25% and christians 25%. Each Community is known for their own culinary Specialities like Nambudiris known for brahmin cooking. food is cooked without onion and garlic, served in temples on banana leaf & the famous meal sadya has evolved. there is a set pattern in which dishes are served in sadya. sadya is also served on auspicious occaisions like onam & vishu. Muslims are known for Moplah cuisine or malabar cuisine which is distinctively influenced by arabs. most of the dishes prepared are meat dominated & they are hot and spicy.christians are known for their syrian cuisine & prepare some of the popular stews which are must in social gatherings and are served with appams.
Kerala is surrounded by karnataka in the North, Tamil naidu to the south & east, arabian sea to the west. Kerala has almost 600 Kms of coastline & fishery being one of the main industry in the coastal region. Apart from that Kerala is known for its pepper, natural rubber, coffee , cashewnut & coconut production.
the geographical location of Kerala offers monsoon twice in a year one from south west in summers & second from north east during winters, which results in good natural vegetation & greenery in the region 12 months in a year.
the most common cooking techniques in keralite cuisine are steaming for their breads or cakes, stewing for their coconut curries , sauteeing or stirfrying which they called as roast.
Some of the popular awadhi dishes are
Puthus , Erachi stew, Meen moileey,Kozhi curry, Malabar parotha, Meen porichathu, aviyal, thoran,
State of Andhrapradesh is situated on the South east coast of India. Cusine of Andhra pradesh is mainly divided in two parts telangana cuisine & hyderabadi cusine. In this part I would like to share information on telugu cusine. There are few Ingredients which I have seen extensively in used in telugu cuisine & they are Red chillies, tamarind, Peanut, sesame oil, sorrel leaves, millets & rice. telugu cuisine is mainly divided in three parts Coastal , Telangana & Rayalaseema the Coastal region of Andhra Krishna & Godavari rivers flowing through which also forms the delta. the region is known for its fertile and agricultural land, Rice, pulses & coconut is grown abundantaly. Region is also known for its fishing Industry. curries or lentils prepared in the region are sweet and sour because of tamarind and jaggery. In telangana region Red chillies, tamarind and asfoetida is used extensively. Breads made of Millet are staple for the region. Curries prepared in the region are koora or pulusu & the have tamarind as souring agent. drier version of these curries is known as vepudu. Rayalaseema is in the southern pat of andhrapradesh. The regional cuisine has an influence of karnataka & tamil naidu due to close proximity to states. People in this region prefers to have hot and spicy curries therfore red chillies are used extensively in this region. Ugadi, raagi mudda, chaap pulsu, Nattu kodi biryani are some of the popular dishes from this region.
Andhra pradesh lies in the southern coast of India
region experiences summer for 3 months from march till june, followed by rain from july till november. Winters in the region are not so cold & they last for 3-4 months from November till february where the temps varies from 15 to 30