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A Melting Pot - India's Culinary Influences

The origins and basis of Indian Cuisine lie within the ancient Indian civilization of India that was called Harappa and Mohenjodaro. The Dravidians or inhabitants of these civilization were urban and not agrarian. They had huge granaries to store grain, houses with a drainage system, pathways or roads and public baths.  They sowed the seeds of Ayurveda, or Life Sciences, which is the foundation of Indian cuisine. This system was derived after studying the physical needs, mental needs and needs of our psychology and spirituality.
The people of Mohenjodaro and Harrapa were pushed to the South part of India be the invasion of the Aryans who came from Europe or Asia Minor.  It is not very clear where the Aryans originated from but Aryans are to be found in Europe, Persia and India. The ideas of Ayurveda were developed further by the Aryans. Many of the texts on this subject were written in the Aryan period.

Indian Culinary Influences by Indian Conquests:
1. The Aryans - During the Aryan period, the cuisine of the Great Hindu Empires concentrated on the fine aspects of food and understanding its essence and how it contributed to the development of mind, body and spirit.  After this period the cuisine was influenced by the following conquests from other cultures.
2. Mongolians brought to India their hot pot cooking
3. Persians - the most notable later culinary influence in India was the influence of Persian rulers who established the Mughal Rule in India.  They introduced their penchant for elegant dining and rich food with dry fruit and nuts (click here for more about Mughal cuisine)
4. Greeks (Alexander the Great)
5. Chinese (from trading, and cultural and educational exchanges with them) - the Chinese introduced stir frys to Indian along with adding the sweet taste to food.  Their influence is mostly felt in Gujarat, Beneras and Bengal.
6. Arabs (traders)
7. Portuguese (the Indian Vindaloo dish is a result of the Portuguese). The tomato, chilli, and potato, which are staple components of today's Indian cuisine, were brought to India by the Portugese.
8. British made the ketchup and tea popular in India.  Whle in India, the British descibed Indian food as chili spiked curries, rice and rotis that were a food for uncivilized pagans but ironically today Indian food forms a staple diet of British food.

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