Italian food is one of the few global cuisines that Indians are truly obsessed with. Italian food regularly features on the dining tables of most urban Indian households, and more often than not, we fall back on pastas, pizzas and risottos to satisfy our cravings for a good meal. Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World and the introduction of potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, maize and sugar beet, this last introduced in quantity in the 18th century. Italian cuisine is known for its regional diversity, especially between the north and the south of the Italian peninsula. It offers an abundance of taste, and is one of the most popular and copied in the world. It influenced several cuisines around the world chiefly that of the United States.
Feisty, vibrant and mysterious – these words define the land of Mexico. A mix of ethnic varieties and a vibrant history gives it a unique culinary culture. Mexico’s cuisine has been blessed with numerous influences, ranging from the early civilization of the Aztecs and Mayas to modern European. Mexican cuisine began 9,000 years ago, 7,000 BCE, when agricultural communities such as the Maya formed, domesticating maize, creating the standard process of corn nixtamalization, and establishing their foodways. The Mexica establishment of the Aztec Empire created a multi-ethnic society where many different foodways became infused. The staples are native foods, such as corn, beans, squash, amaranth, chia, avocados, tomatoes, tomatillos, chocolate, vanilla, agave, turkey, sweet potato, cactus, and chili pepper.
Indian cuisine is the general term for the wide variety of cooking styles from India. Indian food is almost always prepared with fresh ingredients along with delicate mixtures of many different fresh and dried spices and the exact recipes often vary greatly from one household to the next. Indian cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to the Indian subcontinent. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substantially from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits.
Chinese cuisine is an important part of Chinese culture, which includes cuisine originating from the diverse regions of China, as well as from Chinese people in other parts of the world. Because of the Chinese diaspora and historical power of the country, Chinese cuisine has influenced many other cuisines in Asia, with modifications made to cater to local palates.
In a country where the traditional way to greet someone translates to “have you eaten yet?” (ni chile ma), be rest assured, the food will be extraordinary. China has the most popular culinary heritage in the world. The history of their cuisine dates back to about 1000 years with varied cooking styles, techniques and ingredients that have evolved over time.
The traditional cuisine of Japan is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes; there is an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Seafood is common, often grilled, but also served raw as sashimi or in sushi Japanese cuisine has been influenced by the food customs of other nations, but has adopted and refined them to create its own unique cooking style and eating habits. The first foreign influence on Japan was China around 300 B.C. The use of chopsticks and the consumption of soy sauce and tofu also came from China. The Buddhist religion, one of the two major religions in Japan today (the other is Japan Shintoism) was another important influence on the Japanese diet. In the A.D. 700s, the rise of Buddhism led to a ban on eating meat. The popular dish, sushi came about as a result of this ban. In the 1800s, cooking styles became simpler. A wide variety of vegetarian foods were served in small portions, using one of five standard cooking techniques. All foods were divided into five color groups (green, red, yellow, white, and black- purple) and six tastes (bitter, sour, sweet, hot, salty, and delicate). The Japanese continue to use this cooking system.