Asian food is diverse and full of flavor. While neighboring Asian countries may share similar ingredients and cooking styles, their cuisine is unique and individual.
Asia can be divided into three regions, based on their culinary similarities:
- The North East – China, Korea, Japan
- The South West – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma
- The South East – Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei
Healthy Indian Food
Indian food is rich, colorful, aromatic and tasty. Diversity can be found in India’s food as well as its culture, geography and climate. Spices are at the heart of Indian food to enhance the flavor of a dish. The people of India have adapted their cooking to the erratic climatic conditions. Healthy Indian food tend to contain more vegetables. Rice is the staple diet and forms the basis of every meal for South Indians whereas a typical North-Indian meal would consist of rotis made from wheat flour. The South Indian food like dosa (rice pancakes), idli (steamed rice cakes) and vada, which is made of fermented rice and dal, are now popular throughout the country.
Healthy Indian food is basically vegetarian. A typical Indian lunch may consist of some dishes with seasonal vegetables, a lentil dish, yogurt; chutneys prepared from various herbs, pickles (oil and water-based), papad, and rice or freshly made unleavened flat breads (chappati) to scoop up the foods. A non-vegetarian meal in India may consist of a dish of fish, meat or chicken along with rice or chappati, vegetables and lentils. North Indian desserts are very similar in taste as they are derived from a milk pudding or rice base and are usually soaked in syrup. Desserts from the south include the Mysore pak and the creamy payasam.
Indian Food Recipe
Here is a Simple, Easy-to-make, Tasty South Indian Food Recipe to experiment. It is a simple, rice and milk based dish, common in most parts of India, though it goes by different names in the different regions.
Payasam Recipe: (also popular as Kheer in the northern regions)
Milk -1 litre
Brown broken rice -1 cup
(You can also use long-grained rice)
Sugar -1/2 cup
Cardamom powder -1/4 teaspoon
Condensed milk -1/2 cup
Raisins, cashews (fried in a little ghee or clarified butter)-15-20
- Cook the rice separately. Add the milk, condensed milk and sugar to rice and mix well.
- Boil it until a thick consistency is reached.
- Add the cardamom powder and raisins just before removing it from the fire.
- This is a great dessert that can be served hot or cold.
- The long-grained variety of rice is used to make Kheer. Almonds and pistachios are added to the Kheer, usually not in the Payasam. Payasam is garnished using cashew nuts and raisins fried in a little ghee.
- Adjust the quantity of sugar to suit your taste.
Curries are an integral part of the cuisines of South East and South West Asia, much less in the North East. Curries in the South West are basically yogurt-based. In the South East and North East, coconut milk forms the basis of curries. Rice is a staple grain in all three regions. In addition to rice, Asian food of the South West include a variety of leavened and unleavened breads. South East and North East Asian food includes rice and egg noodles.
Asian food in the South West is cooked using ghee or clarified butter. Mustard oil, coconut oil and sesame oil is also used. In the South East and North East, the major oils are vegetable oils.
Garlic, ginger, and chili peppers are an important part of most Asian food. Soy sauce is used in practically every dish of the North East. People in the South East use fish sauce, though there is no equivalent in South Western cooking. In the South East, there are two additional flavorings not used in the other cuisines – galangal and lemon grass.
The wok, steamer, rice cooker and clay pots are the most used utensils in all the regions.