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INDIAN CUISINE

 

India is a very diverse country: More than 15 languages and roughly 1,600 dialects are spoken by the more than 1 billion inhabitants in this country spreading over 3,000 km from North to South. The highest Indian mountain, and third highest mountain in the world with an altitude of 8,586 m is the Kanchenjunga. But this is only one aspect of diversity --- the North, the South, the East and the West have their own characteristic varieties of tradition, culture, lifestyle and food.

In the tropical South of India people love tamarind, pepper, coconut, plantains and usually prepare their food in coconut oil.

The subtropical North of India is famous for the Mughlai cuisine originating from the Indian Royal Palaces, which we offer in "Indian Palace". It prefers saffron, chili, milk, yoghurt, paneer (similar to cottage cheese) and ghee (clarified butter). The famous Tandoori tradition also originates from North India: Marinated meat, fish or Naan (type of indian bread) are baked in the Tandoor, a clay oven that offers a mystic delicious savour.

But all Indian cooking styles have one common aspect: The spices that create the characteristic fragrance and flavour as well as the salubriousness. But the spices are not just an ominous mixture like "curry"-powder; each dish is prepared freshly and seasoned with selected spices that traditionally contribute to healthiness.

 

Tandoori Gericht   Tandoori Ofen
Picture: Typical Tandoori dish   Picture: View into our modern Tandoor oven

 

Below some typical spices and their traditionally attributed health benefits e.g. according to ayurvedic philosophy are listed:

Asafetida This spice is used as a digestive aid and unfolds an appetizing effect; since ancient times it is used as an aphrodisiac aid.
Chili, red
The active ingredient in chili peppers is capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory compound that helps with a variety of health issues including pain and high cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. Chili peppers are also supposed to clear congestion, boost immunity, to help with weight loss and prevent stomach ulcers by killing bacteria.
Fennel Slightly cooling, sweet, alleviates gastrospasms, enforces liver and splenic, supports sound sleep and cools down the nerves
Fenugreek seeds Fenugreek seeds are used to warm and tonify kidneys, disperse cold and alleviate pain. They support weight loss, stimulation of hair growth, mucolytic, support liver function and is known to reduce burn-out-effects. Main indications in the traditional chinese medicine are cold hernia, pain in the groin. The seeds are used raw or toasted
Garam Masala Mixture of up to 16 different spices. Nearly each family has its own recipe.
Ginger
Ginger contains gingerol, a compound that is supposed to relax blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and relieve pain. Ginger is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflamatory properties.
Mustard, black
Mustard seeds are a powerful anti-microbial agent.
Turmeric
Turmeric contains curcumin, the active ingredient that gives the spice its color. It also showed promise in offering cardiovascular and liver protection.