Central Asian invaders formed several dynasties from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries, followed by the Mughal dynasty from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. The British East India Company came to India to trade and stayed in power from 1757 to 1858, and then the British Crown assumed rule as the British Raj from 1858 to 1947. These invaders brought with them new ingredients such as dried fruits and leavened wheat breads as well as preparation techniques such as cooking meat on skewers in the tandoor.
British and other Western powers such as Portugal ventured to India in search of spices and dominance. They brought along potatoes, tomatoes, and chilies, which are now an integral part of Indian cuisine. The food system encourages in-season consumption due to the vast geography and climate.
Influences from neighboring countries have an effect on regional staples. South India shares similarities with China and other nearby Asian countries, focusing on rice, vegetables, and seafood, while Northern India’s staple grain is wheat and the eating pattern is reliant on meat and dairy products.
Recipe from EATING FROM OUR ROOTS. Copyright © 2023 by Maya Feller. Photography copyright © 2023 by Christine Han. Published by goop Press/Rodale Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC. Reprinted with permission.