Indian Cuisine: Unquestionably, today the most striking feature about India is its enduring and unsurpassed cuisine, expanded and refined by many civilizations, cultures, and nationalities. There is absolutely nothing like curry in the world of sensuous culinary flavors to create harmony and balance in making the body, mind, and spirit happy!
Tradition: The great Mogul (Mughal) Emperors Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan enriched their empire not only with extraordinary works of art but created India’s world-famous haute cuisine (high cuisine) or Mughal-style (Mughalai) cuisine: a combination of Persian (developed by the Abbasid Caliphs of Baghdad between the eighth and tenth centuries at the height of their power), central Asian, and northern Indian cuisine made with elaborate sauces and great attention to detail. Featured were lamb and chicken dishes in fragrant, seductive almond, cashew, and pistachio sauces sautéed in spices.
The traditional curry table consists of many different entrées, usually combinations of lamb, chicken, fish, and shrimp curry, and vegetables and legumes sautéed in curry spices and herbs and plain yogurt dishes served with long-grained basmati rice and unleavened baked wheat bread or roti. Food is carefully selected to blend and harmonize with the different seasons and tastes. Every dish is pleasing to the eye, palate, and stomach. An accompaniment of side dishes, such as chopped cucumber in plain yogurt, mango, mint, or cilantro chutney, and chopped onions and tomato with lemon juice are served. Desserts consist of seductive sweetmeats and seasonal fruits, followed by the ancient ritual of serving an ambrosial mixture of shredded areca nut (betel nut), cardamom, clove, nutmeg, and aniseed to enhance digestion and sweeten the breath.
Curry: The provocative spicy concoction curry evolved out of India’s five-thousand-year-old healing system called Ayurveda (science of life: body, mind and spirit) and has traveled a fascinating voyage through time. The word curry comes from the south Indian Tamil word kari, meaning a richly spiced sauce with kari podi or curry powder.
Tasty and tantalizing to the palate and the senses, curry is essentially a stew or a casserole of meat, fish, or vegetables sautéed and cooked in a mixture (masala) of several pungent spices. Chili peppers, turmeric, ginger, garlic, onions, coriander, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaf, black pepper, clove, nutmeg, mace, saffron, and other healing spices form a part of many mouth-watering curry dishes.
Healthy Cooking: The spices and herbs utilized in the preparation of India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine are not only the heating and cooling energy specialists of the body but aid the digestive process. For example in India, turmeric powder, the popular yellow curry spice is used to strengthen and tone the stomach, promote appetite, and helps to get rid of parasites in the intestinal tract. As a natural antioxidant substance, turmeric helps to prevent disease; slow the oxidation of oils, fats, and so forth; and check the deterioration of cells and tissues in the body. Used in many of my recipes western researchers now claim curcumin or turmeric powder ‘is arguably the most potent anti-cancer nutrient in existence.’
We are what we eat. My ‘gift of good health’ came from a spiritual reawakening through Indian food because it promotes creativity, life, vitality, strength, health, laughter, joy, and cheerfulness.