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In the history of human food, cooking dates back to one of the oldest activities carried out by man. It was as simple as ancient men were hunters and gatherers, and they would hunt, skin, and throw their catch into the fire and eat when ready. With the passage of time, more complex methods were invented and foods were subdivided into kitchens. In this article, we will focus on the development of one of the Asian cuisines, namely South Asian cuisine.
South Asian cuisine is a combination of many popular cuisines in the subcontinental region of India. As the name suggests, it has its origins in South Asia and is heavily influenced by some Hindu practices, as these are the dominant people found in this region. Other cultural influences also come from Muslims.
Popular ingredients and staples
One of the things that is very popular in this kitchen is a flatbread known as Naan and it is usually eaten in combination with many meals. Beans, barley, rice and chapatti, made with wheat, are also very common foods in the kitchen.
One characteristic of the foods in this area is that they taste great with black pepper, chili, cloves, and various spices and herbs that are used in combination with ghee butter. Including ginger in them generally improves sweet and salty foods. In meat, ginger is minced while used as pickled ginger in rice. The popularity of ginger is enormous, as it is boiled to make concentrated syrups that are used in the preparation of desserts. The curry is made with cumin and turmeric.
Meats such as chicken, goat, and lamb are very common, but beef is unpopular as a food as it has a sacred place in Hindu worship culture. The severity of the special status of cows is emphasized by the ban on buffalo meat, as it closely resembles cows. The same case applies to pork, as Muslims and Hindus also avoid it. This kitchen has very sweet desserts that are made from dairy products. The most common dessert ingredients are ground almonds, dairy products, sugar, and ghee.
Down memory lane
Much of Indian food dates back five thousand years. The oldest civilization was made up of people known as the Indus, and they hunted alligators and turtles. That civilization is modern Pakistan. In addition to hunting, they were foragers of plants, herbs, and grains, and many types of food from this period are still popular today.
A variety of these foods consist of eggplant, cucumber, rice, tamarind, wheat, and barley. The use of spices in Asian cuisines dates back to this period, as the Hindus used ginger, green peppers, salt, and barley. An orange coloring and flavoring powder was prepared by crushing the turmeric root.
More contributions to this cuisine were the Aryans, who introduced the use of vegetables, dairy products and lentils into the diet. Spices such as coriander and cumin were part of the Aryan diet around 1500 BC. The Portuguese popularized potatoes, red chili peppers, and cauliflower around 1600 BC. One thing that led to the diverse development of this kitchen is that Asians treat food and cooking as an art, so many precision cooking tools and methods are used.