India’s cuisine is as rich and diverse as her people. The spectrum of Indian cuisine can be said to lie between two dietary extremes: vegetarianism and meat-eating. Although a number of religions exist in India, the two cultures that have influenced Indian cooking and food habits are the Hindu and the Muslim traditions. Each new wave of settlers brought with them their own culinary practices. However, over time they adopted a lot of specialties and cooking methods from the Indian cuisine and blended the two to perfection. The Portuguese, the Persians and the British made important contributions to the Indian food culture. It was the British who started the commercial cultivation of tea in India.
The traditional food of India has been widely appreciated for its fabulous use of herbs and spices. Indian cuisine is known for its large assortment of dishes. The cooking style varies from region to region. India is quite famous for its diverse multi cuisine available in a large number of restaurants and hotel resorts, which is reminiscent of unity in diversity. The staple food in India includes wheat, rice and pulses with chana (Bengal Gram) being the most important one.
Indians take their food very seriously. Cooking is considered an art and mothers usually begin to teach their daughters and pass down family recipes by show-and-tell, fairly young in life. Mealtimes are important occasions for family to get together. Most meals comprise of several dishes ranging from staples like rice and breads to meat and vegetables and rounded off with a dessert.