The ethos of Indian cuisine- however, originates from the basic philosophy and thought enshrined in the ancient Vedas (Ayurvedas, nearly two thousand years B.C) which clearly emphasizes the importance of indigenously found herbs and spices in one's daily food.
The accent was not just on tastes and flavors but on health. Indian cuisine fascinates the gourmet with the great variety of tastes, colors and aroma derived almost entirely through the use of a large variety of exotic spices and herbs. The author explains the reason for extensive use of these spices and their healthful benefits in Indian cuisine in great detail, often with great annotations, helpful notes and glossaries providing English/American equivalents of Indian words for ingredients used in her recipes. The spices have no side effects if used in moderation and they make the food delicious and healthy. Sampling of Indian food is an unforgettable experience. The starters and appetizers, the vegetable dishes that include the lentil preparations, the rice dishes that include the Pilafs the sweet dishes, the exotic curries and breads, all have diversity in their preparations depending on which part of the country you are in. The regional variations are innumerable and in no small way contribute to the variety that forms the exquisiteness of Indian cuisine.
Indian cuisine is famous around the world and enjoys the enviable reputation of being unique. Indeed, it reflects the variety and diversity of India that comes from a vibrant history dating back to more than six thousand years. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India commented that:
"Ancient India" ... was a world in itself. A culture and a civilization that gave shape to all things. Foreign influences poured in and often influenced that culture and were absorbed. Disruptive tendencies gave rise immediately to an attempt to find a synthesis. Some kind of a dream of unity has occupied the mind of India since the dawn of civilization. That unity was not conceived as something imposed from outside, standardization of externals or even of beliefs. It was something deeper and within its fold the widest tolerance of belief and custom was practiced and every variety acknowledged and even encouraged". Through history, this vast and ancient country has seen the rise and fall of many empires and dynasties, both indigenous and foreign. The Greeks under Alexander the Great, the mighty Gengis Khan, Taimur the Lame, the Persians, Turks, Mongols, Arabs, the peoples of Mediterranean and later Europeans, notably the British, the French, the Dutch, and the Portuguese, were drawn to this land for power and pelf. However, the indigenous culture of India assimilated the foreign influences and out of the interface emerged a rich heritage and cuisine and this book explores its many facets.
The author believes that assimilating the good from other cuisines has made it more challenging and delicious but we should not forget the basic concept that in order to live long healthy life we should not forget the basic concept of Ayurvedas that the food we serve should have a balance of 6 different tastes - sweet, sour, astringent, pungent, salty and bitter.
If you are a foodie, then you must possess one of Uma Aggarwal's cook books. They are filled with exquisite recipes that not only date back millennia, but also include some innovations that add a new dimension to Indian cooking. Uma believes that Indian cuisine is more than just tasty food. The cuisine is loaded with the ancient Vedic wisdom that adds the goodness of spices not only to enhance the taste but add healthful benefits. She pursued her passion for Indian cooking in 2002, after retirement, by giving cooking classes at the adult education centre at the College of Southern Nevada. She published her first illustrated book, The Exquisite World of Indian Cuisine in 2010. She has to her credit other cook books: America's Favorite Recipes - Part-I, and Melting Pot Cuisine, America's Favorite Recipes - Part II. She has other cook books in the pipeline that are loaded with gustatory excitement: Incredible Taste of Indian Non-Vegetarian Cooking; Turmeric - The Real Gold of India; America's Favorite Recipes- Part III.
Uma Aggarwal is a Chemist with a background in biomedical research and has worked at various institutions such as Michigan State University, Federal Poultry Science Lab, Virology Lab of Michigan, Dept of Public Health, and at Bioport Pharmaceutical Company in their Quality Control Division. She has enjoyed the full support of her loving husband, Dr. Surinder Aggarwal, Ph.D. They are proud parents of three children and seven grand-children.
Ihave lived In United States now for almost 50 years. I was raised in a very traditional family with a great respect and pride in Indian culture, history and human values. Food was prepared at home with great emphasis on cleanliness and It was well balanced with fresh herbs and spices keeping in mind six different tastes mentioned in Ayurvedas. Indian cuisine originated from ayurvedas. These ancient treatise were written thousands of years ago. It clearly says that food prepared with herbs and spices will certainly prolong your life because their use not only makes the food delicious but there is hidden bonus of them promoting digestion and acting as antioxidants. As the food is digested properly minimum amount of harmful oxidants or carcinogen remain in your body to weaken your immune system. You stay healthy, alert, sharp and have greater capability to fight germs and diseases. Indian cuisine is unique in its emphasis on making sure that each food should achieve maximum digestibity by spicing it correctly, cooking it right and by using the most fresh ingredients possible. History also tells us that for thousands of years many cultures from all over the world have sailed to India in search of these spices so that they could also follow this same concept of Indian cuisine.
Recent research is also proving it beyond doubt that spices have tremendous health benefits and Indians have had this knowledge for thousands of years. You will notice that these days you can find capsules of different spices like Turmeric, Cinnamon, Bitter melon extract and more on the shelves of pharmacies and grocery stores.
I have emphasized this in this book and my next book the "Incredible taste of Non Vegetarian Cuisine". Non Vegetarian food is more of a challenge for the human body as meats are carcinogenic and produce more toxins if they are not digested well and therefore proper spicing and proper cooking here is more important than anywhere else.
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