Etiquette kitchen

Serving of Indian meal :

Traditional serving styles vary from region to region in India. Onex universal aspect of presentation is the thali, a large plate with samplings of different regional dishes accompanied by raita, breads such as naan, puri, or roti, and rice. Most South Indian meals end with plain curd and rice. In South India, cleaned banana leaves, which could be disposed of after the meal, were traditionally used as an alternative to plates. When hot food is served on banana leaves, the leaves add aroma and taste to the food. Leaf plates are still utilized on auspicious and festive occasions but are much less common otherwise.

Courses :
The Indian kitchen is not accustomed to eat in courses. But is possible to eat Indian dishes in a more western way (courses).
Indian snacks like samosas, pakoras and dosas can be served as aperitifs. The main dish can be in form of curries, tandoori dishes en ghost together with side- dishes. Be aware that vegetables are seen as main dish and not as a side dish. The Indian sweets which are eaten during whole the day can be served as desserts.

Rice and Bread :
Carbohydrates in the form of bread and rice are the main part of an Indian meal. In India it is not common to eat bread and rice at the same time. Bread is eaten more in the northern regions of the country because of its dry climate. There are a variety of breads consumed in India like roti, naan and paratha. Indian roti is flat and cooked on a tava or cast-iron griddle. It can also be cooked in a tandoor. Roti is thin and made of atta (whole-wheat). The naan is soft and fluffy and is made from plain flour with a little bit of yeast. Parathas are layered bread made of wheat flour but fried in little oil. The breads are prepared according to one’s own taste and imagination. That is why in India we have variety of breads like the plain naan, garlic naan, methi roti, aloo paratha, puri, bhature etc.

Rice is eaten more in south India where the most rice fields are found.
Rice is often the easiest choice for an Indian meal.

Tandoor :

The Tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. The tandoor is used for cooking in India, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, the Transcaucasia, the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia as well as Burma and Bangladesh. The heat for a tandoor was traditionally generated by a charcoal fire or wood fire, burning within the tandoor itself, thus exposing the food to live-fire, radiant heat cooking, and hot-air, convection cooking.

The tandoor is used for cooking certain types of Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani and Indian foods such as tandoori chicken, chicken tikka and bread varieties like tandoori roti and naan. The word tandoori is the adjective meaning “pertaining to the tandoor” and is used to describe a dish cooked in a tandoor. The tandoor is basically used to cook meats.

In India, the tandoor is also known by the name of bhatti. The Bhatti tribe of the Thar Desert of north-western India and eastern Pakistan developed the Bhatti in their desert abode, and thus it gained the name. The tandoor is currently a very important fixture in many Indian restaurants around the world. Some modern day tandoors use electricity or gas instead of charcoal.

Beverages with Indian food :

  • Tea is a staple beverage throughout India. It is generally prepared as masala chai, wherein the tea leaves are boiled in a mix of water, spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger, and large quantities of milk to create a thick, sweet, milky concoction.
  • Coffee is largely served in South India.
  • Lassi is a popular and traditional Punjabi yogurt-based drink of India. It is made by blending yogurt with water or milk and Indian spices. Sweet lassi is a form of lassi flavoured with sugar, rosewater and/or lemon, strawberry or other fruit juices.
  • Sharbat is a cold sweet beverage that is prepared from fruits or flower petals. It can be served in concentrate form and eaten with a spoon or diluted with water to create the drink. Popular sharbats are made of one or more of the following: Rose, Sandalwood, Bel, Gurhal (Hibiscus), Lemon, Orange, Pineapple, Falsa (Grewia asiatica).
  • Other beverages include nimbu pani (lemonade), chaach, badam doodh (almond milk with nuts and cardamom) and coconut water. In southern India, there is a chilled beverage known as “Panner Soda” or “Gholi Soda”, a mixture of carbonated water, rose water, and sugar.

Wine is traditionally not used with an Indian meal.

Cutlery :

Several customs are associated with food consumption. Traditionally, meals were eaten while seated either on the floor or on very low stools or cushions. Food is most often eaten without cutlery, using instead the fingers of the right hand. Often roti (flat bread) is used to scoop the curry without allowing it to touch the hands. Other etiquette includes eating with one hand. Preferably the right hand and letting the food touch only two fingers. Traditional ways of dining are being influenced by eating styles from other parts of the world. Among the middle class throughout India, spoons and forks are now commonly used, although knives are not.

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