Traditional Indian meal

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Traditional Indian meal is the common combination of foods consumed by most people for several generations. However, there is no standard traditional Indian meal. It varies across region and culture. The traditional Indian meal in the southern part of India differes considerably from that of the tradional meal eaten in the northern or western part of India. The traditional Indian meal within a region also differs greatly. So the traditional meal from Bengal in Eastern India differs considerably from that of Bihar in the same region.

The traditional Indian meal can trace its origin to the ancient times, though it has undergone many changes since then.


[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

  • Experts are now discovering the sustainable nature of the traditional Indian meal. It is rich in local produce; suitable to the climate of the region and meets the criteria of a balanced diet.
  • There are some staple food items which are an integral part of all Indian cuisines across cultures and regions.
  • If some dos and don'ts are kept in mind, the traditional Indian meal can be very healthy and wholesome.
  • The traditional Indian meal doesn't just address one health concern or requirement, but has a 360 degree approach.

[edit] How does this affect me?

  • Indian food has its good and bad points. It is good because it includes lots of whole grains high in fiber and less animal protein. Legumes and vegetables are also commonly used. The problem is that much of the food is prepared with ghee (clarified butter) or is fried or sautéed.
  • Coconut oil and milk, which are high in saturated fat are also used.
  • A simply prepared traditional Indian meal using less oil and avoiding those high in fats, sodium and cholesterol is good for health.

[edit] All about the traditional Indian meal

The traditional Indian meal is a beautifully balanced meal, consisting of whole grain wheat chappatis, rice, mixed vegetable curries, yoghurt, daal, and salad. It provides the daily dose of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.

Healthy Indian food tend to contain more vegetables. Many Indians are vegetarian either for religious reason or have been traditionally vegetarian like others in their community for many generations. Even those who are non-vegetarians have a healthy portion of green vegetables in their daily diet. Rice is the staple diet and forms the basis of every meal for South Indians whereas a typical North-Indian meal would consist of rotis made from wheat flour. The South Indian food like dosa (rice pancakes), idli (steamed rice cakes) and vada, which is made of fermented rice and dal, are now popular throughout the country.

A typical Indian lunch may consist of some dishes with seasonal vegetables, a lentil dish, yogurt; chutneys prepared from various herbs, pickles (oil and water-based), papad, and rice or freshly made unleavened flat breads (chappati) to scoop up the foods. A non-vegetarian meal in India may consist of a dish of fish, meat or chicken along with rice or chappati, vegetables and lentils.

[edit] What can I do?

Indian food can be both good and bad for your health. Here are some suggestions for having a healthy Indian meal.

  • Start with salads or yogurt with chopped or shredded vegetables.
  • Choose chicken or seafood rather than beef or lamb.
  • Choose dishes prepared without rarified butter (ghee).
  • Order one protein and one vegetable dish to cut down the saturated fat and calories.
  • If sodium is a concern, skip the soups.

[edit] Useful tips

  • Replace samosas with papad (crispy, thin lentil wafers).
  • Instead of korma (braised meat with a rich yogurt cream sauce), opt for chicken or beef tikka (roasted in an oven with mild spices) or chicken or beef tandoori (marinated in spices and baked in a tanoor, or clay oven) in restaurants. In either case, ask if they will base with light margarine instead of butter.
  • Go for curries with a vegetable or dal base; shish kabob; or tandoori chicken or fish instead of curries made with coconut milk or cream
  • Avoid pakorsa (deep-fried dough with vegetables)
  • Instead of fried rice or pulao ( a rich rice dish) go for steamed rice.
  • The chapati is always healthier than fried or stuffed breads, parathas and puris.

[edit] CopperBytes

  • South Indians use a coconut base as frequently as north Indians use an onion base. Not many other than the Gujaratis add sugar to the vegetables that they cook. The Bengalis are possibly the only ones who consider seafood to be "vegetarian". So a hard-core vegetarian Bengali Brahmin could easily be found consuming fish!

[edit] References

  • Tips for Eating Indian Food
  • The myth of Indian food
  • DEcoding traditional Indian Thali