Indian food and Indian restaurants have been around long enough now that fewer people still subscribe to the common misconception that this delicious cuisine is all about curry. As people’s desire for more options for fresh, nutritious food grows, so does the desire for different or exotic flavours that reflect our rich multicultural community. Curry is only a small part of the incredible variety and range of offerings by Indian restaurants in Ottawa, because in the same way, India itself boasts diversity; in history, culture, tradition, religion and language—all of which have contributed to the existence of unique culinary traditions. For the culturally curious, this only makes your next perusal of a local Indian restaurant menu even more exciting, as you consider the history and unique customs that have contributed to each dish.
Even without a single, particular standard or common dish, meals from Indian restaurants in Ottawa offer a perfect blend of culture and history that can generally be identified by their ingredients. Basic ingredient staples, spices or sauces used, allow an Indian restaurant to tell a story about their owners’ cultural influences and geographical origins.
If you’ve had the privilege of frequenting some Indian restaurants in Ottawa, you would probably agree that cooking this aromatic, flavourful food borders on being an art. Those meals you’ve enjoyed come from rich cultural influences such as Persian, Portuguese, and British, as well as the influences of the Hindu and Muslim traditions. Different cooking methods, restrictions(vegetarian—or not) and the number of courses in a meal all stem from at one time being introduced and integrated into existing Indian traditions.
An Indian restaurant always reflects its geographical realities, or even benefits. Many Indian restaurants in Ottawa generally offer a menu that reflects the northern or southern India culinary traditions, and the kinds of foods common to the respective areas, often based on the kind of soil, climate, and locally available fresh produce. For instance, wheat is the basic staple of the north, while rice more widely counted on in the south. Curries and other dishes are also made thicker in the north, so the more common wheat breads can better be used to scoop up the meal. The south prefers a more soupy mixture that can be eaten with rice. While readily available, coconuts are an important ingredient in southern India’s cuisine and in the North, from the milk to the oil, milk-based products like yoghurts are preferred more.
Indian food is diverse, delicious, healthy—and a serious business as it is now a leading cuisine in the world. Any Indian restaurant will be proud to show off such a rich heritage of fresh, quality and distinct cuisine.