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The Magic Of South Asia’s Eating Habits In India: A Look Into The Culture

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Introduction

South Asia is a vast region located in the southern part of Asia, on this mysterious and beautiful land, it embraces many different nationalities, religions, and countries. In this piece of fertile land, people of different races and ethnic minorities live in harmony. As an IAH student who just started studying in South Asia, I am very curious about what did they have for food in India. Thanks for the grateful place, I found out that there are lots of traditional delicious food. In the article, I am going to talk about traditional foods, then I will introduce different spices and the eating habits related to different religions in India. Even though they came from the same mainland, but there are still huge differences within these foods.

Ancient India

India, the Republic of India, is the most populous democracy in the world. The history of India can be tracked at 6500 BCE, and there are evidence shows for domestication for food crops and animals.

According to the research, scholars have all that the ancient Indians ate beef. Even though after 14 century BC, Indians are continued eating beef when vegetarianism, Buddhists, Hindus were spread throughout India. The beef was consumed in the time of the oldest Hindu sacred text. Generally, the ancient Indians ate the castrated steer, but when they were welcoming a guest or a person with a high social level, they would like to prepare with the female cow. According to the Brahmanas and dharma (ancient ritual texts), we can tell that “the cow is the food”. In ancient India, Beef-eating was related to the caste system. The higher the caste, the more choice of foods. By the 19th century, the protection movement of the cow has arisen. It is told the oppression of Muslims by this protection.

Spices

Not only the beef is important to ancient India, but also the spices. In ancient India, spices are also considered as the same important as currency. The most popular spices include cinnamon, pepper, lemon, etc. As spices are mentioned, pepper has to be mentioned. Pepper greatly promoted the arrival of the era of great navigation. Fleets from China, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and Britain all boarded India, bringing Oriental Blue and white porcelain, silk and satin, and tea; Western shirts and religious beliefs, without exception, returned loaded with a boat of spices, and each spice has its own medical values.

The most common spices are saffron, cinnamon, chili pepper, and coriander.

Saffron is the most expensive of all spices, Iran is its largest producer, followed by India, India’s Kashmir Valley is its main producer. This spice also enhances desserts and delicacies and is commonly used in Indian curries, roast lamb kebabs, and hand-grabbed meals. Add a few Saffrons to warm milk or water to enhance the color and taste of food. Medical value for saffron is crocus can be used as raw material for cosmetics. It is said that it is also an aphrodisiac and can also be used to treat depression.

India is not the largest producer of cinnamon. Cinnamon is mainly made from the bark of cinnamon trees. The bark is manually rolled into a circular shape for the flavor of rice, curry, and dessert. Cinnamon infusion with warm water can effectively treat colds, relieve pressure and improve digestion. Cinnamon oil can also be used to treat rheumatism.

India is the largest producer of chili peppers in the world. The earliest chili peppers were introduced to India and Southeast Asian countries by Portuguese in the 16th century. The three most common chili varieties are Kashmiri, Guntur, and Byadagi, each of which contains different calories and colors. Capsaicin in capsicum is considered to be an effective remedy for local pain. Capsicum itself is rich in vitamin C and can help increase appetite.

Coriander is native to India and Morocco. Its seeds and leaves are widely used in curry making. The seeds are sweet and attractive and contain a slight tint of pine and pepper. The characteristics of the leaves are completely different from those of the seeds. They are usually used for decoration or for hot and sour sauces. Coriander seeds are cool, medicinal value is wide, can help reduce fever, reduce cholesterol, relieve flatulence, eye health is also good for other uses.

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All spices should be stored in sealed containers and away from direct sunlight. Perfect fragrances can usually be stored for six months, while powdered fragrances can only be stored for a few weeks. Meanwhile, spices should be baked for a period of time before being crushed or ground to absorb essential oils.

Diet and Religions

The famous religions originating in India include Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Sikhism.

Jainism, another branch of Hinduism, fasts for a long time. Women are more encouraged to fast. The first Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, was Hindu and then Jainism. When he practiced Jainism, he fasted so long that he basically died slowly. In Jainism, vegetarianism is compulsory for Hindus who eat meat often like “Jhatka“ (fast dea everyone; in Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, vegetarianism is advocated by influential texts and religious authorities.

Many Hindu diets include fish, eggs or some other meat. In order to slaughter animals and birds as food,Many Hindu diets include fish, eggs or some other meat. In order to slaughter animals and birds as food, Hindus prefer “Jhatka” way (means quick death) for meat preparation, because Hindus believe that through the method can minimize pain and trauma to animals. In India, Hindu diets vary according to their diverse traditions. Ancient and medieval Hindu teachings strongly banned meat. They recommend non-violence in all forms of life, including animals, because they believe it can minimize animal deaths. Many Hindus prefer a vegetarian or mammalian vegetarian lifestyle that is synonymous with nature, compassionate, and respects other forms of life and natural food production methods.

Buddhism is a branch of Hinduism, so they have some similar dietary rules. Buddhists should not do anything wrong, such as killing, because it will lead to misery and evil karma. That means they don’t eat any meat or fruit from trees. They must avoid drinking any alcohol because it can make people dizzy and may lead to bad decisions.

Potential Situation and Solution

Nowadays, cow is in a high position in some India religions. People do not eat beef very often. Eighteen Indian states, including Gujarat and the vegetarian population of India, have banned slaughtering cattle.

In India, there are 14.2% of the population are Islam. For Muslim, the major meat resource are beef, which is conflict with India’s other religion culture. Eating beef or being respected to cow in some state will be seen as illegal. For example, a low-caste Hindus were whipped for stripping a dead cow, triggering spontaneous street protests and prompting the resignation of the state’s chief minister in 2015.

In recent years, religious violence related to cow protection has been common. For example, a group of people killed two Muslim cattle herders who were selling bulls at an animal fair in the Indian state of Chalkend on March 18, 2016. They accused 35-year-old Mohammed Mazlum Ansari and 12-year-old Imtayaz Khan of selling the cattle for slaughter, then killing them and hanging their bodies on trees. Imteyaz’s father, Azad Khan, could only watch helplessly as the attack took place. Between May 2015 and December 2018, at least 44 people died in 12 Indian states, 36 of whom were Muslims. During the same period, about 280 people were injured in more than 100 different incidents in 20 states.

The potential solution of those conflicts, since there are different laws in different states in India, the best solution should be obligatory upon Muslims to obey the rules implemented by their government. However, there are several extreme people in other religions in India, Therefore, the government still needs to constantly improve the law of the movement.

Conclusion

The more I know about this topic, the more I understand that diets are not only used to fill the stomach, but also represents the history and culture of this region. Different foods can also bring economic prosperity to the country. Like the spices, I mentioned in this article. Different dietary habits indirectly reflect different religious habits in India. We can learn from these different dietary habits about the requirements of each religion and what they respect. In India’s long history, the different types of diets have added a strong color to history. Diets in different periods can reflect people and the living environment in different regions. Through these factions of foods, we can analyze the living conditions of the parties, their surroundings, their preferences, and beliefs.

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The Magic Of South Asia’s Eating Habits In India: A Look Into The Culture. (2022, February 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-magic-of-south-asias-eating-habits-in-india-a-look-into-the-culture/
“The Magic Of South Asia’s Eating Habits In India: A Look Into The Culture.” Edubirdie, 18 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-magic-of-south-asias-eating-habits-in-india-a-look-into-the-culture/
The Magic Of South Asia’s Eating Habits In India: A Look Into The Culture. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-magic-of-south-asias-eating-habits-in-india-a-look-into-the-culture/> [Accessed 2 Dec. 2022].
The Magic Of South Asia’s Eating Habits In India: A Look Into The Culture [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 18 [cited 2022 Dec 2]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-magic-of-south-asias-eating-habits-in-india-a-look-into-the-culture/
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