Data researchers have analysed 2,500 recipes of Indian food, and are finally figuring out why you can never get enough chicken tikka masala.
Researchers Anupam Jaina, Rakhi N Kb, and Ganesh Bagler from the Indian Institute for Technology in Jodhpur, India searched through the recipes in the largest Indian cuisine recipe database, TarlaDalal.com to figure out why Indian food tastes so good.
It turns out the common denominator is a typical Indian dish’s use of spices and flavours. It’s not just how much spice is used, but how intelligently they’re incorporated into the dish. Spices used in Indian dishes are much more carefully selected to produce the least amount of “flavour overlap.”
“[The] more the extent of flavour-sharing between any two ingredients, [the] lesser their co-occurrence,” the researchers said.
Munchies notes that this is one of the main reasons why Indian and Western cuisine taste so different. Western cuisine’s philosophy of putting together similar flavours in dishes is completely reversed in Indian cuisine, instead opting for the most variety of ingredients with as little overlapping flavour as possible.
So what makes the flavours meld so well in your mouth is by delicate design. Every spice and ingredient has a purpose and they all work together in harmony to produce the taste of the dish.
“Each of the spices is uniquely placed in its recipe to shape the flavour-sharing pattern with [the] rest of the ingredients,” the study says.
It’s these specific roles each spice plays that gives Indian cuisine its characteristic taste.
Though Indian cuisine varies by reason, the study covered eight major regional variations — and the finding is true for all of them.
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