Indian cuisine has become one of the most popular choices for eating out in the world. The UK alone has over 10,000 Indian restaurants, and Indian cuisine continues to increase in popularity in the United States. The use of fragrant, flavorful spices makes it a favorite all over the world. If you plan to do business internationally, it is important to be familiar with this exciting and delicious cuisine.
Most Indian restaurants offer a variety of appetizers. The most popular one is the samosa which is like a savory meat and potato-stuffed turnover. Other popular appetizers are
o vegetable samosa which is a vegetarian turnover stuffed with potatoes, peas, spices and herbs.
o lamb samosa is the same as the vegetable version with ground lamb mixed in.
o sev puri is a crisp wheat wafer topped with onions, potatoes, chutney and sprinkled with chickpeas.
o chicken chaat is pieces of marinated boneless chicken tossed with a blend of spices called chaat masala.
o shrimp pakora is shrimp marinated with ginger, light green chili and cilantro.
o aloo tikki is an Indian potato pancake topped with chopped onions, tamarind and green chili chutney.
Indian food is a vegetarian paradise. After thousands of years of the vegetarian-espousing Hindu religious influence, Indian chefs have taken vegetables to a new level.
o Vegetable bhuna is vegetables sautéed with spices.
o Akbari kofta are potato balls stuffed with nuts in a mild sauce.
o Bengan aloo is eggplant and potatoes sautéed in spices.
o Bhartha is roasted eggplant sautéed with onion, tomato, green peas and spices.
o Gobi aloo is cauliflower and potatoes sautéed in garlic and ginger and then steamed in a sauce.
o Saag paneer is spinach cooked with homemade cheese.
o Channa masala is chickpeas prepared in onions and tomato sauce.
o Bhindi masala is okra sautéed with onions, Serrano chilies and spices.
Most of the food is cooked fresh so it is always safe to eat – whether in a restaurant or on the streets of India. Most places do not keep food overnight. Food that is purchased in the morning is cooked and served the same day. Most restaurants cook their food to order and start from scratch thus ensuring the quality, taste and feel of the Indian cuisine.
When in an Indian restaurant, do not ask for beef or pork. Many Indians are either Hindus or Muslims. In Hinduism, the cow is considered a sacred animal so it cannot be eaten. Similarly, Muslims consider the pig to be a very filthy animal so it cannot be eaten.
Different regions of India prepare their meats in unique ways.
o Tandoori salmon is a wild salmon marinated in spices, garlic and ginger.
o Shrimp tandoori is jumbo shrimp marinated in oregano.
o Tandoori chicken is chicken marinated in spices.
o Mint chicken kebab is boneless chicken marinated in fresh mint.
o Shrimp bhuna is jumbo shrimp prepared in garlic, ginger, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, tomatoes and cilantro.
Traditionally, meals are eaten while seated either on the floor or on very low stools. Meals are eaten with the fingers of the right hand and Indian flat bread is used to scoop up some of the food. Etiquette dictates eating with just the right hand and only using two fingers.
Indian food wouldn’t be complete without rice and bread.
o Basmati rice is aromatic rice suffused with saffron.
o Banarasi pulao is fresh vegetables, nuts and raisins with basmati rice.
o Gucchi pillau is mushrooms cooked with basmati rice.
o Naan is fresh tandoor-baked white bread.
o Cheese naan is naan stuffed with cheddar, parmesan and cream cheeses.
o Garlic naan is naan topped with freshly chopped garlic.
o Onion kulcha is naan topped with freshly chopped onion. Paratha is whole wheat unleavened bread.
o Aloo paratha is whole wheat bread studded with spiced potatoes.
For many Indians, when they invite you to a restaurant, it generally means they are the host and they are going to pay the bill. Of course, it depends on the individual and the nature of the invitation.
According to Wendy Pease, Executive Director of Rapport International, “Part of being successful in international business is learning about new cultures. Being open to trying new things is a big asset and will help you connect with your business associates around the world. Once you open your mind to trying new cuisines, you will be amazed at how much you enjoy a variety of dishes.” Rapport International is a full-service translation and interpretation company based in metro-west Boston, MA. Rapport International can help you learn about the nuisances of different cultures and provide quality translation done by experienced translators in over 100 languages