Debunking Indian Cuisine: 7 Myths Clarified

A table full of colorful Indian food.

Debunking Indian Cuisine: 7 Myths Clarified

Are you holding back from trying authentic Indian food due to some preconceived notions? It’s time to bust these myths and broaden your culinary horizons!

Indian cuisine is famous for its diverse flavors, textures, and vibrant colors. Unfortunately, these delicacies are often misunderstood, and tourists can be hesitant to indulge.

Let’s debunk these myths and clear the air, so you can fully appreciate and enjoy the rich, aromatic world of Indian dishes.


Myth 1: Heat Overload – All Indian Food is Spicy

No doubt, India is home to an array of spices, but not all Indian food sets your taste buds on fire. Many spices, like cinnamon and cardamom, actually add sweetness, while chili levels can be adjusted to your preference. A golden rule to remember: Indian food is filled with flavor, not just heat!

Myth 2: Limiting the Label – Indian Food Equals Curry

Contrary to popular belief, Indian cuisine goes far beyond the generic term “curry.”

From crunchy, crispy snacks to steaming and fermented dishes like Idli, delicious sandwiches, tasty wraps, flavorful barbecue, and mouthwatering Indian street food, Indian cuisine offers a seemingly endless variety of dishes that are waiting to be discovered.

Inquire about where to find “curry” in India and you might receive puzzled looks, for the word “curry” is not commonly used in local dialects. Instead, dishes are usually identified by their specific names.

Myth 3: Vegetarian Nation – The Majority of Indians Are Vegetarians

Don’t let statistics mislead you into thinking India is primarily a vegetarian nation.

In truth, research indicates that merely about 20% of the Indian population is vegetarian, while a larger portion of the population relishes various types of meat, especially chicken and mutton as well as fish.

Myth 4: Elusive Ingredients – Indian Food Requires Exotic Spices

Fear not, beginner cooks!

While Indian recipes do utilize many spices, often, only a few basic (and easily accessible) spices are required to create most dishes.

Once you become familiar with commonly used spices, Indian cooking will feel very comfortable! 

Myth 5: Restaurant Menu ≠ Entire Cuisine: Indian Food’s Full-Flavor Spectrum

It’s a common misconception that the Indian food you find in restaurants or takeaways encompasses the entirety of Indian cuisine.

In truth, gourmet Indian dishes are full of nuances and distinct elements tailored to each recipe, and not a shared “base sauce” or “gravy”, as might be employed in various food establishments for convenience.

Homemade meals distinctly vary from region to region, and even from household to household!

Myth 6: Time-Consuming Tasks – Cooking Indian Food is Laborious

While Indian cooking may look daunting to beginners, it can be quite simple and enjoyable when you learn the essentials.

Invest in a few staple spices and try your hand at quick Indian recipes, such as easy main courses, from my blog to get started.

Myth 7: The Great Curry Powder Mix-Up

The belief that curry powder is an essential ingredient in Indian cooking is a common misconception.

While curry powder brings a pleasant warmth and depth of flavor to dishes, it is not customary in Indian cuisine.

In reality, curry powder is an invention of the British.

During their rule of India, they created a pre-made spice mix to take back home, which was an attempt to encapsulate the vast array of flavors found in Indian cuisine.

Curry powder is this spice mix, which is why you’ll find it in many supermarket shelves across the world, and not in traditional Indian kitchens.

However, it’s important to note that using curry powder doesn’t mean you’re cooking ‘inauthentic’ Indian food.

If the convenience of pre-mixed spices works for you and gets you excited about cooking Indian dishes, then by all means, proceed!

Now that we’ve debunked these common myths, it’s time to dive into the delicious world of Indian cuisine.

Enjoy the fresh flavors of home-cooked Indian dishes, and expand your culinary repertoire with the incredible diversity that India has to offer.

Happy cooking (and eating!)

Written by:

HI! IM MISH. nice to meet you! My mission is to lower barriers and show you that cooking delicious Indian food is much simpler than you think. Let's get started on this culinary adventure together, and bring the joy of Indian flavors to your home!

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