Chew on this: Scientists have found out why Indian food is so popular

Indian food has many subsets: from mouth watering curries, to different kinds of breads and fragrant rices. Each state has a defining dish, and we have more cuisines than most countries in the world.

And even though there are so many different versions and recreations of Indian food, anyone and everyone who sits down to take a bite of even a simple Indian dish, will laud it for its spices and aromatic flavours.

According to this Washington Post article, researchers crunched through 2500 recipes and found the reason behind its appeal and success. Chemically, western food flavours are mixed and overlapped on molecular level to give off an overlapping taste. However, Indian and Asian food don't believe in overlapping flavours, and this, scientists believe, is the reason why Indian food is so popular.

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Typical Indian curry. Getty Images

Every consumable dish has different flavour compounds, or the mix of ingredients to create the taste. Scientists found that the lesser flavour compounds in a dish, the more likely it is to be delicious.

Researchers at IIT, Jodhpur took a number of recipies from, and noticed the molecular level differences in each. They found that most Indian dishes use one overarching flavour, like cayenne, or coriander, as opposed to a mash of flavours that Western food is used to.

Strangely enough, they also found out that out of the 381 cooking ingredients in the world, Indian food used 200 in their cuisine. However, for generations Indians are used to cooking with one particular flavour and that's what makes the cuisine stand out. On an average, any Indian dish has a minimum of 7 ingredients.

For example, the article shares venn diagrams and pie charts of overlapping flavours. If you leave the math out of it, you'll learn that basic ingredients like coconut and onion have overlapping flavours. Most basic Indian dishes will rarely mix the two.


Updated Date: Mar 04, 2015 19:06 PM

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