“Indian” cuisine is highly regional and is influenced by religion, colonialism, trade and intermingling with various peoples like the Persians, Greeks and Mongols. India is highly ethnically diverse and the cuisine of the various regions reflects that. In short there is no “Indian” cuisine. In the Indian Diaspora of Surrey and the Fraser Valley the cuisine is largely North Indian as many immigrants have come from the Punjab. Within this region one could expect to sample Mughlai Punjabi cuisine, Cuisine of Kashmir, Awadhi, Uttar Pradesh, Sindhi and Awadhi-Punjabi. There is a large South Asian population in Surrey and and its cooking is well represented by many restaurants and sweet shops.
Pulses ( most dried beans and lentils), atta(whole wheat flour and rice form the basis of the Indian diet. 20-42% of the population is strict vegetarian wjile less than 30% regularly consume meat. Most curries are cooked using and oil (usually vegetable-peanut oil is used in North and West India). Coconut oil is favoured in South India while and mustard oil is enjoyed in Eastern India. Ghee (clarified butter whose milk solids have been removed), has a high smoke point and continues to be popular.
Indian cuisines are usually spicy but not necessarily “hot”. Each housewife makes her own “curry powder” or garam masala and these usually bear little resemblance to the bright yellow “curry powder” which is available in Western supermarkets. Chili pepper, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, coriander, garlic, asafoetida and black mustard seed are the most commonly used spices in Indian cuisine. Cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and saffron are also important in the making of garam masala.
Milk, yogurt, and flatbreads like roti, paratha and kulcha predominate, as do tandoor cooked meats like chicken, goat and lamb. Samosas, those crispy triangular pastries filled with potato, paneer or minced meat are also popular in the region. The inclusion of Muslims in the Indian panoply has introduced kebabs and most meat dishes into the cuisine of North India. Pakistani and greater North Indian cuisine is very similar.
Lentils, especially the red ones, as well as, roti are staples in the North Indian diet. Chai tea is commonly drunk as is lassi. If you happen to be in Surrey, Planet India could be a destination for Indian food of the Northern region. It is located at:
# 17-13775-72nd Avenue,
The restaurant prefers is you make a reservation. Should you be in town for the Olympics and want to taste some of the ethnic variety available in this municipality, try some of our Indian restaurants.