The Indian cuisine boasts of a huge variety not restricted to only curry. An authentic Indian curry is an involved combination of a stir-fried Masala - a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes; various spices and seasonings with which meat; poultry, vegetables or fish is primed to produce a stew-type dish. Note: the word Masala also means spice.
Food in India is broad ranging in variety, taste and flavor. Being so diverse geologically, each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian cuisine, famous for its exotic gravies seems complicated for any newcomer. The Mughlai cuisine of North differs piercingly from the preparations of the south. The Wazwan style of Kashmir is deluxe but the same could be said about Bengal's Macher Jhol, Rajasthan's Dal Bati, Uttar Pradesh's Kebabs and Punjab's Sarson Ka Saag and Makki di Roti. Recipes are handed down from generation to generation in India.
The exclusive and strong flavors in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. Most of the spices used in Indian cooking were initially chosen thousands of years ago for their medicinal qualities and not for flavor. Many of them such as turmeric, cloves and cardamoms are very sterile, others like ginger, are carminative and good for the digestion. All curries are made using a wide diversity of spices.
In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes - sweet, bitter, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal has all six tastes, not always could this be accomplished. This principle clarifies the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavor in Indian recipes. Side dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, daals and Indian pickles contribute to and add to the overall flavor and texture of a meal and give balance needed.