The Face Of Indian Food, Pre And Post Independence
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India is celebrating 76 years of Independence this year, and with that, the country has experienced several influences, be they political, cultural, or culinary. Just as there is a long history of human existence, there’s a long history of food as well. It has been noticed that each cuisine has its own unique cultural, political, and geographical factors that gave rise to its current form. The partition of India and Pakistan had a significant impact on Indian cuisine. Around partition, Mughlai’s food yogurt based curries with several spices saw a decline and punchy tomato-based gravies were on the rise. As the borders were drawn, millions of people migrated across the newly created borders, which impacted Indian cuisine. 

People migrating across borders carried their culinary heritage with them. The recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Reportedly, the partition led to significant shifts in cooking techniques and ingredients in both cuisines, namely India and Pakistan. For instance, Delhi was home to Mughlai cuisine like shabdegh, pulao and more. However, the immigration of people introduced the cooking technique of tandoor. The cylindrical clay oven was originally used in Western Punjab but overtook Delhi’s food as a dominant cooking method. The division between India and Pakistan resulted in the separation of the regions culinary traditions. This had an impact on the availability of ingredients and the preservation of traditional cooking techniques. 

Moreover, certain ingredients were readily found in one country. For example, India being an agricultural land led to the availability of specific spices, vegetables, and fruits, like graps, mangoes, onions, cumi, cardamom and several other. while Pakistan, with its fertile land, experienced an abundance of specific grains and produce like sugar cane, millet, chickpeas and others. Thus, the produce influenced the dishes made in each country. 

As the partition resulted in the exchange of culinary influences, both countries witnessed a fusion of flavours and the emergence of new dishes like Red meat, pindi chole, and some tawa dishes. India's and Pakistan’s cuisines have experienced some level of fusion with ingredients and cooking techniques borrowed from neighbouring regions or cultures. Thus, certain dishes and cooking techniques have evolved in certain regions of India and Pakistan.   

As the cooking styles from different regions started to intermingle, certain dishes evolved. As people migrated, their traditional recipes and cooking techniques remained intact. This resulted in the continuation of regional influences and cooking methods. Some dishes were shared across borders and continued to exist like biryani, kebabs, roti, chitt, bagocha, and saag, along with various types of lentil-based dishes.  

Notably, the partition created an environment where culinary fusion and innovation thrived. The exchange of culinary influences, regional pride, and identity resulted in richness and diversity for each nation. 

North Indian cuisine experienced a significant transformation post-partition. During partition times, Mughlai dishes were prepared using slow cooking methods, focusing on aromatic spices like saffron, cardamom, and cinnamon. With evolution, several modifications have been made, although the core of the dish remains intact. 

In India, Paneer Butter Masala, Chole Bhature, Idli and dosa, and sweets like rasgulla, Sandesh, and gulab jamun are more prominent. However, in Pakistan, dishes like Nihari, Chapli Kebab, Haleem, and Seekh Kebabs became more prevalent. In street food culture, dishes like chaat, samosas, and pakoras have become symbols of the region and are enjoyed both in India and Pakistan with slight regional variations.  


Besides, many spices draw an important parallel in the dishes of both countries. The only thing that differs are the specific combinations and ratios of the spices. 

Although the unique flavours of India and Pakistan stand out despite their blending of regional traditions, the fusion of flavours creates a rich, delectable culinary journey.