South Asia

India's influence can be seen in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and even Bali (Indonesia). Sri Lankan cuisine is a snapshot of Indian food. Its fiery curry dishes with rice, and hoppers (fried pancake) served with yogurt and honey, are reminiscent of India. Meat and seafood are popular staples, as is tea.

India is the only country in this region that uses milk and dairy products in its diet, mostly in the form of yogurt and cheese. Indian seasonings include turmeric, tamarind, saffron, cumin, coriander, cardamom, mustard, ginger, celery seed, aniseed, fenugreek, curry leaf, and coconut milk. Cashews, pistachios, and almonds are also often found in meat dishes, as well as in the variety of breads that are baked, fried, or roasted to accompany the meals. Indian meals are served with chutney, a spicy relish, or raita, a chilled yogurt to soothe the spiciness of the dish.

In the north of India, meat dishes are more common and are usually made with goat, sheep, or chicken. The meals emphasize breads, grain, and spices. Southern meals focus on rice, vegetables, and chilies. Vegetables include onions, yams, potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkin, banana flowers, cucumbers, radishes, and lotus roots. The sacred status of the cow in the agrarian society has disallowed beef to be eaten by those who practice Hinduism. The protein in these diets comes primarily from legumes or dairy products.

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