What makes “Indian Food” so delicious?
I recently came across this interesting article on “Washington Post” which explains how researchers at Indian Institute of Technology in Jodhpur have figured out the math and science behind what makes Indian Food so lip-smacking! They have crunched data on thousands of recipes available on famous chef “TarlaDalal.com”.
Synopsis: Western food comprises of ingredients with overlapping flavors; whereas, in Indian food, the ingredients do not have overlapping flavors, or have minimum overlap in their flavors. Hence, in Indian food, your taste buds can easily sense and differentiate the flavor of each ingredient involved in making a delicious Indian meal!
Few Excerpts from Washington Post article:
Here’s an easy way to make sense of what they did, through the lens of a single, theoretical dish. Say you have a dish with 4 different ingredients, like the one below:
Each one of those ingredients has its own list of flavor compounds. And any two of those ingredients’ lists might have some overlap. Take the coconut and onion, for instance. We can all agree that these two things are pretty different, but we can also see (in the Venn diagram below) that there’s some overlap in their flavor make-up. (Ignore the math symbols.)
You could create the same diagram for all the ingredients with overlapping flavor compounds, as in this diagram. There are six that have overlap. (Again, ignore the math.)
The researchers did this for each of the several thousand recipes, which used a total of 200 ingredients. They examined how much the underlying flavor compounds overlapped in single dishes and discovered something very different from Western cuisines. Indian cuisine tended to mix ingredients whose flavors don’t overlap at all.
“We found that average flavor sharing in Indian cuisine was significantly lesser than expected,” the researchers wrote.