How Has Religion Influenced Indian Food?

September 3, 2020

The food that we eat in the 21st century is often the work of hundreds of years of cultural influence. In fact, we often forget where a particular dish originated from because it moved from one location to another so long ago. Here at Royal Nawaab, we want to look at the influence that religion has had on Indian cuisine and why certain regions are more likely to eat certain dishes whilst others avoid particular ingredients altogether. Read on to find out more…


Many Hindus are vegetarian for ethical reasons which means that Indian cuisine has a wide variety of meat-free dishes to choose from. In fact, many of these dishes contain vegetables like tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach and potatoes because that is what makes up the bulk of a Hindu’s diet. Interestingly, Brahmin castes are a class of educators, law makers, and preachers in Hinduism who follow a strict vegetarian diet by avoiding meat, fish, and eggs.


Muslims influenced the shape and flavour of Indian cuisine by introducing Mughlai cuisine to Indian culture many years ago. As a result, a lot of the dishes in Indian cuisine are served with almonds, pistachios, cashews, and raisins. In addition to this, Muslims are also responsible for Tandoor style of cooking as well as famous Indian dishes like Biryani.


Buddhists do not believe in hurting any form of life which means that many will follow a vegetarian lifestyle. With this said, some Buddhists will consume meat as long as the animal died of natural causes. As a result, Buddhism has influenced Indian cuisine by allowing the vegetarian aspect to withstand the test of time, creating soups and stews that are famous across the country.


Following on with the idea of vegetarianism, Jainism has a religious influence on Indian food because there is a lot of emphasis on avoiding wastage. In fact, Jains do not consume the root of vegetables, alcohol, honey, or meat. As a result, there are certain dishes in Indian cuisine that are completely void of ingredients like onions, garlic, and potatoes.


Although the influence is minimal, the Christian religion has reshaped Indian cuisine in terms of the food that is eaten in India today. After all, traditional dishes like salads and grilled or roasted meat are typically eaten as a part of Indian cuisine by many Christian Indians.

Indian cuisine reflects the culture, religions, and traditions of India as a country. After all, the people who live there are the reason why the food is so diverse! In fact, religion has had a profound effect on the dishes that we recognise as a part of Indian cuisine and has even managed to influence the spices that are used. To find out more information, get in contact with the best restaurant London has to offer and speak to a member of the Royal Nawaab team today!