The common hypothesis is that food tastes best when paired with ingredients that share the same flavour. For example, Blue cheese goes perfectly with Chocolate when they are served together giving it a unique taste because of the overlapping flavours of the ingredients. A study conducted by Indian scientists from Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur discovered that Indian cuisine aka Desi Khaana tends to break the norm of this hypothesis.
The Unique Taste
The research involved downloading more than 2500 recipes from an online cooking database – TarlaDalal.com. Recipes were considered from various cuisines like Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, and South Indian, to make sure the vast geography, climates, and cultures of the Indian subcontinent are encompassed in the study. The recipes altogether were equivalent to 194 different ingredients. The scientists then created a flavour network in which all the ingredients were linked if they appeared together in the same recipe. The network looked like this:
The researchers then created a positive or negative pairing of the food depending on the amount ingredients that shared the same flavour compounds and to much surprise it was found that Indian foods saw a strong affinity for negative pairing i.e. fewer or no similar flavour compounds were present in the Indian cuisine.This negative pairing is what gives Indian food its unique signature taste.
So now we know why “Saare Jahaan Se Accha, Hindustani Khaana Hamaara”!