Spicy, rich, flavorful and diverse are terms that are frequently used to describe Indian food. All these words are apt in describing Indian cuisine, for it is diverse in variety and taste, and is made up from a wide array of regional cuisines throughout various parts of India. There are a basic 20 to 30 spices that are used in many dishes—cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger, to name a few—and there are an infinite number of ways of using them. Every spice has a reason for being there. They have health benefits, and they make the food more exciting and flavorful.
Contrary to common belief, not all Indian dishes are curries. However, “curry” has become a catch-all name for any spice-based meat or vegetable dish with a sauce. Curries can be watery, dry, red, green, hot, or really, really hot—it’s completely up to the chef in charge.