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Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, meat, vegetables, and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices.
The development of these cuisines have been shaped by Hindu and Jain beliefs, and in particular by vegetarianism, which is a growing dietary trend in Indian society.There has also been Central Asian influence on North Indian cuisine from the years of Mughal and Turkic Delhi Sultanate rule. Indian cuisine has been and is still evolving, as a result of the nation's cultural interactions with other societies.Historical incidents such as foreign invasions, trade relations and colonialism have also played a role in introducing certain foods to the country. For instance, potato, a staple of Indian diet was brought to India by the Portuguese, who also introduced chillies and breadfruit. Indian cuisine has also shaped the history of international relations; the spice trade between India and Europe is often cited by historians as the primary catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery. Spices were bought from India and traded around Europe and Asia. It has also influenced other cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia, the British Isles and the Caribbean.
Staple foods of Indian cuisine include pearl millet (bajra), rice, whole-wheat flour (atta), and a variety of lentils, especially masoor (most often red lentils), toor (pigeon pea), urad (black gram), and moong (mung bean). Lentils may be used whole, dehusked—for example, dhuli moong or dhuli urad—or split. Split lentils, or dal, are used extensively. Some pulses, such as channa (chickpea), Rajma or kidney beans, lobiya are very common, especially in the northern regions. Channa and mung, are also processed into flour (besan).