Bread, Pasta and Biscuits in India

04 December 20179 min reading

India, one of the most complex countries in the world in terms of ethnicity, has 1652 languages and dialects. 14 languages that are legally recognized by the Constitution are spoken by 91% of the population. Despite the fact that spices and curry sauce are the leading actors of the Indian cuisine, the characteristics of the Indian cuisine is shaped according to the regions. India, where the consumption of pasta and biscuits is increasing rapidly, is one of the countries where market players show most interest. 

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India has always been a center of attraction with its population of nearly one-and-a-half-billion people, its surface area larger than a continent, world famous cinema, music, different religions and colorful worlds. The Indian cuisine changes from region to region. In general spices and curry sauce are the leading players of Indian cuisine. The characteristics of Indian cuisine are shaped according to the regions. In the wet and very rainy regions, the cuisine is based on rice and fish, while in the arid regions and deserts, a culinary culture based on wheat and meat is adopted. As for temperate climates, the cuisine relies on rice, wheat, mutton, lamb and fish.

In India, bread consumption is spreading towards the consumption of grained bread as it is all over the world, and as a result of the fast life styles, they are being produced and sold using various ingredients in a way that they can be purchased and consumed at the markets and bakeries. The same lifestyle has also influenced pasta consumption, making these products more popular among the public.

The cuisine of a country is built mainly by different communities, traditions and cultures that make up that country. In other words, the geographical proximity and accessibility of the country to the different regions are the most important factors that enrich the country cuisine. Like some countries in the world, India is a cosmopolitan country where different colors, languages, traditions and cultures are melted and blended. From this point of view, India is a melting pot where different cultures co-exist and there are different eating customs in each region and is the most populous country after China.

BREAD CULTURE IN INDIA The Indian cuisine is famous for its traditional cooking techniques and excessively spicy dishes. The Indian cuisine is divided into two as North and South. Meat is predominant in the Northern cuisine and vegetables are predominant in the Southern cuisine. The similarities of the names of many cooking and cooking techniques stem from this fact. Delhi is known for its street food. Gali Paranthe Wali Street in the Chandni Chowk district is a very good example of this. This street is named after paratha (lavash) which is made on pans. Tandoori, kabob, parantha and curry are the main cooking techniques used in Delhi.

The curry is named as ‘yellow chili powder’ in Indian cuisine, just one of the countless spices used in cooking. Tandoor is a very old cooking technique that is said to data back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. Chicken, meat, fish and traditional bread called naan are all cooked in Tandoor.

All of the spices used in the Indian cuisine are local products. Apart from the taste that they flavor to the food, these spices are claimed to be very healthy. For example, masala (spice mixture) is made by mixing different spices and in different methods. These spices are first roasted and then grounded to powder. Masalas, even the ones bearing the same name, vary by regions. Although the main ingredients of internationally famous garam (spice) masala, which is popular all over the world, consist of 8-9 spices as black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, green and black cardamom, bay leaf and cumin, many different spices such as rose leaf and anise may be added to this mixture.

BREAD IS INDISPENSABLE FOR INDIAN CUISINE Bread is the most indispensable part of the Indian cuisine as it is in Turkish cuisine. Almost all of the Indian cuisine consumes different varieties of bread such as naan which is cooked at tandoor and paratha, chapati and roti, which are cooked in kitchenware such as pans and tins. For these bread types, flours from especially millet, wheat, chickpeas and other legumes are used. In addition to the bread in the Indian cuisine, the foods that are constantly present are pulses (legumes), rice (pulao) and lassi made from yoghurt.

Naan, traditional Indian bread, is consumed solely or with butter. Papadum, also known as traditional Indian cracker made from lentil flour, and Lasooni Naan, also known as tandoori garlic bread, are among the most consumed bread varieties.

In the north of India, fried pita bread and poori masala made from potato puree and spices are eaten in the morning. In the south, idli is more famous. This is a kind of cake made from rice and black lentil, usually served with sambar, a spicy lentil dish.

INGREDIENTS OF BISCUITS In the bakery industry, a wide variety of raw materials are used depending on the type of each product. Production input naturally varies depending on the nutritional value of the product, palatal delight of the consumers, and the price of the product. Local customs, palate and quality are effective in the mixture used in products such cake.

When you look at the materials from ingredients on the package of biscuits, you see various ingredients. Bakery products are generally manufactured from these products: Wheat flour, bran, oat flour, barley flour, wheat extract, malt flour, rice flour, besan flour, processed soybean flour, peanut flour and oil, cotton seed flour. While for oils, butter and Indian-boiled butter (ghee) are used; for starch; Tapioca flour, potato flour, arrowroot starch, corn starch and rice starch are used.

As milk / dairy products, more cheese essence, milk powder, butter milk, liquid / condensed milk, cheese and sour milk are preferred. As a sugar, liquid glucose, sugar, dextrose monohydrate, sugar from date water (jagery), sugar molasses, lactose malt extract, invert syrup and honey are preferred. In addition, coffee powder, cocoa powder, enzymes, vegetables, gluten contents, sodium bisulphite and sodium metasulfite are also used. Besides, flavoring essences, coloring matters, antioxidants such as tartaric acid and citric acid, lecithin and glycerol monostearate, baking soda, sodium bicarbonate and ammonium carbonate are also used.

TWO FOLD INCREASE IN THE LAST 10 YEARS India, one of the world’s leading biscuit producers, has increased its biscuit production by 5.9 percent between 2005 and 2013, according to the ValueNotes Database’s 2015 data. India, which produced 1.8 million tons of biscuits in 2010, increased this amount to 1.9 million tons in 2011 and to 2 million tons in 2012. In 2013, India’s biscuit production was recorded at 2.1 million tons. In the last decade, biscuit production in the country has almost doubled.

Biscuits, cookies and crackers are the most prominent group of bakery products. Their main feature is that there is no time limitation in their use, they can be consumed at all hours of the day and night. The shelf life of most of them is long because they do not easily spoil through touching. The most common ingredients used in making biscuits are flour, sugar, salt, milk, fermentation compositions and ingredients enabling them to be crispy. Sometimes eggs, butter and other ingredients can be added optionally.

Flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, eggs, baking soda, water and ingredients enabling biscuits to be crispy are the ingredients of biscuits in conventional baking technique. The most common varieties of biscuits are almond biscuits, cinnamon biscuits, chocolate biscuits, orange biscuits, biscuits with date and biscuits with jam. Coconut cookies, bagel-like fatty products, anise cookies, spice balls, sweet wafers, cakes, Christmas cake, muffins are among the most consumed products. Babka is a kind of cake made from sweet dough, commonly known as “tea cakes” or “grandma’s bread”.

PASTA CULTURE AND CONSUMPTION IN INDIA The Indian society, which is open to the cultures of other countries, does not spare this attitude from the cuisine of other lands. This is also evident in pasta consumption and culture. India has already adopted the pasta that society was previously seen as a product of Western cuisine.

Urbanization and the rapid life style that it requires entails speed and thus, practical food in eating habits. Pasta is also one of these trendy food. On the other hand, it should be noted that in recent years, in parallel with the increase in the country’s economy, the average Indian spending on food has decreased proportionately and the consumers have become increasingly selective.

The pasta exports of the country in the 11-year period extending from 2003-2004 season to 2014-2015 season rose from $ 2.81 million to $ 22.29 million. Considering the export volume, it is seen that exports have increased from 3,300 tons to 13,300 tons during the same period. India carries out 71.3 percent of its pasta exports to the United States, Canada, Nepal, Bhutan Kingdom and the United Kingdom.

When we look at the import volume, it is seen that imports started from 3 thousand 980 tons and exceeded 9 thousand tons level. The main importing countries are Italy, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey respectively.

The experts watching the country’s cuisine, cultural habits and economic trends carefully believe that the increase in the consumption of pasta in this Asian country with a population of nearly one and a half billion will continue in the future. The estimates made in this direction show that the annual growth rate of the pasta market in the country will be around 20 percent over the next five years and that the market size will reach about 71 million dollars. This development will also be influenced by the popularity of the famous Italian cuisine with its pasta varieties and the interest in ready-to-eat food.

The domestic producers are struggling with the issues such as the quality of domestic wheat and export subsidies of the leading exporter countries and trying to get a bigger share from the African market.

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