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To appreciate this rich and varied cuisine one must understand the philosophy that dictates Indian food. The strongest influence on Indian food is of Ayurveda an ancient body of knowledge on health and life. It covers the whole subject of life in it’s various ramifications. It discusses the purpose of life, the importance of mental as well as physical well being. The aim is salvation-the wellness of the mind, body and soul. Ayurveda understands the properties and actions of various ingredients in terms of their effects on the body and mind and along with yoga it helps us attain the balance we seek in our lives. This understanding of ingredients and different cooking styles culminates in what is one of the most balanced and healthy cuisines available today.
The other notable influence on Indian cuisine was that of the Mughals that ruled northern India for centuries. Emperor Akbar was a connoisseur of fine food and in the era that he ruled northern India different culinary techniques were combined and with their vast knowledge and understanding of spices and ingredients his chefs took Indian food to the heights of gourmet cuisine.