India is known to have a unique food culture, with a vegetarian diet and extensive use of spices and herbs. In addition, India grown-up to become the world's most populous country in 2023, and understanding Indian food is of great interest to food companies that are expanding globally. We therefore conducted a study on the compatibility of food ingredients and seasonings consumed in India using flavour pairing.In our study, we first surveyed more than 3000 Indian recipes to identify the ingredients and seasonings most frequently consumed in India (1). Next, information on the aroma and taste components of the listed ingredients and seasonings was collected from previous literature (2). The compatibility of these listed ingredients and seasonings was also investigated by means of a questionnaire to 254 chefs from different regions of India (3). Furthermore, an attempt was made to develop a model to explain the compatibility of ingredients and seasonings in India (4), using the compatibility rating of the ingredients and seasonings (3) as the objective variable and the information on aroma and taste components (2) as the dependent variable. However, it was difficult to explain the compatibility of all listed ingredients and seasonings in one model. Therefore, seasonings and ingredients were classified by cluster analysis based on information on the aroma and taste components, and a predictive model of compatibility was created for each cluster, with good results. In the compatibility assessment, not only the similarity between the ingredients and seasonings was taken into account, but also the contrast and masking effects. Finally, to confirm the validity of the obtained regression model, a sensory evaluation test was conducted with 53 chefs to confirm that the compatibility evaluation model obtained was correct (5).
This study is expected to help advance the understanding of Indian food preferences and the evaluation of food compatibility using the concept of flavour pairing.