Mmmmm, tasty contrasts.
I will have one of everything, please. (via Thinkstock)
I've been cooking a lot of Indian food lately, and I've been consistently impressed by the recipes in the cookbook I've been using. With very little fat and what feels like relatively few spices, every dish has tasted more complex than an interview with Willow and Jaden Smith.
Turns out that some data scientists have done some delicious number-crunching, and they found a reason these recipes are so dang good: Indian food features more contrasting flavors than Western cuisines. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology looked at recipes on popular Indian cooking site TarlaDalal.com and discovered that in most recipes, there is very little flavor overlap between ingredients. According to the Washington Post:
Chefs in the West like to make dishes with ingredients that have overlapping flavors. But not all cuisines adhere to the same rule. Many Asian cuisines have been shown to belie the trend by favoring dishes with ingredients that don't overlap in flavor. And Indian food, in particular, is one of the most powerful counterexamples.
Of course, we've known for ages that contrasting elements work well together — just look at Sam and Diane on Cheers, the colors yellow and purple paired together, or the fact that your parents are still married.