Did the Indus valley civilization people cultivate paddy or wheat? Was their diet vegan or vegetarian?
Asked by Sreenivas Sudarshan
Jonathan Mark Kenoyer
"Wheat was probably the foundation for most meals, but other staple dishes would have been made from roasted barley, stewed or fried lentils, gram (chickpea) flour, baked tubers and various wild grains. Meat preparations would have been grilled and roasted, stewed or fried and even minc3d with variousherbs and spices. The range of vegetables is difficult to reconstruct accurately, because of the lack of preserved remains, but we think the Harappans had peas, gourds, melons and mustard seeds." (Ancient Cities of the Indus Civilization, p. 169).
When they could they ate meat, like any other people of the middle Bronze age in southern Central, Middle and South Asia.
They were definitely non vegetarians and evidence of domesticated animals that is available in abundance in terms of bones of animals. However, unpublished studies of some pottery shows that they used vegetable oils. But this is spot data from one piece of pottery from one site and more data is needed.
See also the question-and-answer What did the Harappa people eat? and the article The Origins of Curry in the Indus Civilization by Andrew Lawler.
Above: India Clay Cooking Pot, Courtesy Ancient Cookware.