One of the most fulfilling feelings in the world is eating traditional cuisine from our nation. It puts you in touch with your ancestry and history in the most genuine way possible. Indian cuisine is one of those cuisines with such a wide range of flavours that it’s hard to realise that everything we eat today started here.
Did you know that some of India’s most popular foods aren’t even Indian and didn’t originate here? Foreign delicacies moved in and settled on the Indian subcontinent because it was regularly attacked by neighbouring countries. They are now so ingrained in Indian culture that even non-Indians mistake the meal for Indian.
Here’s a list of dishes we’ve always assumed were Indian but aren’t.
1. Gulab Jamun
There is no other Indian delicacy that can replace gulab jamun as the king of sweets, yet it is now widely accepted that it is actually Persian rather than Indian.
It is derived from the Persian terms ‘gol’ (flower) and ‘ab’ (absorbent) (water). The Persian meal was called ‘luqmat al qadi,’ and it was made by soaking khoya balls in honey syrup and then drizzling them with sugar.
It’s not Indian, yet it’s India’s favourite street snack. That’s crazy! Although practically every other Indian’s favourite snack is chai-samosa, it turns out that samosas were invented in the Middle East before the 10th century. It was first known as a’sambosa,’ and it was brought to Indians by Central Asian traders in the 14th century.
3. Daal Bhat
It is not Indian, but it is one of the most popular meals on any Indian table. Even though daal bhaat is made in practically every Indian state, we owe it to our neighbours to introduce it to us.
Rajma is a staple food for every Punjabi household but the sad truth is, it is not originated from India. It was originally brought to India by the Portuguese. It was Mexicans that created the idea of soaking and Boiling.
We did, however, make ours with a rich rajma sauce made with chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, and other spices.
5. Chicken Tikka Masala
This popular Punjabi dish has Scottish origins. In Glasgow in the year 1971, chef Ali Ahmed improvised a dry chicken dish at the request of a customer.
6. Filter Coffee
The famed ‘kaaphi’ from South India isn’t even Indian, and not in the way you may think. Yemen is the place where this hot beverage originated. Sufi mystic Baba Budan, who discovered filter coffee while on a pilgrimage to Mecca, is supposed to have brought it to India. From Mocha, Yemen, to India, the saint had brought seven coffee beans.
Vindaloo is a Goan specialty, and the Portuguese colonised the coastal Indian state. The name Vindaloo is derived from the Portuguese term ‘carne de vinha d’alhos,’ which refers to a pork dish marinated in wine and garlic.
This popular street treat isn’t even close to being Indian. It is Middle Eastern in origin. Originally, it was known as ‘zalabiya’ (Arabic) or ‘zalibiya’ (English) (Persian). Different variations of this delicacy are now available, some of which include other Indian sweets. Anyone up for some rabbdi jalebi?
Isn’t it true that everyone’s favourite tandoor dish isn’t Indian? Isn’t that something of a shock? Naan’s origins, it turns out, maybe traced back to the Persians who colonised India. Despite the fact that we ate butter naan, garlic naan, filled naan, and other types of naan with a variety of curries and gravies, the dish isn’t even Indian.
People from all throughout the country like this rice-based cuisine. Biryani is a dish that leaves your stomach as well as your soul entirely fulfilled, from the alleys of Kolkata to the Nawabi alleyways of Lucknow. Despite the fact that it is a popular meal in practically every state, Biryani is not an Indian dish. Its origins are in Persia, not India.