Indian Food You Believe Are from India but Actually Not

We Indians are foodies! From eating pani-puri at a nearby local vendor to having a heavy buffet at leading restaurant chains, we crave for different tastes in food. And, there are some popular dishes, that we believe, belong to Indian tradition only. But the question is ‘Do they?’.

It is hard for us to imagine the food that we consume, either daily or every other day, had been derived from a foreign recipe. Keep reading this blog to unfold the original story of some famous Indian items of food.

Chai

We all Indians literally live on 3-4 cups of tea a day, but our beloved Chai is not from India. Turns out! Our life savior Chai was a medicinal drink in South-West China. British introduced chá (the original pronunciation) to India, only to break the monopoly of China in the tea market. Soon the tribals of North-East Indian learned the cultivation techniques and Chai became a morning energy drink for Indians to kick-start their day.

Jalebi

jalebi

Any Indian can relate to the feeling of having a bite of hot and crispy Jalebi on a rainy day. Well, this toothsome dish is not truly Indian, but Persian. Initially, it was known as Zalibiya or Zalabiya (in Arabic) and was brought to our lands by the invaders from West Asia. It was believed, people used to distribute Jalebi among the poor during Ramadan. And now, different forms of Jalebis, including Imertee and Jangiri, are available at every sweet corner.

Samosa

Samosa

Whenever we have guests at our home, Samosa is the first item on our food list. But Samosa, the best companion of Tea, is not originally from India. This stuffed-with-potato guest now has become a part of Indian food family but was introduced by the traders of Middle East between 13th and 14th Century and its real name was ‘Sambosa’. But who cares about the name when you have this yummy dish on your plate.

Shukto

Shukto

Shukto is a famous Bitter-sweet Bengali dish which is full of veggies and served with rice. However, this tempting Bengali dish is not from Indian horizons. It was a Portuguese cuisine which was prepared using bitter gourd (Karela) as the main ingredient. Slowly different vegetables were added, along with milk/sweet, to the recipe and finally, Shukto became one of the favorite dishes among the Bengali community.

Dal-Bhaat

Dal-Bhaat

Remember your childhood days when you used to come back from school, and your mother served you hot & mouth-watering Dal-bhaat (Dal-Chawal)? Nostalgic…Huh?? But the heartbreaking reality is the origin of Dal-Bhaat is not Indian. This staple dish is the National food of our neighboring country, Nepal. Gradually, this plate full of delights spread throughout the country, giving rise to variants like Khichdi and becoming an essential meal of our daily diet.

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

The fun of any good news is incomplete without gulping a whole Gulab Jamun in a go. But there is a bad news folks! This king of sweets isn’t Indian. The roots of Gulab Jamun belong to Persia, and originally, it was known as luqmat al-qadi. During the Mughal period, these rose-scented syrup balls were prepared in a different way. Deep-fried dough balls were soaked in honey syrup, and sugar was sprinkled over before presenting them to the emperor. In due course, the batter was modified and so, the name of this delicious dessert.

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