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If there is one thing that unites India, despite our diverse multitudes, it is our legendary love for food. For every occasion, every mood, every gathering, there are some popular Indian dishes associated. Be it Chai-Samosa during rainy evenings, or Jalebi to celebrate Sunday mornings, there are quintessential Indian delicacies that we all swear by! But a lot of our own has global origins. Here are few 100% desi foods that are not so desi:
Samosa is undoubtedly India’s favorite snack. This tiny pyramid-shaped pastry, stuffed with the goodness of potato and spices, is a guaranteed mood-lifter. Our memorable Samosa moments range from unattended college periods, to the rishta conversation before an arranged marriage. The beloved Samosa has traveled far and wide from Egypt, Libya, and Central Asia, to come to India and become ours. It was originally called Samsa, named after the pyramids of Central Asia! The rich Samosa has also a rich history in its wake.
I don’t need to say anything about Chai. Even writing about chai makes me crave for one. Personally, I share an intimate relationship with this beverage. Be it busy mornings or boring meetings, my tryst with chai started at an early age. And I think that is true for most Indians. According to a legend, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree, while his servant boiled drinking water when some leaves from the tree blew into the water. Shen Nung, a renowned herbalist, decided to try the infusion that his servant had accidentally created. The tree was a Camellia sinensis, and the resulting drink was what we now call tea. This beverage made its way to the lives of the exploring Brits, who brought it with them to India. We have never gotten over it since!
This one is for the Bengalis. Check out any Bengali food blog. Most likely, there will be a Shukto recipe in there. This bitter sweet conglomeration of odd vegetables is deeply comforting to the Bengali soul. I am sure my grandma won’t believe it, but apparently, Shukto came from the Portuguese. They brought it with them, when they colonized in the country, and became a unique part of our culture.
If there is one food that defines a large part of north India, it is Rajma. The spicy, black, kidney bean curry has been mastered by us like no other! But rumor has it that Rajma came to India from the Taco land, Mexico. The bean itself has Mexican origins, and made its way to India through the trade routes. Indians have managed to make it their own though, standing out distinctively in the preparation from its Mexican origins.
Giving Naan a global identity feels like the equivalent of telling my brother that he is adopted. Of course, that’s funny. But early travelogues suggest that the famous Naan originated in the Middle East – in Persia to be particular. And it probably gained entry in India along with the invasion of the kings and the warriors.
I saved the most shocking one for the last! Yes, be it Holi or Diwali, when Sharma Ji ka beta tops the class, or Kohli breaks a record, the vivacious Gulabjamun is the omnipresent celebratory food. Not just that ..it is one of our favorite desserts.
The different parts of India often disagree on how to make Gulabjamun better. But like Naan, Gulabjamun also immigrated from Persia. “Gol” is a flower and “ab” is water, While Jamun (jaman) resembles a fruit. The Arab dessert luqmat al-qadi is believed to be the parent of Gulab jamun, although it uses a completely different batter now. According to the culinary historian Michael Krondl, both luqmat al-qadi and Gulabjamun may have derived from a Persian dish, with rose water syrup being a common connection between the two
Can you think of any other Indian favorites that are not Indian at all? Comment below or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source credits: Wikipedia.
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