What you think are Desi Foods are Not actually Desi?Apr 01, 2019
India being a multi-cultured and multi-cuisine country, has so many varieties of food items that one’s lifetime is not enough to even list them out. Still, a few of them stand out when we question – “What’s the taste of India?” – Probably Biriyani? Samosa? Gulab Jamun or Jalebi? List them out but be prepared to know the truth as well. Yes. These are not desi foods. Take a look below:
The most popular South-Indian breakfast, idli had been idly sitting with the Indonesians, till it was borrowed by us. Served with hot sambar or coconut chutney, idlies are prepared with the batter made from rice and de-husked black lentils known as urad dal.
Indian folklore has it that Babu Budan, a Sufi saint from Karnataka, learnt about coffee on his pilgrimage to Mecca. He smuggled seven coffee beans out of Yemen airport and planted them in the foothills of Chandragiri hills in Mysore. This is the long story short about how coffee was introduced in India. Filter coffee is prepared by adding freshly brewed decoction to boiled milk.
Nobody can say no to this triangle shaped entree dish with spicy filling made of potato, peas and non veg stuffing some times. This popular evening snack hails from the Middle East and known as ‘Samosa’.
Dough balls deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup. The very thought of it is so tempting and takes us back to home and childhood. In its home country Persia, it’s called ‘Lokma’ or ‘Luqmat-al-qadi’ but no home in our country goes without it during festivals.
Mughal biriyani, Lucknow biriyani, Kolkata biriyani, Hyderabadi biriyani, Dindigul thalappakkatti biriyani, Ambur biriyani, Bombay biriyani, Bangalore biriyani and what not? Indians can make biriyani out of anything and everything. The name biriyani has been derived from the Persian word ‘Birian’ meaning ‘fried before cooking’ or ‘Birinj’ meaning ‘rice’. Timur, the Turco-Mongol conqueror, brought this to India when he arrived at the Indian borders in 1398. His army was fed with a clay pot full of rice, meat and spices that would be cooked in the earth oven. Some say that the dish was brought to India by Arabs who traded at the Malabar Coast. Whatever! Biriyani is Biriyani! No substitutes.
Hot or cold. Jalebi’s story has to be told. Persia is where it was initially sold. Shimmers like gold and the taste is so tempting even if you are blindfold.
Chai or Tea has its roots in Britain. Day or night, Rain or shine, Happy or sad, Lonely or with lovely company, friends or family – the day is not complete without sipping hot tea.
Marie married Chai and they are incomplete if not had together. A dip of Marie and a sip of chai. The real story is here: Marie Biscuit was first prepared in London in 1874 by the Peek Freans Bakery to celebrate the wedding of Maria Alexandrovna, Russia’s Grand Duchess to the Duke of Edinburgh. It was originally called Maria.
Naan bread came to India from Iranians and Persians. Later was added by the Mughals who invaded India.
The red kidney beans that is used to make creamy gravies hails from Mexico and brought to India by Portuguese. Although the initial inspiration is from Guatemala, Punjabis are to be commended for making it tastier and popular.
The most popular chicken tikka was first prepared by a chef in Glasgow, UK. Thanks to the customer who complained that his chicken was so dry. Eureka! Chicken tikka was born.
The Bengali dish Shukto travelled all the way from Portugal via Goa to Bengal. But worth the time and distance – no one could have made this bitter gourd, a better gourd and the best gourd.
Eaten by the poor and rich alike, Kichdi (salty porridge) got its Indian citizenship 2500 years ago when it migrated from China. Every state loves kichdi so much that they have their own versions. Healthiest food with the goodness of rice, lentils and ghee altogether in one.
Soups are the saviours of winter. Tomato soup, the all-time favourite of everyone with ghee-fried bread chunks, is originally from region of Andalucía in southern Spain.
Born in Middle East, this dish has travelled all over the world in different forms and tastes. Invented by Medieval soldiers who grilled their meat with their swords as the skewers in the middle of open-field fires.
Meat or vegetables wrapped in a roti with the dripping sauces adding fuel to the flavour. Originally from the Turkish cuisine, Shawarma has travelled with his Kebab brother all over the globe with twists and turns to the taste.
Faloodeh aka Falooda originated from Persia into the Indian dessert bowls through merchants and invaders in the 16th Century. Prepared with chilled milk, vermicelli, rose syrup and sweet basil seeds, topped with ice cream.
Although these dishes were born in some other countries, India has welcomed them warmly and kept them so close to its heart that they are no more foreigners but pakka desi food. Share your part of the story at the dining table with friends and family and have a flavourful family time.