7 Famous Traditional Indian Foods With Historical Significance

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Famous Traditional Indian Foods: We Indians are foodies in nature but we generally don’t know much about the origins of the foods we are having every day. But they all have some specific historical significance as well.

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Here we have given the small historical origin of some great Indian foods for all the foodies out there.

1. Biryani

Biryani originated from the name ‘birian’ which means ‘fried before cooking’. It was originated during the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The legends say that once Mumtaz Mahal came to visit the army barracks of Shah Jahan.

Famous Traditional Indian Foods - Biryani

At that time she realised that the armies need some more nutritious food for better performance. She instructed all the cooks to make something wholesome for them which can be served in a single meal.

During this time so many cooks worked hard to make something nutritious for the warriors.

And among all of them, Mumtaz Mahal chose biryani to be the ultimate option for them which has all the necessary spices, ghee, rice and meat to give them proper nutrition. This is the actual origin of our favourite biryani.

2. Butter Chicken

This food item was made by Kundan Lal Gujral and his chef Simon Mahil Chahal in their restaurant Moti Mahal Delux in Old Delhi.

Famous Traditional Indian Foods - Butter Chicken
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At first, the restaurant was in Peshawar but after partition, they moved to Delhi. According to the story, the ruler of Mareelun was a VIP in India right then.

One day during late at night when the restaurant was already closed, the ruler came into their restaurant and asked them to prepare something with chicken for him.

The chef saw that they don’t have proper supplies to make something delicious and the ingredients were only some vegetables, butter and half tandoori chicken.

He made something hastily with these items to please the ruler and he undoubtedly liked it. This was the story when butter chicken was made for the first time due to lack of ingredients. So it is a wrong concept that butter chicken is a complicated dish.

3. Idli

In ancient India, Arabian people brought the famous rice balls with them to this country. Then they settled down here and they were quite strict about their diet.

Famous Traditional Indian Foods - Idli

They came here at the time when Muhammad was alive and they recently turned themselves into Islam from paganism.

So they used to have halal in their diet. But it was not quite clear in India about the halal and haram in the food items.

So they preferred to eat rice balls by flattening them with their palms and eat them with some coconut chutney. It was believed to be the invention of Idli in India.

4. Sambar

If we talked about Idli then we must talk about sambar as well. If you are thinking that if Idli was invented in 800 to 1200 AD then sambar may also be invented at that time. But in that case, you are completely wrong.

Idli Sambar Recipe

Sambar is a recent food item invented in the 18th century. The famous Thanjavur Maratha, Shahuji used to like a dish named “amti”. It was made of kokum. But then during the catastrophe period, they did not have any supply of kokum.

So someone in their court suggested that the local people use tamarind pulp for the sourness in all of their food and they should try it as well. So Shahuji made the amti with toor dal, spices, vegetables and most importantly tamarind pulp.

When he served it to his cousin Sambhaji, he liked it instantly and it was named Sambhar after his name.

5. Pav Bhaji

This dish is originated from Mumbai in India. The mill workers working in Mumbai had a very little time for their lunch because they had to get back to work soon after having a meal. But they could not cope up with the rigorous work they have after having a light meal.

Pav Bhaji Recipe

So a small restaurant owner modified this dish by all the leftover items from the menu. He used all the curries to make a single bhaji and served it to all the mill workers with some pav or bread.

And it became an instant hit. The first-ever pav bhaji stall in Mumbai was located in the cotton exchange where a lot of workers used to wait for New York cotton pieces in the 1960s. After that pav bhaji became one of the most famous food items in all over India.

6. Samosa

Samosa is an inseparable part of Indian snacks item right now. But most of us don’t know the origin of it. The origin of it goes back to a long time ago in Central Asia when a lot of traders used to come to India for trading through spice routes.

Easy Samosa Recipe

They could not carry something complicated as food and they used to make triangular shaped snacks filled with mince and grilled by the campfire.

Later on, when it came to India, we converted the stuffing into a vegetarian one with potatoes and vegetables rather than mince as most of the Indians were vegetarian at that time.

And this way the samosas became an instant hit all over the country among the local people as well as the kings.

7. Vada Pav

Vada pav was invented in Bombay when it was not as modern as today’s Mumbai. According to history, this dish was invented by a small stall owner named Ashok Vaidya in the Dadar railway station.

Vada Pav

It was one of the most important railway stations there and he was thinking to come up with a recipe which can be consumed at one go by the people in that crowded station.

So he started serving vada pav to them by making some vada and stuffing it in between two pieces of bread with some hot chutney made with chillies, peanuts, garlic, coconut and some tamarind pulp.

Everyone liked the idea of this innovative dish and it became popular.

So these were some interesting history of Famous Traditional Indian Foods we consume regularly. Sometimes it is quite fascinating to know such unique stories behind the everyday items. Isn’t it?


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