Since 2020, we have been stuck in our homes due to the pandemic, hindering our daily lives and travel plans. Eating the same homemade food, and living the same routine has become tedious for us. So why don’t we spice things up and make some fusion food? But wait, you don’t have to wrack your brains for a recipe. Most of these foods are already a staple for most of us.
11 Foreign Foods Modified By Indians
Biryani is a favorite among most of us. Some people claim that they can eat Biryani for breakfast, lunch, and even for dinner. But biryani was originally not Indian food but was introduced to us by the Mughals through the Persians.
The Mughals brought Biryani with them, which was first cooked only for the royalty because it was not accessible and affordable to the common people yet. The Mughal chefs then modified the Biryani to suit the availability of the ingredients in the Indian subcontinent. Later, after the Mughals lost power and were overthrown by the Britishers, the chefs of the Mughals were also let off on their own. These chefs then proceeded to open shops in the nearby areas and cooked and sold these ‘royal items’ like Biryani & Kababs to earn a livelihood. This is how the Biryani became a common accessible food item to people, which is still a hit today.
Some popular variations of the Biryani are:
Kolkata Biryani– The most notable addition was the potato which was said to have been added by the cooks of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah to compensate for the lack of meat. This biryani is also lighter in spices than its original counterpart.
Lucknow Biryani– In this biryani, the two components of meat and rice are cooked separately and then assembled in a copper pot. It is also famous as the Awadhi Biryani.
India and China may be at loggerheads in modern times, but in history, they had good relationships, which is evident from the variety of Chinese foods liked and consumed by people to date.
The first Chinese settlement in India was based in Tangra in Calcutta, with the Chinese people initially working in tanneries and sugar mills. These industries were shut down due to India gaining independence and further due to the Indo-Sino war in 1962. These people then set up Chinese eateries in Tangra and Tiretti bazaar, often called the Chinatown. They modified the dishes to suit the Indian palate.
Another reason for the modification was the unavailability of Chinese cooking wines and alcohol, a major ingredient in authentic Chinese cooking.
Some of the Indo-Chinese dishes widely consumed in India are:
2. CHILLI CHICKEN
Go to any part of India, and you would find at least one shop selling this delicacy. Chilli chicken, although of Chinese origin, is a popular dish in India, famous for its sweet and spicy taste. The chili chicken in China is not as loaded with gravy as it is found in India. It is also not high in tomato ketchup the way it is sold and consumed in India. The dish has been modified to suit the Indian palate.
3. VEG MANCHURIAN
In Chinese cooking, the protein source is primarily meat-based, but India has a large population of vegetarians. In India, there is always a vegetarian variation for almost every dish out there. So, for them, the Gobi Manchurian is a popular substitute for chicken Manchurian. Deep-fried balls made from shredded cabbage, carrots, onions, beans are added to the Manchurian gravy, and there you have your own vegetarian Manchurian.
Another vegetarian option is Chilli Paneer which can be made using the same technique.
4. HAKKA NOODLES
A favorite street dish among Indians initially did not receive the same love as it does now. The noodles’ original flavor did not sit right with the Indians and was then modified by adding certain Indian spices to suit the Indian palate. And the rest is history.
The noodle is now added and consumed as a standalone dish or even combined with other dishes as well.
5. NOODLE SAMOSA
Samosa, which is usually stuffed with meat and veggies, is now also stuffed with the popular noodles or chowmein, as many people call it. The combination may sound weird, but this samosa is a hit among many people and those who want to experiment with their food.
6. NOODLE ROLLS
Another fusion food, the noodle or chowmein stuffed roll, is also for the experiment-lovers. The southern part of India is also not behind in its own adaptation of Chinese cuisine. They have incorporated the Chinese elements in some of their staples.
7. NOODLE DOSA
Dosa is usually stuffed with a potato filling, but the Noodle dosa is a unique one. It is stuffed with noodles and makes for southern India’s own Indo-Chinese recipe.
8. SCHEZWAN DOSA
If Indian and Chinese cuisines have one similarity, it has to be the love for spicy food. And the spicy schezwan sauce is a common favorite among them.
In the schezwan dosa, the dosa is often coated with the spicy schezwan sauce, or the sauce is added to the filling to make the dosa spicy.
9. CHILLI IDLI
If North India has Veg Manchurian, then Chilli Idli is South India’s answer to it. Idli pieces are cut into small cubes and fried in the Manchurian sauce to make Chilli Idli, a unique specialty.
10. TANDOORI/GRAVY MOMOS
Momos are the most common street food found in Indian streets in recent times. The light steamed dish is a hit among people for its simplicity and also for its healthiness. The momos in Tibet are mostly consumed steamed, but the Indians have added their own touch to it.
Tandoori momos have found their way into people’s hearts sooner than was expected. Another variant of gravy momos is also popular among those who want that extra something in their momos.
11. VEG TACOS
Tacos that were originally made by mine workers in Mexico are now a worldwide favorite. Tacos are crispy thins filled with minced meat, veggies, sauce, and topped with lemon.
Indians, going on with their tradition of making a vegetarian version of almost every dish possible, have made a veg taco version too. As the name suggests, the vegetarian tacos are without meat and are filled with vegetables of choice. The meat is often substituted with paneer or mushroom, and the crisp outer layer is often substituted with the Indian ‘papad’ or ‘naan.’
So many options and the list isn’t even complete. Make any of these dishes and give your taste buds a trip around the world.