18 August 2014

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List of 24 Foods Things which were brought to India by foreigners introduced in India

List of 24 Foods Things which were brought to India by foreigners introduced in India

Below is the list of food items or other things which were originally not Indian but brought to India by foreign travelers

Potatoes –
The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C.
The late Dr K. T. Achaya writes in his ‘A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food’ that potatoes in India were first accepted only by Europeans, and then by the Muslims. And when the Dutch came to India, they introduced the culture of potatoes, and from them the British received various kinds of potatoes.

The first potato farms were on the terraced slopes of Dehra Dun (a la Andean) around 1830, but within a short while methods were found to cultivate the potato in the plains.

Potatoes in the United States

Potatoes arrived in the Colonies in 1621 when the Governor of Bermuda, Nathaniel Butler, sent two large cedar chests containing potatoes and other vegetables to Governor Francis Wyatt of Virginia at Jamestown.  The first permanent potato patches in North America were established in 1719, most likely near Londonderry (Derry), NH, by Scotch-Irish immigrants.  From there, the crop spread across the country.

French Fries were introduced to the U.S. when Thomas Jefferson served them in the White House during his Presidency of 1801-1809.  Collinet, chef for French King Louis Phillipe (reign 1830-1848) unintentionally created soufflĂ©s (or puffed) potatoes by plunging already fried potatoes into extremely hot oil to reheat them when the King arrived late for dinner one night. To the chef’s surprise and the king’s delight, the potatoes puffed up like little balloons

In October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space. NASA and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, created the technology with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages, and eventually, feeding future space colonies.

Tomato –
Originating in South America, it only really came into its own when it drifted up towards the warmth of Mexico where the Aztecs named it 'tomatl'. It was taken to Europe and cultivated from the 16th century onwards, but suspicions that its bright fruit was poisonous delayed its spread. K.T.Achaya suggests as late as 1850 for its possible date of entry into India, adding that 30 years later Sir George Watts, in his survey of the economic products of India, said that they were mostly grown for Europeans, although "Bengalis and Burmans" were beginning to use it in their "sour curries".

Red Chili pepper (Lal Mirch) arrived in India during 16th century replacing Pippali. Chili is hotter and easier to grow than Pippali
In India, two types of pepper existed before the arrival of Chili pepper: Black Pepper, and Pippali. Black pepper was called round pepper, and Pippali was called the long pepper.
The Pippali appears as small tiny little berries (about the size of poppy seeds) on a cob.

Portuguese traders introduced Chili pepper to India during 16th century. "Vindaloo" still remains one of the hottest dish prepared in Goa using chili pepper, an Old Portuguese colony in India.

Chili pepper is native of tropical South America. In 1492, Columbus found chili peppers in West Indies. Columbus thought this was another variety of black pepper.  The original name used by Columbus for these peppers was 'Aji', a variation of 'Axi' (Aztek).

Samosa -
The SAMOSA probably travelled to India along ancient trade routes from Central Asia.

Samosa was first brought to the Indian subcontinent in 13th-14th century by the Iranian traders who travelled to India.

In Arab cookbooks of the 10th century Samosa was called as sanbusak.
The Persian name for the pyramids was samsa.
It was centuries later that Muslim traders took their pastry pyramids with them to India. –

In 1334, the renowned traveller Ibn Battuta wrote about the sambusak: "minced meat cooked with almonds, pistachios, onions and spices placed inside a thin envelop of wheat and deep-fried in ghee". And the samosa obtained a royal stamp with its inclusion in the Ain-i-Akbari which declared that among dishes cooked with wheat there is the qutab, "which the people of Hind called the sanbusa".

Amir Khusrow in 1300 wrote the princes and nobles of the time enjoyed “samosa prepared from meat, ghee, onion and so on".

In July, 2011, this snack item has been banned in Somalia by Islamist militants. The al-Shabab group, which has imposed the ban, states that the samosa is by and large a Christian symbolism, considering its triangular shape, closely relating to the Christian holy trinity.

Cricket –
Cricket – Gift of British Raj
The first definite reference to cricket being played anywhere in the sub-continent is a report of English sailors of the East India Company written in 1737.

It refers to cricket being played at Cambay, near Baroda in 1721.
The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club was known to be in existence by 1792, but was possibly founded more than a decade earlier.
In 1799, another club was formed at Seringapatam in south India after the successful British siege and the defeat of Tipu Sultan.

In 1864, a Madras v. Calcutta match was arguably the start of first-class cricket in India.

The most important fixture in the 19th century was the Bombay Presidency Match which evolved, first, into the Bombay Triangular and then into the Bombay Quadrangular. The match was first played in 1877 and then intermittently for several seasons until finally being given first-class status in 1892-93.

An English team led by George Vernon in 1889–90 was the first foreign team to tour India but none of the matches that it played are considered first-class.

First-class cricket definitely began in the 1892–93 season with two Europeans v Parsees matches, at Bombay (match drawn) and Poona (Parsees won by 3 wickets). In the same season, Lord Hawke captained an English team that played four first-class matches including a game against "All India" on 26–28 January 1893.

Noodles - Maggie

Tea was first introduced into India by the British, in an attempt to break the Chinese monopoly on tea
The British, using Chinese seeds, plus Chinese planting and cultivating techniques, launched a tea industry by offering land in Assam to any European who agreed to cultivate tea for export.
Maniram Dewan (1806-1858) was the first Indian tea planter.

In the early 1820s, the British East India Company began large-scale production of tea in Assam, India, of a tea variety traditionally brewed by the Singpho people.

In 1826, the British East India Company took over the region from the Ahom kings through the Yandaboo Treaty.

In 1837, the first English tea garden was established at Chabua in Upper Assam; in 1840, the Assam Tea Company began the commercial production of tea in the region, run by indentured servitude of the local inhabitants.

Beginning in the 1850s, the tea industry rapidly expanded, consuming vast tracts of land for tea plantations. By the turn of the century, Assam became the leading tea producing region in the world.

Writing in The Cambridge World History of Food, Weisburger & Comer write:
"The tea cultivation begun there [India] in the nineteenth century by the British

Tobacco –

Columbus discovered America and tobacco in 1492, in his effort to find a direct sea-route to India, One of the peripatetic teams that visited South America and India introduced tobacco into India in the year 1508.
The Academy of Indian History, Bombay, after going through records pertaining to that period have asserted that tobacco was introduced into India in the year 1508.

Tobacco was first brought to India by Portuguese merchants 400 years ago.
Until about 1590 the tobacco plant and its products were virtually unknown in the subcontinent.
Ain-i-Akbari, the great administrative compendium of Akbar [1556-1605] court chronicler Abul Fazl [1550-16602] does not mention tobacco.
But by 1617 its use had become widespread.

W.H. Moreland states that it is believed that Tobacco reached India through the agency of the Portuguese and was establish first in the province of Gujarat where the lead was obtainable in the year 1613 but the process of manufacture were not understood.

Irfan Habib observes that within a decade of the compilation of the Ain-I Akbari [1590] pious pilgrims returning from Mecca had brought news of the novelty to the court and an imperial envoy coming back from Bijapur was able to present to Akbar a hookah [chilim]

The Yogaratnakara, a medical compendium composed between AD 1625 and AD 1750, and one of the classic works of Sanskrit literature, discusses the medicinal values of the tobacco plant. It is said to facilitate smooth intestinal functioning and motion, prevent toothache by killing germs, cure itching on the skin, control wind in the body, and is also said to be useful in the treatment of scorpion bites. It is worth noting that even now, in some rural areas of India, people use tobacco for these purposes

Inclusion of tobacco as one of the ingredients of paan, popularly know as tambula in Sanskrit
And also known as betel quid

Paan has remained a part of sacred Hindu rites and is always offered to deities (gods and goddesses)

Tobacco, probably mixed with lime or chalk, appears to have been used in Native American populations circa 1500 as toothpaste to whiten the teeth and this practice continues today in India, where powdered tobacco, or masheri, is rubbed on the teeth for this purpose

The earliest attempt by the then British Indian Government to improve Indian tobacco may be said to have begun with the establishment in 1787 of the Botanical Gardens at Sibpur, Calcutta.

The trials of the gardens stimulated interest but did not produce any lasting achievement. In November 1829, the Government informed the Agri Horticulture society, Calcutta of the deci sio n to promote cultivation of tobacco of a superior kind in the country.

Seeds of the American type were imported and trials were conducted in the 3 Presidencies for several years. Some of the samples from these trials sent to England were adjudged comparable to American tobacco but the tobacco failed to gain acceptance. The chief defect of the product was constituted to be in curing, handling and packing. The produce was soft and soggy with lot of sand and dust.

In 1875, attempts were renewed for producing Virginia tobacco of acceptable quality. Trials were conducted mainly in ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh and Push in Bihar.

This time, apart from tobacco seed, trained curers from America were also brought in. Flue-curing was also tried.

The results were, however, not successful. The brief account of these trials is given in the Book ‘Agri culture Reform in India’ Published in 1879, by A.O. Hume who founded the Indian National Congress later.

Indian Railway – Gift of British Raj

The first proposals for construction of railways in India were presented in 1844 to East India Company in London by, (a) East Indian Railway Company headed by R.McDonald Stephenson, and (b) Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company.

Indian merchant Bengali merchant Prince Dwarkanath Tagore, grandfather of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. Dwarkanath's firm Carr, Tagore & Company, is reported to have offered in 1844, to raise one-third of the capital required for a railway from Calcutta northwest to the coalfields above Burdwan.
After Dwarkanath's premature death a few tears later the other Indian businessmen played only a passive role.
The conception, promotion and launching of India's railways were all British. (Daniel Thorner 1955)  
The Railway Age dawned in India on 16th. April 1853, when the first train ran from Bombay to Thana, a distance of 21 miles(33.81 Km.) For some years before that the idea of building railways in India had taken concrete shape with the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London. The East India Company had obtained a foothold in India as a trading company, but gradually lost most of its privileges it had enjoyed as an instrument of commerce. It had, however been made responsible for the governance of India under the supervision of a Court of Directors in London. The final authority lay, of course, with the British Cabinet, who acted on the advice of its special Board of \control for Indian Affairs. There was a Governor General at Fort William in Calcutta, having superintending authority over the administration of India.
The history of rail transport in India began in the mid-nineteenth century.
In 1842, there was not a single kilometer of railway line in India. By 1929, there were 66,000 km (41,000 mi) of railway lines serving most of the districts in the country.

George Stephenson the great British Locomotive inventor was one the first Directors of GIPR and his son Robert Stephenson was appointed as the consulting engineer based at London.

        Both E.I.R. and G.I.P.R were incorporated in England for the purpose of constructing railway lines in Calcutta and Bombay presidencies respectively. Though GIPR Company was formed in 1844. George Stephenson could not see his Locomotives run on Indian soil as he died in 1848.

In 1845, along with Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, Hon. Jaganath Shunkerseth (known as Nana Shankarsheth) formed the Indian Railway Association.

Eventually, the association was incorporated into the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, and Jeejeebhoy and Shankarsheth became the only two Indians among the ten directors of the GIP railways

A British engineer, Robert Maitland Brereton, was responsible for the expansion of the railways from 1857 onwards.

The Calcutta-Allahabad-Delhi line was completed by 1864.
The Allahabad-Jabalpur branch line of the East Indian Railway opened in June 1867.
Brereton was responsible for linking this with the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, resulting in a combined network of 6,400 km (4,000 mi).
Hence it became possible to travel directly from Bombay to Calcutta via Allahabad.
This route was officially opened on 7 March 1870

By 1875, about £95 million (equal to £117 billion in 2012) were invested by British companies in Indian railways.

By 1880 the network route was about 14,500 km (9,000 mi), mostly radiating inward from the three major port cities of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.

In 1900, the GIPR became a government owned company.
The network spread to the modern day states of Assam, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and soon various independent kingdoms began to have their own rail systems.
In 1901, an early Railway Board was constituted, but the powers were formally invested under Lord Curzon.
It served under the Department of Commerce and Industry and had a government railway official serving as chairman, and a railway manager from England and an agent of one of the company railways as the other two members. For the first time in its history, the Railways began to make a profit.

In 1907, almost all the rail companies were taken over by the government. The following year, the first electric locomotive made its appearance.

In 1920, with the network having expanded to 61,220 km, a need for central management was mooted by Sir William Acworth. Based on the East India Railway Committee chaired by Acworth, the government took over the management of the Railways and detached the finances of the Railways from other governmental revenues.

A total of 42 separate railway systems, including 32 lines owned by the former Indian princely states existed at the time of independence spanning a total of 55,000 km.
These were amalgamated into the Indian Railways.

English language - Gift of British Raj

Thousands of Benefits and we will continue reaping the benefits forever

Rajma or red kidney bean –
Red kidney bean was brought to the Indian subcontinent from Central Mexico and Guatemala
In the 15th century, Spanish explorers introduced these beans to Europe on their return from their voyages to the New World.
Later, these Spanish and Portuguese traders introduced kidney beans to Africa and Asia.

Coffee –
The first record of coffee growing in India is following the introduction of coffee beans from Yemen by Baba Budan to the hills of Chikmagalur in 1670.

Since then coffee plantations have become established in the region, extending south to Kodagu.

The original native population of coffee is thought to have come from East Africa specifically to Ethiopia, and it was first cultivated by Arabs from the 14th century.

The earliest credible evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen.

By the 16th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey and northern Africa. Coffee then spread to the Balkans, Italy and to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia and then to America.

The English word Coffee is believed to be derived from the name of the place from which coffee originated, Kaffa, Ethiopia.

Coffee's Arabic name, Qahhwa, was borrowed by Ottoman Turks as kahve, which in turn was borrowed into Italian as Caffè.
The word Coffee itself came into use in the last decade of the 16th century.

The first European coffee was sold in pharmacies in 1615 as a medical remedy.

October 1st is the official Coffee Day in Japan
In the United States, September 29 is celebrated as National Coffee Day.
In Costa Rica, it’s September 12; in Ireland, it’s September 19

A Belgian living in Guatemala invented the first instant coffee in 1906 and later immigrated to the United States. His name, ironically enough, was George Washington.

The world’s first coffee house opened in 1475 in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).

When the first coffeehouse opened in England in 1652, women were prohibited from entering

The Dutch were the first Europeans to enter the coffee trade. They imported coffee plants from the Malabar Coast of India to their colonies in what were then called the Dutch East Indies, or present-day Indonesia.

Coffee was banned three times in three different cultures:
A] Mecca in the 16th century
B] Charles II in Europe banned the drink in an attempt to quiet an ongoing revolution,
C] Frederick the Great banned coffee in Germany in 1677 because he was concerned people were spending too much money on the drink

Jeans – Blue Jeans
Jeans are trousers made from denim or dungaree cloth. Often the term "jeans" refers to a particular style of pants, called "blue jeans" and invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873.
During the Republic of Genoa, the jeans were exported by sailors of Genoa throughout Europe.
Only at the end of the nineteenth century did jeans arrive in the United States.

Initially, jeans were simply sturdy trousers worn by factory workers. During this period, men's jeans had the zipper down the front, whereas women's jeans had the zipper down the left side

Jeans were introduced to the USSR in 1957, during the World Festival of Youth and Students.

In 1886, Levi sewed a leather label on their jeans. The label showed a picture of a pair of jeans that were being pulled between two horses. This was to advertise how strong Levi jeans were: even two horses could not tear them apart.
Anthropologist Danny Miller said that in every country he has visited - from the Philippines to Turkey, India and Brazil - Miller has stopped and counted the first 100 people to walk by, and in each he found that almost half the population wore jeans on any given day.
Jeans are everywhere

Before World War II jeans were only worn in America's Western states.

When they did start to be worn as casual wear, it was a startling symbol of rebellion - the spirit captured by Marlon Brando in his 1953 film The Wild One and by James Dean two years later in Rebel Without a Cause.
Dean and Brando wore denim off-screen too.

They were soon banned in schools from coast to coast which only added to the fervour with which teenagers embraced them.

Word denim comes from "de Nimes", French town where the fabric was said to be first made - but American jeans were made with US denim

 Jean is said to reference sailors from Genoa, Italy, who wore indigo-dyed clothes

 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented their riveted design on 20 May 1873 - said to be the birth of jeans

Cauliflower –
The first reliable reference to cauliflower is found in the writings of the Arab Muslim scientists Ibn al-'Awwam and Ibn al-Baitar, in the 12th and 13th centuries.
A tropical cauliflower used in China and India, it was developed in India during the 19th century from the now-abandoned Cornish type, and includes old varieties Early Benaras and Early Patna.

Biryani is a Muslim rice dish introduced during the Delhi Sultanate and it is always cooked with meat (beef, lamb, chicken, fish, and shrimp)

Biryani is derived from the Farsi word ‘Birian’. Based on the name, and cooking style (Dum), one can conclude that the dish originated in Persia and/or Arabia.

While biryani is popularly associated with the Mughals, there is some historical evidence to show that there were other, similar rice dishes prior to the Mughal invasion. There is mention about a rice dish known as “Oon Soru” in Tamil as early as the year 2 A.D. Oon Soru was composed of rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf, and was used to feed military warriors.

One legend has it that Timor, the lame brought it down from Kazakhstan via Afghanistan to Northern India.

During Mogul empire, Lucknow was known as Awadh, giving rise to Awadhi Biryani.

In 1856, British deposed Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Calcutta, giving rise to Calcutta Biryani.

Aurangzeb installed Nizam-ul-mulk as the Asfa Jahi ruler of Hyderabad, as well as a ‘Nawab of Arcot’ to oversee Aaru Kaadu region (Six Forrests) south of Hyderabad. These moves gave rise to Hyderabadi Biryani and Arcot Biryani.

The Biryani spread to Mysore by Tipu Sultan of Carnatic.
They hired vegetarian Hindus as bookkeepers leading to the development of Tahiri Biryani.

Violin – Music Instrument
The first known modern violin was made by Andrea Amati in 1555.
The history of the violin in India is believed to have begun in the early 17th century. Baluswami Dikshitar is the first known violinist to infuse the violin into traditional Karnatic music

One popular story is of Baluswamy Dickshitar, a son of a famous Brahman who heard the instrument from French colonials and quickly adapted it to the Carnatic style of music.

Another origin story describes the transformation of the violin from the instrument of the colonials to Carnatic masterpiece in the royal court of Tanjavur by Vaidvelieu; a man whose skills were so impressive he became personal instructor to the king.

Still others stories suggest the violin was brought to India by officers of the French army, or cite the possibility of the violin’s arrival earlier than the colonial period using paintings found of a woman in a mural, and the incorporation of the Violin into the Kanadda language.

The violin did not immediately find a role as an Indian classical instrument.
According to Weidman, Indian musicians who played violin had been exposed to Irish and Scottish fiddling, not Western classical violin playing.
This Western folk tradition became the foundation of Indian violin as a folk instrument.
The evidence is further supported by the music of Muthuswami Dikshitar (1776 – 1835), a composer of prominence (sometimes along with his brother Baluswamy are referred to as the part of the “holy trinity” of Carnatic music) during the violins early history in Southern India. His compositions based on “European Airs” appear to be created in a radically different way than many compositions native to Carnatic music in that the compositions include none of the gamakas typical of the idiom.
Moreover, the lyrics appear to only be implemented in a way to adapt the European based melodies into a “palatable form.” This transmission and transformation of ideas is the beginning of the incorporation of the violin into Indian musical existence.

Salwar kameez –

The Timurids (Muslim Dynasty of Turko Mongols) who invaded the northern part of the subcontinent in the 12th century brought with them their traditional nomadic Attire with its Persian and Turk Mongol influences. The descendants of the Timurids established the Mughal Empire (derived from Mogulistan or Land of Mongols- AD 1526-AD 1857).

The Delhi sultanate and later the Moghul Empire – dressing styles followed rule, and the salwar suit become popular throughout the area.

The outfit is believed to originate with the Turkic-Iranian horse riding steppe peoples of Central Asia. A number of these tribes converted to Islam.

The dress is popular is India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Afghanistan

The present day Salwar Kameez in its various styles is an adaptation of the clothing of Mughal era.

Gajar ka Halwa –

The Gajar ka Halwa was first introduced during the Mughal period and the name originates from an Arabic word "Halwa", which means "sweet" and it is made from carrot (in Hindi: Gajar) so that it is known as Gajar ka Halwa (meaning pudding of carrot or Halwa of carrot).

Shirt, Pants, Tie

ALLOPATHY Medicine system –
In the 16th century. It was the Portuguese Albuquerque in 1510 who introduced Allopathic medicine in India by establishing the Royal hospital in Goa.

Unani Medicine system –
Muslim Rulers introduced Unani medicine system in India in 13th century.


The history of Homoeopathy can be traced as far back as the year 1835 when a Romanian man Dr. John Martin Honigberger visited India. He was called in by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore who was suffering from paralysis of the vocal cords with swelling of the feet. He treated the Maharaja dispensing “Dulcamara” in wine, in low potency. This medicine cured him. The Maharaja was also impressed when he treated his favourate horse of his ulcer of the leg. Dr. Honigberger became the chief physician of his court.

In 1836 in Tanjoor, Dr. Samuel Brookling, a retired surgical officer, dispensed homoeopathic medicines to his civilians and army officers stationed at Madras.

Kite and Kite Flying –
The kite has been claimed as the invention of the 5th-century BC Chinese philosophers Mozi (also Mo Di) and Lu Ban (also Gongshu Ban).
By AD 549 paper kites were certainly being flown, as it was recorded that in that year a paper kite was used as a message for a rescue mission.
Ancient and medieval Chinese sources describe kites being used for measuring distances, testing the wind, lifting men, signaling, and communication for military operations.
The earliest known Chinese kites were flat (not bowed) and often rectangular. Later, tailless kites incorporated a stabilizing bowline. Kites were decorated with mythological motifs and legendary figures; some were fitted with strings and whistles to make musical sounds while flying.

After its introduction into India, the kite further evolved into the fighter kite, known as the patang in India, where thousands are flown every year on festivals such as Makar Sankranti.

State Bank of India –
The roots of the State Bank of India lie in the first decade of the 18th century, when the Bank of Calcutta, later renamed the Bank of Bengal, was established on 2 June 1806. The Bank of Bengal was one of three Presidency banks, the other two being the Bank of Bombay (incorporated on 15 April 1840) and the Bank of Madras (incorporated on 1 July 1843). All three Presidency banks were incorporated as joint stock companies and were the result of royal charters. These three banks received the exclusive right to issue paper currency till 1861 when, with the Paper Currency Act, the right was taken over by the Government of India. The Presidency banks amalgamated on 27 January 1921, and the re-organized banking entity took as its name Imperial Bank of India. The Imperial Bank of India remained a joint stock company but without Government participation.

Pursuant to the provisions of the State Bank of India Act of 1955, the Reserve Bank of India, which is India's central bank, acquired a controlling interest in the Imperial Bank of India. On 1 July 1955, the Imperial Bank of India became the State Bank of India

Reality views by sm –

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tags – Food Items Outside Popular India


Bikramjit Singh Mann August 18, 2014  

cricket and railyway are not food :) he he he


Destination Infinity August 18, 2014  

Even tamarind, used extensively in South Indian cooking, is not a native tree to this region. We know that because the Sangam-era Tamil literature (3rd BCE - 3 CE) doesn't mention that.

Destination Infinity

SM August 19, 2014  

@Bikramjit Singh Mann

it comes in other things

rudraprayaga August 19, 2014  

Very informative.Thank you, sm.

Unknown June 28, 2018  

It gave me a lot of knowledge tq

Unknown January 19, 2020  

Unani medicine has d roots in India itself from the vefic era