Top Ten Popular Indian Foods That Are Not Originally Indian. The Fourth One Is Unbelievable.

Can You Imagine?! These 10 Indian Foods Are Not Originally Indian!   

Did you know that many of the foods that you think are quintessentially Indian have their origins in other parts of the world? Although they were brought to India over the centuries by travellers and invaders, they have become such an integral part of Indian cuisine that it’s hard to believe they don’t originate from grandmas’ kitchens!

Our list includes drinks, snacks, main course dishes and desserts.

1.  Filter Coffee or kaapi

South Indian breakfast is incomplete without a piping hot tumbler or dabarah of filter coffee at the end, but we wouldn’t have had this brew if the Sufi Saint Baba Budan hadn’t smuggled a few coffee beans from Yemen after his pilgrimage to Mecca.

Mecca 1

2.  Tea or Chai

This could be one of the best things that came out of British Colonization of India! Tea was originally grown only in China. The British brought it to India to cultivate and put an end to Chinese monopoly. The rest, as the saying goes, is history, or in this case – a cup of chai.

China 2

3.  Samosa

One of the favourite tea time snacks in most Indian households, the Samosa has its origins in the Middle East, where it is known as Sambosa. Traders brought it to Indian shores in the 14th century, and it has resided in our recipe books ever since.


4.  Biryani

A classic dish served up for celebratory feasts and Sunday lunches, this rice and meat dish came from Persia through the Mughal invaders. The proof of its popularity is the number of varieties you find across the country, with almost every state having its own version.

Persia 4

5.  Vindaloo

Considered a traditional Goan dish served with sannas for Christmas and other feasts, Vindaloo was introduced in Goa by the Portuguese. The name comes from the Portuguese words vinha d’alhos, meaning cooked in wine and garlic. Over the years, with the localization of ingredients, wine was substituted with vinegar.

Vindaloo Semi FInal 5th

6.  Chicken Tikka Masala

Undeniably, chicken tikka is Indian, but the version with ‘masala’ suffixed originated in Scotland. Popularly known as the national dish of the UK, this is one dish that travelled back to its mother land in an altered version. You could say it’s the NRI of Indian food.


7.  Rajma

This North Indian winter favourite has travelled far from Mexico via Portugal. While the beans themselves originated in Mexico, it was the Portuguese who introduced the recipe of cooking it in tomato and spice gravy.

7 Raajma

8.  Naan

Standard fare on the menus of most Punjabi or Tandoor restaurants, the naan is another Persian specialty that came to India with the Mughals.

Persia 8

9.  Jalebi

Among the most well-known Indian sweets, this deep-fried and sugar syrup-soaked treat has its origins in the Middle East, where it is known as Zalabiya.

Middle East 9

10.  Gulab Jamun

The lingering taste of rose water is what makes this sweet an all-time favourite. While the word Gulab means rose in Hindi, the original dish comes from Persia, where the word gol means flower.

 Persia 10


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