The most popular foods, and their not so popular history.

The most popular foods, and their not so popular history.

Butter Chicken. What comes to mind when you see it written in a menu? The act of eating it. But not often would you think about surfing the web and looking for the origin of Butter Chicken. Even if it does and you never got the time to do so, you’re in for a treat! (bad pun intended) As that’s exactly what you are going to find written below.

Butter Chicken

If a non vegetarian in India says that they’ve never had Butter Chicken, there’s a high chance that they are lying.

Coming to the origin of this dish, the legend says that its true home or maika is a restaurant called Moti Mahal Delux in Delhi. Today it is a delicacy for us, reserved for special occasions and gatherings. However, it’s origin is far from glorious. One late night at Moti Mahal Delux, the chef was ordered to make a chicken dish; after their closing time. In normal situations, a simple no by the restaurant would have been enough, but the said guest happened to be the Ruler of Mareelun and the request could not be ignored. With the request coming so late, the supplies were limited. The chef gathered some Tandoori chicken, tomatoes, and Garam Masala. Oh, and of course, a lot of butter.

Without having a recipe to work with, the chef quickly put all the ingredients together and garnered up a dish. The Ruler of Mareelun, having never had anything like it before ended up liking it. It since has become a dish both Rulers and not-rulers enjoy.


So what if you are a vegetarian who has never had Butter Chicken? Or what if you are a Bas-Tuesday-Ko-Nahi-Khatarian and it happens to be a Tuesday? You always have Paneer have. Non-vegetarians please refrain from triggering.

Our mothers are unknowingly telling us the history of Paneer when they tell us to put the milk back in the fridge so that it doesn’t go bad. Or how they like to say it “Paneer Ban Jayega!”. That happens to be the origin of Paneer too, or so it is believed. The story goes that Genghis Khan’s army would carry Yak Milk along with them while travelling and one such day of travel turned out to be a hot one. This led to the milk getting warmer as well, and eventually turning into Paneer. Most people who don’t know what Paneer is would consider throwing this solidified milk away. But Genghis Khan’s army? They tasted it, and realized that I tasted rather nice. Ever since, a lot more people now share the opinion that it does taste rather nice.

Vada Pav

In the true spirit of “Make In India”,  43 years before the initiative began, Ashoka Vaidya had a stall selling burgers apart from one minor difference, they weren’t called burgers.

If you know a thing or two about Mumbai, you know that it is crowded, there’s a place called Dadar and that there is a local train. If you know a thing or two about humans, you know that they get hungry from time to time. Put that all together and add a man looking to make money, and you have the Vada Pav.

Back in 1971 Ashoka Vaidya had a stall just like any other outside the Dadar station. Being a busy station, a lot of customers were guaranteed. However, Mr Vaidya realized that something easy to eat on the go was what was needed. With that simple thought in mind, a “Vada” and a “Pav” were put together and it is safe to say that they have been inseparable.

Pizza Margherita

Whether you’re someone who loves toppings, or someone who picks out each and every topping on the pizza before taking a bite. If there’s a Pizza-phile inside you, the classic Margherita is your first love.

Pizza originates from bread with toppings. Which later had cheese added to it. The history of Pizza is not very easy to track and we shall stay away from it, but the most eaten Pizza’s history? Not particularly hard to track. The story goes that in 1889 Raffaele Esposito a chef and baker in Naples, Italy was called upon to make a Pizza for King Umberto and his Queen. The Pizza featured tomatoes and basil. So what does all that have to do with the naming of a particular pizza? The queen’s name was Margherita and ever since, every pizza with the most basic toppings, or even none at all is known the the Margherita.

Potato Chips

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When any other form of fast food is not in favor of your pocket, a packet of chips is what comes to your rescue. You do end up paying for more air than chips, but even after knowing that, it isn’t enough to stop you when you’re craving.

There happen to be various different histories associated with potato chips, however one stands out from the rest. The story states that back in the 1853 at the Moon’s Lake House restaurant in Saratoga Spirngs, New York, a customer was unhappy with his French fries. The complain from the customer was that the fries were too thick. The chef made a fresh batch which were thinner, but the customer sent them back again. This happened a few more times before the chef had had enough. As an act of defiance, the chef went ahead and cut the potatoes as thin as possible and fried them. Unexpectedly, the customer liked them and they were an instant hit. As the place of origin was Saratoga Spirngs, they were referred to as “Saratoga Chips’ well into the 1900s.

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Ishaan Watts
An avid quizzer and a trivia lover.
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