Indian Chaat Story

chandni-chowk-bazaar
Chandni Chowk at its busiest

Indian Chaat Story: The origin

Here in the Indian Chaat Story, the word “Chaat” originated in Gujrat and Northern part of India, it is a word used to refer small plates of spicy eatables, typically served as a roadside stall.

A group of school and college goers sharing space with the oldies and savoring the traditional Indian snack “Chaat” is a familiar scene on most Delhi evenings!

The history behind the invention of chaat dates back to the Mughal era. The story goes that Emperor Shah Jahan was advised by his chief physician to include spices and in the local food as a curative measure against stomach disorder, because of Yamuna water contamination as a result of the renovated canal! Since then, chaat became Delhi’s most favored delicacy.

In the midst of the chaotic by-lanes of Chandni Chowk, are numerous options of heavenly chaat. But Chaat didn’t really stay grounded at Delhi. It made its journey to Mumbai in the west, Kolkata in the east, Hyderabad in the south, and beyond!

Most chaats originated in some parts of Uttar Pradesh in India, but they are now eaten all across the Indian subcontinent and neighboring countries. Some are results of cultural syncretism – for instance, pav bhaji (bread/bun with cooked and mashed vegetables) originated in Mumbai but reflects a Portuguese influence, in the form of a bun, and bhel puri and sevpuri, which originated in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

A few of the lip-smacking famous chaats that made to the top 5 of my lists are:

  1. Aloo Chaat

    aloo-chat
    Aloo chaat

    Once a favorite side dish of northwest frontier cuisine, aloo chaat is humble street food in Delhi and virtually all of northern India. It consists of fried pieces of parboiled potato mixed with chana and chopped onions and is generously garnished with spices and chutney.

  2. Aloo Tikki Chaat

    Aloo-tikki-chat
    Aloo Tikki Chaat

    This is a patty made from mashed potatoes that are generously covered with Dahi and chutney and sprinkled with sev. Its origins are in northern India.

  3. Dahi Vada

    Dahi wada
    Dahi Wada

    The origins of this chaat are unknown as the Dahi vada has its presence as Dahi Bhalla(Punjab), Doi Bora (Bengal), Thayir Vadai (Tamil Nadu), Mosare Vada (Karnataka) and Perugu Vade (Telangana)

  4. Ragda Patties

    Ragada patties
    Ragada Patties

    Similar to the aloo tikki but with added value. This Mumbai staple consists of an aloo tikki that is covered with a dal made from white chickpeas known as “ragda”. And of course, what makes it magical is a generous dose of chutney and sev.

  5. Bhelpuri

    Bhelpuri
    Bhelpuri

    It consists of puffed rice, sev, chopped onions, potato, papdis, and is smothered in chutney. The soggy sweet crispiness of the snack makes it worth the drool.

I am sure there are numerous chat-lovers out there from different cities where they have more such tasty chaats. Please let me know in the comment section below, which one would you want me to try and what’s so special about it.

Check out my blog on

  1. Historic rise of Biryani – India 
  2. Chai story – Indian version

Consumption of Chai in India

black chai served in tea cups with tea leaves

Consumption of chai since time immemorial

Consumption of chai in India was first documented in the Ramayana (750–500 BCE) *source. For the next thousand years, documentation of tea in India was lost in history.

As the second-largest producer of tea in the world, India is renowned for the consumption of chai, that milk-infused, sweet-spicy drink that has gained immense global popularity over the years. 

Records re-emerge during the first century CE, with stories of the Buddhist monks Bodhidharma and Gan Lu, and their involvement with tea. Research shows that tea is indigenous to eastern and northern India, and was cultivated and consumed there for thousands of years.

Commercial production of tea in India did not begin until the arrival of the British East India Company, at which point large tracts of land were converted for mass tea production.

Chai garden under East India Company colonization

I can safely bet on masala chai as perhaps the most loved and widely consumed form of Indian tea. Tea can generally be divided into categories based on how they are processed.

There are at least six different types of chai consumed in India:

green chai in a transparent glass tea cup

Modern tea-scape in India

In India, different parts of the country are known for their unique brews, with some of the most popular options being Mumbai’s cutting chai, the rich Irani chai of Hyderabad, and the delicate pink Kashmiri chai.

chai story
Chai story

India is now witnessing the rise of the specialist chai cafés, which are essentially sanitized, modernized versions of the traditional roadside shop, with the added convenience of free wireless internet. Some popular examples of such ventures are The Chai Story, Chai Shai Etc, Ekk Cup Chai, Ab Chai pe Charcha, Chai Wai, and The Chai Bar.

The perfect drink for every season!!!

Let me know your thoughts on Chai.

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  1. Historic rise of Biryani – India
  2. Indian Chaat Story

Historic rise of Biryani – India

The Historic Rise of Biryani in India

Here we will get to know about the historic rise of biryani in India. Biryani is an evergreen classic that really needs no introduction. The word Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice.

India offers so much on its culinary platter, but the one dish Indians unanimously love indulging in is the mouth-watering biryani. With local and hyperlocal variations having evolved into distinctive styles of biryanis, one is spoilt for options when it comes to experiencing this melting pot of flavors.

There are various theories related to the origin of this scrumptious dish such as:

      • Many historians believe that biryani originated from Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals. Biryani was further developed in the Mughal royal kitchen
      • One legend has it that the Turk-Mongol conqueror, Timur, brought the precursor to the biryani with him when he arrived at the frontiers of India in 1398. Believed to be the war campaign diet of Timur’s army, an earthen pot full of rice, spices, and whatever meats were available would be buried in a hot pit, before being eventually dug up and served to the warriors.
      • Another legend has it that the dish was brought to the southern Malabar coast of India by Arab traders who were frequent visitors there. There are records of a rice dish known as Oon Soru in Tamil literature as early as the year 2 A.D. Oon Soru was said to be made of rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf, and was used to feed military warriors.
        (Source)
      • The most popular story traces the origins of the dish to Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan’s beautiful queen who inspired the Taj Mahal. It is said that Mumtaz once visited the army barracks and found the Mughal soldiers looking weak and undernourished. She asked the chef to prepare a special dish that combined meat and rice to provide balanced nutrition to the soldiers – and the result was biryani of course!
        (Watch the video.)
      • The Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow were also famous for their appreciation of the subtle nuances of biryani. These rulers too were responsible for popularizing their versions of the biryani – and mouthwatering accompaniments like mirchi ka salan, dhanshak and baghare baingan – in different parts of the country.

The evolution of biriyani went through a complete metamorphosis, from army barracks to royal dining hall, Biriyani made its relevance felt like no other dish before! The historic rise of biryani reflects the evolution of the local tastes, traditions, and gastronomic history of the region. There are more than 20 varieties of the modern-day Biryani in India.

Few of the most popular ones Biriyani all over India are:

  1. Hyderabadi Biryani

    hyderabadi-dum-biryani
    The world-famous Hyderabadi Biryani came into being after Emperor Aurangzeb appointed Niza-Ul-Mulk as the new ruler of Hyderabad. While most other biryanis are dominated by their flavored meat, in the layered Hyderabadi biryani, the aromatic saffron-flavored rice is the star of the dish. Hyderabad was also the place where the Kacchi Akhni Biryani was fine-tuned and perfected.

  2. Kolkata Biryani

    kolkata-biryani
    Kolkata biryani with aloo and egg

    Banished by the British, the Nawab Wajid Ali Shah tried to recreate his beloved dish in the city of Calcutta. Unable to afford meat due to budget constraints, the local cooks gave the recipe a tweak, replacing meat with perfectly cooked golden brown potatoes–the signature of the Calcutta biryani.

    Much lighter on spices, this biryani primarily uses a yogurt-based marinade for the meat, which is cooked separately from the light yellow rice. Also, just like most Bengali dishes, the Calcutta biryani has a hint of sweetness hidden in it.

  3. Lucknowi biryani

    Lucknowi Biryani
    Awadhi style Lucknowi Dum Biryani

    Cooked in the royal Awadhi style, the textures of Lucknowi biryani are softer and the spices milder. The first step involves making a yakhni stock from meat that is slowly boiled in water infused with spices for about two hours or more. This is the reason why this biryani is more moist, tender, and delicately flavored than other biryanis.

  4. Arcot Biryani

    arcot-biryani
    Arcot Biryani of Porur

    It was introduced by the Nawabs of Arcot in the towns of Ambur and Vaniyambadi in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The biryani is generally accompanied by dalcha (a sour brinjal curry) and pachadi (a type of raita). The best-known sub-variety of the Arcot biryani is the Ambur biryani.

  5. Thalassery biryani

    thalassery-dum-biriyani-recipe
    Thalassery Dum Biriyani

    One of India’s most loved biryanis, is both sweet and savory. The main ingredients are soft chicken wings, mild Malabar spices, and a type of rice known as kaima. Lots of sauteed cashew nuts, sultana raisins, and fennel seeds are used generously in preparing this biryani. The rice is cooked separately from the gravy and mixed only at the time of serving.

This is one such dish that suits all occasions – whether it is a lazy Sunday lunch, a college get-together or a formal dinner with the in-laws. Eaten with love by the rich as well as poor, biryani is indeed a marvel of India’s culinary heritage.