The Europeans in India and culinary arrivals from the new world.

The Portuguese Influence on Indian Cuisine

The Portuguese, who arrived in India in the 16th century, brought a range of novel food items to the subcontinent. They introduced potatoes, chilies, papayas, pineapples, peanuts, guavas, and tobacco, all of which became a part of the Indian culinary basket. The Portuguese influence was particularly strong in Goa, their capital, where they enriched the local cuisine. The French legacy can also be seen in the cuisine of Pondicherry, which was a French colonial settlement.

The British Contribution to Indian Cuisine

The British, who ruled India for two centuries, introduced tea cultivation to the country in the form of large plantations. In addition, they also grew several vegetables in India for their own use, including cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, and carrots, which were eventually harmoniously incorporated into Indian cuisine.

The Europeans in India and Culinary Arrivals from the New World

In the 15th and 16th centuries, European explorers set sail for the East in search of new trade routes, spices, and exotic ingredients. Their journeys took them to the Indian subcontinent, where they were introduced to a world of flavor, unlike anything they had ever experienced before.

A New Taste of India

When the Portuguese arrived in India, they were immediately captivated by the country’s rich culinary heritage. They discovered a cuisine that was a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors, and made use of an array of spices and herbs that were previously unknown in Europe.

The Arrival of Chillies

One of the most significant culinary arrivals from India was the chilli pepper. This fiery spice was quickly adopted by the Europeans and soon found its way into dishes from Spain to Italy, where it became a staple ingredient in many of the local cuisines.

From New World to Old World

While the Europeans were discovering the flavors of India, they were also bringing new ingredients back to Europe from the New World. One of the most important of these was the potato, which was first introduced to Europe by the Spanish. The potato quickly became a staple food in many European countries and is now an essential part of the modern Western diet.

The Legacy of Culinary Exploration

The culinary exchange between India and Europe has had a lasting impact on both cuisines. Today, dishes such as vindaloo, biryani and tandoori chicken have become popular around the world, while ingredients like chillies and potatoes continue to be essential components of many regional cuisines.


The culinary journeys of the European explorers to India and the New World have had a profound impact on the way we eat today. They opened up new frontiers of flavor and introduced ingredients and spices that have become staples of modern cuisine. Their legacy lives on in the fusion of flavors and dishes that continue to inspire and excite food lovers everywhere.

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