Shah Jahan's Culinary Legacy: Here's How Chaat Was Invented

Shah Jahan's Culinary Legacy: Here's How Chaat Was Invented

Street food is synonymous with Indian culture where flavours blend in to make the perfect appetisers to make our hearts bounce with joy. Chaat, chole kulche, pav bhaji, and falooda are just a few names stuck to our tongues every time someone says “Kya khaana hai?”

Growing up, I remember my ritual of sneaking out after my evening games to enjoy the corner wale bhaiyaa’s aloo chat and finish with a spicy plate of pani puri. The mouth-watering flavours of the puri/papdi and the various chutneys made it a perfect snack after a long game. I am pretty sure while reading this you too would have a profound memory of your favourite chat and how it became an essential part of your life.

Chaat, in its name literally means to lick. The complex flavours and the perfect blend of various textures make it an unforgettable delicacy enjoyed across states and even borders. Every place has its own variation owing to the flavours found in that particular place.

Chaat is an essential part of India, where its origin has a deeper meaning, something a lot of us aren’t familiar with. History has its way of leaving its impact on us but we barely have a clue.

After shifting his Mughal capital to Delhi, formerly known as Shahjahanabad, Shah Jahan realised that the unpalatable waters of the Yamuna made survival difficult. The use of large amounts of spices and ghee was the solution born after a deep conversation with his hakim/health advisor. As the meat lovers started consuming the delectable kebabs and nihari, our vegetarian brains came up with the idea of chaat. A perfect blend of spicy and sour elements, the dish was born out of survival and later became one of the staples of Indian cuisine.

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