7 Dishes Born In Colonial India That You Still Love Today
Image Credit: Freepik

The British Raj, spanning from 1858 to 1947, left an indelible mark on the Indian subcontinent. When the British East India Company established its presence in India, it brought with it not only traders and soldiers but also a plethora of British culinary practices. However, the tropical climate and the distinct availability of local ingredients necessitated adaptations. British settlers began incorporating Indian spices, cooking techniques, and ingredients into their meals, leading to the creation of hybrid dishes that catered to both British tastes and Indian sensibilities.

Video Credit: Banglar Rannaghor

The fusion of British and Indian cuisines during this period gave birth to a unique gastronomic legacy resulting in the creation of dishes that are now integral to Indian cuisine. Many dishes that originated during this period have been adapted into various regional cuisines. The introduction of new cooking techniques, ingredients, and culinary styles enriched the Indian food landscape.

Moreover, the establishment of clubs, canteens, and hotels during the British Raj led to the popularisation of these hybrid dishes. Iconic institutions such as  Kolkata’s Flury’s and Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel are known to have served these dishes 

Post-independence, the migration of Indians to various parts of the world, particularly the UK also added to the popularity of these dishes. For example, Chicken Tikka Masala is often hailed as Britain’s national dish. Indian restaurants around the world continue to serve these dishes. Here’s a look at some popular dishes that originated during the British Raj.

Mulligatawny Soup

Photo Credit: Freepik

The name of this soup is derived from the Tamil words milagu (pepper) and tanni (water), indicating its origin as a spicy lentil soup in South India. The British modified this dish by adding chicken or lamb, vegetables, and thickening it with rice. This hearty and flavourful soup became a staple in British households.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This dish is believed to have been developed during the British Raj, though its exact origins are debated. Indian chefs created a creamy tomato-based gravy to accompany grilled chicken tikka, making it more palatable to British tastes. It has since become one of the most popular Indian dishes globally, particularly in the UK.

Chicken Daak Bungalow

The term ‘Daak Bungalow’ refers to the rest houses used by British officers and travelling dignitaries during the colonial period. These bungalows were scattered across India, serving as stops for officials journeying through the country's vast and diverse landscapes. The food prepared in these bungalows had to be simple yet substantial, catering to British tastes while utilising local ingredients and spices. The cooks also had to be resourceful with the ingredients available since the bungalows were sometimes located  in remote areas. 

Pish Pash

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Adapted from Indian rice and meat dishes, this is a mild, comforting dish made with rice, meat and veggies. The British version featured rice cooked with small pieces of chicken, vegetables, and subtle spices.  It was commonly served to British children and those recovering from an illness as the dish was simple and easy to digest. The Pish Pash is popular among the Anglo Indian community till date.

Railway Mutton Curry

Created for British passengers travelling on Indian Railways, this dish features tender mutton cooked in a mildly spiced curry, incorporating both Indian spices and British tastes. It was designed to be palatable to British travellers while being distinctly Indian. Apart from the mutton, onions, tomatoes and especially potatoes are other important ingredients in this dish. The dish can be found in several restaurants across India, even today.


This dish is a British adaptation of the Indian khichdi. The simple rice and lentil dish is India’s most loved comfort food. The British version incorporated boiled rice, smoked haddock (fish) or tuna or even salmon along with boiled eggs, parsley and cream, transforming it into a popular breakfast dish in Victorian England. Kedgeree symbolises the blending of British culinary preferences with Indian staples.


This is another Indian dish that originated during the British Raj, reflecting the culinary fusion that took place during this period. Jalfrezi was originally developed as a way to use up leftover roasted meats. British officers, who were accustomed to having roast dinners, often had leftovers that needed to be repurposed. Indian cooks ingeniously created a method of stir-frying these meats with onions, tomatoes, and various spices to produce a new, flavourful dish. This method not only ensured that no food was wasted but also introduced British officers to the vibrant and spicy flavours of Indian cuisine.