The year 1498 brought a tremendous jolt to the Indian subcontinent. It was the year when Vasco Da Gama disembarked from his ship in Kerala and began his expedition to amalgamate the cultures of both the countries- India and Portugal. From tradition and culture to culinary heritage, the Portuguese influenced almost every sphere. However, their influence was the most evident in the culinary tradition of the country. From Goa to West Bengal, almost every state saw a revolution in its culinary style. From new ingredients to whole new dishes and cooking styles, the Portuguese created a new hybrid culinary tradition. 

The Portuguese brought with them an assortment of exotic fruits and vegetables. From potatoes to cashew nuts, the Portuguese introduced numerous ingredients which are a staple to Indian cuisine now. However, the influence is mostly seen in the Goan and Bengal regions of India. From the famous Sondesh to Feni, the Portuguese have brought in and influenced dishes that are exclusive to these states. 

Very few people know that Chhena is also a gift of the Portuguese. Before the Portugal influence, splitting of milk to make Chhena or paneer was a taboo in Hindu tradition. Fond of bread and cheese, the Portuguese split the milk to make Chhena and satisfy their hunger pangs. And quite obviously, some of the most famous sweets of India like Rasgulla and Sondesh owe their origin to the Portuguese. Even the famous Bandel cheese was introduced by the Portuguese when they settled in the Bandel region after getting defeated by the Mughals. 

The Goan cuisine has a tremendous Portuguese influence too. From delicious savoury dishes to scrumptious desserts, the state of Goa owes its culinary tradition to the Portuguese. From making Feni from the cashews and apples that the Portuguese royals rejected to the famous pork Vindaloo, Goa has derived most of its exclusive dishes from the Portuguese. The state also offers fusion sweets like Petas De Freiras and Pasteis De Natas. 

The Portuguese also brought in Pav as they couldn’t accommodate the rice-eating culture of India. It is believed that the Portuguese missed their crispy and crusty bread and started making Pav which is an integral part of the Indian culinary heritage today. 

Are you shocked after reading the names of your favourite dishes on this list? Well, now you know whom to thank while savouring some of your favourite delicacies.