Indian Cuisine Indian Food in Vancouver

Most Popular Dishes From Indian Cuisine And Their Origin

As Indians, our love for authentic Indian food is one of those common elements that unites us and makes us diverse at the same time. Even more interesting is every region has its own varying recipe for the same dishes.

As a fan of this rich culinary culture, you must have wondered who developed certain staples or what are the origins of some popular lip-smacking dishes from Indian cuisine and where did they emerge from. Well, here are these questions you always wanted to be answered.

  • Butter chicken – Every foodie’s heartiest pleasure

The history of butter chicken traces back to the city of Old Delhi. They say butter chicken was first introduced by the owner of Moti Mahal Delux restaurant in Peshawar named Kundan Lal Gujral.

This restaurant moved to Delhi after the partition, thereby handled by Chef Simon Mahil Chahal. The great things in life are often discovered quite by accident, which is precisely what happened in the case of butter chicken.

Once, some VIP guests decided to visit the restaurant late at night; when the place was shutting down, the guest demanded some chicken dish.


The chef had bare minimum supplies to work around, so he hastily improvised and tossed around some marinated chicken with liberal amounts of butter, tomatoes, and garam masala; this resulted in an unknown dish that we lovingly call Murgh Makhni or Butter chicken.

Little did he know that he actually prepared the dish for the ruler of Mareelun, who fell in love with the dish. Try this scrumptious dish for yourself today in one of Vancouver’s most popular Indian restaurants, Sula Indian Restaurant. We have also articulated a recipe for traditional butter chicken.

  • Sambar – Stew that completes South Indian Meals

Sambar is a lentil-based stew that is popular in south Indian cuisine. Idli and Sambar are popularly made together; they are inseparable. It is a dish that originated in the 18th century.

It is believed that it originated in the kitchen of Thanjavur Marathas ruler Shahuji. He had an extreme fondness for a dish called amti. One ingredient that made the dish really special was kokum. However, one fine day a catastrophe struck when Kokum ran out of supplies in Shahuji’s kitchen while the ruler’s cousin Sambhaji was visiting him.

Some clever fellow in the court suggested trying tamarind pulp for the sourness. They experimented with Tuvar dal, vegetables, spices, and the tamarind pulp; the dish was served to Sambhaji, who loved the dish and declared a successful trial. Ever since, the dish was called Sambhar, named after Sambhaji.

  • Biryani – A layered rice dish to die for

The term Biryani comes from the Persian word ‘birian,’ which means ‘fried before cooking.’ The story of Biryani goes something like this — Emperor Shah Jahan’s queen Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631) once visited army barracks and found soldiers to be under-nourished.

Hence, she asked the chef to prepare a special dish consisting of all the nutritious ingredients to provide them with enough nutrition. She turned down a few dishes at first. She went with biryani since it was a complete meal and the most healthy cuisine she could prepare in a single serving.

Chicken Biryani North Indian Rice

The first origins of the dish may have Persian and Afghani influences, but the Mughals rendered it within the vast Indian subcontinent they ruled for years. We, at Sula, prepare the most authentic form of different Biryanis, come and try some authentic Indian food in Vancouver. Read more about the history of biryani.

  • Samosa – Deep Fried pack of crunchy goodness

One of the most loved snacks of Indian cuisine. The origin of this favourite snack of India traces back to Central Asia. Legend has it; various traders travelled to India using ancient trade routes from Central Asia.

They needed food during the trip, and they could not carry around a whole load of a three-course meal, so they started cooking small, crisp mince-filled easy-to-make triangles for the night halts. They would also get conveniently packed into saddlebags as snacks for the coming day in the journey.

Gradually, it started spreading across India through spice route travellers. Most Indians back then were vegetarians, so they replaced mince with vegetables and potatoes.

SAMOSA at Sula

Another theory goes like, the triangular potato/meat-filled savoury dish of samosa has its origin in the Middle East, which was originally called ‘sambosa.’ The Indian version of samosa was introduced during the 13th and 14th centuries by traders of the Middle East.

More such Indian foods have their own unique origins and interesting backstories that date back to India’s rich history. With time, experts re-verify, modify and rectify these origin theories. However, what remains the same is the deliciousness of Indian cuisine.

Sula Indian restaurant is a truly traditional Indian restaurant in Vancouver, serving authentic Indian food from different regions of the subcontinent. We prepare food using aromatic spices, which we ground in-house to satiate your cravings and serve wholesome traditional Indian food with love at a playful Indian-inspired indoor garden-style seating.