Tracing the spice route
Colonialists may have introduced chillies to our cuisine but the genius of India is in the way we made it our own
About the only foodie-related fact that annoys Indians more than the origin of the samosa (we did not invent it, the Middle East did) is the suggestion that chillies are a colonial contribution to our cuisine. When you tell people that there were no chillies in India till the Europeans got here, they look disbelieving. And when you point out that as chillies were only discovered in the Americas, they could not possibly have been an indigenous food group; they ask the obvious question: if Europeans gave us the chilli, then why are there no chillies in European cuisine?