From Ladoo to saag, Insian ancient ancestors were consuming some of our favorite foods well before we may have realized.
While scientists do not know with certainty how long humans have been using honey, there are Paleolithic rock drawings depicting bees and honeycombs from 40,000 years ago. Evidence of honey harvesting dates back 3,500 years, where scientists discovered pottery that was used to process or store beeswax in West Africa. In addition to being consumed as food, it’s believed that honey was used to make drinks.
Made by boiling rice in milk along with sugarcane/sugar, this sweet pudding is something that Yudhishthira loved having every other day. Its reference can be found in ‘Udyoga Parva: Bhagwat Yana Parva: Section CXLIII’.
Sashkuli is a Sanskrit word for a round pie made of rice/barley boiled in sugared water. In the Bhagavad Gita, this food is described as a large cake made of rice flour, sesame seeds, and sugar, which is fried in ghee and has the shape of an ear. You can find its reference in the section CCXXVIII off Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva.
Saag is a leaf-based dish prepared in the north east part of India. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, basella, mustard leaf, or collard greens are used in the preparation of saag. Preparation includes boiling of chopped green leafy vegetables and other vegetables including radish, tomato, and ginger. In Mahabharata Krishna eats—a simple meal of saag and roti
As per a popular origin story, ladoo can be traced back to 300-500 BCE. It is said that Sushruta, an ancient Indian physician used the sweet to give ayurvedic medicines to his patients. The sweet balls helped him manage the dose and also made it easier for the patients to consume.