Food is the ultimate love of most people inhabiting this planet. With the ever-increasing number of food bloggers, one can easily conclude that people have accepted food as an art. For some, food is love and for many, food is comfort. One of the cuisines that is still winning hearts is the very popular Mughlai cuisine.
Surprisingly, this cuisine has a history that is not known by many. A blend of Indian cuisines with that of the Persian cuisines, it evolved during the Mughal Empire and is a remnant of the beautiful era. It is spicy, heavy and rich and has a significant aroma that is enough to activate the taste buds. Rightly said, Mughlai is a combination of Central Asian and North Indian taste that gives it the flavour so famous, much loved.
The Food Lane of “Delicious”
Let us dive into the history of good food. The Mughlai Khana existed during the rule of The Delhi Sultanate, centuries prior to when the Mughal Dynasty came into power. They were kind enough to introduce tandoor, kebab, keema, naan. These dishes carry the heritage of Persia as they are still known by their Persian names; Persian language being adopted by the Mughal Empire as their official language. Some of the signature dishes that entice the salivary glands (and the soul) are Biriyani, Haleem, Mughlai Paratha, Murg Musallam, Nihari, Kebabs, Shahi Paneer, Malai Kofta, Rezala and Shorba.
The lip smacking recipes of the Mughal era spread to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Delhi, Telangana, influencing the inhabitants with its trademark cooking style. Not only this, the Nawabo ka Khana gained popularity in the Awadh region of northern India as well. Today, as we know it, Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow has gained popularity among the crowds of different regions merely because of the domination of the Indo-Persian cuisine.
The Meat, The Aroma, The Flavour
In earlier times, the non-vegetarian Mughlai dishes were made from the meat of sheep, goat, venison and fowls. Later, they included beef and goat meat and chicken in their food. To everybody’s surprise, the Mughals were fond of vegetarian dishes too and therefore introduced Pulao, Naan, and Kofta. The royalty also had a sweet tooth that resulted in a variety of sweet dishes like Sheer Korma, Firni, Kheer and Shahi Tukda. The delicacies were and still are rich in taste and aroma. But what gives them the characteristic savour? The use of milk, cream, saffron, dry fruits, butter, ghee, spices gives the amazing culinary the luxurious flavour and smell.
Khana and Tehzeeb, The Integral Part of The Past (and Present)
Today, the Mughlai Khana remains one of the most loved cuisines not only in India, but worldwide. With a history so great and vibrant, it can make any person fall in love with its taste. Not only were etiquettes and manners an integral part of the Mughal Court, but the sharing of food was also as important as Nazakat and Tehzeeb. It displayed power, goodwill and diplomacy of the court. Till date, in many sections of society, a spread of different types of food is considered lavish and an act of love and kindness. Nevertheless, while having Mughlai khana, one can still feel the richness of the period while relishing the Nawabi food.