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Mughal Cuisine & its Heritage

By Annie

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Mughal cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines, whose origin can be traced back to the times of Mughal Empire. Three centuries of Mughal supremacy left behind an enduring heritage of culinary art that permanently changed the landscape of Indian cuisine. The Mughals were lavish and extravagant, specialists of beauty. Courtly food of the Mughal Empire was luxurious, rich and complex. Curries and gravies were made thicker and richer with creams and yogurts, and it was not uncommon for food to be decorated with fresh flower petals and edible thin foils of silver and gold.

Mughal cuisine consists of the dishes that were prepared in the kitchens of the royal Mughal Emperors. Indian cuisine is predominantly influenced by the cooking style practiced during the Mughal era. Mughlai food is quite spicy and has a very unique aroma. On eating Mughal food, one can get a feel of the ground spices and rich creamy flavors.

During Mughal rule, cuisine was distilled to perfection and refined into an art form. Biryani is one such dish that was polished in the royal kitchens of the Mughal Emperors. The word biryani comes from the Persian birian. It is basically a dish of rice and meat. The curry was made rich and smooth with cream and yogurt. Imperial cooks threw in spices like cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, and nuts such as cashews and almonds. The result was a fragrant, aromatic and flavorful dish suitable for royalty. Till today, biryani is one of the cornerstones of Mughlai cuisine.

The rich preparation of Mughlai food consisting of flavored sauces and butter based curries are so tempting that food lovers are bound to crave for more and more food. Mughlai food offers an amazingly delicious variety of food ranging from hot spicy shorba or soup to ginger based roasted meats to kulfi with rose petals sprinkled on it. Even, the names of the Mughlai food are so attractive that a person gets tempted to try out different dishes.

In the 16th century, India was occupied by Mughals, who introduced the exotic spices, nuts and fruits to India. Also, the Indians got an opportunity to learn new techniques of cooking. In the preparation of most of the Mughlai dishes, milk and cream is used liberally. Mughlai Biriyani, Pasandas, Korma and Pulao are so tempting and yummy that people usually end up licking their fingers.

The names of the dishes are quite often Persian, the official language of the Mughal court. Dishes include various kebabs, kofta (meatballs), nihari , pulao and biryani. The tastes of Mughlai cuisine vary from extremely mild to spicy, and are often associated with a distinctive aroma and the taste of ground and whole spices.

During the Mughal dynasty, dishes were prepared for the Mughal Emperors for elegant dining with dry fruits and nuts. The Mughals have left a great influence and occupies a strong place in the cuisine of India; especially in the Northern parts of the country. The Mughal influence on Indian food is immense. Mughlai cuisine is one of the most richest, popular and lavish cuisines in the country.

Mughlai food is rich in cream and uses loads of ghee. Though mostly considered to be non-vegetarian in nature Mughlai food has loads of great vegetarian delicacies Mint and coriander leaves are also used in large quantities in mughlai cooking. One of the most prized ingredients in Indian cooking, saffron is used not only in desserts but also while preparing vegetables, rotis and rice or pulaos. Dry fruits such as almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts and raisins are a favorite with the Mughals and used abundantly in lots of preparations such as... Cashew nuts are used in gravies in the form of a paste for thickening.

The saga of Mughlai food is still continuing. It still remains as one of the most royal culinary style.

facts about food   Mughal Cuisine   

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