Journey of Mughal Cuisine.
India is a land of unity in diversity and it applies to its cuisine also. I am talking about a nation that is one of the diverse nation consisting of many religions. Many religions and empires flourished here in past. One of them is Mughal empire which gave birth to Mughal cuisine. Mughal cuisine now had become a part of Indian food was came from Central Asia. Along with the Mughal rule over most of the Indian subcontinent from 1426 to 1857, came a cuisine that was rich in aromatic spices and lavishly enhanced with delicacies such as dried fruits and nuts. The Mughlai style of cooking was time-consuming and produced flavourful and indulgent dishes. The royal Mughal kitchen was an independent department. Its head was called Mir Bakawal or Khwansalar. He was assisted by several officers called Bakawals who worked as the supervisors of the Kitchen. The influence of the Mughal rulers who ruled India is perhaps most felt in their food. A major contribution towards this is the tandoor which is an earthen oven, used to make rotis and kababs, which are pieces of meat marinated in spices and skewered over a coal tandoor. Though, Mughlai food is cooked in all parts of the country, but the best feel of this cuisine can be had only in Delhi, which specializes in the preparation of this royal cuisine. In the 16th century, India was invaded 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.The cookbook of Mughal emperors gave us an idea of mughal cuisine. The bread was an integral part of Mughlai food. Several kinds of bread were prepared in the kitchen. It was made of flour, ghee, milk, and salt. One bread was called chapatti which was made on a thick iron plate called Tawa.Finest flour reduced to 50% of wheat was used in the Mughal kitchen. Adulteration was unknown in the Mughal Empire. It had a distinct smell like that of the essence of rose, Dry fruits, readymade sweets, and Namkeens were abundantly available in the markets. Balu-Shahi, Jalebi, Imrti, and Kurma was some of the most famous Mughlai sweets. There were no ‘fast foods’ in the Mughal Court. Let’s read an interesting story about Mughal cuisine – An English woman who lived in the Mughal Harem in the early 19th century Went to the dinner party and saw that the Mughal women did not use chairs and dined on the floor. It was first matted with coarse date-leaf matting, over which thick cotton carpet were spread. A table cloth was spread on the bedsheet. She saw that they did not use forks, spoons or knives so important to the comfortable enjoyment of meal among the Europeans. Before anyone could touch the meal, water was carried round for each lady to wash the hands and rinse the mouth..The Mughals ate with their right hand and never use the left one. Although they partook every variety of the food placed before them with no other aid than their fingers, yet the mechanical habit was so perfect that they neither dropped the grain of spoiled the dress.Soap was not used to clean the grease. Instead, flour of pulse gram was used for removing grease from the fingers. The English lady was surprised when she came to know that there was no breakfast served after the morning prayers. Their first meal was a good substantial lunch at 11 or 12:00 PM. The second meal followed twelve-hour from the first and after that everybody went to sleep. Some popular Mughal recipes are – 1. Shahi Tukda 2. Mutton Seekh Kebab 3. Nargisi Kofta 4. Mutton Biryani 5. Mughlai Paratha 6. Murg Mussalam 7. Sheer Khurma 8. Boti Kebab 9. Mutton Rogan Josh 10. Mughlai Pulav Hope you enjoyed the story and journey of Mughal cuisine. Keep reading Foodies World blog to experience and know some interesting story of Indian cuisine.