India throughout the years has agglomerated varieties of cultures. The period of Mughals in India from Babar to Bahdur Shahzaffar brought a turning point to the arts, culture and cuisine of India. The architecture of the west was first incorporated; various new forms of music such as ‘qawwali’ etc. were introduced. However the aspect which affected the common man was the introduction of a new form of culinary art-The Mughlai Cuisine. The Mughlai dishes are highly rich in terms of flavouring as they comprise of rich curries and sauces to add to the distinctive aroma.
The Mughlai cuisine was a blend of the North-Indian style of cooking with the Persian cuisine of Iran and Afghani cuisine of Afghanistan. To understand what is so special about Mughlai Cuisine we have to indulge into some of the historic details about the development of this cuisine.
Most of the Mughlai dishes have Muslim names like kebabs, pulao, shahi etc. which clearly indicate to the cooking style of Muslims and since Mughals had left an ever lasting impression in their centuries of reign over the country it was obvious there was going to be a huge impact on the culinary culture of the country.
The Turks and Afghanis introduced Tandoori food which was employed for making bread called ‘Naan’ and ‘Tandoori roti’ along with ‘kebabs,’ ‘keema’ etc. These dishes became the fundamentals of the Mughlai Cuisine. During the reign of the Mughals the royal kitchen was transformed into a Mughlai Cuisine laboratory and started experimenting with cuisines of the central Asia and missing them with those in India such as the Rajasthani cuisine. The agricultural products of India were incorporated into making Mughlai dishes imparting them a refreshing new flavour and aroma. Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad in India and Lahore and Peshawar in Pakistan became the centres for relishing the gems of Mughlai Cuisine.
Some of the most famous and delicious Mughlai Dishes are:-
It is a royal, perfect one-dish meal that will serve as a delicacy to your taste-buds. The preparation includes juicy pieces of meat cooked in Mughlai spices and is layered with long-grained rice. The utensil is then closed and is left to be heated on a low flame.
If you are a vegetarian and you want to taste something as delicious as meat balls then ‘Malai Kofta’ is the best alternative there is.
It is a soup like dish made using five lentils. It has a delicious aroma and is served with ‘Naan.’
This one is only meant for special occasions as it is incredibly rich. It has a mid, creamy gravy exclusively out of the Persian cuisine.
A Mughlai-style stuffed bread that can alone make for a wholesome meal.
The dish gets its name from the utensil it is cooked in. It is served with Rotis or Naan.
Mirchi ka saalan
If you are a vegetarian this Mughlai dish is meant for you. It is a spicy dish with the tang of tomatoes is best when served hot with chapatis or paranthas.
It is a rich bread pudding stuffed with dry fruits and has a distinctive aroma of cardamom. It is truly a royal dessert.
For dessert the Indian version of ice-cream is sure to keep you asking for more with its milky and mild cardamom flavours.
You know about what the Mughlai Cuisine has to offer, now let us talk about where you can savour these delicious dishes.
This restaurant is located in Jama Masjid at Old Delhi and is unquestionably the best place to dine in the city of Delhi. After its establishment it has opened several outlets in the city of Delhi. The restaurant has earned its name for its exquisite use of exotic spices and herbs in its dishes. The restaurant specializes in the Mughlai cuisine. The must have dishes of this restaurant are Shan-e-Tandoor, Kebabs and Murg ka Shorba. Karim’s is synonymous with Kebabs in the city. There is none better if Kebabs is what you are looking for.
The main branch of Dastarkhwan in Hazratganj, Lucknow is an old name in the city known for its mouth-watering Mughlai dishes. The must have dishes of this place are the Mughlai Paranthas, Galawati Kebabs and butter-chicken. So if you are in the city and are hunting for a place to stuff yourself with Mughlai dishes then you need not travel far. The prices are decent and can be afforded. The garnishing of the dishes is also attractive and mouth-watering.
The Great Kebab Factory
Located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad the Great Kebab Factory is a must visit place if you are a Kebab fanatic. The gems of this restaurant are kalmi kebab, reshami kebab and chicken and mutton biryani. The food is cooked with the best of spices. The price range is medium.
ITC Grand Central
This restaurant in Mumbai gives you a run for your money by serving some of the best Mughlai Dishes such as Warqi Parantha and Dal Bukhara. Other dishes taste well as well. The service and the ambience of the place is also good.
So anyone visiting India must grab a bite out of the page of the Mughlai cuisine.