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ughlai cuisine (Urdu: ‫ ) ﻮان یﻣﻐ ﻼ‬is a ‫ﭘﮑ‬South Asian cuisine, influenced by the

imperial kitchens of the Mughal Empire. It represents the cooking style used in
Delhi and Punjab (now partitioned between Pakistan and India). The cuisine is
strongly influenced by Persian, and Turkish cuisines of Central Asia. The cuisine of most
Indian restaurants in UK and USA can be termed Mughlai.

India is a country with vast diversities. Many cultures, traditions, way of worship and wide
variety of cuisines found a favorable ground for growth and healthy nourishment. As with
fusion and other influences India developed a large number of savory dishes. The cuisine of
India is as vast as its people. Each and every ethnic group has its own distinctive food
preferences along with their different culture.

India has been subjected to several invasions from Arab, Central Asia, the Mughal Empire
and Persia in its early days because of its wealth both material cultural, and religious.
These invasions had a great influence on Indian cooking.

The Muslims from western Asia brought the Mughlai cuisines to India in the 12th century
when Mughal rulers conquered a large portion of India. During the Mughal dynasty, these
dishes were prepared for the Mughal Emperors for elegant and fine dining with dry fruits
and nuts. The hospitality of sharing of food with others in Mughal courtly society helped
India to absorb it as its own while making Indian cuisine to stand apart with pride.

On one hand these Mughals brought their rich, aromatic food culture in India and their
lavish tastes and liberal attitude as far as cuisines are concerned allowed the fusion of
culinary art. Now these dishes form an important part of the Indian culinary culture. Quite
ideally therefore, apart from giving the greatest architectural monuments, the Mughals
have also changed the country’s cooking by merging Middle Eastern cuisine with Indian
spices and ingredients to give the most beautiful Mughlai cuisine. As a result of this Mughlai
Cuisine emerged.

The Mughal influence on Indian food is immense. Mughlai cuisine is one of the richest,
popular and lavish cuisines in the country and world over. These are relatively spicy and
have unique fragrance. The cooking method includes lots of milk and cream with exotic
Mughlai Cooking Style

spices, nuts and dried fruits to make it rich and spicy. Biryani, Korma, Palau and Pasendi
are some of the famous Mughlai cuisine.

The Mughal influence on Indian food supported the evolution of Indian food to a great
extent. The Mughlai cuisine full of rich gravies, Pulau and non-vegetarian foods such as
kebabs, along with the fruits like apricots, peaches, plums and melons contoured the
structure of the Indian food while offering it a distinct dimension.

Each of the Muslim rulers offered something or the other to make Indian food the potpourri
of spice, taste and flavor. When Babur invaded India he brought his stylish food habits such
as grilled meats along with different varieties of fruits and nuts from Central Asia. His son
Humayun continued this tradition and also introduced a new tradition of rice-based Pulaus
and using of fruits and nuts in the meat stews in India. Marriages of Mughal rulers to
several Rajput princesses added a new dimension to the Mughal cuisines.

The reigns of Jahangir and Shah Jahan, marked the evolvement of a large number of dishes
in Indian cuisine. In the mean time, the Nizams of Hyderabad developed Biryani as their
own style of cooking, which is now considered as one of the main dishes in India and world
over. Nizami Biryani is made in many varieties using wide variety of herbs, spices, and
vegetarian and non vegetarian ingredients.

Apart from the introduction of new dishes, the influence of Mughlai cuisine on Indian food
also presented the novel idea of using aromatic spices in cooking. Mughlai food is quite
spicy. The spices used in this preparation are easily accessible. These dishes are specially
preferred in Delhi, Lucknow in the North and Hyderabad in the South amd now world over
as part of fine and elegant dining. These have the strong influence of Muslim cooking style
along with their Muslim names.

The saga of Mughlai dish is still continuing. It still remains as one of the most important
part in Indian culinary style. Although, Mughlai cuisines are available in all parts of the
country, but Delhi is the best place for this royal cuisine. In this present scenario, the
Mughlai influence on Indian food reflects the local cooking styles in it. The cuisines
available in Delhi and Lucknow are the combination of Indo-Persian style by the addition of
typical North Indian spices like cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric and
ground chilies; whereas in Hyderabad, curry leaves, hot chilies, mustard seeds, tamarind
and coconut milk are added to these cuisines to give them a local flavor to create distinct
taste differences.

Due to the flavored sauces and butter based curries in the Mughlai cuisine, they are very
much popular among the food lovers. Mughlai food offers tempting and delicious variety of
food such as kulfi with rose petals sprinkled on it, hot spicy soup and ginger based roasted

People in India and all over the world are crazy about Mughlai cuisines. Some of the
popular Mughlai dishes are, Aloo Ka Raita; Carrot and Capsicum Raita; Badaam Halwa;
Chicken Korma; Chaamp Masala or Lamb Chops Curry; Chole or Chane; Kesar Chawal;

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Mughlai Cooking Style

Chicken Tikka; Jhinga Malai Curry or Creamy Prawn Curry; Naan a type of Indian Bread;
Palak Gosht; Palak Paneer; Seekh Kebabs; Tandoori Chicken Legs or Grilled Chicken
Drumsticks; and the most favorite dish Biryani.

The taste of Mughlai cuisine vary from extremely mild to spicy and is often associated with
a distinctive aroma and the taste of ground and whole spices. A Mughlai meal course is an
elaborate buffet of main course dishes with a variety of accompaniments.

The origin of Chicken Tikka Masala has been debated, but the flavors of these dishes
confirm the tradition of Mughlai cuisine.


The names of the various Mughlai dishes are quite often Persian, the official language of the
Mughal court. Dishes include various kebabs, kofta (meatballs), nihari (a national dish of
Pakistan), pulao, and biryani. Paneer is used for preparing vegetarian dishes to suit Hindu
or vegetarian dietary requirements.

Other dishes include:

1. Chicken Makhni
2. Mughlai Chicken
3. Mughai paratha
4. Biryani Badshahi
5. Keema Matar
6. Meat Durbari
7. Mughlai Chicken Pulao
8. Murg Kababs Mughlai
9. Murg Noorjehani
10. Murg Kali Mirch
11. Malai Kofta
12. Navratan korma
13. Shahi mutton curry of Agra
14. Shami Kabab
15. Seekh kabab
16. Boti kabab
17. Shahjehani Murg Masala
18. Shahi Chicken Korma
19. Shahi Kaju Aloo
20. Shahi Rogan Josh

Mughlai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines, whose origin can be traced back to the
times of Mughal Empire. Mughlai cuisine consists of the dishes that were prepared in the
kitchens of the royal Mughal Emperors. Indian cuisine is predominantly influenced by the

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Mughlai Cooking Style

cooking style practiced during the Mughal era. Mughlai food is quite spicy and has a very
unique aroma. On eating Mughlai food, one can get a feel of the ground spices. The spices
used in the preparation of Mughlai food are easily accessible.

Mughlai food is especially preferred in Northern parts of the country. Some of the Mughlai
dishes have Muslim names such as biryani, pulao, kebabs, kofta. This is suggestive of the
strong influence of Muslim cooking style. The Mughals have truly left a long lasting
influence on India, which is also reflected in the cuisine of India. Mughlai food occupies a
commanding position in the popular cuisines of India.

The rich preparation of Mughlai food consisting of flavored sauces and butter based curries
is 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.

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. Mughlai
Biriyanis, Pasandas, Kormas and Pulao are so enticing that people usually end up licking
their fingers.

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