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What are the traditional dishes of Mughlai cuisine?

What ingredients are typical?

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Some of the traditional and popular dishes of Mughlai cuisine (as it is understood today) are Malai Kofta, Badam Murgh Korma, Navratan Korma, Shahi Paneer, Shahi Pualo, Kababs of various kinds, tandoori rotis, naans, varieties of biryanis. Desserts include shahi tukda, falooda and sheer kurma as the favourite.

Mughal food married traditions from Turkic, Persian and Central Asian cooking styles with existing Indian ingredients and cooking styles to create a hearty and rich cuisine. It is often characterized by the usage of malai or Indian clotted cream, nuts (almonds, cashewnuts, pine nuts, melon seeds, chironji), dry fruits (raisins, apricots and plums) and more pronounced use of spices such as Black cardamom, black cumin, star anise and rose petals. Over-time, as Mughal cusine synthesized into regional court cuisines (such as Hyderabadi, Awadhi, ..) they took on influences of the local regions and created their own sub-cuisines.

While there is some historical record from the time of the Mughals, many of the recipes that are considered Mughal dishes today bear little resemblance to historical recipes. The common theme between both though is the idea of enriching food by using malai, paneer, nut pastes, dry fruits and black cumin.

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Good response AjitG.

True Moghul cuisine is hard to find in the US, so I recommend finding recipes on the Internet or purchasing "Moghul Cooking" by Joyce Westrip and making it at home.

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Thanks percyn. It is difficult to find real Mughlai food outside in the US or the UK for that matter. Even in India, there is a serious loss of regional an court cooking styles especially in many of the restaurants that seem to be serving a menu that draws from the popular but over-stressed recipes from around the country.

In recent years I have had the dispensation to question any restaurant that advertises a dish as Mughlai especially if it comes with tomatoes and chillies in it. Those two ingredients didn't exist in early Mughal era and were only later incorporated into the court cuisines. As an example, I have never seen a Malai Kofta that is a white gravy - its called malai kofta because the kofta is white/cream in colour and not because there is tonnes of malai in it.

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ajitg, could you talk a little about the differences between Awadhi and Mughlai cuisine? I think I am right in saying that Awadhi cuisine has a Mughlai influence but also has differences. To me it seems spicier, as in more fragrant not chilli-hotter, and perhaps less rich from cream?

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Have some different this time. It's the time to taste a royal food. Have anyone tried a Mughlai Paneer. The flavor of the herbs and spices make this dish really a ancient touch.


Edited by alankar (log)

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