Even though India is one of the oldest Civilizations, it has been enriched over a period of many
centuries by the different cultures that were super imposed with each new invasion .
These invaders brought with them new ideas and concepts.
They introduced new cooking trends and techniques which spread to different regions of India,
enhancing and refining the local cuisine.
However this influence was concentrated mainly in the North where the new invaders primarily
settled because of the similarity of the climate and the landscape to those they came from.
Furthermore ,the natural barriers and great distances made migration to the south slow and
infrequent. Thus northern cooking evolved far more over the centuries than other regional
cuisines and attained unparalleled distinction.
The term "MUGHLAI" refers to the Moghuls that ruled India in the sixteenth century.
The most popular and refined of all regional styles of the cooking is the cooking of North India,
which is basically or most predominantly referred to as Mughlai cooking.
This is the style of food served in most high -quality restaurants all over the globe.
Mughlai Cuisine evolved with the coming of the Moguls in the sixteenth century.
The Moguls were Turk-Mongols by origin and Moslem by religion.
The culture they admired most was Persian.
Since they were influenced by it on their way to India.
They settled in the Northern plains, with Delhi as their capital, this is because Delhi,
for strategic reasons (the wide flowing river Jamuna embracing the city, and the rich fertile
soil surrounding the city, and good landscape providing accessibility and visual security)
had for centuries been the capital of various groups in power.
The Mughals introduced new food, new ingredients, new techniques and new trends,
some of which were their own but most of which were borrowed from the Persians.
In the time several local herbs and spices found their way into their cuisine thus giving
rise to distinct new style of cooking known as the "Mughlai Cooking"
The Mughlas were lovers of nature and the good life, and had a keen sense of beauty ,
and a passion for elegance. This was reflected in every contribution they have made,
including art, architecture, painting, landscaping, social attire, mannerism and most
definitely in the preparation and presentation of the food. For example,elaborate
Biryani (layered meat and rice pilafs) were meticulous care and presented on three
to four feet gold and silver platters, garnished with crisp sautéed nuts, crackling onion
seeds, and edible pure silver sheets. Fancy and beautiful names were given to reflect the
tastiness of the dish. Mughlai food is famous for its mouth watering meat preparations
and rice pilafs. These include braised dishes called korma, pot roasts(dum), kebabs,
koftas and pilafs called pullav and Biryani.
Mughlai cooking is known for its delicate flavorings and superb silky sauces.
The dishes thus created are so subtle that many are often mistaken for Persians.
Ingredients such as yogurt, cream, fruits and nuts and butter are incorporated into
the food to mellow and velvetize the sauces. The dishes are generally flavored with
mild but highly fragrant spices such as cinnamon , cloves, mace and nutmeg.
There is also extensive use of saffron especially in the rice preparations.
The influence of Mughlai cooking predominated in the North, especially in Delhi,
Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh and more precisely in Lucknow.Mughlai cooking also flourishes
in Hyderabad,a city in southern state of Andhra paradesh It is distinctly different because
of the regional influences, but is considered just as refined and sophisticated.
Indian cuisine is famous the world over for the sheer taste and variety of flavors.
Indian food is unique,especially the flourishing tradition of Mughlai cuisine.