What Did The Mughal Emperors Eat For Dinner

One of the most effective dynasties of the medieval globe, the Mughals are entwined inseparably with India’s history and lifestyle. From art and subculture to architecture, they bequeathed this country a sizeable legacy that lives on even nowadays. But what often gets forgotten is that they also left us a wealthy culinary legacy—the deliciously complicated blend of flavors, spices, and aromas called Mughlai delicacies.
Tracing the origins of this cuisine in India, we unveil a positive story to tease your flavor buds!

Lavish and lavish in taste, the Mughals were connoisseurs of wealthy, complicated, and opulent recipes. Creating such dishes meant that cooking in royal kitchens was a rebellion of colors, fragrances, and harried experiments. Curries and gravies were regularly made richer with milk, cream, and yogurt, with dishes being garnished with plants fit for human consumption and foils of precious metals like gold and silver.

It is also now not uncommon for the shahi khansamah (leader cook) to visit the shahi hakim (chief medical doctor) while planning the royal menu, ensuring it contains medicinally useful ingredients. For example, each grain of rice for the biryani was lined with silver-flecked oil (this was believed to aid digestion and act as an aphrodisiac).

Flavour-smart, the royal delicacies of the Mughals became an amalgamation of all varieties of culinary traditions: Uzbek, Persian, Afghani, Kashmiri, Punjabi, and a touch of the Deccan. Interestingly, Shah Jahan’s recipe book Nuskhah-Yi Shah Jahani famously discusses the intermingling of those traditions within the imperial kitchens and gives a charming account of the then world’s largest sugar lump!

As for the Mughal emperors’ contributions, each of them added his bankruptcy. The basis of the route was laid by Babur, the dynastic founder who brought to India now not simply an army but significant nostalgia for a youth spent in the craggy mountains of Uzbekistan. Not a fan of Indian meals, he prefers the delicacies of his local Samarkand, particularly the culmination. A legend has it that the first Mughal emperor could frequently be moved to tears by the sweet flavor of melons, a painful reminder of the home he’d lost. Interestingly, he cherished fish; he no longer had a lower back in Uzbekistan!

Historical money owed also reveals the superiority of cooking in earth ovens. Earthen pots complete with rice, spices, and whatever meats have been to be had could be buried in warm pits before being dug up and served to the soldiers sooner or later. As this suggests, Babur’s cooks have genes, have been tuned to warfare campaign diets, and have employed simple grilling strategies that utilize Indian ingredients. Alternatively, Humayun, an emperor who spent much of his existence in exile, brought Persian influences to the Mughal desk.

More correctly, it changed into his Iranian spouse Hamida, who introduced the lavish use of saffron and dry fruits in the royal kitchens in the primary 1/2 of the 16th century. Humayun becomes additionally immensely keen on sherbet. So, beverages inside the royal household began to be flavored with fruits. As such, mountains of ice were added to keep the drinks cool and palatable. However, it was during Akbar’s reign that Mughlai cuisine commenced evolving. Thanks to his many marital alliances, his cooks came from all corners of India and fused their cooking styles with Persian flavors.

The result? Some of the most unique, problematic, and delicious meals in Mughlai food. Take, as an example, the marvelous Murgh Musallam, a whole, masala-marinated hen full of a spice-infused aggregate of minced meat and boiled eggs before being sluggish-cooked. Navratan Korma (curry of 9 gems) is a delicious dish made from 9 specific vegetables covered in a subtly candy cashew-and-cream sauce. Interestingly, Akbar became a vegetarian twice weekly and cultivated his kitchen garden. The emperor ensured his vegetation was carefully nourished with rosewater so the greens could be aromatic when cooked!

Akbar’s wife, Jodha Bai, is likewise believed to have introduced Manchmal dal (also referred to as Pancha Ratna dal) into the predominantly non-vegetarian Mughal kitchen and a handful of other vegetarian dishes. It became such a huge hit with Mughal royalty that by the time Shah Jahan took over the throne, the court docket had its own shahi Manchmal dal recipe!

Mughlai delicacies persisted to evolve hastily throughout Jehangir’s reign. The reins of the empire lay together with his twentieth wife, Mehr-un-Nisa (higher referred to as Nur Jahan). An extraordinarily powerful determine at the royal court, the empress might often be proficient in unique preparations by visiting investors from European international locations, including France, Britain, and the Netherlands.

A proper aesthete by nature, Nur Jahan used these ideas to create her legendary wines, rainbow-colored yogurt, and dishes decorated with quiet patterns of rice powder glaze and candied fruit peels! However, during the reign of Jehangir’s son, the Mughal delicacies reached their zenith. The finest of the Mughals in pomp and show, Shah Jahan’s first step is to extend the menu devised using his father and grandfather.

He informed his chefs to add spices like haldi, jeera, and dhania to royal recipes for their medicinal houses. Interestingly, a legend has it that his chefs introduced purple chili powder to hold evil spirits at bay! It is stated that Mumtaz, as soon as they visited the navy barracks, found the Mughal foot soldiers looking susceptible and undernourished. She requested the chef to put together a special dish that blended meat and rice to provide balanced nutrients to the soldiers – and the result changed into the biryani of route!


I love cooking and eating food. I always look for new recipes, new foods, and new restaurants. I just love food! My goal is to post interesting and delicious food and share recipes with the world. I have a passion for all types of food; especially Asian cuisine.