Mughlai Cuisine – From the Kitchen of the Royal Emperors

Mughlai cuisine

The Mughlai Cuisine comes from the kitchens of the ancient Indian aristocracy or the Moghul Emperors. This cuisine is dominates in the northern part of India and has strong influences of Muslim Cooking. In fact Indian cuisine is predominantly influenced by the cooking style practiced during the Mughal era. Mughlai food is known for its richness. It is famous for the exotic use of spices, dried fruit and nuts. Mughlai Dishes and have a distinct aroma and taste of ground and whole spices.

Mughlai Cuisine

Mughlai food is characterized by rich and creamy curries. 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. Most Mughlai dishes have Muslim names such as biryani, pulao, kebabs, koftas. Experience the luxury of the Moghal Emperors by trying out some of these Mughlai Recipes.

Mughlai Recipes

Mughlai Chicken with Almonds

A very popular dish Mughlai chicken is a rich and creamy curry with aromatic spices topped with roasted almonds.
RECIPE (Serves 8)
Ingredients:
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
4 tablespoons ground almonds
1/2 cup water
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 pounds boned chicken thighs, each cut into 2
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup yogurt
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted, to garnish
Learn more about these spices here

Method:
– Put the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and chili into a food processor, or into a mortar and pestle, and blend to a paste. Add the ground almonds and water and then blend again, set aside.
– Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces – in batches so they fry rather than stew – and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish.
– Add the spices and turn them in the oil. Add the onions and cook them until softened and lightly browned, but keep the heat gentle and stir frequently, to avoid sticking. Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to colour. Add the yogurt, half a cup at a time stirring it in to make a sauce, then stir in the stock, cream, and sultanas.
– Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar, and salt. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes, testing to make sure the meat is cooked through.
– It’s at this stage, that I like to take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool before reheating the next day.
– So either now, or when you’ve reheated it, pour into a serving dish and scatter with the toasted flaked almonds.

Mughlai Parathas (Stuffed Flat Bread)

A wonderfully flaky flat bread known as a Paratha stuffed with spiced mince meat is what a Mughlai Paratha is all about. Makes a great meal by itself or even a starter. (Learn more about Parathas Here)

Ingredients:
For the stuffing-
1/2 kg beef mince (you can use any meat you prefer for this recipe)
2 tbsps vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 medium-sized onions chopped fine
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsps coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp garam masala (reduce this to 1/2 tbsp for a less spicy taste)
Salt to taste
Juice of 1/2 a lime

For the Paratha Dough-
500 gms wholewheat flour
1 cup milk
Warm water
Salt to taste
3 eggs
Ghee(clarified butter)/ vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil for pan frying Parathas

Method:
For the Masala (spiced) Mince meat-
– Heat the oil in a wok or deep pan.
– Add the cumin seeds and cook till they stop sizzling. Add the onions now. Fry till they turn a pale golden colour.
– Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 2 minutes.
– Add the minced meat and fry for 5 minutes.
– Add all the spices – coriander, cumin, garam masala and salt to taste.
– Continue to brown the minced meat well.
– Turn the fire off and add the lime juice. Mix well.

For the Parathas-
– In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt to taste. Add the milk a little at a time and knead. Once the milk is used up, add water. Knead well to make a medium-soft, smooth dough. Wet your hand and rub all over the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 15 minutes.
– Whisk the eggs with salt to taste and keep aside.
– Divide the dough into equal-sized balls and then press flat. On a floured surface, roll a ball out into a 4″ circle. Put a large spoonful of the Masala Kheema in the center of the circle and fold edges of circle up to completely cover and seal the Masala Kheema inside. Pinch the folds to shut.
– Gently press down on the filled ball to flatten it and then roll it, with very gentle pressure, into a 6″ circle. Do this for as many Parathas as you want. The unused dough can be refrigerated and used later for upto 3 days. As you finish rolling out the Parathas, keep them aside (ready to fry) – place them one over the other with a sheet of plastic wrap in between each so they don’t stick to each other.
– Heat a griddle on a medium flame till hot. Put a Paratha on it. Cook till you see tiny bubbles appearing on the upper surface. Now flip.
– Wait for bubbles to appear on the surface that is now on top. Grease this surface with a little ghee/ cooking oil and flip again.
– Brush the surface now on top with some egg and flip again. Grease the other side and brush egg on it also.
– The Paratha is ready when the egg on both sides is cooked.

Chaamp Masala (Spicy Lamb Chops)

This dish is finger licking, lip smacking-ly good!
Ingredients:
3 inch piece ginger (fresh, peeled and coarsely chopped)
3 tablespoons garlic (peeled and coarsely chopped)
6-8 lamb chops from the ribs, (remove all extra fat)
8 ounces tomatoes (grated or finely chopped
2 medium onions (very finely chopped)
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (red chilli powder)
12 ounces yogurt(beaten)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (roasted, ground)
1-2 teaspoons garam masala
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoon coriander (green leaves, fresh, chopped)

Method:
– Put the ginger and garlic into the container of an electric blender with 2-3 tablespoons of water and blend to a paste.
– Put the chops, tomatoes, onions, cayenne pepper, yoghurt, salt and ginger-garlic paste into a large wok or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir and bring to the boil.
– Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes or until the chops are almost cooked.
– Add the cumin seeds and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat is tender and the sauce thick. Add the garam masala and lemon juice and stir.
– Sprinkle fresh coriander over the top and serve.

Mughlai Biryani (Rice and Meat Dish)

Biryani is a very popular recipe. It’s a one dish meal as it has both Meat and Rice in one dish. The secret to a good biryani is in the quality and flavour of the basmati rice. (Learn more about Different types of Biryani Here)

Ingredients:
1/2 kg Basmati rice
1 kg meat (Chicken, lamb, or Goat meat/mutton)
500 gm Curd (yogurt)
4-6 tsp Ginger-garlic paste.
4-6 Green chilli
2 Big onions
1/4 Cup lime juice
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
Finely chopped coriander leaves
8-10 Sticks mint leaves
2 Pinches saffron
1-2 Cinnamon sticks
2-3 Cardamom pods
Saffron color
1-2 Cloves
2 Cup oil
Salt to taste
2 tsp Ghee

Method:
– Wash and chop the meat into square pieces.
– Marinate the mixture of meat and ginger garlic paste for an hour.
– In the meanwhile, chop the onions lengthwise and saute them in the oil on low heat till light brown.
– Cool these fried onions and crush them in a plate with your hand.
– Mix 3/4th of crushed fried onion, curd, red chilli powder, cinamon, green chilli paste, cardamon, coriander leaves, clove, safron water, mint leaves and salt into the marinated meat.
– Leave the mixture for 1 hour.
– Wash the rice and cook it.
– Pour little water and add one tsp salt, shah zeera, cinamon, clove, cardamon, mint leaves, coriander leaves and green chilli.
– When rice becomes half cooked, remove it from the flame.
– Drain the water completely.
– Spread this cooked rice over marinated meat.
– Add saffron color, limejuice, ghee and the remaining crushed onions over rice layer.
– Tightly cover with a lid.
– Keep on a low flame.
– Remove from the heat exactly after half an hour.
– Biryani is ready to serve.

Mali Kofta (Veggie Balls in a Thick Sauce)

Koftas are the equivalent to Meatballs and Malai Kofta is the vegetarian alternative to meatballs.

Ingredients:
For the koftas:
2 cups peeled and diced boiled potatoes
1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas, sweet corn) boiled
1 cup paneer cubes
2 tbsps of thickened/ heavy/ double cream
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts and cashew nuts)
1/4 raisins chopped fine
Salt to taste
Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil to fry the koftas
For the sauce:
3 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
2 large onions quartered
2 tomatoes quartered
2 tbsps garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tsps coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp poppy seeds lightly roasted and ground into a powder
3 tbsps nuts (cashews and almonds) ground into a thick paste
Salt to taste
2 tsps garam masala

Method:
– Mash the potatoes, mixed vegetables, paneer and cream together. Add the kofta spices to this mash and mix well. The resulting dough should be firm. If not add some more boiled potato. Season with salt.
– Make this dough into balls and put 1/2 a tsp of the nut and raisin mix in the center of each ball. Roll into perfect rounds.
– Heat the oil kept aside to fry the koftas, on a medium flame. Deep fry these rounds till pale golden in colour.
– Drain on paper towels and keep aside.
– For the gravy, first heat the 3 tbsps of oil in a deep pan and fry the onions till light brown.
– Grind into a paste along with the tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin and red chilli powders.
– Put this paste back into the pan and fry till the oil begins to separate from the masala.
– Add the poppy seeds powder and nut paste and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
– Add 1 cup of warm water (the sauce for this dish is meant to be thick so do not add too much water) to this masala to form a sauce/gravy. Mix well. Season with salt.
– Bring the sauce/gravy to a boil and then reduce the fire to a simmer.
– Gently add the kofas to this sauce/gravy and cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes.
– Turn off the fire and sprinkle the garam masala all over the top of the dish. Cover immediately and allow to sit for 5 minutes.