During her studies, Husain additionally traveled across significant Asia, consisting of Tashkent, Bukhara, and Samarkand, and observed how noodles and pasta had been additionally gifting within the Mughal kitchen.
When Mughal emperor Aurangzeb deposed his father Shah Jahan and imprisoned him, legend has it that he allowed him to handiest one aspect of his choice for the rest of his life. And Shah Jahan chose chickpeas. “An incredible source of protein, chickpeas can be cooked in many different methods — in soups, chicken, pulao, dal or halwa — that’s how the emperor survived his ultimate years,” says meals historian Salma Yusuf Husain. “But while Shah Jahan turned into the ruler, his dastarkhwan became a rise up of colors and flavors. Paneer was of seven exceptional hues, so turned into kofta and pulao. For example, they used to cook dinner half the rice in fresh pomegranate juice and the alternative half of in the water. These varieties were later blended and coated with silver warmth. This turned into for the Yakuti pulao; Yakut manner ruby in Persian,” she adds.
Recipes of such colorful and flavor-wealthy dishes make The Mughal Feast (Roli Books, Rs 1,495), that’s a transcreation of Nuskha-e-Shahjahani, a Persian recipe book relationship back to Shah Jahan’s rule. Divided into eight chapters, it has recipes for an assortment of naans, cash (soups), Aaliyah and do-pizzas, bharta, zeer biryani, kababs and different sweetmeats. “Unfortunately, the closing chapter of the manuscript — on murabbas and pickles — is lacking; we attempted tough but couldn’t discover it,” says Husain.
Recipes for pulao make the longest chapter, with over 50 types. If for Naranj pulao, orange-flavored lamb curry is cooked in rice, for Zard pulao, sweetened cinnamon-flavored rice is garnished with fried raisins. In Koko pulao, lamb koftas, do-piyazah crammed-bird, and omelet are cooked with rice. “The cooks in the royal kitchen had been aggressive and innovative. You’ll locate loads of nuts and a dry culmination of their dishes, that is what they were given from vital Asia. In India, they found vegetables, grains, and clean fruits. That’s how you can see dishes with elements which include falsa, banana, melon, mangoes, and oranges,” says Husain, adding that the cooks were preparing hundreds of dishes every day, as one couldn’t predict the emperor’s temper. “The food changed into cooked inside the purest of rainwater mixed with water from Yamuna and Chenab rivers that could be saved in the kitchens,” says Husain, who is a postgraduate in Persian language and literature. Her first task worried translating handwritten Persian manuscripts at the National Archives in 1964.
“One day, I become thinking approximately the legacy and heritage that the Mughals have left us with, but now not lots became written approximately their food, though Mughlai cuisine is popular even these days. When there are such a lot of books on Akbar, Jehangir, and Shah Jahan, why hasn’t each person written approximately their manuscripts on food?” she says. Sometime later, she found Alwan-e-Nemat, a set of recipes written during Emperor Jehangir’s time, which made her award-triumphing ebook The Emperor’s Table (2008).
She found Nuskhe-e-Shahjahani in London’s British Library in the early 2000s and translated most effective recipes for pulao for an e book that become published by using Rupa in 2004. Recently, while founder-writer of Roli Books, Pramod Kapoor, went to London, he got a duplicate of the entire manuscript. “Even in Ain-i-Akbari, there may be a bankruptcy dedicated to kitchen control, thru which we get to recognize how crucial meals become. The emperor had no one much less than the top minister look after it. The Mir Bakawal consulted the hakims, who decided the menu in keeping with the king’s temperament, napping pattern and what is right for the mind,” she says.
The Mughals had a sweet tooth. “In Alwan-e-Nemat, it’s miles written that they used to dip even the Shami kababs in sugar syrup,” says Husain. On the spices they used, she adds, “There were no chilies, no garlic and no turmeric in their meals, they had saffron, which was used no longer only for coloring however also as a fundamental aspect, in conjunction with ginger, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds. From ghee, they commenced cooking in olive oil, and once they became Indianised, they started the usage of mustard oil,” she says.
The Mughals additionally adapted the Indian dish of bharta — in which veggies are mashed after roasting over an open hearth. “With every emperor, a new type of cooking was delivered. With Akbar got here plenty of Indian dishes, Jehangir lived mainly in Kashmir, so cooking of the birds became delivered as he would hunt a lot close to the Dal Lake,” she says, including that the Portuguese got with them chilies, potatoes, and tomatoes.
During her studies, Husain additionally traveled across principal Asia, which includes Tashkent, Bukhara, and Samarkand, and discovered how noodles and pasta had also been a gift in the Mughal kitchen. “We have been staying in a homestay in Samarkand with an Afghani family, wherein we noticed youngsters rolling and reducing noodles and pasta. The woman of the residence told us that those got here to them through the silk path, before going to Italy,” says Husain, who has labored with ITC for over two decades as a meals representative. She notes how the Mughlai delicacies served now’s some distance from genuine. “Now if you ask for Mughlai food, they will give you a plate complete of spices, sauces, and oil, however that became best used to decorate the bottom flavors. I simply don’t need to write down the recipes, I need to understand the history, how are we the usage of the recipes and feature we executed justice to them or-or ruined them,” says the writer.