All you need to know about Mughlai cuisine
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All you need to know about Mughlai cuisine

In this post, I will be covering all you need to know about Mughlai cuisine and knowing about this awesome food could not be more relevant for the foodies among us. After all, here is a train of culinary thought that has given us so many of our favourite dishes we associate with Indian food.  Before we go any further, let me explain what Mughlai cuisine is.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Muglai cuisine can trace its roots back to the days of the Mogul Empire, so there are strong and evident influences from Central Asia. The liberal use of whole spices very much characterises this style of food. They are bold, robust and complex in flavour. 

Mughlai cuisine is associated with the north of the country in states such as Uttar and Mahendra Pradesh. However, it is a school of cooking that has a far greater reach than that. I found Mughlai dishes plastered across menus as far south as Hydrabad or as far north as Amritsar.

As I stated in the last post, the food here is quite unlike in South India. In fact, it is quite hard to find any comparison at all. The food down south tends to be mellow and very delicate in flavour. In contrast, Mughlai cuisine is extremely bold and sure to hit your tastebuds like some kind of gastronomic sledgehammer.

Now I have outlined what Mughlai cuisine actually is, let’s move on to what you can order. I will list my personal top 10 dishes not to miss while you are on your journey here. Some of them you have probably heard of and some you may have not, but they are no less worth your attention. 😁

When it comes to what you need to know about Mughlai cuisine biriani has to be at the top of the list

The north of India is one of the best places to experience the countries meaty dishes. One of my all-time favourites is the humble biriani. It might only be braised rice, but it is truly incredible. In my experience, the cities of Lucknow and New Delhi produce the best versions of this dish. For more suggestions on where to get the best food in India, simply follow the link provided. 

The best 3 classic Mughlai dishes.

I will start by talking about the best 4 classic Mughlai dishes you will not want to miss. You may have tried them in your hometown, but now it’s time to sample the real deal.

Chicken korma

Chicken Korma is an all-time classic that can trace its roots back to the 16th century. Korma can be served with different meats or vegetables, but it is most famously done with chicken. It features on menus across the planet and is certainly one of the countries most famous dishes.

The word Korma is an anglicisation of the Urdu word qorma that means to braise. The dish is cooked with either stock or water: yoghurt or cream. Korma can be fiery or mild, but it tends to be one of the more subtle dishes you will find on Mughlai menus. It is characterised by ground cumin and ground coriander that pop out on your palette. It is definitely a dish not to be missed.

Chicken Tikka

If you are from the UK, there is an extremely good chance you have tried chicken tikka, and it is just as likely you would have enjoyed the experience. It is most definitely a firm favourite of mine and why not when it is so damn delicious. I say chicken, but it is often served with all manner of meats in India and it is also quite special with panner.

The fresh panner is incredible by itself, but when it is marinated in yoghurt and spices, it is simply exceptional. That is what tikka is, by the way, guys. It is then roasted and served with some kind of bread and chutney.

Tandoori chicken

Tandoori chicken is a dish that we must all have at least heard of. This dish also consists of pieces of chicken that have been marinated in yoghurt and spices. The key difference between tikka and tandoori is that the latter is cooked in a clay oven. This process will give it a strong district taste that is quite divine.

Astonishingly this dish can trace its roots back for a very long time indeed. Apparently, something similar was consumed by the Harappan people, whose civilisation flourished in the Indus Valley all the way back in 3000BC! Now there is some classic culinary heritage for you to experience.

The first thing you need to know about Mughlai cuisine is that it is the ingrediants that make it special.

Good food starts with the ingredients it is made from. Fresh seasonal produce is not a treat for much of India. It is simply a way of life. This seems contradictory considering the vast population, but it is also a fact. With a complete lack of big brands like Tesco or Walmart, many Indians have to make do with whatever the land can provide for them.

The best 3 Mughlai dishes you may not have heard of.

Now I have mentioned some of the all-time classics to watch out for. I will talk about some of the dishes you may not have heard of. Lord knows there are many of them and I cannot list them all, so here are my three absolute favourites.


Despite Haleem featuring on menus in many countries across Arabia, Central and South Asia, it is seldom seen in the rest of the world and I have no idea why? It is certainly tasty enough to get a lot more attention than it does.

No matter where you are, Haleem has four distinct components. Most importantly, you can expect a cereal such as barley, rice or wheat. Or a pulse such as lentils. This will give the sauce its texture and thicken it. Secondly, it will be made with either water or stock. Thirdly it will be spiced and lastly, it will contain some kind of meat.

Haleem tends to be robust and punchy in flavour. While it is likely to be one of the most memorable dishes you will try on your travels, you should be prewarned that it is often extremely rich and can leave your belly feeling fragile the next day.

Shahi paneer

Shahi paneer is a must for any serious food lover. It is not just for the vegetarians among us, although I feel this post has been a little meaty. The word shahi was made in reference to the word royal. Indeed it tastes like a dish fit for royalty and I am sure your verdict would be the same. It just tastes luxurious, if that makes sense?

All those layers of flavour come from emulsifying tomatoes and cashews with spices. It should be sweeter than the butter masala sauce and it is likely to have fewer whole spices in it. Get yourself a tandoori roti or two for the full Mughlai experience.

Tunde ke kabab

I just had to mention the Tunde ke kabab. Not just because it is reputed to have 160 separate different spices in the recipe, although that is a big wow, right? I didn’t think for one second there were even that many spices in the world? Is there?

I mentioned it because Mughlai cuisine has many fine kebabs in its repertoire, and I did not mention even one. Tunday Kabab restaurant in Uttar Pradesh must surely be one of the best places on the planet to buy meat a stick from.  It was opened in 1905 in the city of Lucknow and quickly became famous for its tasty buffalo meat galouti kebabs.

In truth, it does not matter what you order here; it is sure to be incredible. The world-famous restaurant is a little run down and grubby. However, what it lacks in snappy decor, it certainly makes up for with the quality of its food.

The moghals left more than fine archtecture around. you will also need to know about the fine food.

The moguls are known as great conquers that have left a legacy of breathtaking architecture across the north of India. Some are grand and imposing, and others are delicate, almost behind belief. The Moghuls also had a huge impact on the cuisine and there are oodles of fine dishes for you to sink your teeth into. Do not miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. After all, travelling ones tastebuds must be one of the greatest joys of what we are doing, surely?

In summary of my post on all you need to know about Mughlai cuisine

Ok, so this blog is not everything about Muglai cuisine, but it is the fundamentals. The background of Mughlai cuisine and some of the best meals to look out for. I didn’t cover sweets as I thought the post would begin to get too long for the average reader to get through, given their busy lives.

I hope you enjoyed my post and you found it of value. If you did, there are plenty more in the food blogs section. If you can think of anything you would like to know or anything you think I should write about, please leave your ideas in the comments section below and I will get on that straight away. It is important to me I give my followers value for their time. After all, time is our most precious commodity and it’s not like we can gain more now, is it? With that said, I think that’s enough, so I will see you in the next post, guys.



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