Mughlai: History, Ingredients and Accompaniments


Mughlai cuisine, with its delicious fragrances, flavorful ingredients, and rich flavors, is a monument to India’s rich culinary legacy. Mughlai specialties have captured the taste buds of connoisseurs and culinary enthusiasts alike. They originated in the legendary Mughal Empire, which ruled from the early 16th century until the mid-19th century.

This culinary delight is nowhere more apparent than in Kolkata, the Indian state of West Bengal’s cultural center, with its busy streets and lively kitchens. Kolkata, renowned for its diversified culinary scene and enthusiastic food culture, has adopted Mughlai cuisine with enthusiasm, bringing it to the position of a valued and crucial part of its culinary identity.

The appeal of Mughlai is found in its magnificent flavor fusion, where traditional Indian spices coexist peacefully with Persian influences, resulting in a symphony of flavor that has irrevocably changed the world of cuisine. The dishes’ distinctive flavor is imparted by aromatic spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper and is further enhanced by the liberal use of ghee (clarified butter), cream, and yogurt.

What is Mughlai?

Mughlai cuisine” refers to the culinary customs created during the Mughal Empire’s rule over India, which lasted from the early 16th century to the mid-19th century. The excessive use of dairy, nuts, and dried fruits, as well as the robust flavors and spices, define it. The cuisine of Mughlai is renowned for its unique flavor and is frequently compared to regal eminence and grandeur.

Why is it so popular in Kolkata?

Kolkata is renowned for its diversified food scene and rich cultural legacy. Due to its distinctive flavors and the blending of Bengali and Mughal culinary traditions, Mughlai food has become quite popular in Kolkata. Mughlai paratha has become a favorite among locals and visitors thanks to the city’s appreciation of robust, delicious cuisine. The thriving food scene in Kolkata and the abundance of renowned Mughlai eateries have all contributed to the city’s enormous appeal. Besides, you can also fill your hungry stomach with famous Kolkata street rolls.

mughlai image

What makes Mughlai a unique delicacy?

The peculiar cooking techniques and aromatic spice utilization in Mughlai cuisine make it stand out as a special treat. A symphony of flavors that tempt the palate combines classic Indian spices with Persian elements, such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and black pepper. Richness and creaminess are added to the dishes by the liberal use of ghee (clarified butter), cream, and yogurt, making them wonderfully decadent.

History behind the evolution of Mughlai?

Indian food was significantly influenced by the development of Mughlai cuisine, which took place during the Mughal Empire’s rule. The Mughals were well-known for their adoration of exquisite cuisine and enthusiasm for the culinary arts. They brought a rich culinary history from Central Asia and Persia, which they merged with the regional flavors and ingredients from India to produce a singular combination.

The extravagant feasts and the invention of novel components and cooking methods made the royal kitchens of the Mughal emperors famous. This culinary culture eventually permeated the entire Indian peninsula, profoundly impacting Indian cuisine.

mughlai history

What ingredients would you need to make a great Mughlai?

The following essential elements are required to make a delectable Mughlai dish:


It is a common ingredient in Mughlai cuisine, with chicken, mutton, and beef being the most popular cuts. To tenderize and flavor the meat, it is often marinated in a mixture of yogurt, ginger, garlic, and spices.

Aromatic Spices

Various aromatic spices produce the distinctive flavors found in Mughlai cuisine. Black pepper, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom are a few of these. In accordance with the recipe, either ground or whole spices are frequently utilized.

Dairy Products

Mughlai cuisine makes liberal use of ghee (clarified butter), cream, and yogurt to create richness and depth of flavor. While milk and yogurt are frequently added to curries and sauces to give them a creamy texture, ghee is frequently used for frying and sautéing.

Nuts and Dried Fruits

Mughlai cuisine frequently uses almonds, cashews, and raisins to increase richness and contrast the texture. They are frequently used as a garnish or near the end of the cooking process.


The valuable element saffron is used in Mughlai cooking because it gives the food a distinctive scent, flavor, and gorgeous golden color. Before adding it to the dish, it is frequently soaked in warm milk or water.

Ginger and Garlic

These aromatic elements are necessary to give the flavor depth and complexity. Cooking in the Mughlai style frequently uses freshly grated ginger and minced garlic.

Onion and Tomatoes

Many Mughlai meals are built on a foundation of onions and tomatoes, which add a savory and sour flavor. They are frequently minced small, cooked until golden, and then pureed to create a smooth paste for the curry’s foundation.

mughlai kolkata

Accompanied dishes that go perfectly with Mughlai

Here are some foods that go excellently with the delicious cuisine:


To soak up the aromatic sauces of the aromatic cuisine, soft and fluffy bread like naan or roti is a great companion. In contrast to roti, unleavened and fried on a griddle, naan is often leavened and prepared in a tandoor (clay oven).


The traditional accompaniment to Mughlai curry is biryani, a fragrant rice dish prepared with meat and flavorful spices. A mixture of spices, fried onions, pork, and rice infused with saffron is frequently placed on top of the rice before it is cooked to perfection.


To balance up the robustness and spiciness of the cuisine, a chilled yogurt-based side dish like raita is served. Cucumber, tomato, mint, and roasted cumin powder are added to the yogurt and other ingredients to make the raita.


Seekh kebabs and chicken tikka, among other grilled or tandoori-style kebabs, are delicious as an appetizer or side dish. These marinated skewered beef or vegetable dishes are cooked to perfection on the grill or in the oven after being marinated in a spice and yogurt marinade.


In conclusion, Mughlai paratha has a rich tradition in Indian cuisine. A distinctive and opulent culinary culture was born due to its Mughal Empire roots and subsequent development. Indulgent food and complex flavors have a long history in Kolkata, reflected in the city’s appreciation of the mouth watering cuisine.

Mughlai is a rich and unique experience thanks to the blend of aromatic spices, opulent ingredients, and savory preparations. The flavors and textures will take you to regal splendor and culinary ecstasy, whether savoring a traditional feast or companion dishes. The popular snack has endured the test of time as a beloved culinary tradition that has delighted generations with its rich heritage and outstanding flavor. It continues to wow taste buds with its lush flavors.

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