Unlike Shah Jahan’s obsession with architecture and Aurangzeb’s answer to fulfilling all his desires by resorting to violence, Akbar was rather an adventurous culinarian and genuinely fond of good food. An army of more than 400 cooks from across India and Persia manned his kitchen. The menu of the day was planned by the royal physician who ensured that by practice, and not solely ingredients, ‘healthy’ was considered. In the biriyani for instance, each grain of rice was coated with silver oil which was believed to aid digestion and considered an aphrodisiac. The chickens weren’t left out; each of his chickens were fed pellets made with saffron and rosewater and massaged each day with sandalwood. At least thrice a week, Akbar preferred vegetarian meals over the usual rich, meaty feasts. He’d personally nourish his garden with rosewater, just so that it would lend its fragrance to the fruits and vegetables when cooked.
Several of the traditions and practices from the kitchens of the Mughals, through trial and error, have trickled down generations and assumed second nature. We do owe a lot of what we eat to the Moghuls.
We are in awe of Mughlai culinary practices; they are challenging and pleasurable to execute. With a touch of finesse, we take an already rich and delectable Mughlai classic Peshawari Murgh to greater heights. It’s on our menu today with a whole range of fine eats, try!