Chicken Changezi: Is The Origin Of The Chicken Dish Linked To Mongolian Ruler Genghis Khan?
- Ria Baidya
Updated : January 20, 2022 05:01 IST
The origins of chicken changezi is shrouded in mystery.
The art of preparing Mughlai food has always caught the attention of connoisseurs for its precision and sophistication. Mughals in India created various lip-smacking dishes, which are still savoured by foodies with a great zeal. The era of Mughal empire in India officially began with Babur in 14th century A.D. The Mughlai cuisine in the subcontinent is an amalgamation of various influences from Middle-Eastern cuisines and the regional cuisines of India. In Persian the term ‘Mughal’ meant ‘Mongol’, and Babur adopted the same to refer to his ‘Mongol’ lineage. Though it is believed that the foundations of 'Mughal cuisine' were laid much before as the Khansamahs really tried to incorporate the cooking techniques of their predecessors and intermingle them with local ingredients. The Chicken Changezi, for instance, is a sapid delicacy that is often said to be linked with Mongolian ruler and invader Ghenghis Khan.
The history of the dish is quite complicated to track. But the name of the dish does draw attention of anyone who is aware of the formidable and invincible thirteenth century Mongolian warrior, Genghis Khan or as Indians would like to call him Changez Khan. Giving it the possibility that the mouthwatering dish was named in his honour. The legend goes that one of his royal chefs experimented with the chicken dish to suit his taste buds, which in result impressed the ruler a lot. Originally the chicken was prepared in luscious yogurt and cream with a gamut of aromatic spices. The heat in the dish was balanced by the milk products which went into it, giving it a rich delicate layer of flavours. Now, Chicken Changezi is also made with loads of tomatoes which gives it a tangy taste.
Though according to history, the use of spices was still exotic to the Mongolians, as they never truly entered India due to the tough battle put up by the Sultans of Delhi. The ruthless invaders came as close to Indus, but never gained access to the vital regions of the subcontinent. It is believed that when they were camping outside the walls of the city, they may have got their hands on some of the local spices and could have prepared the dish with those. No matter what the origins of Chicken Changezi are, whether or not it was truly prepared for the ruthless king Genghis Khan, aren't we grateful for the genius chefs who created such a wonderful dish with bare minimum ingredients?