Chicken Korma To Nargisi Kofta: 10 Mughlai Dishes To Savour
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Mughlai delicacies reflect the culinary traditions of the Mughal Empire in India. Originating in the royal kitchens of Mughal rulers like Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb, Mughlai cuisine is characterised by aromatic spices, dried fruits, nuts and rich, creamy sauces. It represents a blending of the cooking styles brought to India from Central Asia, the Middle East and North India. Signature Mughlai dishes include biryani, kebabs, korma and nihari gosht. 

Sweets like firni, sheer khurma and phirni further demonstrate the creativity and extravagance of Mughlai gastronomy. With its roots in regal indulgence, Mughlai cuisine offers an aromatic, rich culinary experience. 

Chicken Korma  

Chicken korma is a classic Mughlai dish that originated in the royal kitchens of the Mughal Empire in mediaeval India. It consists of chicken braised in a mildly spiced, creamy sauce made from yoghurt, cashews, or almonds, and aromatic spices like coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaves. To make chicken korma, first the chicken is marinated in yoghurt mixed with ginger, garlic, spices, and lime juice. Then the chicken is sautéed in ghee or oil until browned. The braising sauce is made by frying cashews or almonds, adding spices, and simmering in water and yoghurt. 

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The chicken is added to the sauce and gently simmered until the meat is very tender and the sauce thickens. Saffron and garam masala are stirred in at the end for extra flavour. The dish has a rich, creamy, mildly spicy taste and a smooth texture. Chicken korma is often served with rice or naan to soak up the luscious sauce. It's a classic Indian dish, perfect for a special occasion. 


Nihari is a rich and flavourful Mughlai dish that originated in Delhi, India. This spicy stew is made with slow-cooked lamb or beef and a blend of aromatic spices. To make nihari, meat is marinated overnight with ginger, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and other spices. The meat is then braised for several hours in a broth flavoured with fried onions, garlic, and spices until it becomes tender. 

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Traditionally, nihari is eaten with freshly baked naan or khamiri roti for dipping in the rich gravy. This hearty stew is often served for breakfast but is enjoyed at any time of day in India and Pakistan. The long cooking time allows the meat to become fall-off-the-bone tender while the spices permeate the broth, creating an incredible depth of flavour. Nihari is the ultimate comforting dish for meat lovers. 

Mughlai Biryani 

Mughlai biryani is a rich, aromatic rice dish that originated in the royal kitchens of the Mughal Empire in mediaeval India. To make this delicious one-pot meal, meat marinated in yoghurt and spices is layered with fragrant basmati rice, onions, saffron, and mint. The pot is then sealed and cooked slowly over a low flame, allowing the meat juices to infuse the rice. 

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When the pot is opened, a heavenly aroma is released, revealing perfectly cooked, fluffy rice studded with succulent meat pieces. The complex blend of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and nutmeg creates a medley of flavours in every bite. Garnished with fried onions, nuts, and raita, Mughlai biryani is a regal feast fit for royalty. This dish is a staple at celebrations and weddings across North India for its lavish ingredients and elaborate preparation. 

Seekh Kebabs 

Seekh kebabs are a popular Mughlai dish originating from the Indian subcontinent. They consist of minced meat, usually lamb or beef, mixed with aromatic spices and shaped onto skewers before being grilled or roasted over charcoal. The process of mincing and mixing the meat thoroughly allows the spices to penetrate and infuse the kebabs with delicious flavour. 

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To make Seekh Kebabs, start by combining minced meat with spices like garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, chilli powder, garam masala and salt. Knead the mixture well to distribute the spices evenly. Divide the mixture into oval shapes on metal skewers, ensuring they are tightly and uniformly packed. Grill the skewers over hot charcoal, turning frequently, until the kebabs are cooked through and slightly charred on the outside. They are usually served with mint chutney, sliced onions and lemon wedges. With their smoky aroma, tender texture and burst of spices, Seekh Kebabs make for a mouth-watering appetiser or main course. 

Butter Chicken 

Butter chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a classic Indian dish that originated in Delhi. It consists of tender pieces of chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices, then simmered in a rich, creamy, buttery tomato sauce. The sauce is made by sautéing onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes, then simmering with cream or coconut milk. Spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, chilli powder, and garam masala add layers of aromatic flavour. 

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To make butter chicken, first marinate boneless chicken thighs in the yoghurt-spice blend. Then cook the sauce until thickened before adding the chicken. Simmer until the chicken is very tender and soaked in the fragrant, velvety sauce. Garnish with cilantro and serve with naan bread or basmati rice. The luxurious, mildly spiced gravy makes this dish a favourite  at Indian restaurants worldwide. It's rich yet refreshing, with a perfect balance of savoury, sweet, spicy, and creamy. 

Shahi Tukda 

Shahi tukda is a beloved Indian dessert that originated in the Mughlai cuisine of North India. This rich and decadent dish consists of deep-fried bread slices that are soaked in thick, sweetened milk. The bread, usually stale, is cut into triangles or diamonds before being fried to a golden brown crisp. It is then immersed in rabri, a slow-cooked, creamy milk reduction flavoured with cardamom and saffron. The rabri permeates the crispy fried bread, resulting in a soft, moist interior encased in a delicate crunch. 

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Some recipes call for additional garnishes, like sliced almonds or pistachios. To make shahi tukda, day-old bread is sliced and fried until crispy. Separately, milk is reduced on low heat with sugar and spices to thicken it into rabri. The fried bread is then dipped into the sweet rabri until well coated and soaked through. Shahi tukda is served chilled, often garnished with nuts and a drizzle of rose syrup for added floral aroma. This indulgent, syrupy dessert is a cherished treat on special occasions and festivals across North India. 


Sheermal is a type of sweet flatbread that originated in Persia and became popular in Mughlai cuisine. It is made from maida flour, milk, yogurt, ghee, and sugar. The dough is kneaded to a soft consistency and allowed to rest before being divided into balls. 

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These balls are rolled out into thin rounds and baked in a tandoor oven until they puff up and turn golden brown. The end result is a soft, layered flatbread that is slightly sweet and perfect for dipping into curries or eating on its own. Sheermals can be flavored with cardamom, saffron, or rosewater for additional aroma. They make a delicious breakfast bread or accompaniment to a Mughlai meal. The flaky layers and hint of sweetness balance out richer curries and meats. Sheermal is an integral part of Mughlai cuisine and adds a touch of refinement to any meal. 

Mutton Burra 

Mutton burra is a classic Mughlai dish that originated in northern India and Pakistan. To make this rich and flavorful curry, mutton or goat meat is first marinated in ginger, garlic, yogurt, and spices like coriander, cumin, garam masala, and chili powder. The marinated meat is then fried in oil or ghee until browned. Next, onions are sautéed until caramelized before the meat and marinade are added to the pot. Additional spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves infuse the curry as it simmers. 

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Tomatoes and water or stock are added to the pot to further build the thick, aromatic sauce. The mutton burra is finished by simmering everything together for 30-45 minutes until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. This protein-packed dish is usually served with naan bread or rice to soak up the incredible flavors in the gravy. Mutton burra is a hearty, comforting curry that is a staple at celebrations and special occasions in northern India and Pakistan. 

Chicken Jahangiri 

Chicken jahangiri is a classic Mughlai dish that originated in India. It consists of chicken pieces that are marinated in a yogurt-based marinade infused with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger, and garam masala. The chicken is then fried until golden brown and cooked in a rich, creamy, tomato-based sauce along with sauteed onions, garlic, and ginger. Some variations also add nuts like cashews or almonds to thicken the sauce and add texture. 

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The dish is moderately spicy yet flavorful, with the tanginess of yogurt and tomatoes balanced by the warmth of the spices. To make chicken jahangiri, first marinate the chicken in the yogurt-spice mixture for a few hours. Then fry the chicken until cooked through and set aside. Make the sauce by sauteing the onions, garlic, and ginger, then adding the pureed tomatoes and spices. Simmer until thickened, then add the fried chicken and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes to absorb the flavors. Garnish with chopped cilantro or nuts and serve with naan or rice. 

Nargisi Kofta 

Nargisi kofta is a popular Mughlai dish that consists of hard boiled eggs covered in a spicy minced meat coating. To make nargisi kofta, eggs are first hard boiled and peeled. The minced meat, usually lamb or chicken, is seasoned with aromatics like onions, garlic, ginger, and spices like coriander, cumin, garam masala, chili powder, and salt. 

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The spiced minced meat is shaped into thin patties and wrapped around the boiled eggs, enclosing them completely. The coated eggs are then deep fried until the meat coating is cooked through and turns crisp and brown on the outside. Nargisi kofta is served hot, garnished with chopped cilantro and accompanied by sauces like raita, green chutney or a tomato-based gravy. The dish is a flavorful and visually appealing appetizer or main course that highlights the contrasting textures of the soft boiled egg and the crispy spiced meat coating.