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For the kitchen shelf

Indian food is going places. Salma Husain’s book on Mughal cuisine has won the top award in the Best in the World Book for Culinary History section at the Gourmand Awards held in Paris. The Emperor’s Table also won the Special Award of the Jury.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2009 23:34 IST
Paramita Ghosh

Indian food is going places. Salma Husain’s book on Mughal cuisine has won the top award in the Best in the World Book for Culinary History section at the Gourmand Awards held in Paris. The Emperor’s Table also won the Special Award of the Jury.

Husain was working on the Mutiny papers at the National Archive of India when it occurred to her, “why not research if there’s any written record of the Mughal recipes?” The question she says, led to the search and the result is a treasure trove of recipes right from the time of Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty in 1483, to the doomed Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1858.

Husain, a Persian scholar and a food consultant with the ITC Welcomgroup, Delhi, culled these recipes by crossing countries (to Ferghana, Babur's hometown in Afghanistan), poring over old manuscripts (like Bahadur Shah ka Adde-Hakoomat) and modifying them to suit present-day palates. This is why the use of dried fruits — Mughal staples — have been reduced considerably in the recipes’ compilation.

In a nutshell: The Mughals gave us the Taj. And they also gave us Duck Glazed with Pomegranate Juice — Khoresh Fesenjan. Give it a shot.