Indian Muslim cuisine in seven celebrated dishes
- 09 October 2018
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India is a country that contains a continent’s worth of diversity, and its food is a delicious representation of the different communities that have co-existed with each other. Over 172 million Muslims live in the 29 states and 7 union territories, and the food from their communities tell the story of their geography and ancestry.
My Salaam has compiled a list of 7 iconic dishes that represent Muslims from different parts of the country. This list is by no means representative of all the Muslim communities; it is meant as an introduction to the various cuisines and the communities they represent.
These meatballs are part of the wazwan, a celebratory meal that is usually prepared during weddings. Gushtaba are made from finely ground mutton cooked in a yoghurt gravy. They are eaten with rice from an intricately engraved copper platter called a trammi.
KOLKATA’S MUTTON REZALA
Rezala’s origins lie in Awadh, a region in northern India, but Bengali kitchens have made this preparation of meat in a thin yoghurt sauce their own. The gravy is made creamy by the addition of poppy seeds and sometimes with cashew nuts, and it is flavoured with kewra.
LUCKNOWI SHAHI TUKDA
The nawabs of Lucknow were known for their refined palates, delicate kababs and fragrant biryanis. But one of the most famous dishes of their Awadhi cuisine is Shahi Tukda, a sophisticated bread pudding. In its modern form, it is made with fried bread soaked in sugar syrup and topped with dried fruit, saffron, cardamom and a sweetened condensed cream called rabdi.
Hyderabadi haleem is a stew made of wheat, meat and lentils that became popular during the Nizam rule. Haleem in Hyderabad is especially popular as an iftar meal. Thanks to the haleem delivery service from Pista House in Hyderabad, Hyderabadi haleem can be delivered to most cities in India.
TAMIL NADU’S NOMBU KANJI
Nombu kanji is a porridge made of rice, lentils and spices popularly eaten during the holy month of Ramadan. It is often distributed by mosques in the evening to those who can’t afford a meal.
GUJARATHI MEMON AKHNI PULAO
A one-pot meal, akhni pulao is a combination of rice, meat and potatoes. The rice is cooked in the meat stock and is usually spicy.
KERALA’S SULAIMANI TEA
Believed to be of Arab origin, Sulaimani tea comes to us from the Malabar Muslim community. It is essentially black tea with a generous squeeze of lemon and lots of sugar, occasionally with a hint of cardamom. It is served in a glass and is best drunk at a roadside stall, although it is commonly served after a heavy, celebratory meal.
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