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From Mughal Emperor to Mountain Peaks: The Icy Obsession of Humayun with khichdi-Sharbat

Discovering the Delectable Mughal Empire Cuisine: A Journey Through History

When Babur set foot in Hindustan, he found himself embroiled in battles and conflicts. With limited time to rule, his reign was short-lived, and after his demise, Humayun ascended the throne. However, fate took a different turn for him. Humayun’s decisions were often misguided, leading to circumstances where the throne fell into the hands of the Afghans. Amidst these challenges, the time he had was constrained by matters of learning and literacy. But here, we delve into his culinary preferences. Did he experiment with new dishes in his cuisine, or did he adhere to the traditions from Babur’s era?

Influence of Persian Culture on Cuisine

Humayun’s culinary choices were significantly influenced by Persian culture. The question arises: how did a Mughal emperor ruling Delhi come under the sway of Iranian influence? The answer lies in his retreat to the shelter of the Iranian Shah after Sher Shah Suri defeated him, compelling him to leave Hindustan. During his stay in Iran, he was captivated by the refined artistry there. When he returned to Delhi, he incorporated those techniques into royal feasts. Despite having an array of options, his second tenure lacked the time needed to fully explore culinary innovations. Nevertheless, he made various attempts during his short span, particularly introducing fruits and even spirits to the gastronomic repertoire.

A Connoisseur of Khichdi and Sherbet

Humayun had a particular fondness for khichdi, a mixed rice and lentil dish. Not only that, he appreciated sherbet as well. Notably, his wife Hamida, of Iranian origin, brought saffron and dried fruits into the culinary scene. Alongside this, fruits were used in beverages, and to keep drinks cold, he imported ice from the mountains. Thus, Humayun progressed further in experimenting with his cuisine compared to Babur.

As we explore the tantalizing world of Mughal Empire cuisine, we uncover how Humayun’s interactions with Iranian culture left an indelible mark on his culinary preferences. His experimentation with flavors and ingredients adds a unique dimension to the rich tapestry of Mughal history.