Skip to main content
Emperor Humayun's supper and breakfast - Mughal feasts #2

Mughal feast #2 was to cook four recipes for Emperor Humanyun from his section in the S. Husain "Emperor's Table". For his supper - a soup, lamb kebabs, and bread, and for his breakfast - an eggplant omelet. Listed as
1. Eshkaneh Shirazi or Yoghurt Soup Laced with Saffron
2. Luleh Kebab or Lamb Kebabs Wrapped in Bread
3. Naan-i-Tunak or Baked Flour Bread Flavoured with Mint
4. Kukuye Bademajan or Eggplant Omelet Served with Yoghurt
I cooked the supper items on Saturday evening the 12th of Feb 2011, eating the soup and kebabs over three evenings; while we cooked and ate half-recipe omelets for brunch the early afternoon of Sunday the 13th Feb, and the evening of Wednesday the 16th Feb.

Yogurt soup

Lamb kebabs
Eggplant omelet

Did they celebrate Valentines Day in the Mughal court? (of course not) Or if they would have, what foods do you think they would have cooked and eaten at the Court? What would a Mughal Valentines card look like? "To my wives . . . "

See many more photos of this at Piscasa - scroll down to Humayun's yogurt soup photo.

Overall these again were delicious foods - fun to cook and experiment with. The yogurt soup gets a B+ Though at first taste it seemed very light and shallow, but that changed completely as one bit into the walnuts, which gave it wonderful flavor and provided 'meat' or depth and fullness to the dish. The kebabs get a B if maybe a B- Interesting, but no very full in flavor, nonetheless filling, similar to hamburgers. The bread or Naan - a resounding D or even F, a failure again like the bread for Babur's supper. It fell apart, crumbled. See below for experiments with 3 other recipes for the bread. The omelet gets an A- Nice and subtle, a great vegetarian omelet. Overall a delicious supper and breakfast for emperor Humayun.

Question? Are Indians vegetarians? In this day and age, people who consume only vegetables, but also dairy products are often times not considered to be true vegetarians. Because almost all Indians consume or use dairy products - milk, ghee, yogurt, etc - they fall out of the definition of vegetarians?

Eggplant omelet ingredients
Ingredients. The lamb again needed to be bought at a special butcher. As last time, I went to the Main Street Market, and to the Organic Butcher there. The receipe called for 26 oz of minced lamb, but I kept it to 24 oz of 1.5 lbs. Even that I think was too much for the two of us. Next time I think I'd reduce the recipe's by a third and use only 1 pound of minced lamb. Wow, was I surprised - Saturday morning there's a huge crowd buying meat from the popular Organic Butcher, so I had to wait my turn in line as people bought specialty meats like rabbit, which one is hard pressed to find elsewhere in Charlottesville. A little bit of spinach and walnuts - had to find, but I settled on a $3 boxed salad that had both in it. Eggplant? - most general grocery stores had very soft and useless ones, except when I got to the Foods of All Nations, and one of their four was mostly firm. Ghee and finer wheat flour? went to Integral Yoga for some finely ground wheat bread flour, and the smaller (7.5 oz or 212g) of two jars of Ghee - that's expensive stuff! Pomegranate? out of luck, out of season, in the dead of winter, no place to find one in Charlottesville's four stores I went to. Next time I'll have to cook Humayun's lamb kebabs when pomegranates are in season - does anyone know for sure what time of year that is? While you're at it - tell me where and when I may purchase fresh lychees - the canned stuff is just not the same.

13 Kebabs broiled
Procedures and modifications. These are little and big things I had
to deal with. Cooking the 1. soup was simple and easy - except I did not get much thickening when I added the maida (refined flour). For the 2. lamb, I should have ground the paste's dry ingredients first (pepper, salt) before adding and grinding the other (onions, basil, coriander, spring onion). We did not have a grill in the dead of winter, so broiled the kebabs for 3 minutes on each side and then left them in the over to cook thoroughly for another 10 minutes. I'm not sure what "flat skewers" are, so we made flattened balls of about 4" by 2" wide and 1" high. I'll get to the bread in a minute. The 4. omelet was cooked as half recipes once on Sunday and then on Wednesday. Sunday's cubed eggplant absorbed lots of the vegetable oil, taking about 10 minutes to fry; while Wed's eggplant absorbed almost no oil - was that because it was 3 days older?

3. The bread experiments. Are failures also successes? in cooking. If something fails, that leads me to experiment and try something different, and see if I can succeed with the modifications. So it was with the bread, which failed last time and this time - turned out like a pie crust, and left us with a lot of crumbs. What, where were the problems with these Mughal breads. Was it that I had used butter and not ghee, and not at the right temperature? or not the right wheat flour? What was going wrong?

4 naan dough variations
The bread experiments - I decided to split the Naan recipe into
four versions
A. whole wheat flour with ghee
B. wheat bread flour with ghee
C. whole wheat flour with water only
D. wheat bread flour with water only

The results? both of the ghee doughs would not roll out, but just separated, and when cooked as flattened round 3" loaves, simply crumbled. Both the water doughs rolled out fine, cooked up well, and even puffed up on the flames like regular chapattis. Deej felt the bread
4 naan variations
flour naan was not as tough as the whole wheat flour

naan. Oh, another thing - I thought the spices for this Naan recipe were very, very strong, so I reduced the cloves to 3 instead of 4 and also reduced the cardamom. The recipe said to use 6 brown cardamoms - but I could not figure out if it meant 6 tiny seeds or 6 pods of seeds. I use 4 pods of seeds in the first round and 3 pods in the second. Deej felt there could have been a stronger cardamom flavoring in the second round naans. Another thing I've learned? like with the lamb, grind the dry ingredients (cloves, cardamom) before adding and grinding the wet ones (green coriander, mint) - works a lot better.

Comments? Well, there you have it - another adventure and experiments in cooking and feasting on Mughal cuisine -
Philip cooking the omelet
learning, trying, savoring eating the wonderful foods.

Humanyan's supper and breakfast. Did you enjoy you soup, kebabs, and bread for supper, and your omelet for breakfast, Emperor Humanyun? And what comments and suggestions might you (our readers) have on all of this?


Jeanie said…
Philip, This is a great Blog. Barry read it too and was impressed with the feedback on your choices. I really was interested to learn that the ghee did not make texturally good bread. Good work Dude! Jeanie
This comment has been removed by the author.

Popular posts from this blog

On Gita

This blog post started out as a simple email reply to some questions about Gita Mehta aka Gita Patnaik, and went on far too long.  Only read what you wish.

Question 1. Have you read Gita's books?  If you want to know about all of Gita’s writings, check out this link on according to WorldCat It says she has "47 works in 296 publications in 15 languages and 5,485 library holdings." WorldCat has similar listings for all authors (see Philip McEldowney Only 6 works
I’ve greatly enjoyed reading her fiction (Raj and River Sutra), but never have gotten beyond the first few pages, for some reason, of her main non-fiction – Karma Kola, Snakes and Ladders.We (the UVa library) have those four books in our library, but not the coffee-table (non-academic) picture book Eternal Ganesh.
Question 2. Are “Sonny & Gita Mehta” listed in the credits of the “Vietnam” series running on PBS cur…

Emperor Bahadur Shah's feast

Emperor Bahadur Shah's feast of lamb mince with rice and gram pulao and besani bread, the Mughal feast #7 on 27 May 2012. The last Mughal emperor, and the last emperor's feast cooked in this experimental series of 'old' Indian food.

For the last Mughal feast or #7 I cooked 3 recipes on Sunday evening on the 27th of May 2012 for Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar from Aurangzeb's and Bahadur Shah's sections in the S. Husain "Emperor's Table". The three recipes were
1. Rice and Bengal Gram Pulao or "Qubooli" (from Aurangzeb's section)
2. Lamb Mince with Pistachios or "Piston Ka Keema" (Bahadur Shah's section) and
3. Unlevened Gram Flour Bread or "Besani Roti" (als Bahadur Shah's section)

Here's are photos of the ingredients lined up -

Above is first for Pulao, then for Lamb Mine, and lst for Besani bread.

To see photos of cooking for this dinner, start with this Picasa photo and keep clicking the forward …