North Indian cooking is influenced by Muslim kings who invaded India as early as the 16th century. They introduced their lavish style of cooking to the regions of Delhi, Punjab, and other parts in North India. Mughal cooking is characterized by using cream, dry fruits, and almonds served with rice. Their staple non-vegetarian food is lamb and chicken, and they prepare it in different styles. Because of their religion pork is not used in their kitchen. As per their religious belief, they only use halal meat in their cooking.
Food items native to North India were enriched through Mughal influence and new dishes were created. These include various rice dishes (among the rice dishes, biryani is very popular all over India), marinated meat dishes, desserts (burfi, halwa, jalebi), sweetened drinks (kheer, lassi), and kulfi ice cream. It was the Mughals that introduced eating betel leaves to refresh the palate and to aid digestion. The Muslims influenced both substance and style in overall Indian cuisine.
In the North, farmers predominantly grow wheat, so naturally they have a variety of food made with wheat. Among those are flatbreads (chapati, naan, roti, paratha), which are very popular and are cooked in a Tandoor oven. A Tandoor oven is a clay oven which has burning charcoal at the bottom to produce high heat to the surface. The flatbreads’ dough sticks at the surface of the Tandoor oven, until it is cooked. The Tandoor food introduced by the Mughals is now popular all over the world. Some of the popular foods prepared in a Tandoor oven are Tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, and kalmi kabab.
In North India people eat vegetarian food- they eat varieties of dried beans, lentils and pulses as they are rich in protein, foregoing the protein from meat. Another important North Indian cooking tradition is the use of mustard oil and ghee (clarified butter) that are high in fat and are used for frying purposes.
Weather it is vegetarian or non-vegetarian cooking, in this part of India you will see the Mughal influence in their cooking and eating. The Mughal cooking that started in North India is now spread all over India giving unique blend of taste and style to Indian culinary.