India was invaded by the Mughals in the 16th century and they introduced different exotic nuts, spices and fruits. Many different goods were exported to the British by the Mughals which included aloes, tea, silk, coffee, and cotton cloth. Other than this, different types of spices were also exported for example, ginger, pepper, cloves, saffron, and cinnamon. The Mughlai cuisine is by far one of the most well-known cuisines of all times, throughout the world. Other than its unique aroma, it used to be very spicy due to the addition of ground spices which could be felt upon eating. The uses of these spices began with the reign of Babar but the Mughal food traveled and changed as each of the emperors added their own contribution.
The Mughals considered food as an art and most of their meals were prepared with almost 25 spices along with almonds, cashews, raisins and rose water. The 3 main ingredients used in every Mughlai meal were saffron, sugar, and lemon juice. The Saffron bulbs were brought from Iran by the Mughals in the 16th century and since then, it has been growing in Kashmir. Akbar specifically loved the Saffron fields situated in Kashmir and it was because of the infiniteness of the saffron flowers. Furthermore, Saffron was also among the special gifts which were sent to the court by the governor of the provinces.
Even now, Indians use saffron in many of their recipes of sweets, rice and ice creams. It doesn’t just add color to the dish but also gives it a unique flavor. The use of different cooking styles and spices can still be seen in the place where the Mughals ruled for a very long time i.e. North India. However, Mughlai food was not restricted to only spices, it actually ranged from hot spicy gravy (shorba) to ginger based roasted meals including meats to different kinds of soups and ice cream (kulfis) sprinkled with rose petals.