Pakistani-origin MasterChef’s book to have modern take on Mughal recipes

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A Pakistani origin doctor, who has emerged MasterChef UK 2017 winner, has blown away judges with dishes that Pakistanis will easily be able to relate to, such as Shami Kababs.

According to a Dawn news report, Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, who is a doctor training to specialize in gastroenterology, is writing a cookbook inspired by Mughal cuisine.

Shami Kababs are likely to feature in her upcoming cookbook called Khazana, which is scheduled to release next September. At the moment, Saliha is spending all her free time writing.

The book will feature a modern take on Mughal recipes aimed at a western audience without toning down the spices. According to her, the “serious hobby” of cooking won her the MasterChef UK title this year.

Saliha counts honey sesame chicken from Sing Kuong, plus dishes at Golden Wok and Yum among her favorite dishes when she visits Lahore. She described desi Chinese as a “very strange and different fusion not available anywhere else in the world”.

She has always been fascinated by the art, culture and history around the Mughals, particular the stories about how passionate they were about food and cooking. Of course, she “loves how they use nuts, saffron and cream and yoghurt to make rich foods”.

“The Mughals influence spread across that entire region from Iran to Pakistan to India... a lot of our dishes are influenced by their techniques and recipes,” says Saliha. Her book will include anecdotes about the history or recipes.

For instance, she said Shami Kababs were invented by the chef of a Mughal emperor who had lost his teeth and couldn’t chew normal kababs. When she was 15, she won a cooking competition, with the prize being an apprenticeship at a London restaurant.

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