Confluence Of Bengal, Nawabs & Rajasthan, Murshidabad’s Sheherwali Cuisine Is A Royal Experience

A trip to Murshidabad is incomplete without relishing the deliciousness of the special Sheherwali cuisine!

by Shreya Ghosh
Confluence Of Bengal, Nawabs & Rajasthan, Murshidabad’s Sheherwali Cuisine Is A Royal Experience

Murshidabad is one of West Bengal’s most historically rich cities. Each nook and corner of the city has decades and centuries-old stories to express. The city is home to iconic establishments and museums that are visited by travellers all around the year, especially during the winter season. Another influence that makes the city famous is the 300-year-old Sheherwali cuisine. Just like Murshidabad, its popular tradition of this cuisine is dipped in history and of course, unexplainable deliciousness. To know the dishes well, we need to delve into the past and know about the Oswal Jains.

Oswal Jains Visited West Bengal In The 18th Century & Brought Their Rich Cuisine As Well

Taking to Instagram, Bari Kothi (@barikothi) shared a picture of a lavish vegetarian spread of Sheherwali cuisine.

 

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A post shared by Bari Kothi (@barikothi)

The delectable cuisine made its appearance in Murshidabad with Oswal Jains. Author Pradip Chopra spoke about the cuisine and its entry and popularity in the city in his book ‘Sheherwali: Regal Vegetarian Cuisine of Murshidabad’. Bankers, businessmen, and traders of the Oswal Jain community from Rajasthan came to West Bengal in the 18th century to work in money management for the Nawabs of Murshidabad. They started living in places close to the historical city.

These community people soon became very successful in their profession and gained massive popularity as well. With a rise in them becoming influential, more people from similar communities began arriving and settling in Musrshidabad. Soon, they were being called as Sheherwalis. The Jain communities began living a life following a confluence of different cultures. From following their Jain lifestyle to incorporating a few anecdotes from Bengalis and Nawabs, their lifestyle saw influences from different people living around them.

Sheherwali Cuisine Is More Than Just Being Jain Delicacies

Chef Rehman Mujeebur cooked Sheherwali delicacies at JW Marriott Bengaluru’s Spice Terrace.

Just like their attire, outfits, and language, their eating habits and preferences saw influences of different cultures over the years. As Sheherwalis are Jains, their food preferences are far away from anything non-vegetarian, root vegetables, and all other food items that are not a part of Jain cuisine. The community consumes only vegetarian dishes prepared with specific vegetables and spices. Back in the day, Sheherwali cuisine became popular among people for the confluence of Bengali, Nawabi, and Rajasthani touches. From new flavours to spices, their food patterns noticed significant changes over the years, and today it is devoured as Murshidabad’s special Sheherwali cuisine.

Also read: This City Of Bengal Nawabs, Murshidabad Has Stunning Palaces, Tombs And The World’s Largest Imambara

Infused with the art of slow cooking, this scrumptious cuisine offers gastronomic experiences to all the foodies with its finger-licking authentic dishes. Prepared with some its and bits from Bengali, Jain, Nawabi, and Rajasthani flavours and cooking styles, Sheherwali cuisine opens doors to indulge in a lavish feast of vegetarian dishes.

Let’s Take A Deep Dive Into Sheherwali Cuisine Virtually

This is such an extravagant royal vegetarian experience!

 

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A post shared by Bari Kothi (@barikothi)

One of the biggest examples of Bengali cooking’s influence on this special cuisine is using paanch phoron. Most Bengali vegetarian recipes are incomplete without adding this. Paanch phoron is a spice made by mixing black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, and nigella seeds. The confluence of Mughlai or Nawabi cooking styles is evident by the use of dry fruits, kewra, rose water, and saffron. Keeping their traditional community’s eating habits in mind, they have innovated and elevated the cuisine and its experiences.

Also read: Jagat Seth Museum Is An Iconic Place In West Bengal; Its Owner Lent Money To British & Mughals

Sheherwalis love mangoes and the cuisine is rich in recipes prepared with the sweet fruit. From making pickles to adding to veg recipes, the ‘King of Fruits’ is an integral part of Sheherwalis’ summer season. Some of this cuisine’s special dishes are Kheere Ki Kachori, Kache Aam Chana Ka Kutti, Nirmas, Kache Aam ki Kheer, Paniphal Ka Samosa, and Bengali’s famous Pitha.

When in Murshidabad, Bari Kothi is a famous place to relish the deliciousness of this special cuisine. The next time you are planning a trip to this city, make sure to gorge on the dishes!

Cover Image Courtesy: Instagram/ Bari Kothi (@barikothi), Instagram/ Ranveer Brar (@ranveer.brar)

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