About Northern Indian Cuisine
Anyone who has eaten even once at a nonvegetarian Indian restaurant will likely remember the dusky brown sauces and cream-based curries that envelop hunks of meat, the fried samosas stuffed with spiced potatoes, puffy naan breads slick with butter, and the oversize piles of rice called biryani. They all stem from the Islamic, Persian-influenced cooking of the Mughal Empire, which reigned over the whole of India from its northern seat for four centuries. Frankly, much of this cooking, in its restaurant iterations, can be bland and slapdash. I’ve found only two local restaurants at which I’m genuinely impressed by the North Indian food, and two others with noteworthy Pakistani food. Pakistan was part of northern India under British rule until the violent separation known as Partition in 1947. Rarely do restaurants identify themselves purely as Pakistani—in part because, as with so many facets of the two nations’ complexly entwined cultures, North India and Pakistan share congruent cooking styles.