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The royal family of Sailana in Madhya Pradesh calls grilled, stuffed chicken Murgh Musallam Do Rukha Seekh Par. The family has taken on the task of archiving traditional recipes from royal families since their ancestor, Raja Dilip Singh, first began to do so in the 1900s. The recipe, reproduced in the book Dining With the Maharajas: A Thousand Years of Culinary Tradition by Neha Prasada and Ashima Narain, includes lean lamb, ghee, yogurt, eggs, almonds, raisins and coconut. The elaborate process, from marination to roasting, takes 13 hours and requires skills from basting the bird in ground, raw papaya to straining yogurt and spit-roasting.

As mouth-watering as it may sound, it is unlikely to be attempted anywhere outside a kitchen of royal proportions. Is that because modern demands do not encourage such long processes of cooking? Is Indian food too evolved now to be bogged down by elaborate methods—or is it just the opposite?

Rahul Akerkar, founder, managing director and director de cuisine of deGustibus, the company which runs Indigo and the Indigo Deli chain of restaurants in Mumbai, believes Indian cuisine is stagnating. “The others (cuisines) are all evolving. I don’t think ours is. There are a few people playing around with it but it’s to do with our chefs.

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Zaffran’s Safed Tamatar aur Tulsi ka Shorba. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
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