The Khoja community of Shia Muslims – Cuisine

UpperCrust Magazine Khoja Community CuisineNaan Chaap & Muthiya

UpperCrust Magazine Khoja Community CuisineThe Khoja community of Shia Muslims celebrates a cuisine that is Mughlai, but vastly different from the Hyderabadi and Lucknowi schools of cooking, discovers the UpperCrust while joining a gathering of its members over lunch.

UpperCrust Magazine Khoja Community CuisineTHE Hyderabadi and Lucknowi Muslims of India may keep their Kacche Gosht Biryanis and Dal Gosht-Chawals, the lesser-known cooking of the Khoja community of Gujarat is just as good Mughlai food as any other. In fact, there are several food experts to say that Khoja cuisine is the best Mughlai cooking of all. It is the flavoursome meaty food of the Mughals with some interesting Gujarati influences. An exotic mixture of culinary styles. Delicately flavoured meat, fish and chicken dishes cooked with locally grown herbs and piquant home-ground masalas. Simple and authentic recipes, handed over from mother to daughter, both of whom would be excellent cooks.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

8 thoughts

  1. some of the dishes mentioned here are not exclusive to khojas only.
    eg. muthia, khima biryani, (we call it khima ni khichri) is common in Bohri cuisine especially from Kathiawar.


  2. ^^ Excellent point!

    Many articles in the public domain mix up culture and religion. No doubt culture and religion and intertwined, with various traditions having developed differently within different civilizational contexts. The flip-side of it is that culturally influenced traditions within religious groups are undoubtedly shared with others. Such points of shared culture should be celebrated!

    Generally when one says Ismaili, it refers to Nizari Ismaili – but the Bohri, or Bohras as they are also often referred to, are also Ismailis. Specifically, they follow Tayyibi Ismailism, and have their own different traditions. ‘Khoja’ is more of a cultural term, relating to certain cultural groups in South Asia, but often a term used to identify Nizari Ismailis of that region. Like other religious groups, Nizari Ismailis go beyond these cultural boundaries, and are found in numerous countries with a plethora of cultural backgrounds. So though Khojas may be Ismailis, Ismailis go well beyond Khojas!

    Just to close out the thought, Nizari Ismailis and Tayyibi Ismailis are like cousins a thousand years removed. Not only that, within common regions they also share some culture – including muthia and khima biryani (khima ni khichri).


  3. I read your above article on Khojas cuisine. I am very much interested in purchasing the khojas recipe book written by Fateema Hooda. I would be grateful if you could give more information on buying the book. My name is Nazmina Merali and my e-mail address is:


  4. hi my name is nadira , my maiden surname is hirani an i hail from bekgaum-bombay cultures, with origins going back to kathiawar from my grandfathers days.i am now married to a brahmin chaturvedi of north india. while i learned my non veg cooking from my mother whose culinary excellence can take you ‘straight to heaven’,my vegetarian lessons came from my mother in law who is an equally excellent cook , though in a different genre. i have retained the original recipes and my family is as fond of me in the result, some of the best being mutton biryani, gosht ka salna, keema stuffed in capsicum, dal ghost, and fried fish. now my daughter is taking on this mantle, and i hope such traditions keep going on.. i would also like to have the book written,(i had only one copy and my sister took it from me), so pl let me know where to get it…good luck and happy eating…


  5. For those of you who are interested in purchasing the book
    “Khoja Khana” by Fateema Hooda (Bapsy). It comes in a hard bound edition priced at Rs.175 & a paperback edition priced at Rs.75. It is available online on
    The links for the same are:
    or you can just visit the site & key in ‘khoja khana’ in the search box which will produce the relevant results.
    Happy Exploring.


  6. I think, due to health awareness, the Khoja cuisine is substancially changing, specially in the educated lot. Mutton is giving way to Chicken and a lot of vegetarian dishes have got added. Salads too have become important components of the meals.

    Also inter cuisine effects have got mixes from Chinese, Mexican, Italian & Thai dishes. It would not be difficult to fine Chicken Kheema on Pizzas, for example. What has not changed is the practice of making delicious dishes always.


  7. ^^ It is interesting how things mix and inter-mingle. A particularly interesting example is ‘jugu cake’ (or peanut cake). It is quite common in countries where the Khojo population originated in East Africa. Turns out, jugu cake, which is double-baked till quite hard and crispy, comes from the Italians who had moved to East Africa. Jugu cake, now very common among Canadian Khojas, thus actually has its roots in Italian biscotti!!!

    Culture is such a wonderful thing!


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