Kashmiri Cuisine has evolved over hundreds of years starting from the invasion of Timur in 15th century. It is mainly composed of three distinct styles of cooking – the Kashmiri Pundit style, the Muslim style and the Rajput style of cooking. Spices and condiments play a very important role in the Kashmiri recipes. Asafetida, aniseed, dry garlic, cloves and cinnamon are added for extra flavoring. Kashmiri Hindus use fenugreek, ginger and aniseed, while Muslims use garlic, Kashmiri chilies, cloves and cinnamon. Each community has its own exotic dishes, exotic flavors, but of course in today’s mixed culture, recipes have evolved to blend in the three different styles of cooking.
The pundits use a lot of yoghurt which gives their gravies a rich creamy taste and most of their dishes are vegetarian. Dum Aloo is the most famous Kahsmiri Vegetarian dish. This is the most famous dish to have migrated all over
India and across the world from
Kashmir. Potatoes floating in an exotically flavored gravy with cashews – tell me who doesn’t want it?
The Kashmiri Pulao is specifically unusual because the spices and condiments are boiled and not fried. And the basmati rice is cooked in milk and cream and this pulao in its purest form is garnished with rose petals. It’s truly a meal in itself fit for a Shah. Mouth watering, huh? Go ahead, click the link and prepare it today!
The Kashmiri Mixed Vegetable Rice is no less. This is more spicy and hot than the Kashmiri Pulao, but nevertheless a very tasty dish.
The Kashmiri Roti is one of the crispest breads I have ever tasted. It is richly aromatic and flavored. And guess what, the dough is kneaded with milk and cream instead of water. Whether you prepare its usual side dishes of Dum Aloo or Doon Chetin (The Walnut Chutney), you still have to prepare the roti just to know how it tastes when kneaded with milk.
Come, now lets check out a “Wazhawan” which is actually the traditional Kashmiri cooking. Wazhawan which came to
along with Timur is a thirty-six course meal. Yes, no less than thirty-six! Guests are grouped in fours and the meal is served around them. It is actually a great way to bond and fun. The Muslim style of cooking is closely associated with the Wazhawan.
The Kashmiri Lamb dish, The Kashmiri Kabab, Dum Aloo, The Rogan Josh, The Traditional Kashmiri Fried Fish, The Kashmiri Pulao, The Kashmiri Chicken, Yakhni (The Kashmiri mutton curry), The Kashmiri Kofta curry, The Kashmiri karam ka saag, The Kashmiri Kohlraabi pickle are all part of the Wazhawan.
Doon Chetin, the famous Kashmiri Walnut chutney is an absolute delectation. It is not just a part of the Wazhawan or of the Pundits’ meal, but this is something which you can use for your regular idli and dosa for all its nutritional content. Don’t forget to check out the Doon Chetin.
Another famous chutney the Muji Chetin (The Radish Chutney) is also part of the Wazhawan though vegetarian. Primarily composed of Radish and Yoghurt, it is very easy to prepare and tasty.
Learn to prepare the Kashmiri Garam Masala and let it be part of all your delectable Kashmiri dishes. Check out the internal link and let us know what makes it unique from the Rajput Garam Masala. The winner would receive a special surprise.
The Kashmiri Khava or Kashmiri Chai or plainly called the Kashmiri Herbal tea is the most popular drink among the heavy tea-drinkers of Kashmiris. There are atleast 20 different common varieties of Khavas and 50 exotic Khavas. It is a sweetly flavored tea with aromatic harbs like cinnamon, cardamom and saffron. And no, this does not even come anywhere near our good old masala chai. You have to prepare it the Kashmiri way and taste it the Kashmiri way in a samovar.
The Sheer Chai is a pinkish and queer tasting drink for people who have not tasted it. It is made of salt, black tea, sugar and soda. Yes, SODA! The peculiar color of the pinkish tea is because of the addition of soda. It would take some time to get used to, but once we like it, we like it for ever.
Yes, Kashmiris make exotic drinks, especially teas along with exotic dishes. Heck, the land is exotic in itself.
Apart from tea, which is drunk at the end of the meal, Kashmirirs are exotic ‘desserters’. Check out the Kashmiri Phirun which is a very milky, sweet cold dessert. And for those who like warm desserts, there is the Kashmiri Shufta. The Kashmiri Roath is a cake made of wheat and sweet flavors and fried with ghee. Oh yes, Kashmiri desserts are unique indeed.
I do not think writing enough about it or reading about it will give you a comprehension of how unique, exotic and unusual is the flavor of Kashmiri dishes and its unparalleled style of cooking is. It has to be prepared painstakingly, tasted and appreciated to get an iota of inkling of its specialty. Go ahead, splurge yourself.
“Like they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating”!!