Get ready to salivate extensively for the next five minutes with these mind-numbing and mouth-watering Kashmiri dishes…
Being a Kashmiri pandit myself, there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings (that is, leaving aside the different pronunciations that people across the world come up with) regarding the food that is associated with Kashmiri cuisine and hence came up with this week’s blog idea to introduce some of the most famous and mouth-watering dishes from Kashmir to one and all. Kashmiri food is known to be very rich in spices and is a favourite among those who love spicy food. Some of the below mentioned dishes are a few of tourists’ as well as my favourites as well! These dishes are more popular or associated with the Kashmiri pandit cuisine, rather than with the Kashmiri Muslims.
As a matter of fact, most of the following dishes are always made in Kashmiri marriages or special occasions like Kashur birthdays (i.e. Kashmiri birthdays: Yes, Kashmiris have their own Kashmiri calendar according to which a person’s birthday falls on a particular date and that is taken and celebrated to be his/her birthday. The interesting point here is that earlier till 20-30 odd years back, some of the Kashmiris didn’t even know their real birth dates because their Kashmiri birth dates used to fall on different dates each year!),and occasions like ashthami etc. Here a few of the famous Kashmiri dishes that are a must have on your food menu, if anyone ever plans a trip to the place:
- Rogan Josh: Rogan joshis undoubtedly
the most famous and loved dish ever from
the Kashmiri cuisine, by both the Kashmiris
as well as the non-Kashmiris who have tasted the dish. Rogan josh is nothing but lamb cooked in hot, spicy red gravy. But beware! It is bound to be very spicy and is known to be a heavenly delight for spicy non-vegetarian lovers!
- Yakhni: Yakhniis what
we call lamb cooked in curd based gravy. It’s not spicy but is
definitely a must have
dish for those who visit Kashmir or want to experience Kashmiri food cuisine as this dish is an integral part of the food culture in Kashmir.
- Matschgand: Matschgand are hand-made minced meatballs, which is later cooked in spicy red gravy, which will seduce your taste buds into having more and more of them and you won’t be even guilty of developing a bad stomachache because of over-eating this spicy dish.
- Goshtaba: A delicacy – mutton minced with various Kashmiri spices, shaped into balls and
cooked in a very flavourful yogurt gravy- a creamy sauce.
- Modur Pulao: ‘Modur’ means sweet.
Modur pulao is nothing but sweet
pulao which is rice prepared with
cinnamon, a little saffron, milk, ghee,
sugar, cashew nuts, almonds, green
cardamom and cloves to name a few.
Sweet Pulao is said to be usually served as a dessert but there is no such tradition in most of the Kashmiri families that I have seen around me, including my own. Definitely not one of my favourites.
- Lyodur Tschaman:
Lyodur means yellow (turmeric) and tschaman means cottage cheese or simply paneer. This dish is simply Cottage Cheese cooked in creamy turmeric based gravy. It is a top favourite amongst vegetarian Kashmiris and is very often cooked on a day to day basis.
- Dum Oluv or aloo:
Everyone is familiar with this dish and might have tasted it as well. Dum oluv or aloo is a dish of whole potatoes cooked in spicy red gravy which if cooked properly in the typical Kashmiri way, can bring various flavours to your mouth and tears of sheer pleasure in your eyes.
- Muj Gaad:
‘Muj gaad’ is one among the most favorite dishes of Kashmiri pandits. This dish basically comprises of fish which is deep fried first and then added to red spicy gravy along with radish and is then topped with grinded ajwain in the end. It is a dish to kill and die for!
- Nadir-Waangan:This dish comprises of lotus stems with brinjal and can be cooked in two different ways- one is cooked in red spicy gravy and the other with a yogurt base curry/gravy.
- Nadir-haak/Gogji/Monji:This is a dish favourite among the locals wherein lotus stems are cooked with spinach/saag or radish which somehow turns out to be finger-licking good.
- Haak-monji: This is the most commonly
made dish you will find in any Kashmiri
household. This dish consists of spinach/saag
along with radish (preferably) and is made
almost every other day in any Kashmiri household. It is very good for eyes and even though it looks a little bland, but it actually is unbelievably tasty.
- Raazma-Gogji:This dish is primarily a raazma (kidney beans) dish but along with turnip pieces in it. The turnip gives a different Kashmiri twist to the dish altogether, which makes it different than the way raazma is usually made.
- Chouck Waangan: Chouck waangan means sour brinjals. It is a dish in which brinjals are cut length-wise, fried and then mixed with tamarind water and other spices. It is an extremely chapatti dish which is bound to let out a ‘click’ sound from your mouth.
And of course, the most famous of all, the Kashmiri tea, also known as ‘kehwa’ (originally pronounced as ‘keh-wa’, not ‘ka-wa’) is a must try drink for all. It is a type of tea which is boiled and cardamom, almonds and sugar are added to it. It is said to have medicinal properties as well. ‘Kehwa’ is also given to people suffering with a cold or sore throat as it relieves the pain and irritability of the ailment.
Over 20 varieties of Kehwa
are prepared in different
households. Some people
also put milk in kehwa (half
milk + half kehwa). This
chai is also known as
“Mughal Chai” by some
Kashmiri Pandits from the
smaller villages of Kashmir.
I have grown up eating all these fabulous, mouthwatering, and spicy and chapatti dishes and hands down, Kashmiri cuisine continues to be my personal favourite ever tasted.