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Kashmir - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Kashmiri Cuisine HistoryEdit

Being influenced by its neighbors, Kashmir has the best of both sides. In addition what it originally had as its own Kasmiri cuisine, Kashmir also has contributions from the East (India) and the West (Pakistan). Prior to partition, Kashmir also had a great deal of influence in its cuisine. However, there is a slight difference in the meals consumed in the Indian territory and those that are independent. This is because of the differences in beliefs. The Kashmiries Muslims will not have pork as part of the meat consumed in their cuisine. Other than that, every other conventionally consumed meat in Asia is consumed. This includes beef, mutton, chicken and fish. Aside from these foods that must be present in nearly all their meals, rice is another important one. In fact, rice is the Kashmiri staple diet.

Kashmiri cuisine indeed dates back to the 1500s when Timur invaded India. Also, the cuisine had undergone major changes when migrant workers such as architects, calligraphers, woodcarvers, weavers and cooks from Samarkand entered Kashmir. Their descendents are the Wazas, and this is why they are so good at preparing wazawan. The wazawan is a formal banquet in Kashmir cuisine.

In wazawn, there are some very important components, but these are not limited to this cuisine. They are also served as regular meals in other functions. However, the major components of wazawn today are methi korma, seekh kababs, tabak maaz, safed murg, zafrani murg, and curd and chutney. In addition these small meals that are served at the start of the wazawan, there are the important ones as well. These include Rista, Daniwal Korma, Aab Gosht, Rogan Josh, Tabak Maaz, Marchwangan Korma and Gushtaba, which is served at the end of the meal in Kashmiri cuisine.

Kashmir has a rich culture and history that greatly influence its cuisine today. It has the advantage of having India and Pakistan on either side. The people over the years have been able to get better ideas of cooking from their neighbors as well, in spite of facing political limitations. With the influence of its neighbors as well as the keenness of those who indulge in Kashmir cuisine, it is no surprise that Kashmiri cuisine has indeed a great variety to offer its people and those who visit the area.

Kashmiri food is richly flavored with spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, saffron, etc. With these types of spices, Kashmiri meals may have a simple range or one that consists of 36 parts. This refers to the popular Wazawan banquet that is prepared for big functions like weddings.

The staple diet in Kashmir is rice, which means that there are several dishes that have rice as part of them. Grainy rice is believed to be the best of the varieties here, as the quality of rice influences the outcome of any meal prepared.

In addition to rice being of great importance in Kashmiri meals, other important foods include mutton, chicken and fish. Aside from these meats, vegetables are also very important in Kashmiri cuisine. They are used along with meat to prepare some of the best combinations in Kashmiri cuisine. Some of the popular combinations include fish and lotus root, mutton and turnips, and chicken and spinach.

Aside from these dishes, you also have others, some of which may even be purely vegetarian. Some of the vegetarian dishes that are really popular include: Dama Oluv, Nadeir Yakhean, Hak (with Nadeir Ya Vangan), and Nadier Palak.

Other foods prepared in Kashmiri cuisine include Yakhni, which is a cream-colored food that is prepared from curd. In the traditional wazawan, Gushtabais is the last item to be served. These are meatballs formed from mutton, and are cooked up in gravy made from a fresh curd base.

Indian Food Glossary Edit

Finding the ingredients for an Kashmiri Recipe is not so easy when you do not know the names of the ingredients.

Take time to make a list of ingredients and the name they may be found under at the Local Markets.

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Preparation Methods for Kashmiri Cooking Edit

Methods of preparing dishes are important. In Kashmiri cuisine too, the same rules apply. Kashmiries have their own means of preparing foods, and one of their important methods employed includes seasoning and marinating meat. This is an important step, and the period for marinating and seasoning depends on the type of texture and taste you want your cooked food to develop.

Many of the methods of preparation, such as marinating meat have come from India. The use of spices to season and marinate meats especially is from India. Also, the introduction of certain spices in the marinating process is important too. The use of herbs is also important in preparation.

When meats such as mutton are marinated or seasoned they produced the best taste for Kashmiri dishes. This method also allows the meat to soften, and sometimes this method is employed to overnight cooking.

Wazawan preparation is the formal method, and believed to be one of the best as well. Much of the 36-course meal is cooked after being seasoned and marinated. This is due to the fact that much of the meal contains chicken, mutton and even fish.

As an example, one of the portions of this meal includes the rista, which means meatballs. These are made of finely pounded mutton. These meatballs are cooked in gravy. Also, seekh kababs and tabak maz that are cut from the rib portion and then fried are seasoned too.

In addition to the above-mentioned dishes being seasoned and marinated, there are others as well that are treated in the same way. Kababs that are marinated over night may also be served the next day. Their taste improves over night, as the texture and taste of the mutton improve. In Kashmiri cuisine, this main method cannot be ignored, and if these methods of preparation are not followed, the food produced will not have the same taste.

Special Equipment for Kashmiri Cooking Edit

Curd and chutney are served seperately in small earthen pots.

Preparing any kind of food requires the use of cooking equipment that can possibly be the best and most convenient to use. In Balouchi cuisine, there are several kinds of utensils used for cooking. Each of these has a particular purpose for making things more convenient in cooking.

Generally, you may use almost any utensil you wish, but there are particular ones that you need for certain things. Let’s say you need to marinate mutton. Now, doing so using a stainless steel utensil will do just fine. However, you would rather marinate mutton in an earthenware utensil. This would be for two reasons. The first is that the mutton is kept cool in it, and secondly it has a better taste and texture.

In addition to using earthenware to marinate foods, you may need some other vessels such as a boiling vessel for boiling rice and other foods.

Generally when you cook rice, you should not use the utensil for any other purpose. If you do, the taste of your rice will not be the same. This is because oily residue will be left in the rice utensil.

Strainers, drainers and large spoons are some of the other things you need to cook with. Large vessels like deghs are also important when cooking in large quantities. Large spoons are very important because you would need them to churn the food in side large vessels like deghs.

One other important cooking apparatus is the tawa. A tawa is used to fry food or cook chapatti or parhatta. Generally though naans and kulchas are more common in Balouchi cuisine, cooking them requires you to have an oven or a kiln. Generally speaking, kilns are common in Balouchistan. People even have them in their homes on order to cook their naans and kulchas.

Kashmiri Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

Festive times in Kashmir bring out the best of Kashmiri cuisine. Ina addition to the crisp vegetables, fresh fruits, and dry fruits, there is a range of delicious non-vegetarian food items. Meat-based dishes take hours and hours of preparation. Some of them that are cooked in mustard oil or ghee are left to reach their best taste over a very slow fire. While this takes place, fennel, dry ginger, saffron and red chilies are added.

Generally, there are two ways of preparing dishes in Kashmir; the Pandit way and the Muslim way. However, both are interesting and have their own delicious tastes. This is why Kashmiri food has a wide variety to offer, and their methods of cooking have also been widened with experiences from both sides.

At festive times, you will find Mush Kalari, which is a tribal cottage cheese cake. This is usually fried and served along with green pepper and salt. There is also the Tabak Maaz. This is lamb spare ribs that are cooked in milk. These are also fried before being served

Another real treat is Karela Yakni and Haq, which are served throughout the year in Kashmir. Haq is actually whole greens cooked in clear mustard oil and water too.

Gushtaba is supposed to be the last meal on a meal course. This is made of mutton that is pounded for several hours. It is then formed into balls and then mixed in yoghurt sauce, and cooked over a gentle flame.

Kashmiri restaurants offer you an elaborate variety of food. This includes dishes such as Alu Bukhara Korma, Rista, Kalia, Waza Chicken and Kababs. Rajmah Shalgam, Dam Aloo, and Schuk Wangun. This range includes some vegetables dishes as well for vegetarians. Although there aren’t many vegetarians in Kashmir, this explains why meats are so commonly cooked and consumed. Kashmiri cuisine is truly a delight with its wide range of foods though vegetarian dishes may be a handful.

People in Kashmiri Food Edit

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