The snow clad mountains, enchanting valleys and pristine, almost holy environs, all make Kashmir what it is rightly called, ‘Paradise on Earth’. But the gorgeous state is not just about its angelic beauty but something much more tantalizing. Yes, you guessed it right. It’s Kashmiri Food that steals the show, at least for all the food lovers and foodie travellers out there. Just as its people, culture and landscape, Kashmiri Food is also rich yet simple and diverse yet evincing a distinct identity.
Their cuisine which is based on vegetables, meat and rice, makes use of lots of yoghurts, cardamom, cloves and fennel powder to flavour their fragrant dishes. The use of mustard oil as their cooking medium and Kashmiri red chilli powder which gives off that distinct deep red hue to the Kashmiri Food is simply outstanding to say the least. So, before the drool seeps out and wets the carpet, lets quickly learn about the various delicious Kashmiri dishes that you must indeed taste at least once in your life.
Authentic Kashmiri Foods
1. Kulcha – Among the best Kashmiri Foods
What better way to begin your gastronomical journey in the valleys of Kashmir than with its breakfast staple of kulcha. Nope. It is not the regular kulcha that you find almost everywhere in Northern India, but is an exclusive creation only found in Jammu & Kashmir. Made from a mix of wheat flour and refined flour, it is a baked goodie, that is cooked in a traditional kiln. Crunchy on the outside, it has a soft interior that is best eaten smeared with butter and with an accompaniment of kaahwa or sheer chai.
2. Dum Aaloo
Be it birthdays, festivals or any day calling for a sumptuous treat, Kashmiris always rely on these oh so yummy comfort food. Boiled and fried to a golden crisp covering, potatoes are then cooked with a smooth red gravy that is enough to make any home smell intoxicatingly good. The other version of this Kashmiri Food is with a yoghurt gravy. Of course, the potatoes are not the small miser sized as popular for dum aaloo, but hearty big ones, just like their connoisseurs.
3. Rogan Josh
Rogan Josh is one of the most famous Kashmiri dishes which is a certainly a treat for the taste buds. However, it isn’t the kind of Kashmiri Food you will find anytime, but only elaborate occasions call for its elaborate preparation. This regal dish that looks and tastes equally royal, is made with lamb cooked with onions, garlic, cardamom and Kashmiri red chilli powder is concocted in oodles of aromatic ghee and love.
A stirring alternative to the regular Indian tea, Kaahwa is one beverage no Kashmiri can live without. Lighter than its milk counterparts and sweeter too, this beautiful golden brown drink is made by boiling special Kashmiri green tea in water for just a few minutes, not longer, to get the perfect colour and taste. With a hint of cardamom and cinnamon, and a helping of crudely ground almonds, this lovely tea is one Kashmiri Food you can very well enjoy at your home.
5. Chaaman – Kashmiri Foods
With a unique twist on the usual rich gravies of onion, tomatoes and cream, Chaaman is a wonderful cottage cheese (paneer) dish popularly cooked in Kashmiri homes. This yellow paneer curry, is among the few Kashmiri savoury Foods that uses turmeric. The golden fried cottage cheese cubes are boiled in a pot of water consisting of different spices such as cloves, cardamom, fennel powder and saunth or dried ginger powder, which translates the humble paneer into a lip-smacking curry that is best eaten with a platter of steaming basmati rice.
The Kashmiri sibling of the common Indian saag or green leafy vegetable preparation, Haakh is a common term used for all kinds of saag but most popularly the leafy portion of maunj or Knol Knol. Another light dish, this Kashmiri Food is a welcome change for the tongue, frustrated with the usual overdose of spices and oil.
7. Sheer Chai
Another refreshing beverage from the land of snow, Sheer Chai or noon chai (noon = salt), is unique and indispensable part of the Kashmiri Food scene. Made with a special kind of tea leaves, this brew is made with milk, water, a pinch of baking soda and dry fruits like pistachios and almonds. The natives savour this tea with a special thin noodles called feni dipped in the concoction. Although delicious, being savoury, this tea is not the cup of tea for everyone *pun intended.
Tehar is a type of Kashmiri rice preparation, which is reserved for celebratory occasions, like festivals or birthdays. This simple rice dish is made with a little turmeric that gives it its lovely colour, though it is sometimes even made with saffron strands. It is mostly served with other festive Kashmiri Foods like Dum Aaloo or Chaaman.
9. Tabak Maaz
Tabak Maaz is a very simple but utterly luscious dish which can be thought of as the Indian match for the British or American mutton chops. This Kashmiri Food is basically deep fried chunks of mutton that are flavoured with salt and a generous helping of Kashmiri red chilli powder. Eaten as a side dish, this lovely rich dish has potential enough to become the main course and make you forget everything else.
Another heavenly offering from the impressive Kashmiri cuisine, Yakhni is a mutton cooked in a yoghurt based gravy. This dish is made by marinating the pieces of mutton in curd and spices like turmeric, cinnamon, fennel etc. and then cooked with some more of the good stuff in mustard oil. One of the best things that could have happened to the world gastronomy, Yakhni is a Kashmiri Food that’s both a distinct recipe and a tantalizing treat for the senses.
11. Al Yakhni
The vegetarian equivalent of the above delight, this lovely dish that consists of bottle gourd or lauki as the primary ingredient, is a frequently made in all Kashmiri homes. The shallow fried disks of gourd, dunked in a flavoursome curry of curds, fennel, cardamom and saunth, impart this Kashmiri Food such a rush of piquant appeal that it is hard to believe it’s made with the detested lauki!
12. Roth- Kashmiri Food
Roth has a special place for itself in the traditional Kashmiri Food. It is made on the auspicious time of Kashmiri New Year, even so as a ritual among the Kashmiri Pundit community. Roth is a sweet flatbread, prepared with flour, sugar and clarified butter or ghee.
Goshtaba is one Kashmiri Food you must not miss on your trip to the valleys. Often considered as a royal treat, it is indeed a dish with a royal taste. Made with minced meat and a gravy of yoghurt and choicest of Kashmiri spices, it is in fact a kind of western meat balls, only with a desi tadka and a better taste.
14. Modur Pulav
It would be unfair to think of Kashmiri cuisine as devoid of desserts. Modur Pulav is one sweet affair you won’t ever want to end. The mouth-watering treat is prepared with everything iconic of Kashmir; Kashmiri basmati rice, cinnamon, saffron, cardamom, sugar and dry fruits like pistachio and almonds, all cooked together with oodles of ghee. Modur Pulav is not just a yummy sweet treat, it is also perfect to end your ambrosial Kashmiri Food journey.
Most Recommended: Kashmir Tour Packages to explore the paradise dressed in white.
Now you know what all you are missing, not just the snowy mountains and the stunning valleys of the mesmerising north but also the irresistible delicacies of Kashmiri Food. The delectable taste is enough to satiate your taste buds but surely leave you hungry and greedy for more. We know, you can’t resist yourself from dreaming about the tempting dum aloo and juicy rogan josh. So, don’t wait any longer and bring that mouth-watering Kashmiri Food on your dinner table right now, or better still, visit the Paradise and get a taste of heaven, in situ.
1. What are some breakfast Kashmiri Foods worth trying?
There are some Kashmiri staples in breakfast that you must definitely try on your visit to the place. These are:
- Sheer Chai or Noon Chai (Salty tea)