There is a reason why Kashmir is known as the ‘Paradise on Earth’. With its breathtaking landscape and delectable culinary treasures that blends three unique schools of cooking derived from Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims, and Mughals — Kashmir wins hearts. Kashmiri cuisine is known for the usage of its coveted spices and unique styles of cooking. Here are a few dishes that sum up the gastronomical charm of the region. By Kumar Shree

Rogan Josh

 

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When it comes to serving sumptuous non-vegetarian dishes, Kashmir aces the game every single time. Rogan Josh, or Mutton Rogan Josh as commonly addressed in other parts of the country, is an aromatic dish with a yoghurt-based gravy enriched with Kashmiri spices, herbs, and caramelised onions. Just a whiff of it can titillate your taste buds. You can cook this one with either lamb or goat meat. Best had with steamed rice or local bread, this one is a true winner among Kashmiri dishes. Ahdoo’s Hotel on Residency Road, Srinagar serves one of the best Rogan Josh in the valley. Price: INR 400/-

Modur Pulav

 

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Kashmiri cuisine is incomplete without rice—it is an integral part of the meals here. Modur Pulav, an intrinsic part of Kashmiri wedding feasts, is a flavoursome dish. Its richness comes from spices and condiments like cinnamon, green cardamoms, milk, ghee, sugar, and saffron. The golden rice (owing to the usage of saffron) is garnished with a generous amount of almonds, cashews, and raisins sitting at the base of the rice. The dish is commonly available at most food outlets and hotels in Kashmir.

Goshtaba

 

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Goshtaba is a dish made of minced mutton balls cooked in yoghurt gravy and infused with the richness of local spices. It is a traditional delicacy and it originated as a dish for the royals. The prepping time of this dish often exceeds the cooking time. Chefs spend hours to beat the meat with a wooden mallet on a smooth-surfaced stone to give it a fluid-like consistency. One cannot be satisfied with a single serving of it. Shamyana Restaurant on Boulevard Road in Srinagar serves lip-smacking Goshtaba. Pair it with pulav or a bread of your choice. Price: INR 500.

Kahwa

 

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Kahwa is one of the most popular beverages in Kashmir. It is a herbal tea infused with the goodness of saffron, almond, walnut, and other spices. Both the style of preparation and taste vary from household to household, as there are multiple recipes of this drink. Some people also refer to Kahwa as Mughal Chai. Make sure you taste at least one variant when in Kashmir.

Honorary Mention – Wazwan

 

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Wazwan, the ultimate ceremonial feast of Kashmir, is a multiple-course meal consisting mainly of meat dishes. ‘Waz’ in Wazwan means chef, and ‘wan’ symbolises a spread of meat curries and other dishes that forms a part of the spread. Some of the aforementioned dishes like Rogan Josh and Goshtaba also form a part of this feast that is fit for kings. KC Residency on Residency Road in Srinagar and Ahdoo’s Hotel are both great choices to indulge in a spread of authentic Wazwan in Kashmir. Price: INR 700

Vegetarian Corner

 

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Kashmiri cuisine also packs some great dishes for vegetarians. These are Kashmiri Rajma, Nadru Yakhni (lotus stem cooked in yoghurt gravy), Dum Aloo, Paneer Chaman (cottage cheese cooked in creamy milk-based gravy with green cardamom and turmeric), Nadir Monji (lotus stem coated in gram flour and spices served with mint dip), Khatte Baingan (eggplant in a yoghurt gravy), and Kashmiri Saag.

Kashmiri Cuisine Trivia

  • Yak milk is an important ingredient of Kashmiri desserts.
  • Kashmir is a chilli producing region. Kashmiri chillies are imported all around the globe.
  • Lotus Stem or kamal kakdi is an important part of their vegetarian selections.
  • Cinnamon, cumin seeds, cloves, peppercorns, mint, dry ginger, green cardamom, black cardamom, saffron, desi ghee, mustard oil, curd, Kashmiri red chillies, and fennel are a few of the central ingredients of Kashmiri cuisine.
  • Kashmiri cuisine is a blend of three unique schools of cooking that come from Kashmiri Pandits, Muslims, and Mughals.

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