Friday, April 22, 2016

Kashmiri thali

Kashmiri thali
Saffron Rice
Kashmiri haaq (Collard greens)
Tsok Vangun (Tangy Eggplant)
Munji Chetin (Radish Raita)

This collection of dishes comes from Kashmir the land of exquisite scenic beauty. Kashmiri cuisine has been influenced by the cooking traditions of its various invaders and is a harmonious fusion of several cultures.
Some of the finest gourmet delicacies form a part of this cuisine. Unlike other parts of India, the Kashmiri brahmin is allowed to eat lamb and fish. Traditionally chicken and eggs were considered unclean and not cooked in the Pundit kitchen, but with the passage of time this belief has disappeared and many lamb recipes are now cooked with chicken as a variation. Yakhni - a rich meat stock cooked in yogurt, Hak - a leafy green vegetable cooked in spices and boiled rice form a characteristic Kashmiri meal. Roganjosh - a meat preparation is necessary to complete a typical spread. Goshtaba and Rista are gourmet delicacies that are made for special occasions.
Kashmiri food is dominated by a variety of powdered and whole spices. Onion, garlic and fresh ginger are not used much. Curries are flavored with dry spices, a variety of dry fruits, nuts, and yogurt. Most of the dishes use asafoetida (hing), dry ginger (sonth) and aniseed (saunf) in large quantities along with saffron for that truly exotic taste.
Crisp, tangy, nutritious, spicy, wholesome and exotic - just about sums up the Kashmiri table.

This delicacy is made with minced mutton, yogurt and a bunch of aromatic spices. It is basically spiced meatballs cooked in a flavorful yogurt gravy. An important dish, Goshtaba is made on all the auspicious occasions and is the last meat dish to be served in Wazwan (the multi-course Kashmiri feast) just before the dessert.
A must try for all meat lovers.
For recipe click here.

Kokur (Chicken)Roghanjosh
This recipe comes from the Hindu Brahmin community or pundits of Kashmir with a definite Mughal influence.
The color and a gentle heat in this dish are contributed by the addition of Kashmiri chili powder and sweet paprika. Lamb is braised in yogurt and loads of aromatic spices. The bold flavors and aroma are imparted by fennel, ginger powder, black cardamom, and asafoetida.
You will enjoy this one for its subtlety and complexity of flavor and undoubtedly aroma.
For recipe click here.

Curried red kidney beans served on a bed of steamed rice hits the spot on a cold wet evening. A perfect one dish meal for Sunday lunch.
For recipe click here.

Saffron Rice
It kind of evolves from the pilaf recipes of the Mughlai cuisine and goes very well with shrimp.
Ingredients: serves 4
1/2 tsp saffron threads plus 1tbsp milk
2 Tbsp ghee or clarified butter
4 green cardamom pods
1 small (2-inch) cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups water
Salt to taste (optional)
1 tbsp orange zest
3 Tbsp pistachios
3 Tbsp blanched almonds
1/3 cup cranberries
  1. Wash rice and drain the water.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan heat ghee and add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon. stir for 10 seconds and add rice along with zest and cranberries. stir to coat the rice with ghee and spices.
  3. Add water and salt. mix well. Add the saffron threads soaked in milk. Stir well if you want the entire rice to turn yellow OR just give it one random stir to get the effect you see in the picture.
  4. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes till rice is cooked through and all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the almonds and pistachios.

Kashmiri haaq (collard greens)
Collard greens, a true leafy superstar has more calcium than a glass of milk per serving. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits along with cardiovascular support properties make this a superfood. The cholesterol-lowering ability of collard greens may be the greatest of all commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. These tough slightly bitter tasting leaves flavored with cloves and ginger powder are the most commonly cooked greens in Kashmiri households. Absolutely an exotic tasting dish and a perfect accompaniment to almost every meal.
1 bunch fresh collard greens
2 tbsp mustard/olive oil
pinch asafoetida
5-6 cloves
2-3 dry red chilies
1/3 tsp fennel (saunf), roughly pounded
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp each coriander and cumin powder
salt to taste
  1. Wash drain and finely chop the green leaves. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add cloves and asafoetida, followed by broken red whole chilies and saunf. Let these hang out in the oil for about 15 seconds and then add the greens. 
  3. Add other spices. Add just a sprinkle or two of water and mix well to incorporate all the spices into the leaves. 
  4. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes till soft, stirring once in the middle. 
  5. Haaq leaves do not get mushy and wilty like spinach. They will still have a bite left. 
  6. Serve hot with rice or roti. 
Tsok vangun 
Recipe from the book 'Kashmiri kitchen'
Tangy eggplant with tamarind.
1 lb baby eggplants
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp aniseed (saunf) powder
Pinch asafoetida
4 tsp tamarind paste
2 green chilies (optional)
salt and red chili powder to taste
Oil for frying
  1. Remove the tails of the eggplants and quarter them. Fry them in a few tablespoons of oil until golden brown. Keep aside.
  2. In the same pan add all the spices and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine. Bring to boil and add the fried eggplant and salt. Cook on high for 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the tamarind paste and green chili and cook till gravy thickens up and you see oil separating on the sides of the pan. Serve hot. 

Munji Chetin 
Call it radish chutney or radish raita. Add 3/4 cup of peeled and grated white radish (diacon) to a cup of whisked plain yogurt. Add salt to taste and some red chili powder. Tastes absolutely wonderful and cooling with the spicy spread. A great side dish to serve with any pulao, biryani, stuffed parathas or poori.


Barith Marchavangun (stuffed chilies)
The sweet, sour and nutty filling is a result of combining walnuts and pomegranate seeds, giving a unique flavor explosion in the mouth. This is a wonderful side dish with lamb korma or Biryani. Serve it hot or at room temperature.
For recipe click here.

Nadru Kabab
This exotic starter is an absolute treat for the vegetarian foodie. The meaty texture of lotus stem is a perfect substitute for any meat. Also called nadru or kamal kakdi, lotus stem has a mildly sweet flavor and is liberally used in the Kashmiri kitchen. The bold flavors are that of fennel, ginger powder, cardamom, and asafoetida while a gentle heat comes from the Kashmiri chili powder.
For recipe click here.

Shufta is just dry fruits in sugar syrup. The addition of delicate flavors makes it a special dish for festivals and marriages. A lavish assortment of dry fruits with saffron and warming spices, it warms up the body quickly. So a wonderful dish for those cold winter months.
For recipe click here.

Kashmiri kitchen by Purnima Kachru

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