Being called ‘Heaven On Earth’ by kings is definitely a true statement when you visit Kashmir. However, the only thing more magnificent than the hills, mountains, and the valley is-yes you’re right-the food. Kashmir happens to be heavenly not only in terms of it’s scenery, but also in it’s wide variety of culinary items.
Here is a mouth-watering list of 15 Kashmiri foods that you need to try before you die.
One of the most popular festival dishes in Kashmir, Dumaloo is made of boiled and skewed potatoes, along with a rich-tasting spicy red gravy. Though it’s made of small potatoes, the old-school way to go is by cooking with the large ones. After all, Kashmiris don’t believe in keeping things small-scale.
2. Chaaman (yellow paneer)
Chaaman is a popular dish made during festivals and other occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Kashmiris make this dish by making fresh paneer from scratch, frying it, and then mixing it with a turmeric gravy. Tastes absolutely delicious.
3. Rogan Josh
A real treat to the taste buds! Rogan Josh is a dish that is made during elaborate Kashmiri dinners, or wazwaans, because it smells and looks like royalty. It includes chunks of lamb cooked in aromatic flavours of shallots, garlic, Kashmiri red chillies, and oodles of love.
4. Tomul chhot (Rice flour rotis)
While in the old days, tomul chhot was made as a staple food item eaten during lunch or dinner, today, most Kashmiris eat it as a mid-evening snack, preferably with a drink that is very dear to them – sheer chai.
5. Sheer Chai (salted tea)
Yes, that’s right. A part of the culinary heaven in Kashmir belongs to sheer chai, or noon chai (noon= salt), which is made of special tea leaves, along with pistachios, almonds, and a pinch of baking soda. What’s even lovelier is it’s pretty pink colour. Being a salty beverage, this item isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Literally. 😉
6. Nadur Churma (lotus-stem crispies)
Lotus stem-based foods are a common thing among Kashmiris, as this used to be an easy catch in the valley. Popularly made during religious festivals, Nadur Churma is Kashmir’s answer to the classic French Fries. With the crispy lotus stem bits leaving a tasty, powerful taste in your mouth, it’s best to have this with mint chutney.
7. Haakh (Kashmiri saag)
It’s not all about the spice in Kashmir. This green, leafy vegetable that is full of protein, used to be one of the staple food items in ancient Kashmir. Made with specially grown saag, this dish is exactly the opposite of spicy, with a lovely and mellow tasting gravy.
8. Kahwah (Kashmiri green tea)
A delight to the senses, Kahwa is made using special tea leaves, topped with almonds, cinnamon, and saffron strands. It is a source of a large amount of antioxidants, because of which it is known as green tea despite its colour.
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9. Yakhni (Mutton in a curd gravy)
To be completely honest, Yakhni is one of the best things to have happened to the world. Juicy mutton pieces marinated and mixed with a rich curd gravy mixed with turmeric, cinnamon, fennel, and salt. Ah, the beauty of cooking. No, the beauty of eating.
10. Al Yakhni (Gourd in a curd gravy)
No, no. Before you make a face at the title, you should know that gourd (lauki) tastes amazing when cooked right. And who better than Kashmiris to cook even the most boring food exceptionally well?! Just as the mutton mentioned above, Al is also cooked the same way-fried with a curd gravy. Yum yum.
This kind of baked item is made exclusively in Jammu and Kashmir. Being one of the most eaten breakfast items, kulcha is made from a mixture of maida and wheat-flour, and then put in a traditional kiln till it’s done. The result is a fantastic, brown, hard kulcha eaten with kahwa or sheer chai. For the best taste, cut it from the centre and put butter on both sides. Make sure it doesn’t crack while you’re at it!
12. Tabak Maaz (fried mutton chops)
A deep fried wonder, Tabak Maaz is the Kashmiri version of the American and British mutton chops. Fried and mixed in chilli powder and salt, the only thing you need to worry about his how hard it’ll be to resist the next piece.
13. Tehar (yellow rice)
Made on religious and special occasions exclusively, Tehar is basically turmeric rice that sometimes is made using saffron as well. Tehar is eaten popularly with Dumaloo and Chaaman, which are also made during these occasions.
14. Muji Chattin (Radish chutney)
Easy to make, and tastes brilliant. All you need is some radish, some curd, some salt, and a large mouth to eat it all up.
15. Roth (sweet rotis)
It would be a crime to think that Kashmiris don’t like desserts. Roth is a sweet-tasting roti made of flour, ghee, sugar, and is made during the auspicious occasion of Kashmiri New Year. Roth is made by Kashmiri Pandits as a ritual.
What are you waiting for? Go on, taste the heaven that is Kashmir.