Kashmiri food that we have today in the restaurants has evolved over the years. Highly influenced by the traditional food of the Kashmiri pundits, it has now taken some of the features of the cooking style adopted in Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan. Kashmiri food makes an extensive use of turmeric and yoghurt. Superb preparation and fabulous aromatic flavor of the Kashmiri food is so alluring that even those who are not feeling hungry end up yearning for more.
In the making of Kashmiri dishes, garlic and onion are not used much as
in the case of other Indian cuisines. Absolutely rich in taste and
exotic in flavor, Kashmiri cuisine has become a popular choice. The
strong influence of Kashmiri pandits, who are predominantly meat eaters,
explains the reason why the cuisine of Kashmir has more of non
vegetarian dishes. Kashmiri thali is preferred mainly for its non
vegetarian dishes. However, there are some real mouthwatering vegetarian
dishes too, which are relished by all.
Traditional Kashmiri thali consists of Wazwan, which demands lot of
preparation. Infact, preparing Wazwan in itself is considered a great
art. Substantial time and effort is spent on the making of this special
feast. The cuisine of Wazwan encompasses near about 36 dishes. The head
chef known as Vasta Waza does all the requisite preparations. It is
mostly prepared on some big family occasion or festivity.
The use of curd in the preparation of food gives the dish a creamy
touch. To enhance the flavor of the meat dishes, Kashmiris add
asafoetida (Hing) to it. Other addictive spices used to add to the taste
are dry ginger and Saunf (aniseed). Sometimes, ginger is used in
excessive quantity that makes the dish pungent. Kashmir being the
leading producer and chief exporter of saffron makes an extensive use of
it in the form of a colorful flavoring agent. For its amazing aroma, it
is added to pulaos and sweets.
Kashmiri dishes make a regular use of dry fruits, especially in the
preparation of curries. Kashmiris use ghee to cook meals, though in
urban areas, well educated families have started using mustard oil as an
alternative, to avoid the intake of high fat in ghee. Kashmiri rice is
also quite aromatic and light and thus the Kashmiri rice pulao is well
liked by people. The cuisine of Kashmir is truly unique and has
absolutely no comparison.
Popular Kashmiri Dishes