Kashmiri culture and ways of preparing the food lends to its exquisite and unique taste. An art form which is then accented by how the food is served….in copper dishes, with flavorful white rice, rich yogurt and tart chutneys.
Rogan Josh is a signature dish of the Kashmiri cuisine usually cooked with lamb. This particular recipe is with Chicken or “Kokur” and therefore the title. The subtle but important difference in the preparation is frying the chicken pieces beforehand which gives it the crispy exterior.
The rest of the spices are familiar with just a slight change is the way they are used in the thecooking process that differentiates it from other curries. The aromatic whole spices are fried in ghee to bring out the oils and aroma. The touch of water further steams through the spices.
I have used Mawal here, which is responsible for the deep red color. Mawal is dried cockscomb flower and is boiled with an equal quantity of water and then strained through a fine mesh. A couple of tablespoons of the liquid are then added towards the end of cooking. A pinch of saffron dissolved in warm milk or water is the last flavor and aroma enrichment.
This dish is cooked with love and the process of cooking it is something to be enjoyed as much and eating it. Many of the traditional ways of using the ingredients have been adjusted in my American kitchen but the uniqueness of flavor still commands the respect of the cook and the guest.
Immersed in summer mountain vegetables is happiness. Kashmir is a place that gives me that.
Traveling through this tormented paradise brings out some bittersweet emotions. The consistent source of joy besides the rocking landscape is the produce that feeds the souls. The streets are of full of apples, peaches, and pears freshly picked from the nearby trees and accompanied by so many vegetables that you cannot stop filling up your bags to take home.
Kohlrabi is an important part of the Kashmiri diet and prepared with its leaves and served with a light gravy and eaten with rice. Monji Haakh is a simple dish and packs flavor and nutrition. .The key difference in taste I find comes from the use of Mustard oil. You can always substitute with regular vegetable oil. I used a pressure cooking but you don’t have to, it cooks just fine in a regular pot.
Wash and peel the Kohlrabi and cut into slices. Remove the stems from the greens.
Chop 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, and 1 round plump tomato.
In a pan use a tablespoon of mustard oil and heat until sizzling.
Add garlic, 2 green chilies, onion and 1 tsp of cumin seeds.
Fry for about 30 secs and add a pinch of hing ( asafetida)
Add the Kohlrabi pieces and fry for about 3 mins or so, add tomatoes, cayenne, turmeric, ground coriander, ground ginger, and salt to taste.
Fry the spices for a couple of mins and then add the greens. Add baking soda and a cup of water. I use a pressure cooker to cook everything at this point for about 4-5 whistles. If using a regular pot, let it cook on medium heat until the vegetable is tender
Note: If using a pressure cooker, open the lid of the cooker immediately to retain green color of the greens.
My love for eggplants keeps me experimenting with new recipes from around the globe. This one is close to my heart and soul and so very easy to make.
Frying eggplants will fill your kitchen with an amazing aroma. I often chow down a few slices even before they make their way to the dish.
This recipe has the flavor of cloves, ginger, and fennel and is a delicate yet strong blend to showcase the eggplants. The tamarind paste is what adds the tanginess. Use it to your taste.
Tip: Be careful not to burn the cloves or the chili powder but adding water quickly.
4 eggplants – long or 8 small
1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 onion chopped
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ginger powder
2 tbsp fennel powder
2 tbsp red chili powder
4 green cardamoms
4 black cardamoms
1 tsp black cumin seeds
1 tsp tamarind paste
Salt – to taste.
Putting it together:
Soak the tamarind paste in 1/2 cup hot water. Put aside.
Chopped and fry the onion until golden brown and make a paste of the fried onions adding a dash of water
Cut the eggplants lengthwise into 3 to 4-inch lengths – keeping a part of stem on the end pieces.
Heat the mustard oil until smoking and deep fry the eggplants until golden brown. Drain on paper towels
In a wide pan take 3 tbsp of the remaining oil and bring to medium heat
Add the cloves, red chili powder and salt. Add 2 cups of water immediately not letting the red chilies burn. Add the garlic, turmeric and cardamoms fennel powder, ginger powder, onion paste and continue to cook for 10 mins adding 2 more cups of water if needed.
Add the eggplants and tamarind water and cook for 5 -10 mins to get to a saucy consistency.
Serve with a garnish of green chilies with white rice or roti.
I spend a beautiful fall morning bringing out my Kashmiri spices in my American kitchen trying to connect and reconnect with a land so abundant with beauty and an unmatched gastronomical adventure.
Kashmiri cuisine traces back to centuries of tradition, spices and methods of cooking. The cuisine has evolved over the centuries absorbing influences from settlements and migrations. The flavors and spices of Kashmiri cuisine include dry ginger, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and saffron to name a few.
Ladakh (“land of high passes”) is a region Jammu and Kashmir, Indiain the area known as the Trans-Himalaya. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet.
A trip to God’s country….so much peace and beauty that it boggles your mind. I don’t have a lot of words for these pictures as they speak for themselves.
The trip was from Srinagar by road via Kargil to Leh and them Pangong Tso lake. We flew back to Srinagar
Jaw dropping landscape everywhere you look…the people the culture just melts your soul.
This is a true fusion dish blending the flavors of Kashmir with Persian cooking. The fennel and dried ginger in the meatballs is so delicate yet intense. Good minced lamb is best but you can use any combination of lamb, beef and veal. I added a 1/2 amount ground turkey to make it lighter but you can make it all lamb.
Persian cooking gives us Kalam Polo which is a hearty meal made with white cabbage, beef meatballs and rice. I have been inspired by this and the spices used in Kashmiri cuisine to make this dish.
For readers who follow my blog you know I love saffron and often think of the fields in Kashmir that grow this beautifully purple flower harvested just within a few weeks for its incredible color and flavor. Check out Kashmir Box if you need to buy this right from the fields.
Use white cabbage in this dish to absorb the golden saffron color, you will not miss the rice so this version is carb free. Cut the cabbage finely so it cooks quickly and evenly. The turmeric and saffron with give it the beautiful color and flavor.