This is a traditional Onion Chutney that accompanies many a feasts and dinners in Kashmir. Kashmiri food, the whole playbook of amazing dishes often overshadows the humble accompaniments that elevate the flavors of the meal. The side kick here is truly kick ass, simply made with sliced onions that are marinated in vinegar, dried mint and red chili powder. The process is a quick pickling process which is very simple bringing out the tart, spicy and savory flavors.
The recipes call for dry mint but fresh would be fine if you are out of stock. I dry my mint in summer and fall and it lasts me at least 6 months. Dry mint does have a unique taste that it imparts to many Kashmiri dishes.
I serve it as a side to rice and savory dishes but you will find that it was be used in many other ways such as sandwiches, kebabs and burgers.
Gand Chetin Kashmiri Onion Chutney
A pickled spicy onion chutney
2 cups of organic red onions sliced thin
3 green chilies sliced thin
1/2 cup of green coriander/cilantro chopped
1/2 tsp black cumin ( different form regular
1/2 tsp dry mint
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 cup of organic vinegar ( i used rice
sea salt to taste
Salt the onions and keep aside for an hour or
so and then wash and drain. You will need to squeeze the water out.
Mix all the other ingredients ( you will not
need additional salt) and cool in the refrigerator before serving as a
Kashmiri Phool Yakhni is a vegetarian version of the sublime yogurt based Yakhni that is traditionally mutton based in Kashmir. Cauliflower is the shining star in this recipe
The Cauliflower florets are par-boiled in turmeric, fried and then simmered in yogurt infused with spices like cardamom, fennel, ginger and cinnamon. These are the quintessential spices used in Kashmiri cuisine which date back to centuries.
Modern Kashmiri cuisine tracks its history to 15th century when Timur ( a Turco-Mongol conqueror) invaded India which led to the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir.
Ok so here is the diversion from the traditional in my American kitchen….This is my recipe and I have used a coconut based yogurt to experiment with a vegan version. It was beyond my expectations, and dancing taste buds kind of delicious. I used the So Delicious unsweetened coconut yogurt. Please free to use your choice of unsweetened yogurt.
Continuing to break the tradition, I decided not to fry the cauliflower after boiling but it can be done just to get a crisp browning. Not necessary in my opinion.
This recipe also uses lots of turmeric simply because I love it!
Before the recipe begins, I am leaving you with verse of Habba Khatoon and 16th century Kashmiri poetess and peasant queen. These verses remind me of the beauty and uniqueness of Kashmir that translates to its cuisine.
• Mustard or oil of choice ( 2 tbsp and additional for frying the onions)
• Organic Yoghurt ( Regular or plant based) 3 cups or 1 24 oz container
• Add 1 tsp of turmeric to boiling water. Add a sprinkle or salt and boil the florets for about 2-2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
• Chop and fry onions until golden brown. Remove onions from oil, crush in a mortar pestle and set aside
• Heat the leftover oil from the onions and add more if needed in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the yogurt and start whipping. You have to continue whipping the yogurt until it is boiling. Your hand cannot leave the stirring/whipping or the yogurt will curdle. This is a critical step in making a smooth sauce. It will take about 10 minutes.
• Add the rest of the spice ingredients ( except for mint and onions)
• Keep the stirring going for 5 mins or so.
• Add the cauliflower. If the suace is thick, add some water. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered until the cauliflower is tender.
• Add the Fried onions and Mint for a beautiful flavor.
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 yoghurt and tart chutneys.
In the series of
Kashmiri chutneys, this one is a little unusual and delightful. Made with
boiled bottle gourd (Lauki), yoghurt and a dash of honey, it brings a slight
sweetness to the table of spicy food.
In my version I have omitted the honey and the raisins but do add them if you prefer the sweetness. I also made a vegan version by using coconut milk instead. Either way it will come out just superb.
These are images of Bottle Gourd growing and being sold in the floating vegetable gardens on the Dal Lake in Kashmir. A visit to the pre-dawn vegetable market on the lake is a memory that does not leave your soul.
From the land of dreamers, poets, artists,
emperors and saints comes a cuisine that inspires all your senses.
Modern Kashmiri cuisine tracks its
history to 15th century when Timur ( a Turco-Mongol conqueror) invaded
India which led to the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers,
architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir.
The descendants of these cooks, the Wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir. Thus
came an elaborate feast preparation called Wazwaan. “Waan” refers to a “shop”
Nadru or Lotus stems/roots
are a delicious curious vegetable very popular in Kashmir (India). They are
often fried and served as a street snack food. For the dinner table, the 2 most
popular recipes are Nadru Yakhni (yogurt sauce) and Nadru Palak ( Spinach). This recipe is a
variation of the latter but you can try our the delicious yogurt recipe in my
earlier post or my step by step guide on wikihow
Lotus Stem is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C.
this recipe I have the closest I could find to Vost Haakh or Wousta Haakh (red kashmiri spinach). Our local
international market carries an abundance on “Shen choy” and I have
fallen in love with it. These are Amaranth leaves and need to be washed through
and picked off the stems. They impart this beautiful red color to your broth.
The ingredients are simple and the recipe is simple. I always use a pressure cooker with root vegetables as it locks in the ingredients and saves time but you can use a heavy bottomed pan.
I have served it with white rice and red onion chutney with cilantro and mint ( will post the recipe).
Take the time to make this and you will love it.
Ingredients are as follows, please adjust to taste
2-3 mid size lotus stems
I big bunch of Shen Choy ( red spinach)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp fennel powder
2 black cardamoms
4 green cardamoms
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder ( adjust to taste)
5 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp mustard oil
1 chopped shallot
Salt to taste
Heres how to cook it:
Pick the leaves of the spinach from the stems and wash thoroughly
Scrape of lightly peel the tope layer of the lotus stem.
Slice the Lotus Stems in 1/4 inch slices and wash thoroughly
Add 1 tsp of mustard oil to a pressure cooker and heat until smoking. Add the lotus stems with some salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Add 1 cup water and pressure cook for about 5-6 whistles. Remove from cooker ( liquid and all) and keep aside.
Using the same cooker, add mustard oil and heat until smoking
Add chopped shallots and the garlic
Fry of a minute and add the greens
Add salt and Fry the green until completely wilted
Add cardamoms, ginger powder, fennel powder cumin and cloves
Pressure cook for about 2 whistles
Remove the cooker cover and add the turmeric and chili powder and fry a little
Add the cooked lotus stems and about 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for 10 mins.
This has a beautiful and unique flavor and is best served with rice.
The magic of Kashmiri cooking always inspires a smile and a happy tummy. So simple and fragrant served with steaming steamed rice and some pickles. The cheese can be homemade or you can buy a block of Indian Cheese which is pretty readily available in supermarkets now. I do find the homemade version with organic milk much better and softer.
For the greens, I prefer the leaves called Chinese broccoli but collard green work really well too. Remove the leaves from the stems. If the stems are thick, peel the skin and use the inside, they are packed with flavor
The key flavor enhancer, I find is 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.
Here is the recipe
Collard greens or Chinese
broccoli – 2 bunches
Indian cottage cheese sliced
into 2 inch pieces
Cloves 2 pices
asafetida – 1/4 Tsp
1 tsp crushed garlic
Ground ginger powder – 1 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Fennel powder – 1 tsp
salt to taste
1/2 cup mustard oil
2 cups of water
Fry the cottage cheese pieces in oil until lightly golden ( not too dark), remove and immerse in warm water. Set aside
In a pressure cooker add the same mustard oil and the cloves. Add Asafetida and garlic. Add water and the rest of the spices and bring to a boil. Add Salt to taste
Add the greens and pressure cook for 5 mins.
Remove the lid and add the cheese.
Cooks for 5 – 10 mins until the flavors combine and the cheese is soft.
Serve as a main dish or side dish with steaming rice.
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.