Category Archives: Kashmir

Ladakh in Photos 2016

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.

Enjoy!

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Continue reading Ladakh in Photos 2016

saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

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.

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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.

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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.

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saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
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a fusion dish inspired by kashmiri and persian cooking

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  lb turkey
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp hing ( asafetida)
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Pink Salt to taste

Cabbage

  • 1/2  head of white cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp saffron blooming in a tablespoon of hot water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Chopped Parsley and Mint for garnish
  • Pink salt to taste

Directions

  • Squeeze the water out of the grated onion through a muslin cloth or a colander
  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside
  • In a pan, add 2 tbsp of mustard oil. Let it get to smoking hot temperature.
  • Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they barely get brown.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for about 10 mins until tender
  • Add the blooming saffron and the turmeric and continue to cook for 5 mins.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Add the meatballs and combine until heated through.
  • Garnish with chopped Parsley and Mint

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Sharing this at the fiesta at Angie’s with co-hosts Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Elaine @ Foodbod

Kashmiri Pulao – Rice with mushrooms and vegetables

kashmiripulao-9050-2This medley of rice and vegetables is inspired by the Kashmiri Pulao that uses morel mushrooms. I did not have the wild expensive mushrooms so used the dried  shiitake I hand in my pantry. Soaked in warm water for about 20 mins brings out the earthiness and the umami flavors. Don’t discard the golden liquid from the mushrooms, it adds immense flavor.

kashmiripulao-9046I also used cauliflower in this recipe…cut in florets and pan fried with a touch of sea salt.

The basic Kashmiri pulao recipes packs a punch with whole spices…I have used cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, whole pepper, dried ginger and bay leaves.

Saffron is my favorite and it had been used blooming in warm water.

I have also added soaked almond, walnuts and raisins…feel free to experiment.

Once again I am honored to be c0-hosting and feasting with such amazing and talented virtual friends at Fiesta Friday. Our host Angie has done such a wonderful job providing us with this forum and inviting us to a global table. I am also honored to be co-hosting alongside Jhuls and am a big fan :), do check out her blog if you have not already.

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Kashmiri Pulao with Mushrooms and Cauliflower

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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a flavorful pulao with fragrant spices and vegetables

Ingredients

                                                                                     

  • 10 pieces dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups of cauliflower bites (about 1 inch pieces)
  • 2 cups of basmati rice washed and soaked for 10 mins
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 1 onions chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 black cardamoms
  • 5-6 green cardamoms
  • 5-8 whole peppercorns
  • 2 small sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 tea spoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2  1/2 cup water ( including the mushroom broth)
  • Grapeseed oil for frying the vegetables
  • 1/2 Almonds, walnuts and raisins soaked for 30 mins and chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • /recipe-ingredients]

Directions

  • Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup warm water for 30 minutes. Strain the water and slice the mushrooms. Save the water to cook the rice.
  • Soak the saffron in a tablespoon of warm  water
  • Dice the cauliflower and pan fry in oil until just brown
  • Drain, slice and Fry the mushrooms and set aside
  • In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and chopped onion, sauté until translucent.
  • Add bay leaf, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and cumin seeds. Let it splutter.
  • Now add the soaked rice and vegetables.
  • Add the ginger powder.
  • Add water (including the mushroom water) to cover the rice plus 1/2 inch.
  • Salt to taste
  • Squeeze 4-5 drops of lemon juice in the mixture and let it cook on low/medium heat for 20 minutes until the rice is done.
  • Using 2 tablespoon of ghee, fry the nuts and raisins until just toasted and add to the rice when serving.
  • Serve with a side of mint raita

Beautifully fragrant and delicious.

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Also linking up at Suacy Saturdays

Pickled Vegetables – Kashmiri Achar

Fermented foods are  probiotic powerhouses  boosting the good bacteria in your gut and helping with overall health and immunity

“Achar” is a form of fermented food in the Indian subcontinent and essentially is a pickling process. It is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, sustaining communities through changing climate and seasons where the life of the crop could be extended by preserving it.

achar-1Kashmir with it’s cold winters is very conducive to pickling a variety of vegetables such as Kohlrabi, carrots, radish,  peppers etc. There is no vinegar in these pickles. Mustard oil is the main carrier in which fermenting agents like mustard and carom seeds are added. This will last a long while on your shelves.

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The basic recipe was for Monji Achar ( Kohlrabi pickle) from which I strayed a bit and added the crunchy turnips and carrots. The Kohlrabi leaves I had already cooked in another dish, otherwise I would have chopped and added them.

The key would be to dry out the cut vegetables in the sun for a day or so just to reduce the moisture. I am in the dead of winter here in Virginia so sunshine is scarce. I left it out for another day….48 hours.achar-2

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Kashmiri Achar - Pickles

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
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Beautiful fermented winter vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1-2 large bulbs of Kohlrabi ( Monji is Kashmiri)
  • 1-2 large turnips
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 table spoon sea salt ( adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon carom seeds ( Ajwain).
  • 1 cup mustard oil.
  • 2 table spoons red chili powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder

Directions

  1. Peel and cut the bulbs of kohlrabi into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Do the same with peeled turnips and carrots
  3. Wash the veggies and spread them on a cloth to dry out in the sun for one day. This can be 2 days if there is no sunshine.
  4. In a large glass bowl mix the spices with the oil.
  5. Add the vegetables and mix well..
  6. Put it in a large glass pickling jar and seal tight.
  7. You need to leave the jar in a sunny place for a week to ferment. If you are in a cloudy wintery place like me, then it will take another week.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday  which is be co-hosted this week are Jhuls and Ginger

Rista – Kashmiri Cuisine

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” in Kashmiri.

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Continue reading Rista – Kashmiri Cuisine

Tales of Kashmiri breads – Girda and Lavasa

Returning to Kashmir after 2 years was bitter sweet. While the city was encased in sorrow and the shroud of curfews, hartals and brutal clashes, the beauty of the land demanded to be noticed in an eerie quietness..no traffic, no business, empty streets, barbed wires and overbearing military presence made the resilient majestic land proudly stand alone in its poetic beauty.

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Waking up at 4am to the sounds of that crazy rooster with no snooze button can be quite annoying but was surprisingly comforting, the crows start to chip in shortly, then gentle sounds of nearby mosques and folks getting up to bring in the unpredictable mornings.

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I could not wait for morning as I have waited 2 years to eat the fabulous breakfast breads. Curfew or not the hunt for an open Kandur began the first day I arrived.

Every Kashmiri neighborhood boasts a traditional bakery known as “Kandur” serving up breads or many vareities. While the sky is still tinged with darkness they fire up wood burning ovens and start baking exquisite breads. The customers line and the  Kandur has the difficult job of serving up different orders and keeping them in sequence of who showed up first. The folks wait patiently mesmerized by the movement on the hands and knuckles on soft dough and then darting in and out of the hot oven. These breads are perfectly paired with a slab of butter and a good cup of tea particularity the salty pink tea called Nun chai. The two we feasted on were the Girda and Lavasa

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Girda is  a medium sized everyday bread with hand made indentations and a golden crust. Crunchy on the outside and soft white on the inside, it is a much craved addiction.

Lavasa is a thin, large, thin unleavened flat bread equally addictive and disappears fast with butter and jam.

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Every morning our hunt for an open Kandur begin…through tiny streets and sometimes following people walking with bread bags in tiny alley ways as they would lead us to the nearest Kandur.  My daughter, husband and I would take the hot bread with a slab of butter and sit by the Dal Lake and savor the beauty creating a truly heavenly breakfast time.

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Breaking bread with a whole new meaning…each day.

Taking my story and bread offering to Angie’s Fiesta Friday cohosted this week by the fabulous and creative bloggers Jhuls @ thenotsocreativecook and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.

Also sharing on Saucy Saturdays

Kashmiri Lamb Coriander Korma- Dhaniwal Korma

Kashmiri culture and ways of preparing the food lends to its exquisite, delectable and unique taste. This is then accented by how it is served….with flavorful white rice, rich yoghurt and tart chutneys.

This particular Korma is called Dhaniwal Korma which is a beautiful medley of lamb cooked in coriander and yoghurt. It is flavored with whole spices and black pepper and not red chilies. A simple twist in preparation changes the flavor  of a korma. Continue reading Kashmiri Lamb Coriander Korma- Dhaniwal Korma