Category Archives: Kashmir

Nadru Palak ( lotus stems with spinach)

Another journey through the vegetarian Kashmiri food.

Kashmiri Nadru Palak
Kashmiri Nadru Palak

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 for the latter but you can try our the delicious yogurt recipe in my earlier post or my step by step guide on wikihow

Also take a look at my post and pictures of Lotus Seeds from last summer.

The ingredients are simple and the recipe is simple. I always use a pressure cooker with root vegetables as it locks in the ingredient and saves time but you can use a heavy bottomed pan.

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.

The actual stems at my local asian market in Virginia  look like this:food for the soul (1)

I actually wanted something more tender so bought a bag of the frozen kind. The were fantastic.

The spinach can be fresh and organic. I blanch in in boiling water for a few minutes but you don’t have too. It just makes it easier to stir when cooking.

You can serve this with rice. I actually had it with quinoa which would not be typical but healthier.

Here is what you need

  • Bag of frozen lotus stems or freshly cleaned and sliced – about a pound
  • Organic spinach – a couple of bunches ( about 2 lbs)
  • cumin seeds – 1tsp
  • whole red chilis – 3
  • asafetida – 1/4 Tsp
  • dry ground ginger – 1 tsp
  • red chili pwd – 1/2 Tsp
  • turmeric  – 1 tsp
  • dry ground coriander – 1 tsp
  • salt to taste
  • kashmiri vari – 1 tsp ( optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil

In a pressure cooker add some mustard oil and the cumin seeds and whole chilies

Once crackling, add the asafetida and then the lotus stems. fry for a few minutes. Add the spinach, ginger, turmeric, coriander, and salt. If the spinach is fresh then let it wilt. If it is blanched then just stir it around for a bit.

You may need to add a 1/2 cup water if the mixture is on the dry side.

Pressure cook for about 4 whistles. Once you are able to open the cooker add the vari if using for that extra flavor and spice.

Exquisite!

Kashmiri Nadru Palak
Kashmiri Nadru Palak

This is a unique dish to take to Fiesta Friday hosted by  Dini @ Giramuk’s Kitchen and Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau

Kashmiri Al Yakhni – Gourd in Spiced Yoghurt

Let’s go back to Kashmir…the crossover time between spring and summer.  Lauki or “Al” or bottle gourd starts to take seed in the floating gardens. I brought seeds with me last summer  and planted them here in the north eastern climate of the US. I have tiny little plants growing now and am excited to see the results.

Also known as Bottle Gourd, this vegetable is 96% water but full of health benefits with healing properties. You can find it in your local international store.

Yakhni denotes a  yoghurt based sauce. This recipe for the bottle gourd is subtly spiced with fennel and dry ginger powder. This is a light spring time recipe….not spicy and not greasy, just right to enjoy with rice under a breeze.

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I will post some photos of the floating gardens of Kashmir and I walk you through this recipe.

floating vegetable market- Kashmir
floating vegetable market- Kashmir

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floating vegetable market- Kashmir
floating vegetable market- Kashmir




Here is what your need:

  • I bottle gourd (Lauki) peeled, seeds removed and cut in chunks
  • 2 cups whole milk yoghurt
  • 8 green cardamons
  • 3 black cardamons
  • 2 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 2 tsp dry fennel powder
  • 2 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon garlic ( crushed)
  • Canola oil to fry the lauki
  • a pinch of black cumin seeds
  • salt to taste

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Putting it together:

Yoghurt is best when precooked. Beat the yoghurt until smooth, add half cup of water and cook on medium heat beating it to a smooth consistency for about 10 mins. Put aside.

Fry the gourd in shallow pan until just lightly pale brown.

In a heavy bottomed pan add about 3 cups of water and all the spices ( except cumin) and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the cooked yoghurt and the gourd. Cook over medium heat until the lauki is soft and tender and the sauce has thickened. Turns off the heat and add the cumin. Mix well.

Serve over hot rice.

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Red Beans with Turnips – Razmah Gogji Kashmiri Cuisine

Razmah Gogji ( Turnips and beans)

Kashmiri food is a culinary dance that plays on all the senses.  The flavors and a spices incorporates the rich diversity of the people of Kashmir.

Red Beans with Turnips - Kashmiri Cuisine
Red Beans with Turnips – Kashmiri Cuisine

Kashmiri’s are hearty meat eaters but the history and the cuisine is immersed the cross cultural influences of earthy foods, farm and hillside vegetables and spiritualism through food. This dish is simple. Turnips and beans may seem like unusual companions but they result in an amazing offering.

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My dad sent me an old cookbook a few years back and I ventured into experimenting this dish. Do try it. It is food for the soul and senses.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups of dry red beans ( soaked overnight)
  • 5 turnips ( peeled and cut into quarters)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 3 whole red chilies
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoon fennel powder
  • a pinch of asafetida ( hing)
  • Mustard or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

I use a pressure cooked to make this dish but you can use a heavy bottomed pan. The beans need to be cooked with the turmeric until firm but not too soft. Fry the turnips in a shallow pan with oil until browned and drain on a paper towel.

Use the same pan and add garlic, cumin, cinnamon, red chillies, fennel and ginger powder. Fry in the oil, add a splash of water to soften and then put this mixture in the beans ( again, I am using a pressure cooker).  Add the turnips, whole chilies and the asafetida ( this is optional). Let it pressure cook for about 5 minutes until the turnips have softened. Same idea if you are using a heavy pan to let this cook.

Serve with white or brown rice and a side of good yoghurt.

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Walnut and Radish Chutney

In the series of amazing chutneys inspired by the Kashmir cuisine, this is the one I make most often. I have made quite a few variations so feel free to experiment.

Walnut Radish Chutney
Walnut Radish Chutney

Walnuts and White daikon radish  are the star ingredient in this recipe both of which are abundantly found in supermarkets. Try and look for the organic versions. Continue reading Walnut and Radish Chutney

Vegetarian Thali….Rajma, Nadru and Haak

Cooking with and for friends is always a delight. In this array of vegetables I was experimenting with Rajma and Black Chana and then with Jackfruit. Sadly that I could not quite get the taste for the jackfruit. The assembled thali was delicious and thoroughly enjoyed.

Thali...Nadru, Haak and Rajma
Thali…Nadru, Haak and Rajma

The black chickpea by the way is high in protein and has a low glycemic index. Sprouting them for snacks is also a great option.

  • Rice
  • Rajma with kala chana
  • Kashmiri Haak
  • Nadru in yoghurt sauce
  • Jack fruit cooked in curry leaves

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I will leave you with the Rajma recipe as you can find the others on my previous blogposts.

Soak 2 cups of red kidney beans and 3/4 cup of Black chana overnight.

Pressure cook both along with whole red chili and ginger slices for about 10 mins.

Coarse grind one medium red onion and one small shallot.

Fry the onions in 2 tablespoon of oil until the mixture turns darker color

Add 2 tbsp  garlic ginger paste, 1 tsp red chilis, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder and salt to taste.

Fry the spice for a minute and add 1 cup of crushed peeled tomatoes. I uses Organic canned tomatoes but the choice is your, you can flash boil wholes tomatoes, peel and crush.

Add the beans along with the liquid and cook for about 30 minutes. In the last 10 mins add 1 tsp each of dry ginger powder (soonth) and 1 tsp of dry fennel powder (saunf). Top with cilantro and lime juice.