Tag 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

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
  • Print

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.

Rista- Kashmiri Cuisine

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

Dum Gobi Paneer ( Cauliflower and Cheese)

Kashmiri cuisine traces back to centuries of tradition, spices and methods of cooking. While predominantly a meat centric cuisine, the vegetarian dishes hold their own and are unparalleled. History has documented well known saints of Kashmir to have been vegetarian for spiritual reasons.

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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.

Dum Gobi Paneer

This particular dish is my version, not very common but most people are familiar with Kashmiri Dum Aloo ( potatoes). “Dum” is a technique that is essentially slow sealed cooking. The cooking vessels can be sealed by using a flour dough between the pot and the lid and placed on hot coals which are also added on the top on the lid. Of course this can also be accomplished in the oven ( just giving you alternatives in case you want to make this while camping :)). I used a even simpler route and used a heavy cast iron pot with strong sealed lid and used low heat on my stove.

 

A little about the spices I have used.

  • Cloves: Dried flower buds that contain antiseptic properties and help in preserving food
  • Fennel Powder: Ground fennel commonly used to flavor sauces and stocks
  • Dry Ginger Powder: Fresh ginger is dried and then ground and has a distinct flavor aside from its healing properties
  • Garam Masala: A mix of dry roasted spices that varies from household to household
  • Asafoetida: a spice derived from the plant Ferula assa-foetida – a very distinct flavor and a pinch is all you need.
  • Turmeric powder: Dried and ground root like ginger. Add the beautiful orange color.

The dish is served with rice ( I have used brown) and a side of Kashmiri Onion Chutney.

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Enough about the history so let’s get to the recipe:

 

Dum Gobi Paneer - Kashmiri

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cauliflower head, cut in big florets
  • 1 slab of indian cottage cheese (paneer) about 6-8 pieces
  • 2 red onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fennel powder (Saunf)
  • 1 tsp turmeric ( Haldi)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder ( Sonth)
  • 1/2 red chili powder
  • One pinch of Asafoetida ( optional)
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying and cooking ( I used Avocado oil for frying and then Mustard oil for cooking) Please use a mild flavored oil of your choice.

 

Fry the Cauliflower florets and Cheese separately in oil until lightly browned.

Let the florets drain on a paper towel. Soak the fried paneer in warm water until ready for use.

Use a heavy bottom pan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil, add cloves until they splutter and add the onions

Once the onions are light brown, add the spices, cauliflower and paneer. You can use a cup of the paneer water to add to the pot.

Mix the ingredients, seal the lid of the pot ready well and then leave it to simmer for about 15 mins.

Serve with rice, yoghurt and chutney.

https://foodforthesoul00.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/img_2413.jpg?w=474Linking to my favorite party at Angie’s Fiesta Friday co hosted this week by  Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Linda @ Fabulous Fare Sisters

Gand Chetin – Kashmiri Onion Chutney

This is a traditional Onion Chutney that accompanies many a feasts and dinners in Kashmir. The process is a quick pickling process which is very simple bringing out the tart and savory flavors.

IMG_2420The recipe 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 and sandwiches kebabs.

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Gand Chetin - Kashmiri Onion Chutney

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 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 cumin)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mint
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 cup of organic vinegar ( i used rice vinegar)

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 condiment.

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Linked to Angie’s Fiesta Friday co hosted this week by Ahila @ A Taste of Sri Lankan Cuisine and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens