Tag Archives: Kashmir

Monji Haakh – Kohlrabi

Immersed in summer mountain vegetables is happiness. Kashmir is a place that gives me that.IMG_0064

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.

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Monji Haakh @foodforthesoul

 

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Monji Haakh @foodforthesoul

Monji Haakh: Kohlrabi made Kashmiri Style

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Kashmiri vegetarian delight

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • Kohlrabi ( 4 large)
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 green chilies
  • Garlic cloves – 5
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 pinch asafetida
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • 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.
  • Serve hot with rice and enjoy.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday where co-hosts this week areJhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens

 

Kashmiri Tangy Eggplants – Chok Wangun

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.

IMG_8318-5Frying 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.

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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.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 eggplants – long or 8 small
  • 4 cloves
  • 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.
  • Mustard oil

 

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.IMG_8320-6

Matz t, Palak – Lamb meatballs with Spinach

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.

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My home smells like fennel and ginger and far away tales of dreams and amazing food are weaving in through the aroma creating an aura of peace. Continue reading Matz t, Palak – Lamb meatballs with Spinach

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