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.
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
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.
Kashmir 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.
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.
Kashmiri Achar - Pickles
Beautiful fermented winter vegetables
- 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
- Peel and cut the bulbs of kohlrabi into 1 inch pieces.
- Do the same with peeled turnips and carrots
- 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.
- In a large glass bowl mix the spices with the oil.
- Add the vegetables and mix well..
- Put it in a large glass pickling jar and seal tight.
- 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
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.
Continue reading Rista – Kashmiri Cuisine
Beautiful crunchy snack food that is a “must ” try. If you are tired of French fries, do try the high fiber content of the unique lotus stems. Also know and Nadur Churma and sold in the streets all over Kashmir is this mouth watering snack that is so very easy to make.
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:
The recipe is so simple and just takes the lotus stems cut in length, salt cayenne ( Kashmiri chili pepper) and some rice flour. You could also use gram flour. I have fried these in coconut oil here.
- 1 long lotus stem scraped cleaned washed and cut into 2 inch lengths
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 tsp black cumin seeds
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- Coconut oil for frying
Putting it together:
- Scrape the top dark skin of the Lotus Stems.
- Thoroughly wash the lotus stems and cut in strips like french fries.
- Dry with a towel
- Sprinkle with sea salt and some chili pepper
- Make a slurry of rice flour and water, add pounded cumin and thyme leaves and combine the strips thoroughly
- Deep fry in oil until golden brown
- Dry on a paper towel or newspaper to get rid of the extra oil.
- Sprinkle some more salt and chili pepper
- Serve hot and crisp with a coriander mint chutney.
Perfect for the party at Fiesta Friday. Thanks to Angie and the wonderful co hosts,Elaine @ foodbod and Julie @ Hostess at Heart.
I spent the last 2 weeks in the mesmerizing valley of fresh vegetables…enveloped by rich land, mountains and water. The fertile land and the water makes each vegetable so delicious that each variety feeds your soul. The most abundant is the lake green gourd and then there are the eggplants, the spinach, cucumber, nadru, beans and the list goes on. We cooked these everyday and it was still not enough. This beautiful lady sits on the roadside beside the Dal Lake close to Shalimar gardens, has an infectious laugh, a bit heart and the best crop.