Picturesque, stunning, breathtaking…words don’t seem enough when it comes to describing Kashmir. With the mighty Himalayas adding to the allure of the place, the place is known for its scenic spots and friendly locals. But that’s not all. Kashmir is also home to delicious local cuisine, predominantly featuring flavourful meaty dishes. No mention of Kashmiri cuisine would be complete without talking about the Wazwan. A multi-course spread (more like a feast) of meat-based dishes, the Wazwan is part of the Kashmiri Muslim tradition. Bringing together the best of the cuisine, we’ve picked out the Kashmiri dishes you must try on your next trip there.
Rogan Josh to Modur Pulao: Must-try Kashmiri Dishes
1. Rogan Josh
A signature dish of Kashmiri cuisine, Rogan Josh is an aromatic lamb dish. Originally brought to the region by the Mughals, the dish has a deep red colour that’s usually attributed to Kashmiri lal mirch or the dried flowers or roots of ratan jot (a herb). Flavoured with ginger, garlic and aromatic spices, the juicy pieces of lamb or mutton are braised and then prepared using a slow-cooking method. If the delightful aroma of the dish doesn’t tempt you enough, mop up some of it with roti or naan. Whether it’s the tender meat or the subtle blend of spices like cardamom and cinnamon, this Kashmiri staple will bowl you over!
2. Dum Aloo
Potatoes, cooked till they are soft…soaking up the goodness of a yummy yoghurt-based gravy…the hint of ginger, fennel and spices adding to the flavour… How could you possibly say no to Dum Aloo (or Dum Olav), one of the most popular Kashmiri dishes? Ideally prepared with baby potatoes, this is best enjoyed with rice or rotis.
A traditional dish that’s mostly prepared during special occasions and functions, Goshtaba is minced mutton balls, cooked in yoghurt and fragrant spices. Don’t be surprised if the meat almost melts in your mouth! While it is a side-dish, Goshtaba is often had towards the end of the meal and is known to help with digestion. Considering how its texture can be quite difficult to achieve, this dish requires a certain level of expertise, right from the stage of pounding the meat!
Even though Yakhni has subtle flavours, this dish is bound to leave you longing for more. A delightful blend of mutton, yoghurt, cardamom, clove, bay leaves and cinnamon, Yakhni is a brothy gravy dish. The dash of saffron gives it a perfect finishing touch. Have it with a plateful of steaming pulao. You can even add a spicier dish that complements the Yakhni.
5. Modur Pulao
Prepared with a generous dose of ghee, Modur Pulao is a Kashmiri sweet pulao. Along with mild spices (no Kashmiri dish would be complete without these, of course), dry fruits and nuts also find their way into this aromatic dish. Pair it up with spicy Dum Aloo and you’ve got yourself a filling (not to mention, delicious) meal!
Not ones to shy away from fiery flavours, you will come across quite a few spicy Kashmiri dishes while in the region. And Matschgand is definitely one of them. Minced meatballs cooked in a spicy red gravy (courtesy the lal mirch), this dish perfectly complements the Modur Pulao.
7. Kashmiri Mujh Gaad
Ever heard of the combination of fish with a radish? No? Try the Mujh Gaad in Kashmir and you’ll probably find yourself loving the unusual mix! While fish and radish or nadur (lotus stem) take centre stage in this dish, spices and herbs also go into its preparation. Enjoy it with a serving of rice and let the flavours take over your taste buds!
8. Aab Gosht
Let’s take the heat down a bit, shall we? This regional mutton specialty offers you a blend of tastes. The mutton, cooked with spices till it’s tender, is mixed with a milk-based gravy. Bite into a juicy chunk of the meat and you’ll discover hints of cardamom, the slight sweetness of milk and the kick of spices like pepper and cloves. Aab Gosht can also be prepared with coconut milk.
9. Tabak Maaz
More an appetizer but also enjoyed as a side dish, Tabakh Maaz is Kashmiri-style lamb ribs. Slathered in spices and yoghurt or milk, the lamb pieces are often left to marinate overnight. These are then cooked till they are tender and deep-fried, making for a scrumptious dish!
10. Lyodur Tschaman
Another of the classic Kashmiri dishes you must try, Lyodur Tschaman is a paneer gravy preparation with plenty of turmeric. It also uses typical spices used in Kashmiri cuisine like fennel, black pepper, lal mirch and ginger powder. The creamy turmeric-based gravy with hints of saffron can be enjoyed with rice, rotis or naan.
If you’re already craving for one of these meaty (or vegetarian) Kashmiri dishes, why not plan a trip soon?