“Winters are coming!”
Got reminded of Game of Thrones? Well I bet this blog will not be any less exciting than your favorite American TV series! Winter hits ‘Winterfell’ the hardest but our ‘Kashmir’ is also very well known for its harsh winters and nothing can keep you toasty this winter than the warmth and pleasing aroma of delicious food cooked in our very own ‘Koshur Kitchen’. Let the winds of winter carry the local flavor of Kashmiri dishes.
So get set to tickle your taste buds with these favorite winter dishes of Kashmir
Its Harissa time again in the vale.
We, Kashmiris welcome the winter chills with this traditionally prepared delicacy. It is a true experience to relish the age old local recipe. It is originally served as a winter breakfast in Kashmir. The sizzler crackle of the hot oil over the Harissa topped with a tender Kebab and served with a hot Kander Czoth (traditional Tandoori bread) is enough explanation of the delectable dish. The dish will offer you the smoothness of the mutton with an amazing kick of fennel, cardamom and other spices. The making of the perfect Harissa requires tough cooking skills that might put you off. But since we Indians love our meat we will put every effort to nail the Kashmiri Harissa.
Would you like to make an attempt? Thank us later: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/kashmiri-harissa-authentic-recipe-zubair-kirmani-lifefd/1/692564.html
The sun-dried variety
Hokhegad (Koshur Dry fish)
As the time has arrived when the NH1A would get snapped because of heavy snowfall, locals in Kashmir would be ultra-carefully sun-dry their vegetables and fishes and store them for the time when the availability becomes scanty. Hokhegad which is sun-dried fish finds a special place in this variety. Hokhegad has a shelf life of several years just like other dried foods. These dried fishes can be found in market during winter and runs well into mid-summer month (March-April).
If you have asthma, Hokhegad is a good source of protein and acts as a medicine.
Hokh Syun a boon from our Nains – Wangan-Hachi, Al Hachi & Ruwangan Hachi
And to save all you vegetarians out there, here we are with a lot of options! These recipes are enough to convert all carnivores to vegetarians. Wangan Hachi is actually dried brinjal which is split into 4 sections that are not separated. The sectioned brinjals are then tied on a rope set up like a clothesline and dried in sun. Wangan-hachi is mostly cooked with Moong Dal or Green Gram. Choki Wangan Hachi (Tamarind flavored dried brinjals) is also a favourite dish of ours.
Al Hachi is dried long and slightly thick strands of bottle gourd whose drying method is similar as that of Wangan Hachi. Later these are either cooked with light spices of with tender mutton.
Ruwangan Hachi is dried tomatoes. It can be powdered and used in curries or dishes. This spice mixture is prevalent in most of India.
Make a garland of turnips – Gogji Aar
Looking for more vegetarian meal? Here’s one more from our winter menu – Gogji Aar or dried turnips.
We have a very particular way of drying turnips in Kashmir. The turnips are peeled, washed and thickly sliced and a little hole is carved out in the middle of the slice and then they are added to a string which is then tied and sun-dried. Gogji aar is then cooked with cottage cheese, mutton etc.
Kashmir is a treasure of herbs that has several medicinal uses, let’s end this list with one such sun-dried Handh or spinach green that grows in the wild and can be cooked with chicken in winters as well. These are cooked, famously in the house of a new mother, because it is believed to cause heat in the body and thus benefit both mother and newborn. The feast is called handhbaata.
It also possesses medicinal value and is helpful in treating back-pain, common cold and chest infections. It is also given to anemic patients.
The Kitchen is truly the heart of any Kashmiri home and cooking is love made visible. Our food has the ultimate love and warmth to bring everyone together. To beat the blues this winter try menus from our Kashmiri Kitchen where meals and memories are made together.