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Kashmiri Cusine

Kashmir, the land of fruits and nuts is also famous for its well known for flavor some Kashmiri Cuisines, more for the non-vegetarian dishes. Traditional Kashmiri form of cooking is known as Wazhawan and consists of mostly non-vegetarian dishes. Kashmir serves the choicest selection of vegetarian and non vegetarian food in multiple flavours to suit every pocket. Multihued restaurants are available all along the major spots of Kashmir. The rich and aromatic flavour of the foods suites all the tastes and tongues unique to Kashmiri cuisine. Most Kashmiris including the Brahmins (Kashmiri Pandits) are meat eaters. The foodstuff of the state is characterized by three different styles of cooking ­ the Kashmiri Pandit, the Muslims and the Rajput styles. Though they eat meat, surprisingly, many traditional Kashmiri Pandits don't include garlic and onion to their cooking. One of the distinct characteristics of Kashmiri cuisine is the use of curds in the cooking, giving the dishes a creamy consistency. Kashmiris also use asafoetida (Hing) to add flavour to their meat dishes. Saunf (aniseed) and dry ginger are other additive spices used tastefully to enhance the taste of the cuisines. For example some dishes become pungent not because of the use of chillies, but because of dry gingers. Few other dishes have no spice except a little saunf added to them for flavour. Being the home of saffron, the colourful flavouring agent is used in the pulaos and sweets. Dry fruits are often used in the Kashmiri curries. Walnuts, almonds and raisins are also added to the curries. Ghee is the medium of cooking, probably because the fat is required to impart heat to the body, though mustard oil is also used. Some of the better known dishes are yakhni, tabaq naat, which is an exotic dish made of fried ribs and decorated with silver varq, dum aloo, rogan josh, gaustaba which is a light meatball, haleem which is meat pounded with wheat, etc. Kashmir has developed its own specialties in cooking - its cuisine is unique. Locally grown varieties of rice are sweetly fragrant and very light. All the dishes are built around the main course of rice. The delicious saag, is made from thick-leafed green leafy vegetable called 'hak' that grows throughout the year. Lotus root is also an important produce for boat dwelling people and makes a very good substitute for meat. Fresh vegetables are used in season. Morel mushrooms called as 'guhchi' are harvested and consumed fresh in summer. They are expensive therefore used only for specific occasions such as religious and wedding feasts. Their hearty flavor enlivens pilafs and other meatless dishes. Corn bread is an alternative for rice. The tea in Kashmir is not the one taken by most Indians, rather it is spice scented green tea called "kahava" poured from a samovar, a large metal kettle. Streams and lakes have influenced the Kashmiri cuisine. Fresh fish is a favorite. Myriad meat dishes are served during the traditional feasts. Lamb and poultry are served as accompaniments. Smoked meat, dried fish and vegetables are stored for use in winter.

A special masala 'cake' is made from spice-blends, onions and locally grown chilies that can be stored for longer period of time and used in flavoring curries. Sauces are made from dairy rich products. Kashmiri fare is also influenced by the mughal cooking. The fruits and nuts grown from the valley are used lavishly in daily menus..

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