Kashmiri cuisine, which has really evolved in a great way over a period of several years, is one of the popular Indian cuisines highly famous for non-vegetarian dishes. In Kashmir, Kashmiri thali is largely served for non-vegetarian food. However, the presence of some delicious vegetarian food cannot be ignored. Kashmiri rice is highly liked by the Kashmiri people due to its light and aromatic nature.
Historical Influence on Kashmiri Food
Several cultures have contributed in influencing the Kashmiri cuisine, which began with Kashmiri Pandits and then by Timur (who came from modern Uzbekistan). Thereafter, cuisine of Kashmir was impacted by Persian, Central Asian, and Afghanistani cuisines. However, the influence of Kashmiri Pandits on the Kashmiri cuisine was highly strong which explains the reason behind dominance of non-vegetarian foods in the region.
Commonly Used Ingredients in Preparing Kashmiri Food
Mutton (a meat product) is the most commonly used ingredient in Kashmiri cuisine, where mutton is available in more than thirty varieties. Onion and garlic are not used in abundance in Kashmiri cuisine as against various other regional cuisines of India.
Other ingredients like saffron and dry fruits are also used in abundance in Kashmiri cuisine.
Kashmiri Food Popular in Foreign Culture
Balti curries are one of the popular foods of the Kashmiri cuisine, which are immensely famous in UK due to exotic and striking taste. Balti curry is a kind of curry which is cooked and served in a thin and pressed steel pan. The dish was brought to UK by the Pakistani immigrants from Baltistan region in Kashmir.
Traditional Kashmiri Thali
Kashmiri thali is traditional to Kashmiri cuisine which comprises of Wazwan, consisting of around 36 dishes. It takes lot of effort and time to prepare this traditional thali, which is normally made on a bog festival or a big family event. All the preparation is done by head chef, who is called as “Vasta Waza”.
Basics of Preparing Kashmiri Food
Kashmiri cuisine is interesting due to various kinds of ingredients used in preparation of food. A creamy feel to the dish is given with the help of use of curd. Hing (asafetida) is added to augment the flavor of meat dishes. While cooking the food, Kashmiris often make use of aniseed (saunf) and dry ginger. At times, ginger is used in large quality to make the dish spicy. Sweets and pulaos are made with copious use of saffron (a colorful agent), as saffron is produced in abundance in the region. Dry fruits are regularly used while preparing curries. Though ghee is used for cooking meals in Kashmir, yet some health conscious people are making use of mustard oil due to health benefits associated with it.