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September 22, 2007

WAZWAN-THE HEART AND SOUL OF KASHMIRI CUISINE

This post is for my parents - my dad who was almost a Kashmiri himself, been born and brought up in Srinagar, (may his soul rest in peace), and for my mother, because of whom I am what I am today.

KASHMIR VALLEY the kashmir valley

Most of my ancestors had lived for some time or the other in the Kashmir Valley, and as long as I can remember- despite being a typically punjabi family, kashmiri cuisine had firmly interwoven itself in the weft and warp of our lives.I made Rogan Josh for the first time when I was 11yrs old!.

As a child I remember, there used to be lavish parties thrown by my mother, who is an extremely gifted cook herself ,and for some very special guests "WAZWAN" was prepared. Let me give you a little introduction about wazwan, it is a unique concept and means "WAZ"-the chef person with the rare culinary skills passed on through generations, an artist who is obsessively and passionately involved with his art and who is one of the priveledged few flag bearers of this great Kashmiri tradition,"WAN" is the shop with the abundant supplies of meats and delicacies.

waza

the vasta waza

My mother learnt much of Kashmiri Cuisine from the "VASTA WAZA"(head-chef) who is assisted by a court of waza's, the title conferred on a chosen few after years of apprenticeship.

The traditional Wazwan consists of 36 courses, each dish has it's own tradition and brings to mind- memories of momentous events and of special occassions.

wazwan2 wazwan3

the traditional preparation of wazwan

Thus the Wazwan is not a simple meal but a ceremony, first the "TASH-T-NARI" is passed around so that you can wash your hands, it would be sacrilege to use anything but your fingers to eat this meal.

People sit in fours to eat this meal, which is considered auspicious, I remember being a part of this meal a number of times. A large plate called "TARAMI" is used(my mom has a collection of these as well as of samovar's), which is heaped with rice and the first few courses,each successive course follows separately to allow you to savour the distinct flavors.

The cuisine of Kashmir has evolved over hundred's of years, the major influence was of Kashmiri pandit's -who use a lot of yogurt and turmeric and no onions or garlic, food is mainly cooked in mustard oil.The typical Kashmiri dishes are-

  • Chaman qaliya (cottage-cheese squares in gravy)
  • Dum Oluv (potatoes cooked in yogurt gravy)
  • Nadir Yakhn (lotus stem in a delicate yogurt sauce)
  • Hak(with nadir/vangan) (a local variety of greens)
  • Nadir Palak (lotus stem with spinach)
  • Mujh Chetin (a sharp radish and walnut chutney)
  • Rista (meatballs in a fiery red gravy)
  • Rogan Josh (tender lamb cooked with kashmiri spices)
  • Tabak Maaz (ribs of lamb simmered in yogurt till tender, then fried, can be served as a snack/side-dish)
  • Daniwal Korma (a mutton curry with lots of coriander)
  • Aab Gosht (spicy lamb curry)
  • Marchwangan Korma (an extremely hot lamb preparation)
  • Kabab (minced meat roasted on skewers over hot coals)
  • Gushtaba (a velvety textured meatball in white yogurt gravy,a speciality)
  • Yakhni (delicately spiced yogurt curry)
  • Phirni (a dessert of rice flour thickened in milk set in earthenware cups with nuts and "varq"-silver leaf)

wazwan

wazwan dishes

wedding wazwan

wedding wazwan-pounding meat for gushtaba's

Phirni is the dessert served at the end of the meal,a delicious preparation of rice flour and milk, the entire meal is washed down with "KEHVA" served in the "SAMOVAR"-green tea flavored with spices and served with slivered almonds in it, truly warming!

To date all of the above dishes are prepared in my mom's and uncle's home and will be posting some authentic recipes in the coming weeks.

Yesterday we went for an authentic Kashmiiri meal to Dilli Haat(opp. INA Market),New Delhi, since this is the only place in Delhi serving Wazwan, and maybe a few others.My uncle,aunt and cousin ordered a typical meal, enjoy the pics.

20092007460

the kashmiri stall

20092007456 gushtaba's in a lovely yogurt gravy

20092007455

Rogan josh - lamb cooked in fiery red curry

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41 comments :

Latha ,  September 22, 2007 at 12:56 PM  

a splendid and informative post, Bindiya. I had bought a book titled 'Wazwan' at a second-hand book shop. I'm still hesitating to try any recipe... there seems to be deep-frying and lots n lots of oil in each dish. I do look forward to your recipes.

Sumitha September 22, 2007 at 2:24 PM  

Hello Bindiya!Your post was very informative.What is this a Kashmiri and I see only a chicken recipe:)no no we want more....I have never had the fortune of tasting authentic Kashmiri food.Hope to learn lots from you.

Asha September 22, 2007 at 6:44 PM  

Beautiful Bindiya. I made Yakhni at Aroma for Kalyn's event, loved it. There is RCI Kashmir coming in Dec. Loved the pics and info, thanks for posting. It's great to learn about Kashmir!:)

Siri September 22, 2007 at 7:49 PM  

Nice and Informative post Bindiya.. didn't know much abt kashmiri cuisine untill now.. :D thanks for sharing

Rina September 22, 2007 at 10:17 PM  

Rogan gosh, yummy yeh! I know kashmiri dishes taste good.

bee September 22, 2007 at 10:58 PM  

i adore kashmiri food and this post of yours is just splendid. more needs to be written about this wonderful cuisine. haak is a regular dish at our home.

bee September 23, 2007 at 9:04 PM  

bindiya, thanks for dropping by. was just wondering if you know of this blog by anita:

http://madteaparty.wordpress.com/2007/09/23/the-big-fat-kashmiri-wedding-and-stuff/

she's a kashmiri from delhi, a friend and a great blogger. i get my authentic kashmiri recipes from her blog.

Raaga September 24, 2007 at 4:04 PM  

you're in Delhi??? going to Dilli Haat and all :-)

sra September 25, 2007 at 6:49 PM  

Hi Bindiya! Enjoyed reading your post on Kashmiri cuisine - I remember eating at a wazwan-style dinner long ago!

Shweta November 26, 2007 at 9:48 AM  

Lovely post. Wazwan is totally new for me, thanks so much for sharing :)

VegeYum ,  December 12, 2007 at 2:35 AM  

I really enjoyed reading this post. I love this part of India, although have not visited Kashmir. I have spent a lot of time in villages in South India and love the life a lot. You made me "homesick" for India.

VegeYum

Shella December 28, 2007 at 11:50 AM  

Oh Bindiya the list that you've laid out makes me drool. I have not had much of Kashmiri Cusinie but I am absolute it is going to be finger lickin good.

Do you wear that chain on your ears, connected to your hair?? I really love that thing that the Kashmiri married women wear.

richa January 14, 2008 at 9:49 PM  

hi babes...this is the first time that im reading your blog... And i have one thing to say.....It brought tears to my eyes....Im so proud of you...and especially this blog...loads of love n hugs to you...always...richa

Z March 8, 2008 at 2:48 PM  

hey bindiya... just bumped into ur site.. if you stay in mumbai then you can have authentic kashmiri khana from KONGPOUSH. it is yummylicious and genuine veg and non-veg kashmiri food... the taste of which will take you back to the days you remember here... have tried and tested and so recommend. call them on 98211 92910 / 98211 65098 and they will deliver anywhere in mumbai. zaps

JC June 2, 2008 at 1:11 PM  

hi, I am a Korean girl living in Germany, and I am absolutely in love with your post. Such a beautiful land and heritage, it is heartbreaking what has been done to this cultured land.

JC June 2, 2008 at 1:15 PM  

hi, I am a Korean girl living in Germany and I am absolutely in love with your post. Such a beautiful land and heritage, and what has done to this cultured land is heartbreaking.

And can I refer your post in my Korean blog? I will of course make clear where I got the information from. Thank you for your lovely article.

aashiq June 20, 2008 at 11:49 AM  

AASHIQ
Dear Happy to See for the first time such an exciting & full fledges pictures of the Kashmiri WAZWAN on The Internet. HATTS OFF TO YOUR SUCH AN INCREDIBLE EFFORT to give recognition to KASHMIRI WAZWAN>

liam ,  September 8, 2008 at 11:02 PM  

hi, i reside in the uk. i love the pictures you have taken of both the landscape and the food(mmm). i have become acqainted with a kashmiri man living in wales, i would love to use your photo with the valley back drop for an advert promoting his kashmiri crafts.
with your kind permission?
liampanesh@yahoo.co.uk
- hopefully soon i will be able to visit kashmir for myself and experience such fine cuisine you have in your pictures!!!

azhar October 19, 2008 at 11:02 AM  

HI BINDIYA . I M A KASHMIRI GUY.
WOW! GR8 WORK . HATTS OFF TO U . I JUS WANNA KNW Y U SHOWED THAT MUCH OF INTREST IN KASHMIR N KASHMIRI WAZWAN...

Anonymous ,  November 19, 2008 at 5:23 PM  

hi all??? wazwan is one of the best cuisine in the world... since i am a hotelier i have taste maximum cuisine of the world but i found kashmiri wazwan the best,,, i wish all the recipee of wazwan shd get famous all over the world,, people shd taste this cuisine if they have not ,,,, i wish i have daily wazwan ,,,,

mubashir bukhari January 9, 2009 at 3:43 PM  

kashmiri wazwan is best in the world...especially rista,kababa,ghustabaa..i m mad about rista and kababa...i m missing kashmiri food...nw i m eating nly dosa,khuso and alll waste south indian dishes

enigma January 17, 2009 at 4:05 AM  

hi
it is so nice of u to make Kashmiri food known to everybody.
Rest abt WAZWAN always delicious n ultimate cuisine.

Pragyan January 23, 2009 at 7:20 AM  

Hi, I look forward to learn the delicious recipes of Kashmir through your blog..love the content that I have read so far! Thanks for sharing.

sameer May 6, 2009 at 3:26 PM  

Hi Bindiya,

I really apprecaiate on your good comments about Kashmiri wazwan.
kashmiri wazwan is most delicious food in the world.
I am also crazy for wazwan, i am missing Rista,Roganjosh,tabakmaaz,
meeth,marchiwajan kormi,maambi choust and last full stop dish i.e Gushtaba.
Sameer...
From(Srinagar)

anayith June 23, 2009 at 9:27 PM  

hi bindhya

I'm Nyrsa from kerala.Loved your detail recipes about kashmiri wazwan.Awsome work.Please add more recipes and pictures!

sumer September 17, 2009 at 3:49 AM  

Hi all.

Anyone knows where to get wazwan in uk ( manchester)??
Great food

Soma Pradhan June 18, 2010 at 8:23 PM  

Hey...this is a nice information about wazwan...I wish I get ti have it atleast once in this life..

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Anonymous ,  March 3, 2011 at 5:00 PM  

hello iam satishgoud from ap. one may be a kashmiri, punjabi , europeon or south indian but food is food i think it is the only divine revealation apart from music sent down upon earth by God. And talking of Wazwan i nver tasted it but the pics and the video clips assure me that it is really good.Bindiya you must be ecclectical in your food tastes otherwise you couldnt have given us so much thank you

Anonymous ,  October 23, 2011 at 8:39 PM  

Er Hilal Baramulla Kmr
We welcome you to this heaven on earth for this very specialty, Wazwan !

It is said that anybody who visited Kashmir without tasting the famous cuisine Wazwan didn't infact visit Kashmir and the lovers of Wazwan further say that anybody who didn't taste the wazwan at Mughal Darbar didn't actually had the real thing. Besides being the heaven of tasty traditional food we are known world over for the wide range of cuisines, Continental, Traditional, Mughlai, Chinese .... The taste of our food has earned us the praise " The taste of nation ".

kumar March 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM  

briz............i crazy about wazwan food therefore whenever i get time, i make food with my parents nd enjoy ..they also fond of this taste....

kumar March 7, 2012 at 4:10 PM  

what the mystery of wazwan food taste........

catering service in manila April 10, 2012 at 12:50 PM  

Love the food! You’re amazing. This menu is fantastic, It sure will help everyone who’s looking for a perfect menu like this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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ishita June 19, 2012 at 12:33 AM  

Hello Bindiya,

I am writing a post on my experience with Wazwan delicacies in Kashmir. I am posting the link to your article in my post. My blog address is www.itiriti.wordpress.com. Hoping you would not mind.

thanks for a wonderful introduction to the world of Wazwan

keku November 19, 2013 at 7:52 AM  

Hi, Bindya,

I'm visiting Delhi, please guide me to a Kashmiri Wazwan place.

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