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November 25, 2007

WAZWAAN~An Introducion to special Kashmiri Ingredients and basic recipes.

After all this time since my last post about Wazwan, it is NOW that I have finally managed to extract a few "secret recipes" from my mom, considering that she learnt them from a renowned Waza , this was no mean feat, Whew! She just gave in inch by inch and then I made them over and over again till SHE  was fully satisfied with the end result, now over the course of next few weeks I would be posting some VERY authentic recipes, so keep a lookout!

I would like to start with the basics - without which any attempts at authentic Kashmiri Cuisine will be futile, so let's acquaint ourselves with these basic ingredients and recipes-

1. DRY MINT LEAVES(pudina/pudn)- A herb used to lend a distinct aroma to certain dishes.

dry mint leaves

2. CINNAMON(dalchini)- This is actually the bark of the cassia tree which is often substituted for the real cinnamon, this however is more aromatic.


3.CLOVES(laung/roung)- These are  dried flower buds and are used in most Indian Homes.


4.TURMERIC(haldi,lader)- This gives food that characteristic yellow colour, it is an orange-yellow rhizome.

turmeric bowl

5. CUMIN SEEDS(jeera/zur)-In some dishes the white variety is used and in some the black one, both are an integral part of Indian Cooking


6.BLACK CARDAMOM(bari elaichi/badaul)-A very different tasting cardamom from the green variety which has a lighter taste.

cardamom seeds

7.DRY FENUGREEK LEAVES(kasoori methi)- A special variety of methi which is very aromatic, hence the name- kasoori.

dry fenugreek leaves

8.SAFFRON(zafran/kong)- The most expensive spice in the world, it is usually used mixed in milk.


9.DRY COCKSCOMB FLOWER(mawal)-This is specifically used in Kashmiri Cuisine and is indigenous to the region.

cockscomb flower

10. CORIANDER(dhaniya/dhaniwal)-A very important ingredient , the seeds as well as the green leaves are both used a lot.

coriander seeds

11.DRY GINGER POWDER(sonth/shount)- This is obtained by drying fresh ginger and the taste is very different from the fresh one.

ginger powder

12. FENNEL SEEDS(saunf/badayna)


13. GREEN CARDAMOM(choti elaichi/eaul)- These are very aromatic and have a delicate flavor, most of the flavor is in the seeds.

green cardamom

14.CASHEW NUTS(kaju)

cashew bowl



16. ALMONDS(badam)


17.TAMARIND(imli/tamar)-Highly acidic with a bitter-sweet taste.


18.SHALLOTS(praan)-These belong to the Onion family,but once they are cooked they are more easy to digest.


19.DRIED PLUMS(alubukhara/alubukhar)-These are available at any dry fruit shop, and can be used to make alubukhara koftas(mincemeat stuffed dried plums)

dried plums

20.ZIRISH- These are small, dry berries indigenous to Kashmir




22. RED CHILLI PEPPER(lal mirch/marchwagan)

red chilli powder



Dry roast 1/2  kg dried Kashmiri red chillies, 25 gm black cardamom, 1/2 tbsp. black cumin seeds(shah jeera), 1/2 tbsp. green cardamom seeds, 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon powder, 1/2 tbsp dry ginger powder  , cool and grind to a fine powder.

Take 125 gm shallots and 125 gm garlic and grind to a coarse paste, add to the above powder and shape into patty cakes with a hole in the middle , to pass a thin rope, dry cakes in the sun till no moisture is left



Take 2 tbsp. fresh garlic ,add 1/4 cup water ,let stand for 10 minutes ,strain and use as required.


Take about 1 cup yogurt and whisk, cook on high heat till mixture is thick and approx. half the original quantity and has changed colour, use as required

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Asha November 25, 2007 at 10:08 PM  

Next RCI is Kashmir! Hold on until then girl! :D
It's an excellent post though,I love it.I read about Ver paste in a cookbook I have.Hope to see more recipes with it here!:))

Kalyn November 25, 2007 at 10:09 PM  

Great post and very informative for me, since many Indian blogs mention some of these ingredients, but I often don't know quite what they are.

vimmi November 26, 2007 at 1:27 AM  


Really looking forward to athentic kashmiri recipes.

Srivalli November 26, 2007 at 10:04 AM  

Bindiya, this is beautiful...looking forward to the authentic recipes...great post

Nags November 26, 2007 at 2:23 PM  

wow! i am looking forward to those recipes!

maninas November 28, 2007 at 1:22 AM  

Thank you for this post, Bindiya! As Asha said, the next RCI is Kashmir, so your posts will be very useful for many of us! :)

Passionate baker...& beyond December 23, 2007 at 2:33 PM  

WOW Bindiya...missed this one. I love wazwaan. Am gonna make the lamb very soon...Cheers

Tiksha January 19, 2008 at 10:08 PM  

I did read your ingredients of vaer, but they seem incomplete. The important ingredients of vaer, that make it distinct from ordinary garam masala are kala jeera (indigenous to Kashmir), anise [badi saunf] and the javitri-nutmeg combination. While nutmeg may be present in the garam masala recipe that is obtained commonly in India, it is the combination of javitri and nutmeg, along with kala zeera and anise, that give the peculiar pungent flavor to the vaer patty.If you have a great grand mother around, who makes these by herself, like I do, do check the ingredients with her :)


Anonymous ,  February 1, 2009 at 12:13 AM  

Wow! THis is a good start. I am so glad I came across your website. I've always had this burning desire to look for authentic ancient receipes from different parts of India. I keenly look fwd to your future posts...hope there is plently more info and recipes to come. Good luck!!!

Saloni ,  November 7, 2009 at 1:30 AM  

Hi Bindiya..my husband is a kashmiri and i am a punjabi..so ur recipes are life savers when i am tryig to impress him by making kashmiri recipies tasting like his moms..keep up the good work

Anonymous ,  March 29, 2010 at 5:17 PM  

Hi Bindiya
Great site, fab pictures, and Kashmiri recipes to die for!
I have a Q -
In the ingredients list I dont see Ratan Jote.
Is it cos its difficult to get?
Any way do keep the little gems coming in...

Anonymous ,  March 3, 2011 at 7:00 AM  

Awsome resource! I’ve just shared it on the social networks.

Untamed Spirit July 24, 2011 at 5:59 PM  

Hi Bindiya, Great attempt at blogging. Few suggestions: Make the header shorter so the blog is easy to access. The text needs to be aligned to the photos. This is difficult but achievable. I am passionate about cooking and I am non-tradtional although I have great respect for traditions. One that gets me is why Indian love to use so much chilli that drowns the the other spices. Spices should be used to enhance and compliment not burn the tongue. All the same, great work and keep it up. I will keep looking into your blog for updates to learn more. Have a great Zaike Ka Safar.

Niru Gupta August 15, 2011 at 1:51 PM  

I was reading the list of ingredients you have and wondered about one thing. I was told authentic Kashmiri food does not have onions and garlic--is this a myth or these are recent add ons?

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