Gar Firdaus bar ruhe zamin astHamin ast, hamin ast, hamin ast
If there is heaven on earth,It is here, It is here, It is here.
I would retort:
Kashmir the land of odourless flowers, tasteless fruit, crooked men charmless women.
Think about it, if you live in Kashmir long enough , you realise that there is enough visual beauty, but is only skin deep, the fruits look colourful and bright but for some strange reason do not taste great.The flowers remain fresh for long, they lose their odour, regarding women I have not shared intimacy with a Kashmiri woman (but those who have often say they make lousy and frigid bed partners). Its also been said that in Kashmir the only thing straight in Kashmir is the Poplar trees , otherwise the men, the roads, the deals, the interaction reeks of deceit. I am being rather harsh on Kashmir and Kashmiris.
But Kashmiri food is something else. Everyone will tell you that there is Kashmiri pundit Cuisine and Kashmiri Muslim food...... To me both are great. They have their subtle difference is spices and flavouring, use of onion and garlic Vs use of hing, different cuts of meat and different vegetables etc etc.
I have a theory that the the Saraswat Brahmins and Kashmiri pundits are genetically realated. They are both fair communities, they have light eyes, they both eat copious quantities of meat despite being brahmins and pundits.
The Kashmiri cook or waza has a fairly high status in society. Its often said the cooking charges of Kashmiri food, surpass the cost of the ingredients. The Kashmiri wazas are usually very much in demand for functions and daawats.
I have eaten at various places and have been exposed to Kashmiri food in Srinagar ( Mughal Durbar,Hadoos), Poonch, Baramulla, Gulmarg, Sonmarg. Here in Delhi, Chor Bizzare, Defence Colony Kashmiri Dhabas in the nineties.
When Himanshu Kumar, invited me to to a do at Nizamuddin East, as part of the EOID (eating out In Delhi Community), I was kind of happy. Though Nizamuddin West is more known for expats (William Dalrymple) or PIO's (Persons of Indian origin masquerading as expats, Arvind Adiga and Pankaj Mishra). This was at Pamela's home,Expats with twist, Indophiles. You enter their home a cascade of blue and white, with charpoys woven with cotton as sofas, more and more Indian memorabilia. I walk onto the terrace its called Pamela ka Dhaba, as more Moodas (stools), charpoys and a push cart as a bar, very imaginative and creative.
Here, Ahad and Sons, caterers of Kashmiri food based in UdayPark near South Extension part 2 in New Delhi and the waza Manzoor had laid out their Wazwan. Before that, an interesting khichdi with walnuts and called Ver was served by one of the members of the forum as a savoury (also she gave me tips to use the Ver masala thats been lying in our larder for a couple of years).
The layout was white rice, Rishta, Goshtaba, Rogan Josh (meat curry spicy), Chicken kaliMirch korma, Methi Meat (fine texture, methi and meat were one texture, boneless and pasty), Seekh Kabab, Tabakmaaz(ribs fried in oil, I got the best piece with fat crusted crisp mmmm), Paneer Kashmiri perhaps Shahi, Dum Aloo, Haaq (greens cooked in Mustard oil(actually all the food is supposed to be cooked in mustard oil), Nadru Yakhhni (lotus stems in yummy sauce).
The food was good a tad heavy with the meat and sauces, my favourites were the, Rogan Josh, Tabakmaaz and the Nadru. Ideally Kashmiri food is eaten in a Tarrami (a plate shared by four) and you have to be seated to enjoy it with your hands. I slurped it with my hands, but it was kind of difficult, to stand and eat in styrofoam tray. The price to us was Rs 650/- a pop/ Nice to experience so many dishes among like minded foodies on a terrace on aDelhi winter night.
Ended the meal with creamy phirni and shaking of hands. Kashmiri food try it I know a caterer or two delivers. please drop in acomment and I will write back.
Whats the sequence of eatinga a Wazwan ? Please elaborate