Kashmir for all seasons
Get set on a culinary journey and explore the different flavours the Valley has to offer
TASTES FROM THE VALLEY Kashmiri delicacies served in handis PHOTO: SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO
There’s an unmistakable aura about Kashmiri khana. Kashmiris are predominantly rice eaters and the Pandits, in particular, are credited for the effective use of rajma, paneer and indigenous herbs in their cuisine. Over the years, even small eat
eries in Hyderabad have served up watered down versions of ‘Kashmiri biryani.’ But if you want to sample a few authentic Kashmiri delicacies, we would suggest the ongoing food festival, Poush, at the Indian Grill (renovated Peshawari) restaurant at the ITC Hotel Kakatiya Sheraton and Towers.
Poush means flower in Kashmiri and the cuisine of the Pandits is characterised by the use of walnuts and other dry fruits, saffron, curds, saunf (aniseed) powder, asafoetida, pungent Kashmiri chillies and root vegetables such as tur
nips and knol khol. Traditionally, Kashmiris used ghee and mustard oil for cooking, so as to ward off the intense cold wave. So don’t expect a low-calorie dish when you dig into some lip smacking Kashmiri Dum Aloo
The a la carte menu includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Yes, a few non-veg preparations are part of the Pandits’ meal and the reason cited, again, is the cold climate of the Valley. The dishes are served in the trad
For starters, the grill offers Nadru Mond or lotus stem cutlets and fried trouts. The lotus stem, known for its rich iron content, lends itself to varied delicacies. Savour it as Nadru Achar, a traditional pickle
made from lotus stem, Nadru Yakhani – lotus stems cooked in yoghurt gravy, or as Gad Nadru – where the lotus stem is cooked with fish in red gravy. Then, there’s also the Pachchin Nadr
u – lotus stem and duck delicacy served on special occasions, Nadru Dal – a preparation of lotus stems and dal, Nadru Palak – lotus stems cooked with palak and Kashmiri spice
As an appetiser, do try the Kashmiri Haak, a syrupy preparation of leafy greens in chillies and asafoetida or saunf powder. Tender pieces of paneer cooked in spicy gravy as Rogni Chamman, is wor
th a try. Don’t miss an all-time favourite paneer delicacy – Chamman kaliya, where cottage cheese cubes are cooked in curd and turmeric gravy. Thick cubes of paneer cooked with rice in the form of Chamman Pula
o is a favourite among vegetarians. In the non-veg platter, the Nene Pulao or the mutton pulao remains a hot favourite. The breads of Kashmir, too, are unique. We recommend Rogni Chhot, the thick bread served fo
r festivals, and Roth, a sweet bread prepared with dry fruits. Do try the Shirmal or the crisp biscuits served with Kahwa, the unique Kashmiri chai.
Dry fruits are used aplenty in desserts so don’t count calories here. Black Morrels in golden syrup, Shufta – paneer and dry fruits in sweet syrup and Meeta Akroat or walnut candies
(served with fresh Kashmir apples) are just what the connoisseurs ordered.
What: Poush - Kashmiri food festival
Where: The Indian Grill, ITC Kakatiya Sheraton and Towers
When: Till August 15 - dinner time during weekdays; lunch and dinner on weekends
SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO
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