Fragrant flavours of Kashmir

FOOD FESTIVAL

Talk about Kashmiri food and one is sure to think of dishes like dum aloo bukhara, chicken daiman korma and kahwah, which is the ancient beverage of the Sufis.

Traditional : Kashmiri pulao.

These delicacies are now available in the plains with Moti Mahal Delux’s ‘Kashmiri Food Festival’ at MGF Mall in Gurgaon.

The traditional cuisines from kitchens of Kashmir are brought to life by Chef Aftab, who hails from the region of spices.

The menu comprises of selected dishes such as kadham saag, which is made of traditional Kashmiri spinach cooked with special spices; dum aloo bukhara, which is whole fried potato cooked in a plum-flavoured paste; nadru yakhni, a dish made of lotus root and yoghurt, tamatar paneer, cooked in a rich, creamy red gravy in the vegetarian section.

The non-vegetarians can choose from tabak mass, or marinated lamb ribs boiled in milk and deep fried in desi ghee; murg mirch korma, a dish made of tender pieces of chicken cooked with Kashmiri spices and chilli flakes in golden, semi-thick gravy; chicken daiman korma, or stir-fried chicken pieces cooked in yoghurt and cream and mutton rogan yakhni, which is sliced lean lamb cooked in yoghurt and sour cream.

The dishes can be enjoyed with Kashmiri pulao, cooked with dry fruit and vegetables, and murg biryani, a seasoned rice cooked with chicken and saffron. The pulao has a prominent flavour of dry coconut and cashews, which are essential in Kashmiri cuisine, but the peculiar whole-spices are replaced with ground ones. The regular menu also has interesting options like garlic naan and missi roti to go along with these.

Dum aloo bukhara tastes unique and the best. Though mentioned as whole fried potato, the dish is cooked with potatoes cut in cube-like pieces.

Chef Aftab shares the recipe of this unforgettable delight. He says, “Boil and peel baby potatoes and roast them in oil until they turn brown. To prepare gravy, cut onions and roast them in oil, then put masalas like haldi, red chilies, saunth, ilaichi and curd and finally add chopped tomatoes. Cook the gravy till it turns Irish-brown in colour and then add one teaspoon of desi ghee to it. After the gravy is fully prepared, add roasted potatoes and stir them till they soak in the flavour of all the masalas.”

Among the other dishes in the vegetarian list, tamatar paneer was a favourite with all. Shreya Awasthi, a professional, says, “I like the tamatar paneer in this Kashmiri menu, as it has a different taste compared to normal paneer. I think the pieces of paneer are first fried and then cooked in gravy to give this texture and taste.”

However, the non vegetarian delights do not seem to have impressed many. Nikunj Agarwal, a media professional, says,“I have tried murg biryani and chicken daiman korma and they taste good, but I don’t think there is anything special in terms of Kashmiri food.”

A glass of hot Kashmiri kahwah completes this meal. The green tea made with saffron, spices and almonds is a true herbal delight, but one has to order it without sugar to get the original taste.

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