Flavoured cuisine from Kashmir

Royal feast

Flavoured cuisine from Kashmir

Tucked away on Castle Street in Ashoknagar is Kungh, a cosy little place specialising in authentic Kashmiri food.

Run by Javed and Anwar, the menu is based on Wazwan, a formal culinary Kashmiri tradition observed at weddings.

“Wazwan is not a meal but a ceremony involving several hours of cooking and often runs into 20-30 courses. We have adapted it to a simple a la carte dining,” explains Javed.
Starters range from grilled paneer and Troosh Cockur (boneless chicken grilled in the tandoor). A delicacy however is Tabaq Maaz or lamb ribs served as an appetiser, delicately flavoured, crisp on the outside and softly moist on the inside.

Saffron and yogurt are generously used in the cooking, giving the gravies a lightly spiced but light, creamy consistency.

“We set our yogurt daily in earthen pots and a lot of our spices, dried fruits, nuts and saffron are flown down from the Valley, including the rose petals we use for extraction,” they say.

Kashmiri specialities on the menu include Roganjosh (tender lamb shanks in a rich red gravy), Rista (soft lamb dumpling), Kungh Cockur (chicken in saffron gravy) besides a wide range of grilled kababs. The lamb dumplings are pounded by hand for three hours to give them a smooth silky texture.

One can opt for steamed or saffron flavoured rice as accompaniments or a selection of rotis and naans. Along with meal Kahwah, a green tea flavoured with saffron, cardamom and almonds is served.

Vegetarians have good options to choose from, like Al Yakhni (bottle gourd in yogurt gravy), a delicious Rajmah (very differently made without onions and tomatoes), Chouq baingan (whole eggplant in gravy) and Headder  (mushroom with spices).

A traditional Wazwaan concludes with the Gushtaba, a special dish which is made from pounded lamb dumpling in a yogurt gravy, which is also on the menu.

“We like the speciality desserts they  serve here like Phirni, Kheer, Kubhan Meetha (apricot) and Badam Meetha. The apricots are fresh so the dish has a rich orange colour unlike the dark brown which comes from using the dried ones,” say regulars Bina and Praveen. Kungh also makes a very special lassi almost like a smoothie flavoured with saffron and rose petal extract.

It’s closed on Mondays.

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