Kashmir has been known for its scenic beauty and serene atmosphere. That’s why popular poet Amir Khusro referred Kashmir as “Heaven on Earth”. Every one who visits Kashmir agrees to it totally. Caraway at The Grand are serving a Kashmiri Food Festival to give you a glimpse of the heavenly delicious cuisine. Kashmiri food also has its own charm. It is beautiful cuisine which is a distinct way of cooking. Apart from Kashmiri Dum Aloo and Mutton Rogan Josh, we don’t know any other Kashmiri delicacy which is so popular in the country. May be the climate and the mountains didn’t allow a cultural exchange in this part of the country. Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims also have their own style of cooking respectively.
The Kashmiri Pandits make two types of curries. One is the heavily spice and red colored gravy, which is used for Rogan Josh, Dum aloo etc. The other is Curd based which is mildly spiced and known as Yakhni. Muslims here use onion and garlic generously in their food.
Following are the five most important points which diversify the Kashmiri (Pandit) style of cooking from the other cuisines in India.
1. No use of Onion and Garlic
Kashmiri Pandits don’t use Onion and Garlic in their food. They avoid them as they are considered as Tamasik ingredients. According to Hindu ancestors Tamasik ingredients awaken anger and lust, hence they are to be avoided. They contradict this by having non-vegetarian preparations in their cuisine though.
2. Use of Asafoetida, Fennel and Dry ginger, Saffron and Kashmiri Mirch
Asafoetida is the main flavouring agent in their food. Fennel is used for the aroma. Saffron and Kashmiri Mirch are used as coloring agent in their dishes and desserts. Kashmiri Mirch actually is not spicy. It gives more of a color and less of spice to the food in comparison to the chillies we find in other parts of India.
3. No ‘Daal’ in the cuisine
The only pulse they use is Rajma. They don’t have any Daal preparation, which is apparently most common dish all over the country.
4. Use of Desi Ghee
They use Desi Ghee in most of their preparations. May be that is the reason their dishes are so rich in taste.
5. Use of curd in Curries
Over here they use only curd and spice it mildly to prepare Yakhni the unlike other Indian curries, they use a lot of cream in their curry preparations. Curd is also in some dishes, but not like the way Kashmiries do.
Today we were at Caraway at The Grand, Vasant Kunj to relish the on going Kashmiri Food Festival here. In association with ‘Saal’ by Mr. Sunil Tickoo, the team here have curated a fabulous treat for our senses. The focus is on Kashmiri Pandit cuisine this time at Caraway at The Grand.
Var was the first dish we were served. It is like a Khichadi, having Walnuts and Rice. We were served Karbagah/Tabak Maaz (Deep fried Mutton ribs), Talith Gaad (Shallow fried marinated Sole Fish), Nadhur Shami (Lotus stem Shami Kebab) and Talith Chaman (Shallow fried marinated Paneer) as starters. Tabak Maaz and Nadhur Shami were the best of the starters for us.
In the mains we were served a plethora of options. The non vegetarian dishes were great but we just loved the vegetarian ones, specially Haakh (Kashmiri Saag) and Chok Wangun (Khatte Baigan). Mutton Yakhni was just to die for. It was by far the best Yakhni I have ever tasted. I have had Yakhni at Kashmiri Pandits homes, but this was at another level. The Kashmiri Mutton Pulao was also done to perfection. Not to miss were the Dum Aloo and Mutton Rogan Josh. We liked the Gaad Nadhur as well. It had fried Rohu fish and Lotus stem in a spicy red Gravy.
Shufta acted as a perfect ending to the meal. A nice melange of Dry fruits and Fresh Fruits in buttery sauce which worked as a killer combination.
The team here have also displayed merchandise like Handicrafts and Pashmina Shawls for purchase as well. This is an added attraction to the festival.
The food festival is on at Caraway at The Grand till 30th January and is served in dinner only, 7:00 pm till midnight. Price :- 1495/- ++ for set menu A La Carte Meal with meal for two starting @2595/- ++.