If There’s Heaven on Earth, It’s Here, It’s Here, It’s Here!
If you have ever been to Kashmir or atleast seen a few pictures of it, chances are that your thoughts will echo that of The Fourth Mughal Emperor of India, Jahangir.
For centuries, Kashmir has been hailed as the Heaven on Earth for its magical mountains, verdant valleys, luscious lakes, roaring rivers, mystical meadows, glorious glaciers, wonderful waterfalls and pristine peaks.
Countless travellers have written odes and ballads about Kashmir’s lovely landscape. The gorgeous green grasslands, the wonderful white peaks, the brilliant blue lakes have left generations of people, pleasantly inebriated on their beauty.
However, not all of Kashmir’s Wonders are geographical. A lot of them enunciate themselves on the plates of one of the most exhaustive and delicious multi course meals in the world, The Wazwan.
It is considered an art and a point of pride in Kashmiri culture and identity. Almost all the dishes are made using lamb or chicken.
The Wazwan is prevalent all over Kashmir and besides being served in India at major hotels and restaurants, Wazwan is also served internationally at Kashmiri food festivals and reunions
In the Kashmiri language, waz means ‘cook’ or ‘cooking’ and wan means ‘shop’. The ultimate formal banquet in Kashmir is the Royal Wazwan.
Of its thirty-six courses, between fifteen and thirty can be preparations of meat, cooked overnight under the supervision of a master chef, called the vaste waze. Guests are seated in groups of four and share the meal out of a large copper platter called the traem.
For Kashmiri Muslims, the meal begins by invoking the name of Allah, for Kashmiri Brahmins the name of Lord Rudra and a ritual washing of hands in a basin called the Tash-t-naer, which is taken around by attendants.
Then the traems arrive, heaped with rice, quartered by two seekh kababs and contain four pieces of methi korma (chicken or mutton flavored with a spice mixture containing dried fenugreek (methi) leaves), two tabak maaz (twice-cooked lamb ribs, initially braised with ground spices and milk, then browned in butter), one safed kokur (chicken with white sauce), one zafran kokur (chicken with saffron sauce), and the first few courses. Yogurt and chutney are served separately in small earthen pots.
About the 20 remaining items, are served by the waza (junior cook). Seven dishes are a must for these occasions — tabak maaz, rista (meatballs in a red, paprika-saffron-fennel spice gravy coloured with alkanna tinctoria), rogan josh, daniwal korma (lamb roasted with yoghurt, spices and onion puree, topped with cilantro leaves), aab gosh (lamb chunks cooked with a fennel-based spice mixture, cardamom and partially evaporated milk), marchhwangan korma (chicken legs/thighs cooked in a spicy browned-onion sauce) and gushtaba (meatballs cooked in a spicy yoghurt gravy), with the Gushtaba being the grand finale of this grandiose feast.
Hungry as a wolf? Don’t worry, Licious can provide you with the best Lamb and Chicken cuts to help you cook up your favourite Kashmiri dishes. Check out our app for a plethora of wonderful Kashmiri recipes and set up your own mini Wazwan at home.
My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when moving through Kashmir