The scenic beauty of Kashmir is only rivalled by its cuisine, which offers an infinite and sumptuous variety of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies- perhaps nowhere else in India can one find food as unique and elaborate, which pampers the taste buds of the most fastidious of gourmets. It is born of the marriage of the rich, cultural heritage of the land and diverse influences- Hindu, Buddhist, Afghan, Mughals, Sikh and British. Kashmiri cuisine is of two distinctive types- Wazwaan is the food of the Muslims, and the Pundits have their traditional Butta. They share a love for lamb; wood fire to cook their mouth-watering delicacies, of which many are common to both. What is very evident is that both have been greatly influenced by the Mughlai style of cooking. The main difference is that the Pundits do not use onions and garlic, while Muslims utilise these in good measure.
Some Interesting Facts about Royal Feast: “WazWaan.” Kashmiri Royal Feast is popularly known as “WAZWAAN”. Though the feast is elaborate few know that this is due to the reduction of waste, and every part of the constituent element are utilised and cooked thus nothing goes waste and in the end you have many dishes lined up. The feast has a lot of facts and reasons behind its creation. We will take the example of meat which comes from the Lamb.
After the lamb is slaughtered it is then dressed and different parts of the Lamb are separated as per the cuts and sizes, suiting to specific dishes and its preparation with unique flavours and varied aromas. Due to the climate and temperature and the resistance to the stomach, each lamb dish is prepared suiting everyone’s palate – richness, and savouriness. Lamb is preferred than goat because the meat is immediately cooked – the meaty flesh, inner organs, fat, bones, even head and trotters.
The boneless meat from legs is used for Pounding and Mincing purposes to prepare Rista, Goshtaba and Kabab added with fat around the kidneys. Seena and Serseena (the breast and flap) are used for Tabak Maaz or Qambar Gah. The Shoulder, Ribs and Puth part is prepared for Abaa Gosh and Marchiwagan or Dhaniwal Korma. Shank part from leg is used for Dani and front legs, shoulders and ribs are used for Dopiyaz and Roganjosh.
Bones are used for making stock, which is used while cooking the main dishes. Whole head and trotters are roasted on open fire so that all hairs and wool gets burnt to ashes and one gets cleaned skinny roasted skull and trotters. These two parts are cut into pieces and cooked again with spices till time its gravy gives a gooey feeling and meat becomes very tender.
Tahri, a combination of boiled rice along with meat pieces from roasted skull (including brain) and trotters with its rich gravy, and tempered with hot oil and onion. Once Tahri is ready it is usually distributed near roadsides to people and children who are passersby and neighbours too. The reasons are basically to avoid any wastage of meat as well as sharing philosophy as “Kharaat” with people you do not have any relations with.
The parts which are not used in the feast – like inner organs, kidney, liver, heart, lungs, spleen, stomach and intestines are prepared separately and served for charity purpose. Kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, spleen are par boiled and cooked dry for Haziri or made in a stew-like dish known as Czherwan. Haziri which is made by cooking the finely chopped innards, making a Lawasa Roll whereas Cherwan is a cooked stew accompanied by steamed rice and distributed to neighbours and passersby. Stomach and Intestine after cleaning, is boiled and cleaned it is again boiled with turmeric, garlic and aniseed. When it becomes very soft it is removed from heat and cleaned in ice cold water, chopped and finished with finely chopped par boiled boneless meat pieces for Meth Maaz.
Thus now you know why the WazWaan is a grandeur affair in Kashmir.
Disclaimer: Compiled by Satyanaryan Mohapatra and the views expressed are not of Prameyanews.com