Diary / Culinary Expedition

Kashmiri Venture

Nedous cottage 21/10/12 14:11 PM

Great flight 6E 447/IndiGo from Mumbay- Srinagar. Reached safe
Hashim picked me up, a friendly chappie, 20 minutes reached Nedous Cottage driving past 100's of uniformed and loaded military men..
Well! mixed views and thoughts about the tourism and safety and tense situation all this sight makes, still question mark and will be for quite a bit. Pray all this gets back to normalcy for a visitor.
Tried Roganjosh @ Nedous.. well! I have my opinion and shall come to it in totally after my few days here really as I've come here with more thirst to learn and understand.. chilies and its color was emphasized more than other ingredients that I thought will be . Is there ratanjot or chilies that impart flavor and color.. all this shall be answered soon as I have my itinerary planned and I am all excited.
Dinner was planned at Adhoos:
Walked to Adhoos as it is a 10 min walk from my cottage. I had planned to spoil myself with all the 36 dishes which make a Wazwan a celebrity..
But as I got there and saw the generous portions I got grounded and politely requested steward shama to assist me with best advice. I revised my order to Tabakhmaz, lahebi kebeb, gushtaba, haak saag, Mirchi Qurma, tandoori roti and steamed rice, phirni and kehwa..
My critique on my dinner: loved the concept of tabakhmaz but I thought I wud have done with a tender kid lamb and some flavor definition( may be subtle heady spice), loved the lehbi kebab which was so tender with minced or with walnut wood beaten had a light flavorful sauce that cud get away for a curry in Mumbai. Gushtaba was equally great with a satin soft feel and bite, yogurt sauce which was quite refined and thin with ghee laminating it.. I enjoyed it sinfully. Not a big fan of mirchi qurma as I just tasted chilies and the meat was short cooked and not tender at all, I skipped it, the hak saag was great though, a slight sour taste but was quite appeasing. Firni was quite runny as I had more firm and set at other eateries (which was the correct one??) to top it all was the Kehwa- very much needed, it was so soothing (saffron gentle brewed with green cardamom, cinnamon, almond flakes) and timely suiting after my large and sumptuous dinner and I walked back my home for a week..
Looking and excited for more tomorrow, the roads were literally empty and dark.. I filled my thoughts at that moent withal that was planned for the next few days and I reached rather quicker... remember I told it was dark and empty.. :)

Srinagar-Local Street visits 22/10/12 9:00 AM

Woke up to sneezes at 7 am.. it was 7deg C outside and with a bit of chilly seeping in my room..
Good thing was I didn't feel heavy at all and got up fresh.. was it the chill or the saffron tea.. I know.. thanks to the kehwa.. well! my secret liquid pill now..
Ok/... getting ready for my BF.. noon chai and Kashmiri roti..
Mushtaq got my tea spot on @ 9, a bit late for morning tea but I had it as BF with girda (breakfast bread, crispy from out side and soft from within, tandoor baked..) salty as it didn't agree with me to ask for more but got me curious as to why salt and not honey or sugar?? Scientifically; I believe it does 2 things to me- moisture retention which is very much needed as the body gets dry rather too quick at this altitude & also it salivates my palate more.. get more food kinds and in this situation to get on going here you need carbs so is it that it makes you ask for more and get your body temperature and metabolism going well..need a confirmation on this from experts..or just enjoy it..
Soda added to tea to be pink/rose color (phul kam hai yan jayada hai). 3'ice boiled and reduced to transparent then added milk and salt; had with savory bread traditionally (buttered optional)
Girnar makes noon chai
Got ready to that and went to catch-up with the kitchen crew to get tips  to plan my days adventure also met with Mrs. Daisy Nedous (Aqil's mum), very knowledgeable and I at the end of the talk with her though that she should have written a book by now if not already written one..
Learning's gathered by Mrs Daisy:
Floor Heating was done then and dastarkhwan was quite comfy
Trami: Traditional platter for wazawan food displayed and covered with Sarposh (copper cover)
Kofta were made round by Kashmiri Muslims and oval/oblong by the Kashmiri pundits.
Haak Saag was more pot roasted and buttery by Muslims as compared to more green and less heavy by the Kashmiri pundits, called baathaak; baat=pundits.  
Tabakhmaz to Muslims = kabargah to pundits (only Brahmins of Kashmir eat meats) also pundits boil the ribs in milk as compared to stock by Muslims.
Kandoor & Goor women work = roti & milk occupation as respective..
Guess Kandoor was the base for origin of word Tandoor..(research suggested)
Plain cake with tea (every Kashmiri tea time) very milky or milk powder added) gee & enn sons best bakery. Coconut cookies like biscuit more like a bit of flour/granary and nuts in it..
Harrisa (made with meat and oats porridge) starts with on coming of winter for early morning breakfast & only men wud go and sit socializing and eating called Hamam (unlike Turkish hamams baths)
Great quiche apples jams.
9 Kashmiri local breads - chachru/bagel type had for 4'o clock tea time, kulcha, Bekerkhani/ , girda, Katlam, Roti,
Wazwan: technique & masala's are same only the waza (cook) makes all the difference
Wazawan has a sequence and few dishes have to be on a Trami: tabakhmaz, seekh kebab, chicken roasted or dried prep, methi/intestine minced and curried on rice.
Tabakhmaz has to be just right and no masala and pan fried slowly with weight on it to flatten it . crisp on outside and soft inside.
Goshtaba needs to be light and aerated with folding the minced meat (can see the air holes in the texture) sausage meat texture..
Sauce for the Gushtaba needs to be intact and not curdled. Some add egg to the yogurt and some oil/ghee during early boiling phase, once boiled it does not split..(masalas in muslin cloth)

Later planned my day out with Mr Amin who is a local and very experienced elder to show around the inquisitives the inside out of the city..
We drove all places and took tons of pictures..
Down town area: Hazartbal Shrine, Nigeen lake, Jamia Masjid navatta, Chatti Patsha Gurudwara, Hazarat Sultan fort, Dargir Saheb Khaneyar, Batagali (rice street or food street near Lal chownk.
Went to selective shops who sell dried vegetables namely, Ala hach (kaddu dried), Vangun Hach (eggplant dried), Ruangan hach (tomatoes dried).
Drove over lots of pul's or bridges or called Kadal in Kashmiri language: Ali, Nava, Zaina, Fateh, Haba, Barsha, Zero.  
Also went to shops which sell items like: Taashnari- hand wash baisin, Samovar-tea kettle heated with coal, Traami-dsih to have communal food /wazwan, Sarposh-cover fro Trami.
Kebabs to be sampled tom will be - Tujee kebeb
Also passed by many stalls selling fried nadru (lke bhajia's), singara fried, watana fried..
Tom's plan is to visit the dallake in the early wee hrs followed by visit to Pampore for saffron harvest and picking.. excited..early day @ 0600 hrs.. calling it a day now..(0140hrs/23rd oct)..

Dal Lake & Pampore for Saffron picking & getting to Gulmarg to cook-off with waza Gulam Nabi. 23/10/12 6:11 AM

Got up as planned; had a hot shower and got out by 0630 to get to Dal lake, looked like all the floating boat market vendors had left and to my dismay I was told that I was about 30 mins too late and the vendors wud have gone by now..
Anyways I asked the shikara chappie to ride me thru some of the local vegetation growing along side the house boats. Wasn't disappointed as I did get to see the local Kashmiri saag growing in full blossom; namely Kadam, haak & water lilies, turnips, lotus roots amongst others.
Had a glimpse and interaction with the flower boat vendors too..
Got back in 30 min with a pre-deal of Rs 150/- and off Hashim (my driver and guide) drove me to the much sort after Saffron plantation a little ahead of Pampore. We had our first breakfast at a local road side eatery, guess mst around had become westerns and had forgotten the humble home style breakfast food.. we had bread-omelets and 2 cups of Lipton tea..
I couldn't wait till I had a first contact with Saffron growing in the fields.. this was a much awaited visit and it was just like or may be feelings even more than a visit to the holiest shrine. I finally made it, though I have been planning it for a little over 10 years since I launched my most successful restaurant called Saffron @ JW Mumbai, India... what a feeling and I stayed there feeling and caressing the flowers and taking pic's after pic's, in all the angles possible. It was indeed a moment of truth ! I'll cherish this for a life time..
My next move was to go to Gulmarg and visit the Nedous Hotel which has been here since 1880 and Mr Nedous was the first one to construct a hotel here. Hailed from Yugoslavia and now 4th generation in continuation preserving the history and heritage. Loved the feel and stayed overnight. I was told about  a waza named Gulam Nabi who cooked here fantastically well and has been here for over 30 odd yrs.. his commitment is worth more than just an appreciation and now I was curious to dive in with tons of questions and anxiously waited for an opportunity to cook with him. Discussed all possibilities of cook-up and stated with him straight up. Who cared how picturesque Gulmarg was or this was the most sort after destination in Kashmir.. I was all about food nd good old Kashmiri food/wazawan dishes. I wasn't fortunate enough to be invited to a wedding, so I'll have to do it the interesting way.. cooking all the dishes which are a must have on the Trami and the dishes which the waza serves later in the following courses..
Here are the list of traditional dishes which are served on the Trami  & are portioned for 4 people: and then following courses:
Gosht Seekh Kebab/Tabakh Maaz (rib cage braised and pan fried under  pressure)/ Lahbi kebab (meat mashed similar to for Gostaba but shaped flatter and with a sauce like of Hindi Roganjosh; a bit of yogurt in rogan josh makes it hindi roganjosh)/ A dry Chicken Preparation (roast/fried/etc)
Methi Maaz (minced lamb intestines or also lamb stomach if intestines not available cooked with methi/fenugeek) along with steamed rice or a Kashmiri Pulao (rice cooked in stock with small pieces of Lamb and with dry fruits essentially; almonds, walnuts, raisins, pistachios. All these on a Trami. Later the Waza (traditional cook serves on the trami the following dishes in order; Rista/ Rogan josh/ Mirch Khorma/ Aab Gosht/ Alubhukara Maaz/ Waza Tsaman (paneer)/ Palak Kofta/ Waza Sag( kadam or haak)/ lastly Goshtaba.
Waazwan trationally has had with rice and no beads feature on it however Kashmiri breads are plentiful and are more associated with breakfast and tea times more than main meals.
Best quality rice locally preferred are; Muskh Badiz, Vogmil baz, Chinibar. The village I am told for the rice is Margam near Srinagar outskirts.
Discussing further with Waza Gulam Nabi on Pundit's Wazwan here are few preferences; Nadru (lotus stem preparations)/ Dum Alu/ Saag/ Tsaman (paeer)/ Rajma (can be prepped with Gogji or Turnip)/ Fish with Nadru or Muj (round local radish)/ Fried Fish pepr. In relation with Muslim wazwan, Pundits have lesser umber of meat preparations Vs vegetarian preparations and is lesser elaborate with no reasons known.
Home style cooking involves; rajma Gogji, Saag, Nadru Palak, Methi Nadru, Sun Dried vegetable preparations ( bottle gourd, tomatoes, eggplant which are re-hydrated before use in prep's like yakhni/ etc..  
I broke for lunch and was served 3 dishes + rice and phulka's. Chokha Vagun (sour eggplant with tamarind pulp, paste of praan, garlic, ginger, red chilly paste, green cardamom, turmeric, fennel, a bit of garam masala, bay leaf, red chilly paste), Gosht Yakhani, Roganjosh (none here are aware of Ratanjot a much heard spice which resembles a red bark of a tree, instead Mawal a local summer flower is the red coloring agent used in this dish) and Phirni (rice & semolina pudding with dried fruits and poppy seeds as a garnish. The egg plant dish was to totally live for.. absolutely.. I love my bharta's and more but this one  (chokha Vangun- peeled and fried then gently braised in a sour tamarind sauce) was a total winner all the way.. having this on my menu for sure..
I planned all this for tom/24th Oct.. I will go shopping with a dispatcher and then apprentice Waza Gulam Nabi.
At 5 pm I caught up with the team of chefs and stewards , some who have been here for over 2 decades.. I thought it will be educating and interesting to learn the local nuances and we got talking. Learnt from the talks; walnut oil used to be a medium of cooking many years ago and had a sweeter taste to dishes as I wud think compared to cooking in Mustard oil. For seekh kebab, only the leg meat was used and here they cook sheep more than the lamb and it is a bigger beast compared to our 10-12 kg selected goats in hotels (as we prefer for tenderness but I believe we miss out on the flavor piece)
The meat preparation d both Rista and Gustaba are the same where the freshly slaughtered meat is beaten on stone blocks with hammers made of chinar wood till they get pasty & creamy. The meat while is being beaten is also folded to create some kind of aeration so they are light n fluffy when cooked in their sauce. Spices which are added in this stage of prep are cardamom both black and green, caraway or shahi zeera. The look of the sauce are; rista is red and primarily due to the use of red chilly (fatter looking red chilly also called Shimla mirch by local shop vendor) extract whie Gustaba is whiter. Both the sauces which are fine and I sometimes would like to believe that the Persian influences here have made it such, refined and lighter with less masala like dishes elsewhere in the country with few exceptions again like in Lucknow and around.. the ingredients; yogurt beaten with water to break all its protein bonds before they are boiled in a degh (larg rounded bottom vessel made of copper to avoid splitting and in this they add ghee with ground spices- cinnamon, cardamom both green and black, fennel, dried ginger and coriander powder. Rista on the other hand has a cooked paste of praan (look of a banana shallot), garlic and a bit of red onion along with the extract of red dried Shimla mirch (not red or green capsicum)
Now Aab Gosht is a dish with which they quality between a specially trained waza or a commoner cook.. meat traditionally cooked with milk or Aab as Kashmiri's call it. Here I am told that the reduce 3 lt of fresh milk with 250 gm of milk powder. I'd like to believe tat in earlier days they wud reduce the milk to condense it instead ( I wud do it too to recreate the true past). To the milk is then added, cinnamon, green cardamom, paste of praan, garlic, ginger powder and fennel powder and post that the meat boiled (ensure to skim off the froth and dirt when boiling the mutton) in stock is added to the sauce and simmered for a bit till all gets mixed well and with well rounded flavors.
Similar way Yakhni is cooked with the main difference being yogurt instead of milk and they may add dried mint leaf powder (especially when cooked with bottle gourd/lauki.
If fish was to be cooked as a starter, Gustaba cooked be tried.
Kashmir's love their food to be with masala & can oily.
Kofta's are also made with the mince like of seekh kebab, balls lightly fried and cooked in a sauce like of Rogan josh with out mawal.
Shammi kebab's not very prominent here as like in Lucknow.
Walnut chutney is prime in wazwaz. ( yogurt, paste of walnut & mint leaf). Onion chutney is also cooked with mint.
Makai roti is also made and Gundam roti (wheat or phulkas).
Naanwai or Kaandur dukan makes local breads.
Walnut desserts can be an inspired entry in the dessert menu as it is abundant here but not featured here as much in desserts.
Dum alu; slow fried and gently cooked with a yogurt sauce (praan, lasun, roast with yogurt, bay, green cardamom, cloves flavor, soonth, saunf)
Dandrikha and a village called sohra grow vegetable around here in summer months. Others keep growing in winter like saag, Nadru, mooli, etc..
Preferred red chilly powder is Kanwal mirchi powder.  

Enjoyed my hot glass of milk with almonds and green cardamom and now I am calling it a day, quite early compared to last night.. guess what; Gulmarg had its first winter snow today and I saw it all coming and with it came the disappearance of light and electricity. Hotel has been on generators  for hours and it was freezing.. man how do all survive here (sure it the great food) and hats off to the men in uniform guarding the borders.. can thank them enough..

Cook-off with Waza Gulam Nabi @ Gulmarg followed by a tet-e-tet with Waza Bakshi 24/10/12 8:11 AM

Started the day with beating the freshly slaughtered meat (sheep/bhedu) on a stone with a malate/ wooden hammer made of Chinar wood also called "Gosht Phari" in Kashmiri dialect.
Also other preparations were being done.
1. Making of Goshtaba:
Lamb/goat mince: 1 kg
Lamb/goat fat: 100 gm
Black cardamom/ black pepper/ salt (all these whilst being mashed on stone)
Get it to a total pasty texture removing all the sinews possible and then make balls of about 60gm each using moist palms. Poach it in lamb stock (with cinnamon & bl cardamom) at a simmering temperature.
Simultaneously, prepare the sauce:  
Beat yogurt with a bit of water till it is very smooth. In a heavy bottom pan pour the beaten yogurt and boil it on moderate heat and keep stirring it with a whisk till it boils off and then simmer the temperature. Add to the boiling yogurt cinnamon, green and black cardamom seeds also add ghee in it and cook till the ghee separates and floats on top
Add poached and lightly fluffed up meat balls into the sauce and cook in a simmering temp for another 15-20 minutes (add stock if required; texture of the sauce depending) the meat balls will get fluffier and the sauce shall reduce to get the flavors concentrated.
2. Making of Rista/ Roganjosh/marchwagan khorma:
Boil thick stock, add stock washed turmeric boiled lamb devoid of spices and bones/cooked meat balls, Kashmiri whole spices, fried paan paste, chilly paste/extract, ghee. Once cooked & tender then add fennel, mawal stock, ginger pd, green cardamom, cinnamon pd, saffron. Hot oil/ghee to finish. Add to finish with fried Praan paste & saffron extract. Taste and alter accordingly. Mawal to redden, chilly to heat up.
3. Making of Seekh Kebab:
On a chinar wooden block, using a chopper work on the meat from the boneless leg and shoulder of the lamb. Chop it till it is minced fine. Add to it coriander leaf, royal cumin seeds, dried chilly powder, black cardamom seeds, garam masala,  shelled whole raw eggs and salt. Mix whilst mincing it and rest it for about an hour. In a preheated tandoor, roast the skewered lamb mince (using the egg wash as a moisture to skewer it) roast it till it is freely moves on the skewer which signs it being cooked. Serve it hot or alternatively, for bigger events; in a large flat pan pour ghee and few Kashmiri spices, onion and coriander and pan fry it before service.
4. Making of Tabakh Maaz
Boil the rib cage in stock with a bit of turmeric, fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, salt for about 2 hrs or till the meat is very tender. Strain the bones/rib and reserve the stock for alternate use in any other sauce/rice prep.  Cut the ribs in portion sizes. Shallow fry the boiled rib cage bone side down using a weight on top to press it whist frying till golden brown. Flip the side and resume with frying on the other side. Tis time without weight. The fat side needs to get crisp whilst the meat is tender ad so the fat too. Serve it hot.
Drove back to Srinagar to meet with Waza Bakshi who has been revered by all..

Tet-e-tet with Waza Bakshi lovingly called by all in the family as "Amma Kaka"
* Quince apple, locally called"bamsooth" is also prepared and sometimes served for a wazawaz; Peel, deseed and shallow fry the apple wedges and then braised in a sauce similar to that of Roganjosh.
* Most dishes are red in color except for the likes of yakhani, goshtaba, dhaniwal khorma, hindi roganjosh (orangish).
* Most dishes are finished with fried praan paste (for taste and not to discolor the sauce) and hot pouring of oil on top too. Relevant dishes are also topped with a pouring of saffron extract (roganjosh, rista) or Mawal for color enhancer.
* Knol-khol is called Kadam and its greens are the saag which Kashmiri's refer to as Kadam saag. Also, haak is traditionally make with garlic, red whole chilies and garam masala. Texture and feel is more like khada saag but the greens have totally a different but profound taste. Fresh is best had and locals like to spice it up with red chilly extract..
* Most wazwan food is made with smoked mustard oil ( add onion to mustard oil and smoke it, remove the onion and cool it before use) and traditionally it was cooked with Alsi oil or walnut oil. (expense had detoured to using vegetable/dalda etc..)
* Alubukhara maaz is very similar to Roganjosh with the exception of taste being a bit sour due to alubhukhara's natural taste. Some stuff the lamb kofta with it and some have it as  wedges ( deseeded & pan fried) in the dish
* Dhaniwal Khorma is prepped whilst roasting praan & garlic, brown it then add stock, cool then add yogurt &whisk it till it reduces as a base and then to it is added the lamb cooked in stock with coriander and spices. Remains white in appearance. Optional use of almond paste can be added.
* Trout fish is mostly consumed or the fish from Dal lake. Fish is locally called "Gard". Gard is traditionally cooked with 3 vegetable namely; muj/mooli/raddish which is round and white, haak or Kashmiri saag, Nadru or lotus stem. Dishes are called as Gard te' Muj for exmpl.
* Hing tempering is necessarily done for Dum Alu in the end  before service. (it is a Hindu Kashmiri dish)
* Another traditional lentil prep here in Srinagar is called; Dal Dabbi, moon lentil is used here. It is said to be tedious ad now more or less forgotten. Soaked overnight sometimes for 2 days and rubbed & washed well to take the skin off and then cooked in milk with spices. It has a white appearance.
* 2 chutneys which are very relevant to Wazwan are; Doon chutney (walnut) and Gand chutney (onion). Green chili, mint, salt and yogurt is essential with these for chutney. Radish goes as a salad accompaniment.
* Chicken dishes are mostly the drier version in the Trami but also married well with methi and palak
* Dodal is a vegetarian dish made with pumpkin; peel, deseed, cut in wedges and smaller pieces, boiled and then cooked tempered with cumin and yogurt as a base.
* Larger meat ball in Rishta is called "Toor" Rista.
* Shimla mirch is for red colour not too bitter.
* Theses days breads can also be seen served.
* Kashtwar has best Guchchi's (called Kuch locally) sourced from, it is beyond Anantnag. Also sourced near Kajigud near Jawahar tunnel
* Earthen ware over wood fire cooking has been used in earlier days widely and now only prevalent in villages.
* "Tumul" is the local rice used for Wazawan. Looks fat as sella rice when cooked. Also red rice may be used.
* Wazwan may also feature the waza serving Kashmiri pulao in the end too. (stock with brown praan paste, cinnamon, green cardamoms and soaked rice in the steamed method. 1 kg rice can take in 1/2 kg ghee..
* Guchchi can also feature in Wazwan (due to price point.
* "Karadhi" is a mature cheese made from buffalo milk. It an e had pan fried for break fast. Sheep milk products can be used with left milk by the "Gujjars", shepherds from the highlands in Kashmir.
* Tamarind extract in Mirchwangan Khorma  is the only ingredient which differs from Roganjosh & a bit sharp due to chili extract. Also lamb is pot roasted in marchwagan khorma.
* Marchari is a local Kashmiri mirch. Also available here are many other chilies namely; patna, simla, Punjab

Calling it a day with badam milk..

Tomorrow is planned to start with Subzi mandi/anaaz mandi and around Dal lake to source fish.. followed with cooking in the Nedous Cottage Kitchen.

Market visit to check out vegetable and understanding the difference of Haak's and Kashmiri Rice and chillies.. guided by Waza Akbar of Nedous Cottage, Srinagar. 25/10/12 11:11 AM

Jumped in a pick-up and off we went to the local vegetable markets.. excited.. :)
Firdous was my guide and driver and also a security escort of kinds as his  security badge was handing from his neck. Cool I thought..
First stop was the "Dalgate" market to understand & source local Kashmiri Haak or saag, Kashmiri chilly if there was any which was called such or rather the shop keepers were fine and in agreement with selling dried Simla mirch as the main chilly for Waazwan, I personally didn't think it to be right ethically. As explained the fatter chilly as they called it to be  simla was good for color and was less spicy compared to the longer and less plum chilly compared to Simla which was actually a local chilly called "Kashmiri".
I shopped vegetable, meat, local fish from Dal lake, few spices, rice and got back to the Nedous kitchen to cook-off with Waza Bakshi..
Planned were a few dishes from Wazawan:
The mis-en-place that we did before we got started were; smoking the mustard oil or making it "durust" or getting it ready to use after it cools off. Secondly, the lamb was cut to right sizes and cuts for different dishes, lamb was boiled off with fennel seeds, black cardamom pods, cinnamon bark, cloves and salt, stock was made, praan was peeled, chopped and fried; some used as it is & some was made into a paste with a bit of water,  dried simla chilly was deseeded, stem removed and boiled off to make a paste with water and strained to use the extract, fish was cleaned of the guts, gills and head; marinated with turmeric and salt and fried, vegetable were cleaned and cut to respective sizes and shapes,  dried plums (great nutritive values attached) soaked in warm water, saffron stigmas soaked in a bit of water to form a extract of it, spices freshly ground (fennel, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger dried, garam masala for meat and general), utensils were made ready, knives sharpened on stone,  tea was made for all to drink (noon chai).. we sipped the chai and got cracking..!   
Alubhukara Khorma:
In a heavy bottom copper pot add mustard oil, add simla r.c.p, soaked alu-bhukara (corruptly called potatoes of bhukhara in farsi grown in Iran and around..), turmeric powder, fennel powder, garam masala powder, meat masala( more robustly spiced also has saffron in it), boiled meat (cleaned of all bones, spices and rinsed in clear stock),  boiled meat, saffron extract, green cardamom powder, shahi zeera/caraway seeds. Let it simmer and boil till the meat is totally tender and the sauce is blended well with the meat and with the with flavors, add to it praan paste and check for seasonings and again let the whole pot blend well.
Prepare it the same as like for Alubhukara Gosht but without  Alubhukhara/Dried Plums. In the end add a bit of cooked mustard oil.
Gard tey muj, khaneyari haak, nadru
Heavy bottom copper pan, mustard oil, chopped praan, fry it golden brown, add turmeric powder, Kashmiri r.c.p, salt, fennel powder, coriander powder, simla chilly extract, make a bed of vegetables and layer it well, top if with fried fish, mustard oil, shahi zeera, saffron extract, season it and cook it in dum/sealed. Once cooked and blended well, take it off the flam and let it cool. This dish is served at room temperature.   Best had the following day too.
Aab Gosht
In a heavy bottom copper pot, add milk with cinnamon bark and green cardamom, boil and simmer till reduced and flavor intensifies and condenses. Add to it fennel powder, green cardamom powder, boiled meat, salt, add stock and reduce further till it condenses. Ensure you keep stirring it continuously as it may stick to the bottom and quickly burns. Once it is getting there add fried praan paste and check for seasoning before service.

Did all the cooking for the evening and wished to check out the hotel scene in Srinagar. Aquil suggested the Taj for it is a unique property, perched on the top of the hill overlooking the Dal and the city.. great hotel and warm hospitality showered. We had Nadru Yakhani, Daniwal Khorma and Roganjosh with Tandoori beads. (I thought it wud have been the best with a local bread option or rice but that is what I wud have done. Any ways, all was good..

Drove back to plan the next days cook-off..
More is coming.. and also I may be fortunate to cook Eid specials, Nedous home style, for this was the opportunity I was waiting for..

Tomorrow follows...
Signing off..

A Tet- e- Tet with Mrs Daisy Nedous, working with the Kaandur/Naanwahi, cooking with Waza Bakshi, Cook-off with Mrs & Mr Nedous in the evening making Tujee's & dinner with the family 26/10/12 12:01 PM

Met with Daisy who was busy earlier with planning her dream project "Nedous Gulmarg". Lovely resort with majestic views and warm people serving you. Seasons right on their footsteps and they were all excited to move to Gulmarg and  look after their customers and the hotel.
An important learning came about have a chat with Daisy, "Ver" a dried or moist paste made of mustard oil fried and pasted praan, garlic paste, dried Kashmiri red chilies paste de-seeded, selective spices (saffron, caraway seeds, cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon, black cardamom seeds) all mashed and folded together and dried in shade in a muslin cloth. Once dried store it sealed dry. Alternatively, bottle it in a paste form  & use it when required to finish dishes.
Dried sardines with dried chilies and seasonings are served as a side dip/chutney.
Kashmiri Rainbow Trout's are best cooked baked or pan fried & served with just butter.  
Dodhal; dodh (milk) + al ( gourd) mashed boiled, deseeded  pumpkin, crushed raw garlic, honey, shahi zeera, hung curd, salt
Zamadodh- zamad+dodh, yogurt
Jirsh chutney; barberry from Iran served with wazwan
Doon chutney; lots of milk soaked walnut mashed, mint leaves, coriander, salt, green chilies (optional)
Raddish chutney with tujee's sold along with salad and pickle and lavaash.
Dum Alu Kashmiri; slow fry the baby potatoes (peeled and spiked) in mustard oil with a pinch of salt till totally tender, simmer in a sauce of Yakhani and finish with red chilly and praan with Kashmiri spices (sauce like that of Hindi Roganjosh without meat). The potatoes need to be soaked well into the sauce to have soaked all the flavors steeped into it.
Al Yakhani; peel, deseeded bottle gourd, small pieces, deep fried in mustard oil and simmered in yakhani sauce (sauce like that of making a goshtaba, suggested to add a bit of gram flour to avoid curd from breaking) finish with praan paste if sauce too thin and then add a spoon of hot mustard oil to finish.
Potato chops; bread crumbed potato patty stuffed with minced lamb and boiled egg mix., deep fried and served with dips..
Tomatoes not used in Kashmiri food generally, just fyi.
Pyaaz, muj, achaar, cucumber chutney with Tujee's and lavash.
Visit to the local market:
Kaandoor; khamir roti- whole wheat flour, ghee, salt, water. Ferment well and make palm spread bread on a granite stone. Cooked in a moderately warm to hot tandoor.
Kulcha: ghee, salt, flour, very little water. Much lower temp needed to cook it in. texture like a savoury biscuit. 10 kg flour, 4 kg ghee, 1 lt water
Katlam/Kashmiri Bakerkhani: 5 kg flour, 2.5 kh ghee, 1 lt water.
Lavaash: more like thin naan.
Hannd: boil it 2ice in water to remove the bitterness and cook as a vegetable saag.
Aabeej; sour green saag. Cooked with eggs bhurjee.
Mawal: remove/discard the stem and use  the dried leaf in a powdered form.
Haak: cook it as we wud for saag.
Brown rice or Kashmiri pulao: caramelize onion to prepare a base for the pulao' add to it  stock and cook rice in it. Meat can be added optionally in it.
Rahul Sharma's Santoor /xylophone music is great.

We had dinner together and took few family pics and called it a day . it was already quite  late and the family had to get up early for Namaz as it was BakarEid the following day to be celebrated.
Dinner was great and ended at about 2 am.

Tomorrow is a big day,   

It is Bakar-eid and then off I leave for the A'port to Mumbai.. 22/10/12 8:11 AM

Got up to the prayers being performed in the mosques and then I was to be a spectator to the Kurbani performed by the skilled waza whilst  prayers being narrated by the priests.
I can understand the ritual but also the plight of the lamb being reared for the Kurbani.
The waza carefully and skillfully conducted the ceremonial Kurbani and in minutes had all the parts brought separated to be kept for the family to gift the families relatives, friends and for self to cook.
At this stage I experienced  the ceremonial event and had to start packing to leave for the A'port.
Srinagar A'port is one of the most security alerted and cautioned one that I've travelled so far ever. It was good to be safe that sorry. I appreciated all the was being done by the security agencies/army and wished that all co-operated with them for everybody's safety..
Took off timely and when I look back to give it a think, I believe it was a great experience and I want to now head towards Leh & Laddakh when the opportunity comes my way..  I think I shud just plan for it in spring..2013..


Chef Jolly on the Run.

Next is Gwalior...February..

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