Department of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir

Traditional Foods

The State of Jammu & Kashmir is known for its traditional and street foods. Each region, Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh, has its own special and traditional foods influenced by the climatic conditions & customs.

Kashmir

 

Rich and redolent with the flavour of the spices used –cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, saffron, etc. -- Kashmiri food can be the simple meal of a family, or a 36-course wedding banquet called Wazawan. The staple diet of every Kashmiri is rice, the most preferred being the dense, slightly sticky grained Kashmir variety, which is prized in the Valley.


Mutton, chicken or fish are of prime importance in Kashmiri meal and everyday cooking often combines vegetable and meat in the same dish. Mutton and turnips, chicken and spinach, fish and lotus root are also very popular combinations. Pure vegetarian dishes include dum-aloo - roasted potatoes in curd-based gravy, and chaman- fried paneer (cottage cheese), in a thick sauce. Non-vegetarian dishes are considered in Kashmir to be a sign of lavish hospitality and at a Wazwan or banquet, not more than one or two vegetarian dishes are served. Sweets do not play an important role in Kashmiri cuisine. Instead Kahva or green tea is used to wash down a meal.


Wazawan is usually served at weddings and parties. The most commonly served items are rista (meat balls) made of finely pounded mutton and cooked in a gravy; seekh kababs, tabak maz, or flat pieces of meat cut from the ribs and fried till they acquire a crisp crackling texture, roganjosh, which owes its rich red colour to the generous use of Kashmiri chillies. Yakhni, a cream coloured preparation of delicate flavour, is made with curd as a base. Gushtaba, which is the last item to be served in a traditional wazawan, are meatballs moulded from pounded mutton like large-sized Rista but cooked in thick gravy of fresh curd base.

Several restaurants in Srinagar serve Kashmiri wazawan on their menus. Mughal Durabar, Ahdoos and Grand, on the Residency Road, offer authentic wazawan. All the better hotels in Srinagar have attached restaurants, generally serving Indian, Continental and Kashmiri cuisine. Other restaurants are mainly located on the Boulevard, Shervani (Residency) Road, Lambert Lane and Lal Chowk.


There are a number of bakeries at Dalgate and Shervani Road. Some of them, in addition to patties and pastries, serve Kashmiri breads like 'sheermal' and 'baqerkhani', without which no Kashmiri breakfast is complete. Kashmiris use a variety of breads seldom seen elsewhere.

Tsot and tsochvoru are small roundbreads, topped with poppy and sesame seeds and traditionally washed down with salt tea. Lavas is a cream coloured unleavened bread; baqerkhani is the Kashmiri equivalent of rough puff pastry and kulcha is a melt-in-the mouth variety of short-bread, sweet or savoury, topped with poppy seeds.

Ladakh

Ladakh has traditional foods like mukh mukh available at Leh Hotels & Restaurants. Better hotels and Guest Houses provide Continental, Indian & Ladakhi cuisines. A traditional tea suitable for chilly winters called gur gur chai (buttered salty tea) is available at restaurants / tea shops. Local breads are also available at some shops in Leh Bazar.


Jammu

Traditional Foods of Jammu are Morel (Gushi) Palov, Madra (lintel cooked in curd), Oria(Patato/Pumpkin in mustard sauce), Maani, Khameera, Katha Meat(Sour Mutton), Shasha(raw mango chatni), Kasrod and Timru-di-Chatni,Shiri Pulav, Mitha Bhat (Sweet Rice).

 

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About Jammu & Kashmir Tourism

The Department of Tourism, J&K is the main developmental, promotional and regulatory arm of the J&K Government. Its main role comprises of overall planning and execution of schemes for the development, up-gradation and improvement of the tourism infrastructure in different parts of the State.
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