By Bindiya Sharma
It’s not called a ‘royal feast’ for nothing. Kashmiri Wazwan or a feast fit for a king, is a grandiose meal that is perhaps, one of the most delicious things to eat from across the globe.
Unlike the rest of India, there’s no onion, garlic or tomatoes in this spread. Instead this 36-course meal is a splendid bouquet of mutton and vegetable delicacies that is cooked by the head chef known as “Waz” while the to shop is “wan”
Cooked in pre-smoked mustard oil, it’s spices such as fennel, ginger and cumin that bring out the delicate flavors of the food. Some of the dishes in the feast include:
Dum Oluv -deep fried potatoes in a thin red mustard oil yogurt based gravy, the gravy is redolent with the flavours of hing, fennel and dried ginger.
Tschaman qaliya– thick slices of fresh panir cooked in milk and subtly spiced.
Nadir Yakhn– lotus stem discs cut on the bias and simmered in a delicately spiced yogurt sauce.
Haak(with nadir/vangan)– a local variety of greens, juicy and fresh, can be substituted with collard greens/ spinach.
Mujh Chetin -a sharp radish and walnut chutney, most unusual and delicious with a hint of ginger and green chilli.
Rista -meatballs in a fiery red gravy, a perfect foil to the delicate yogurt based yakhnis.
Rogan Josh-a signature kashmiri dish, tender lamb cooked with kashmiri spices, hot and spicy.
Tabak Maaz-ribs of lamb simmered in yogurt and milk till tender, then flash fried till meltingly tender, can be served as a snack/side-dish.
Marchwangan Korma -an extremely hot lamb preparation, leaves one salivating and wanting more.
Kebab (Seekh/Lahabi/ Kaanti kebabs)-minced meat roasted on skewers or fried, four pieces are typically served along with gravy dishes, on a bed of rice or as starters.
Gushtaba – A velvety textured meatball in white yogurt gravy, a speciality and one that needs lots of practice to get right.
Mutton Yakhni – Mutton in a delicately spiced white yogurt curry.
Phirni – An absolutely delicious dessert of rice flour thickened in milk set in earthenware cups with nuts and “varq”-silver leaf.