Gourmet Affairs

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kashmiri Mekhal - A Vegetarians Delight

Festivals, Rituals , Ceremonies are all about Celebrations galore. and Celebrations cant be Complete without Food .. Like all Communities, Even Kashmiris have their own set of Rituals & Functions which are celebrated with great aplomb, splendor & passion ..and Food happens to be on top of the list as part of the Celebration .. Kashmiri food  is hugely popular amongst Non Vegetarian foodies, thanks to the exquisite range & variety of Mutton preparations namely Roganjosh, Mutton Yakhni, Mutton Kaliyaa, Methi Maas, Keema or Mach, TabakMaas, etc, However one Very Important Festival, brings to light some lesser knowm but highly delicious Vegetarian Dishes of the Kashmiri Cusine

One Such Function is Called the YagnoPavit, which is like an Induction of a Child into adulthood with tying of the sacred thread . Being a very Important Religious festival, one gets to experience some of the lesser known but really exquisite Kashmiri delicacies....Kashmiri Food & Vegetarian, is quite an unlikely & non appealing combination, but one is in for a surprise
Ask anyone who has eaten at the Mekhal Function, The Mekhal Dal, which is quite a relevation .Imagine a Dal, which is cooked without any Onions, Tomatoes, Garlic, Ginger - No Tadkaa , seems quite bland & tasteless, not this one ...Washed Moong ki Daal, Cooked with loads of Fresh Cow Milk, Pure Desi Ghee, dash of Cloves, Cumin seeds, little Garam Masala -Traditionally made by a Slow Cooking Process - so that the mild flavors mix nicely & the richness of Fresh Milk & Ghee is absorbed into the Daal ... Such Mild spices mixed so well & cooked traditionally by a slow cooking method, it will surely surprise you

Next is the Legendary Khatte Baingan --- Khatte Baingan, are one of the more popular, Kashmiri Vegetarian Dishes .... Small Brinjals are deep fried first in refined oil , Cooked in a thick gravy of Tamarind soaked water, Kashmiri Red Chillies, Suanf , Sonth, Garam Masala and loads of Oil --- The Gravy is greasy, tangy to the core, with the Red Chillies adding a big bite & spice to the Gravy ...Have it with Hot steamed rice ,,,,and you will get a really tangy, deep red colored gravy ,,, Brinjals were never so hot

Paneer Kaliyaa - Yet another exquisite Kashmiri Vegetarian Delicacy - Paneer Kaliyaa.. This Dish actually takes inspiration from its Non Vegetarian Cousine - Mutton Kaliyaa ... This dish is a must in Kashmiri Cusine for a lot more practical reasons than customary.. This is Fresh Cottage Cheese, cooked in a really exotic curry of Turmeric & Milk, with Saffron, Saunf, Cardamom, Cinnamom - again done through slow cooking, so that all these wonderful spices mix well over slow cooking to bring out the flavors of all these exqusite ingredients ... Thanks to the really hot & spicy dishes in the Kashmri Cusine, This Dish is a good Balancer for the spices . Helps well to neutralise the Spices, with a rich & mild Curry .....

Nadru Yakhni - Another Vegetarian Classic - Nadru is almost a Staple Food stuff in the traditional Kashmiri Cusine..Lotus Stem, Kamal Kakdi, Behn -this is known by many names . Not many people take a great fancy to this food, But For Kashmiris, this is a well eaten & heavily consumed ingredient ..The Yakhni, is a rich yoghurt based Dish - again with the use of richly aromatic spices, Dried Ginger, Cardomom, Cinnamom, Black Pepper, Dried Saunf Powder . . This has a Rich Grey Color, due to the heavy use of Saunf, Shaunth & Yogurt ...Another Tasty & Classic Dish

Another Delicacy in Kashmiri Menu & again a Very Popular Mehkal & Festival Snack is the Nadru- Luchiya .. Luchi, is like a medium sized Puri, made out of Maida ..This is a Very Mild Bread with less spices ... There is a technique to make the luchi - Once the Oil is heated well, at a reasemain sofonable temperature - neither too cold nor too hot, the dough is added for frying, at a medium level . This way the Luchis, dont go too crisp, and remain very soft & heavily oiled, due to the medium flame frying... It has had with the Fried Nadrus Monj - Lotus stem churma , ou may call it .. small pieces of the lotus stem mixed with Red Chillies, Corn Flour, Zeera and little spices are deep fried  to get a deep brown color .. The soft luchis along with the very crisp, Nadru Monj ( Fried Lotus Stem sticks) make for a good snack

Look at the Other Amazing Snacks, which are on display on a Typical Kashmiri Mekhal Function

1 comment:

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