Experience The Warmth With These 5 Yakhni Recipes
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Yakhni is a traditional Persian dish brought to India by the Mughals. The term "yakhni" itself whispers Persian origins, where "yakh" means "ice" or "cooling." The first use of yakhni can be traced back to the Mughal Era, which lasted from the 16th to the 19th century. Mughals were known to bring sophisticated culinary practices that greatly influenced the present cuisine culture in India.

Since the first making of Yakhni in Mughal kitchens, the dish has transformed the culinary scenario in the Kashmir region and all over India, and several variations of the dish can be seen from north to south. ; Traditionally, yakhni is made with mutton or lamb with whole spices immersed in a yoghurt gravy and slowly simmered to yield a delicious curry and soft meat delicacy.

Different regions of north India use their regional spices to make a new variation of yakhni, which is eaten in different ways. The addition of unground spices gives this yakhni recipe a rich flavour, while the inclusion of yoghurt gives it a slightly tangy taste, and the powdered ginger and fennel contribute a wonderful scent. Various regional spices, along with other ingredients, have different impacts on the dish. Those who want to try vegetarian versions can replace meat with regional vegetables. This article will cover 5 variations, veg and non-veg, that are worth trying during winter.

1) Nadru Yakhni

Nadru Yakhni features Lotus Stem or Nadru or Kamal Kakdi in the dish, which is cooked in a flavourful yoghourt-based broth. To prepare Nadru Yakhni, the lotus stems are sliced and cooked in a yoghurt mixture, fennel seeds, ginger, and aromatic spices such as cardamom and cloves. After that, the yoghurt broth is gradually simmered on low flame, creating a rich and creamy texture that complements the crunchiness of the lotus stem. People also like to try its variations made with besan, but the traditional recipe stands out. To get an ideal combination, pair this dish with roti or rice.

2) Lauki Yakhni

Similar to lotus stem, yakhni can also be prepared with Lauki or bottle gourd. In it, the pieces of lauki are slowly cooked in a similar yoghurt-based broth or gravy. The sliced lauki is first simmered in the yoghurt gravy mixed with fennel seeds and a blend of spices like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon to prepare this dish. The flavours of the dish are not too overpowering and offer a comfortable experience with each bite. It is best served with naan or roti.

3) Mutton Yakhni

The iconic Kashmiri mutton yakhni is known for its succulent mutton pieces cooked in a yoghourt-based broth. The dish is prepared by simmering tender mutton with a blend of aromatic spices, fennel seeds, and yoghurt until the meat is tender and the yakhni (yoghurt broth) attains a rich consistency. This slow-cooked delicacy embodies Kashmiri cuisine with a beautiful balance of flavours. Mutton Yakhni is best served with steamed basmati rice or traditional Kashmiri pulao. As both the flavours of rice and yakhni complement each other, it creates a wholesome and satisfying meal experience.

4) Chicken Yakhni

Replacing juicy mutton with tender chicken is also a must-try variation of Kashmiri yakhni in winter. When slowly simmered in the aromatic yoghurt gravy, the tender chicken pieces create an ecstatic experience, which is also light and mild for those who don't like heavy meals. Chicken is best marinated and slowly cooked in its juices. Making the dish with ghee adds a wholesome feel to the dish. Serve this dish with Kashmiri bread or rice for making it a complete meal.

5) Yakhni Pulao

Yakhni Pulao is another delicacy of Kashmir, a fusion of yakhni and basmati rice cooked to perfection. The rice and flavoured yakhni gravy complement each other so well that the taste is unforgettable. This dish, like yakhni, can be made in veg and non-veg variations, although traditional Yakhni pulao is made with mutton. It is best served with a side of raita. Yakhni Pulao is a wholesome and satisfying meal that perfectly balances the meat and spices flavours, showcasing Kashmiri cuisine's culinary richness.

Image Credit: Freepik

Wrap Up:

Just like the cultural diversity of Kashmir, the variations in food recipes is also seen throughout the region. Yakhni is one such versatile dish that reflects the rich culture and traditions of Kashmir and caters to the food preferences of everyone.