Harisa is a rich meaty stew which is quite similar to haleem in taste and texture.
Climbing up the Kashmir valley, you’ll notice how the altitude changes the diet preferences of people too. To bear with the cold winds and snowfall, Kashmiris indulge in meaty delights very often. In fact, Kashmiri cuisine, by nature, is a very meat-intensive fare. From delectable mutton curries like rogan josh, rista, goshtaba to a range of kebabs and stews, there is no dearth of options here. The snow-capped mountains of Kashmir might be the most alluring thing for you but when dig deeper, you’ll find a rich authentic fare waiting for you to try.
Come winters, Kashmiris find ways to warm themselves up. While kahwa, sheer chai and several other hot beverages do the job quite well, there is something filling and heavy that is needed to satiate the hunger. That’s when a sizzling bowl of harisa is place on the table. A strictly winter delicacy due to its rich and warm nature, harisa is often eaten as breakfast in Kashmiri households. Often paired with a side of bread, the harisa is delectable meaty affair that is prepared occasionally.
For those untouched by the phenomenon, harisa is a slow-cooked mutton dish where the meat is separated from the bone and cooked along with lentils like cholar dal. The harisa draws parallels with another delicious dish called haleem. Both are cooked over slow fire and the tender meat is meshed while cooking. It is tempered with sliced onions and to complete the dish, it is adorned with a generous amount of refined oil. Mixed with a host of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn and salt, the Kashmiri stew is hot and fiery.
Bringing ultimate warmth to the body that is much needed in the harsh winter months, the Kashmiri harisa is a blessing in disguise. It is usually served with a flatbread like Tchot. The soft Kashmiri bread is made from rice flour that is seasoned with cumin seeds. This moist bread complements the thick and enriching stew really well. The key to making a good harisa is definitely a lot of patience and dedication. The continuous stirring and long hours of cooking is what brings about the aromatic flavour of this Kashmiri breakfast staple.
If you are keen to try this Kashmiri meaty breakfast, then here is a detailed recipe for you.