Girda: The Kashmiri Breakfast Bread To Pair With Tea
Image Credit: Girda or tsot is enjoyed with chai or ghee | Shutterstock

Every cuisine in India has something special to its name. Some have the best desserts, while others are known for seafood and many for kebabs. Tucked amidst the picturesque landscapes of the Himalayas, Kashmir is not just known for its breathtaking beauty but also for its rich and diverse culinary heritage. While there are several remarkable dishes made in the area, one aspect that truly stands out in Kashmiri cuisine is its delightful range of breads, each one a masterpiece in itself.

Kashmiri cuisine, a fusion of Persian, Central Asian, and Indian influences, is celebrated for its aromatic spices, tender meats, and unique preparation techniques. Yet, it is the diverse selection of bread that remains an unsung hero, playing an integral role in defining the culinary identity of the region. Some say the state has at least 14 different kinds of daily bread! Kashmiri breads, crafted with utmost love and skill, are something that is popular amongst locals and tourists. From the smoky charm of the Tsot to the light and fluffy Lavasa, each bread is a testament to the artistry of the local bakers, passed down through generations. Today, let us talk about the beloved breakfast bread, girda, tchot, or tsot.

Recipe - Kashmiri Zaika

Girda is a traditional breakfast bread with its signature circular shape and finger-made depression. It is the perfect dish to start your day with. Made with flour and sesame seeds, it is the perfect balance between a slightly crunchy exterior and a fluffy, soft interior. A reason why Girda holds a special place on breakfast tables in Kashmir is its versatility. Girda pairs exceptionally well with various accompaniments, such as Kashmiri tea (noon cha), curries, pickles, or simply a dollop of butter, ghee, or honey, although it is with tea that its true flavours can be enjoyed. When visiting Kashmir, tourists make sure to have a taste of girda as well.

One of the reasons Girda bread is cherished as a breakfast staple is because of its inherent health benefits. Made primarily from white wheat flour and leavened with yeast, Girda boasts a good nutritional profile. It provides a decent amount of carbohydrates, which are an excellent source of energy to kickstart the day. Moreover, the presence of yeast in the fermentation process contributes to the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, making it easier for the body to digest and absorb nutrients.

But the main benefit comes from being fully made with the freshest of ingredients. Unlike many modern store-bought bread varieties that contain additives and preservatives, the preparation of Girda in traditional bakeries often involves natural ingredients, including pure water, locally sourced flour, and sesame seeds. The absence of harmful additives and chemicals contributes to its wholesome nature. Made with love by the locals, you can taste every bite of it in these girda breads.