Beyond scenic views and mesmerising landscapes lies a scrumptious traditional Kashmiri cuisine that is totally worth a try.
Etched in history as a royal feast, Wazwan is a meal that’s generally prepared for festive occasions, like weddings. Wazwan, traditionally means waz , to cook and wan, shop. The head chef referred to as the vasta waza, prepares the entire meal consisting of 36 dishes that are served in a traem (a huge serving plate) meant for four people to eat from the same plate. Did you know that the dates of the ceremony are often decided, based on the availability of the waza?
The setup is quite traditional with four people sitting on the white sheet spread out on the floor. A table is placed in the centre and the traem is served to them. It’s supposed to be eaten without the use of any forks or knives, with pure bare hands. It is believed that this brings out the real taste of the food in the mouth.
Wazwan is largely a Kashmiri non- vegetarian meal with a few vegetarian options. Generally, the vegetables are also cooked with mutton broth. However, exceptions are made if there are certain guests who are pure vegetarians.
The meal is filled with delicious curries, kebabs and chutneys, which are both sweet and spicy. The generosity and special hospitality with which the guests are treated is what makes Wazwan a delightful experience.
Let’s have a look at a few highlights of the meal.
A flavourful red meatball curry, Rista is one dish that is at the heart of this multi-course meal. Any Wazwan would be incomplete without this famous Kashmiri dish.
2. Nadru Yakhni
Never like the idea of eating lotus stem? If you have Nadru Yakhni, you’ll definitely fall in love with the vegetable. It’s a curry dish in which nadru (lotus stem) is cooked in yoghurt along with spices like fennel seeds and caradmom. A lot of times meat is added to the curry in place of the lotus stem.
3. Palak Waza
This one’s a vegetarian delicacy that makes the common spinach taste so much better. The palak leaves are softened and prepared with some Kashmiri spices. You can always take this a notch higher by dropping in some mutton balls.
Chutney is to Wazwan is what pickle is to North Indian food. Apricot, walnut and even radish chutney is a part of the meal. Muji Chetin is radish and yoghurt combination which makes a crazy tasty chutney.
This is the climax, served right at the end of the sumptuous meal. People tend to eat fresh rice before digging into this curd-based creamy lamb meat curry so that the flavours do not get mixed up and they can enjoy the Gushtaba thoroughly. The fact that it is minced with the fat is what lends the dish the extraordinary taste.