The Floating One

I have always been intrigued by dishes & cuisines that are less popular and haven’t really explored. So, when it comes to scouting these dishes I try to read into different cultures and their way of cooking. One such cuisine that is a lot interesting & unique is Kashmiri. Since its a cold place, mostly the dishes include lots of spices. The use of spices like cloves, ginger, cinnamon, is for health benefits & mainly to keep the body warm. But thats not it, to balance the heat and flavour, fennel is added in most of the recipes.

This is my version of a ‘Bom Chount Wangun’, traditonal made semi dry and collectively. I have deconstructed it for the purpose of playing with these textures & giving justice to each ingredient individually, yet everything has a cohesive mouth feel. The idea behind this particular plating is, visually offering you a feel of Kashmir’s serene Dal Lake with a little Shikara in it. The use of printed fabric under it because Kashmiri food is usually served on ‘Dastarkhan’ (table cloth).

The valley is world famous not only for its natural beauty but also for its cultural richness. Kashmir has been described as an ancient region possessing a distinct ethnicity, character, language, dress, customs, rituals, and a rich cultural heritage. And the diversity can be seen in Kashmiri cuisine as well. It has two important variations, one is the Kashmiri pandit & other the Muslim techniques. The beauty of the Kashmiri Pandit cuisine is the lack of using the “traditional” combo of Onions, Tomatoes and Garlic in dishes. This is special because most of Indian cuisine can hardly work on meat or vegetable dishes, without using this holy trinity. Spices such as Shnoth (dry ginger powder), Baadyan (fennel powder), Lyedar (turmeric powder), Yenga (Aesofotida powder) using these just eliminates the need of other “mandatory” ingredients & perfectly amps up the taste.

We are unaware of countless techniques & ingredients which sadly, are now fading away because of commercialisation and capitalism. And I feel we as food enthusiasts should be the one to revive it, use it & let the culinary heritage be known to masses.

Fact: Kashmiri Pandit (Brahmin) are one of few hindu communities that consume meat. They have their own meat version of the famous rogan josh, known as Naine Rogan Josh. Its slow cooked in hing, red chillies, ginger till the meat leaves the bones.

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