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By Autar Mota (text and photograph)
Curd is an integral part of kashmirian Society .Apart from Liberal Consumption , Over a period of time , it has assimilated itself in kashmirian society in such a way that it became a part of their culture and the tradition .
For kashmiri Pandits , No ceremony ( Religious or otherwise ) is complete unless curd is used . This applies strictly to Birth , Marriage , Shradaa , Birthday Pooja and so many other ceremonies and rituals . In olden Days, when pregnancy of the Daughter in Law was announced in a kashmiri Pandit family , it was customary for her parents to send a Dulloo ( Big Earthen Pot ) of Curd / Yoghurt to her in laws House . It was a signal that the Girl needs to be put under extra care .
A boy of a girl going to appear in some Examination or interview was asked to take some Curd / Yoghurt before leaving. It was believed that the Curd or Yoghurt sip would make things simpler for him or her. The family of a married boy or even middle aged person still receives Curd / Yoghurt from his Inlaw’s home on his Birth day . This Curd / Yoghurt along with Kashmiri Bakery Breads are meant to be distributed amongst relations and neighbors . On her Lagana ( Marriage ) day , a Kashmiri Pandit Girl ( Bride ) is still given two or three Dulloos ( Big Earthen Pots ) of Curd / Yoghurt for the Bridegroom’s family the moment she leaves her parental home.Some saffron is also put over Curd Dulloos/ Vaaris ( Earthen Pots Big and small ) sent in marriages or to relations / Guests by Kashmiris .
Along with Milk , Honey , Sugar , Sandal wood paste, Flower Petals ,Sesame Seeds etc, Curd forms essential Ingredient of the Nirmal Jal ( Sacred water ) offered to a Deity for Snana or Abhisheka ( Bath ) in every Pooja in kashmiri Pandit Families . In Unanai system of medicines , Yoghurt is believed to have many Curative Properties especially for stomach and Intestinal Ailments .Many Hakeems in Kashmir Would prescribe liberal consumption of Curd / yoghurt to their patients .
Many doctors have told me about some health benefits of Curd as it contains , calcium , Vitamin D , Vitamin E , Zinc , and Riboflavin . It is also believed to be useful for Colon infections , skin Infections , ulcers and Growth of hair .
Every morning one can see buyers crowding on Curd / Yoghurt selling shops in Kashmir . Kashmiris consume Curd / Yoghurt generously .They Consume it during Hot summer season and Freezing winter season . They consume it with Lunch , dinner and as Lassi . Every Feast has Curd / Yoghurt . The Muslim Wazwaan or the Pandit Saal has Yakhni that is prepared with Curd / Yoghurt. Apart from Chutneys , Curd / Yoghurt is separately served to Guests in every feast. Thick Curd / Yoghurt is diluted with water to make it Lassi. Lassi is believed to remove” Fires “ ( Naar ) that kashmiris believe to be raging within once they consume spicy dishes in a feast . Quite often, one would see a Curd seller churning a glass of Lassi for a customer who wanted to douse the" fires" created by some spicy feast that he had consumed.
“ Me Zun Chhu Naar or Me Zun Chhu Andhraa Tchtaan hue . Talaa me Dhi Zaamut Dodhaa Laeiss “ meaning “ I have fires raging within or something is rubbing my Digestive track in a wrong way. Just Give me Curd lassi Only “ .
This is a common dialogue heard after a kashmiri ( Both Pandit or Muslim ) enjoys a heavy spicy Feast .
Seekh Kebab, Kashmiri
Kashmiri recipes: Seekh Kebab, Tujji Chicken
Lamb bone less 1kg
Turmeric powder 5gm
Kashmiri mirch powder 20gm
Aniseed powder 10gm
Black cumin 10gm
Green coriander 10gm
Eggs 2 nos
Mustard oil 30ml
Garam masala 10gm
Salt to taste
Cut mutton boneless into small pieces after washing it
Add saffron and the remainder of the spices and herb, except eggs, salt and chilli powder
Mix well and pass through meat mince machine, twice
Add eggs and mix well
Add salt and chilli powder as per taste
Put it on BBQ skewer evenly with wet hands
Cook it properly on low heat for 8-10 minutes
Serve with mint sauce and sliced onion
Tujji Chicken (serves 4)
Chicken leg boneless 1kg
Mustard oil 30ml
Ginger paste 10gm
Garlic paste 10gm
Black cumin pounded 10gm
Lemon juice 10ml
Kashmiri mirch 15gm
Garam masala 10gm
Turmeric powder 10gm
Salt to taste
- Wash and clean the boneless chicken
- Cut into dices by 2 x 2.5
- Add ginger and garlic paste
- Add salt, lemon juice, turmeric and keep aside for 15 minutes
- Remove water from marinated chicken and add rest of the spices and oil
- Keep it aside for at least 2 hours
- Meanwhile set fire in tandoor or BBQ
- Take BBQ skewers and place chicken tikka in it and cook properly for 10-12 minutes
- Keep basting and rotating till the chicken is cooked
- Serve hot with mint sauce and sliced onion
...and you might start taking to Kashmiri food after this.