Kashmir, the tourist’s pride, is also famous for its distinctive cuisine – the Wazwan – the unique food preparations served during marriages and special occasions to special invitees. Wazwan – is a traditional form of cooking and consists of mostly non – vegetarian dishes. A typical Wazwan meal consists of not more than one or two vegetarian dishes especially spinach or cauliflower. Kashmiris hardly taste sweets, but after Wazwan meal, Halwa, Phirenee or Kashmir Kahva or green tea, is served to wash down the meal. Traditionally, the meals are eaten by hands; and spoons, forks or knives are seldom used.
How To Make Kashmiri Wazwan Recipes
Kashmiri Wazwan cuisine is a course of over 14 dishes, mostly non-vegetarian. Dishes like Kababs, Tabakmaaz, Rista, Roganjohs, Abbgosh, Marchiwangan Korma, Dhaniwal Korma, Goshtaba and more are prepared out of a particular positona of sheep / goat meat. Vegetarian dishes in Wazwan include Allu Bukhara (apricot) Dum Allo (potatoes), Kashmiri Sag (green leafy vegetables), spinach Nadru and much more. Besides chicken and fresh fish preparations are served in Wazawan. Special “chutney” is served during meals prepared out of onions, Dhania, dry fruits and curd. Pickle is also one of the important parts of the chutney tray. Curd is served in earthen pots and is nowadays replaced by packed containers.
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“Wusta waza” is the head cook, who excels in the art of preparing Wazawan in authentic Kashmiri style with the support of 5 to 50 men dressed traditionally in white cotton Pheron and Salwar. Wazwan is cooked in large copper utensils on firewood spread almost 10 meters commonly known as “Weur”. The prepared dishes are served on large carved copper plates called “Trame”, shared by four persons in traditional way of sitting over spotless sheet of cloth called “Dastarkhan”. A hand wash on a copper basin and water poured in a jug “Tash Naer” is followed by “Bismillah” (in the name of Allah) to start eating the meals. The “Trami” is always covered under a copper lid called “Sarposh” to keep the food warm. Under the tissue paper, the “trami” is clouded with one fried chicken, mayth-maaz (chopped intestines) two large seekh kababs, two strips of rib called tabak maaz, one pear shaped piece of mutton and one piece of cheese. The circular plate (trami) is about 20 inches wide, to enable each of the four guests assigned to that trami to have an independent corner.
The custom of four people eating from the same plate is definitely Islamic. A trami of Wazwan can be prepared out of 2 to 8 kg of meat and 1 – 4 kg of chicken. The average cost of a Wazawan trami amounts to Rs.1000 to 5000. The cooking charge by the “Wusta Waza” for one kg of meat is equal to its cost price. Now the charges are one and half time the cost of the meat they cook.
Nowadays, the food habits of Kashmiris have changed especially in the urban area. Inter-continental dishes are available in the five star hotels of Srinagar city. The Punjabi and the south Indian dishes are available in the “Dhabas” in the city centre.
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