Jammu and Kashmir is not only a famous destination for site-seeing but also a paradise for tasty food lovers. The cuisine in this state is somewhat unique and different from other north Indian cuisines. The great grandeur of food attracts the eyes of people especially during festive occasions. The people in Ladakh region prefer to eat lot of boiled and steamed food whereas people in other parts of Jammu and Kashmir prefer to have lot of spices in their cuisines. Mutton is the most significant ingredient present in more than 30 different varieties of Kashmir non vegetarian dishes. Among Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmir is well known for non vegetarian dishes. Every second day people in Jammu and Kashmir consume meat.

The non vegetarian dishes in Kashmir are more or less similar to Muslim dishes with a slight variation as it is greatly influenced by Pakistani Muslim cuisine. The famous non vegetarian dishes include Gaad (fish prepared with mooli or monju or nadur), Shab Deg Kashmiri Yakhni, Aab Gosht, Gushtaba, Kabargah, Matshgand, Chamani Qaliyan and Rogan Josh.

Mutton, chicken and fish are significant portion of Jammu and Kashmir cuisine and mutton plays a major role in most of their non vegetarian dishes. They prepare meat in lot number of ways and generally they are combined with lot of vegetables and good quantity of spices. The routinely deployed spices in the cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir include saffron, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon.

Kashmiri Pandit kitchen

Generally, Pandits avoid eating meat, but Kashmiri Pandits prefer all meat other than beef. Beef is avoided strictly in Pandit cuisine and also Kashmiri Muslim dishes respecting their Kashmiri tradition, called as Kashmiriyat. Kashmir Muslims Wazwan never permits beef usage. The people of Kashmir are always huge meat lovers (goat, mutton and lamb). Kashmir Brahmins are also meat lovers preferring mutton and lamb. Meat is usually cooked in all Pandit festivals and it has become their identity. Notable Kashmiri Pandit cuisines include: Lyodur Tschaman, Tschok Wangan, Modur Pulaav, Gogji Raazma, Dum Olav, Syun Pulaav, Nadir Yakhin, Monji Haak/Gogji Haak, Goshtaba, Mujh Gaad, Qeleeya, Matschgand, Yakhni (mutton gravy with yoghurt excluding chilli powder and turmeric powder). Initially, the dish is prepared with cardamom seeds, cloves and bay leaves. It is in subtle taste and very mild. It is usually consumed with rice and often had in combination with another spicy dish and Rogan Josh (it is made from lamb). The dish is cooked in gravy consistency with adequate quantity of kashmiri chillies, powdered ginger, asafetida and various other flavoring substances. They substitute onion with yoghurt. It is highly preferred dish and regularly cooked by using lamb in the cuisines of Kashmiri Hindus.


One of the most famous dishes of Jammu and Kashmir is Wazwan, which is a 36 course meal and primarily made up of meat dishes. It is the multi-course meal present in the tradition of Kashmir Muslim. The preparation of this dish is considered to be a great art. Most of its dishes are based on meat (fish, chicken and lamb). Meat is basically avoided in Srinagar. The traditional number of food items should be 36 and it is usually cooked under the supervision of a head chef, a vasta waza, together with the assistance of group of chefs or wazas.

Muslims in Kashmir consider this Wazwan as central element of their identity and culture. The guests are classified into four categories for better serving of Wazwan. The ritual process starts with washing hands with tash-t-nari (a basin and jug). The serving is done on rice piled and decorated by 4 seekh kabab, 4 pcs of meth maaz, side portion of barbecued ribs, 2 tabak maaz, 1 safed kokur and 1 zafrani kokur together with various other dishes. The dish is usually accompanied with pure yoghurt that is garnished with Kashmiri saffron, dips, Kashmir pickles and salads. This is usually prepared during special occasions and marriages.

The art of preparing Wazwan is generally passed through blood liners and rarely taught to outsiders. Lamb dishes make out most of the food items in Wazwan, as it is considered to be occasional delicacy. The most significant dishes in Wazwan dishes include: Nadir-Waangan (lotus stems prepared with Brinjal), Muj Gaad (Radish with fish), Nadir-Haaq/Monji/Gogji (lotus stems with Haaq, a kind of collard green exclusively present in Portugal and Kashmir), Dum Oluv (full potatoes in spicy red color gravy), Lyodur Tschaman (cottage cheese in turmeric creamy gravy), Modur Pulaav(dessert), Syoon Pulaav (meat based Pulao), Syloon Olav (meat and potatoes in spicy gravy),  Kaanti (pieces of lamb in hot red gravy, generally consumed as snack), Tabakh Maaz (fried lamb also called as Qabargah), Rista (meat lamb balls cooked in red spicy gravy), Yakhni (lamb in a curd gravy) and Rogan Josh (lamb in a red spicy gravy).

The Rista otherwise called as meat balls that are prepared as small pieces and later on rolled and prepared in gravy is the main highlight of Wazwan.

Thus, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is a must watch place in the Indian map, not only for their amazing natural beauty, but also for their authentic and spicy non-vegetarian cuisines.


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