Kashmir, known for its snow-capped mountains, dramatic landscapes, culture, heritage, and vibrant festivals is not only a Paradise on Earth is also home to the richest, authentic, culinary experiences. The signature of the Kashmir Pandits, the influence of the Mughals and Arabs has enhanced the Kashmiri cuisine to a state of awe and wanting for more. Although the Kashmiri cuisine is predominantly non-vegetarian because of its climatic conditions, it also serves scrumptious vegetarian dishes.
What makes up Kashmiri food? The people of this region use a lot of yogurts, cardamom, cloves, fennel powder, Kashmiri red chili, desi ghee, dry ginger, and full of rich flavors, making Kashmiri cuisine stand out. Who said Kashmir isn’t meant for vegetarians? And if you think that Wazwan –Kashmiri multi-course meat-based meal, with the right consistency of gravy and the desired texture is the taste of Kashmir then you are wrong. Because the vegetarian cuisine is as exquisite and flavored as Wazwan, a treat to eyes and tummy, sure enough, to make it a Zaika-e-Kashmir.
Veggies! Here are the top 10 must-try dishes on your stay at Kashmir.
Prepared in the goodness of milk, saffron, ghee, cinnamon, and garnished with a whole lot of fruits like almonds, cashews, and raisins add a tint of sweetness to the dish. The prime ingredient –saffron (found abundantly in Kashmir) with its bright golden hue makes the Pulao a visual art to devour. Hands down, Modur Pulao single-handedly steals the show and the most popular traditional food of Jammu and Kashmir.
Where to find: Ahdoos, Pahalgam Hotel
You have got to take that ticket to Kashmir to try this fine authentic Kashmiri food because it is that good! The baby potatoes are cooked in yogurt, ginger paste, fennel, and hot spices. The red color and the aroma leave you wanting another plate. It is usually served with Naan or Roti bread.
Where to find: Shamyana Restaurant, Krishna Vaishno Dhaba
Lyader Tschaman :
Lyader Tschaman is a Kashmiri cottage cheese cooked in rich creamy gravy. The yellow creamy texture of the gravy knocks your taste buds to try this traditional delicacy. It is the most sought-after vegetarian Kashmiri food. And cooked almost every day in every household. If you are a vegetarian, then this dish is a must-try in Kashmir.
Where to find: Kooks Restaurant, Lhasa Restaurant
Sitting at the valleys of Kashmir, with its scenic view, enjoy the traditional breakfast staple –Kulcha made of wheat flour or baked flour, baked with a crispy layer outside. Smeared with butter with a Kahva Tea or Sheer Chai is enough to make your day a whole lot better. Don’t miss this crispy yet soft textured dish that will soothe your morning.
Where to find: Usually found in every restaurant.
Kashmiri Dahi Baingan is also the most sought out the vegetarian dish in Kashmir. The eggplant is diced and cooked in a yogurt gravy–the creamy texture and the spice makes you drool so mouth-watering. Served as a side dish alongside a plate of white rice or roti. This delicacy is liked and wanted even by the non-vegetarians.
Where to find: Zamindara Dhaba, Mughal Darbar
It is one of the vegetarian dishes commonly found in North India, and most popular in Kashmir. Flavored with red chili and red kidney beans gives this authentic delicacy a bright red color, making it a delight to the eyes and tummy. Usually had for breakfast/lunch with white rice/ghee rice. Traveling to Kashmir? Here’s a tip! Never miss the Kashmiri Rajma.
Where to find: Khaana Khazana, Zamindara Dhaba
Originated from the Eastern part of Tibet, this dish is the most common in India. And sure is the favorite meal of every local. Offering a great amalgamation of noodles and soup, Thukpa made with thick noodles and undeniable vegetable soul brings warmth to your soul. It rekindles your childhood memory of a rainy school night (Sure does!). This delicacy should be in your must-try dishes in Kashmir.
Where to find: Lhasa Restaurant, Srinagar
When in Kashmir, Kahva tea is a never miss. It is an herbal tea brewed with saffron spices, almonds, and walnuts. You can taste a variety of Kahva tea as it is served in every household. Some prefer to add milk while some love to have it with Khambir or staple bread. Also called Mughal Chair paying respect to its origin. Be amazed to taste a tint of how it felt to be in the Mughal period without time traveling but simply tasting the essence and aroma from the tea.
Where to find: Usually found in every restaurant.
Originated from Tibet, Butter tea is one of the prominent staple dishes in Kashmir. What makes butter tea so special, is the locals add a pinch of salt to the tea to retain its delicacy. Butter, salt, and tea? Sounds different? Then add this traditional delicacy that came down the Tibetan era to your must-try food list.
Where to find: Stream Restaurant, Srinagar
So Dear Vegetarians, don't worry about food when traveling to Kashmir. We have got you covered.
Explored more vegetarian options in Kashmir? Tell us in the comments.
Contributed by: Virgil Garrett