January 2, 2008

Welcome to Kashmir. Probably the only things that you’ve heard about it are a) it’s a ticking time-bomb stuck between India and Pakistan and b) it’s gorgeous. Both are true. But today let’s focus on a seldom-visited side of Kashmir, its food. As the Northern most region of the subcontinent, foreign influences from Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia have mixed to shape Kashmiri cuisine. Today, Kashmir’s diet is made up of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Because of the region’s cold winter climate, dishes are cooked with mustard oil and various spices that help maintain the taste and heat of food. In India, Kashmir is known for its dried fruits, which are staples of curries and sweets. The region’s most famous item is its Warzan, which consists of thirty-six different dishes, including dum-aloo (fried potato with gravy, red chilies and spices) and Shab Deg Rogan Josh (a mutton dish with similar spices as the aloo-dum).


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