A Kashmiri Culinary Adventure

Other Cuisines

Marga's Food logo


It's been over two decades since I visited Kashmir. I knew I wanted to go there after reading M. M. Kaye's Death in Kashmir, a mystery that had the protagonist stay in a house boat. At the time, barely anyone visited the area, and I had my pick of house boats to choose from. The one I stayed was enormous, it had three bedrooms, each larger than any room in my house, two bathrooms, a dining room, a living room and a deck - from where I could watch eagles diving to catch fish and receive the various vendors who brought their wares for my perusal. My stay in the houseboat included two daily meals - though only after agreeing on the price did the owner tell me one of the meals would be breakfast - mild coffee and toast with (grantedly, delicious) Kashmir honey. With the inconvenience of going out for lunch, this means I was usually famished for dinner. I don't remember what meals I had - but I do remember paying extra for the gushtaba, a meatball dish that I made myself. The sneaky owner convinced me that the ingredients for this dish were particularly expensive - I'm happy to say they were not. I do remember liking the food in general, so I was excited to arrive to the "K's" and cook Kashmiri food.

The gastronomy of Kashmir is very much its own, but it has been influenced by Indian cuisine on the one hand, and Persian and Central Asian cuisine on the other. Kashmir has been under the control of different empires throughout its long history, each bringing their foods and leaving a mark. Kashmiris are most fond of rice and lamb, and eat large amounts of both - only poverty keeping them from the priced meat. Rogan Josh, a red curry with lamb, is their most famous dish and one that is present at most Indian restaurants nowadays.

I ended up cooking these three dishes to explore this cuisine. I would have done more, but I ran out of time.

Other South Asian cuisines I've explored: Afghan, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Ceylonese, Indian, Afghani Jewish, Anglo-Indian, Assamese, Awadhi, Balochi, Balti, Bengali, Bene Israel, Bodo, Chettinad, Cochin Jewish, Dogra, Dum Pukht, Garo, Goan, Gujarati, Haryanvi, Hyderabadi, Indo-Chinese, Karnatakan, Kerala

Do you have a comment on this cuisine? Please make it here