Friday, February 15, 2008

The Kashmiri Wazwan

I feel lucky to have visited Kashmir twice. The first time was when I was 8 years old and I went with my "best" friend Aditi, who's father was an IAS officer posted in Srinagar. Tony Jaitly was a great host and the meals I had at their home are unforgettable. Their cook Bashir made many of the dishes that I have posted recipes of here.
The Kashmiri Wazwan traditionally consisted of 36 courses but there are 7 dishes which form an indispensable part of this feast. They are Tabakh Maaz, Rista, Rogan Josh, Dhaniwal Korma, Aab gosht, Marchwagan Korma and Gushtaba. I have included recipes of all 7.
This is a picture of the saffron crocus flower with the red stigma. The red stigma is what we know as the saffron strands that we use in our cooking.


1 kg meat from the rib cage (the membranous part of the ribs, not the chop, un separated)
27 cups water
4 1/2 tsp ground garlic
3 1/2 tsp salt
12 cups water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry ginger/ sonth
8 cloves
8 black cardamoms
3 1/2 tsp turmeric
2 1/2 cups desi ghee
1. Boil the water, add the ribs. Remove any scum that surfaces. Boil covered till ribs are half done.
2. Add the garlic and mix well. Boil for 10 minutes. Add salt and boil covered, till the membrane between ribs can be peirced with your thumb. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the water. Cool ribs and immerse in cold water. Clean the ribs and remove them. Do not discard the water.
3. Chop the ribs into equal recktangular pieces.
4. Boil water in which the ribs were washed. Add the ribs, salt, dry ginger, cloves, cardamom and turmeric. Mix well. Let it boil till the bones can be extracted from the membrane easily. Remove the pan and take out the ribs. Keep aside.
5. Arrange the ribs in a large frying pan so they don't overlap. Pour the desi ghee over and fry them till they are reddish brown. Turn occasionally. Drain out the ghee before serving.


To make the rista meatballs:
Take 500 gm of boneless meat from the leg of lamb (fat removed) and cut into 1"x 2" cubes, 4 Tbsp fat or unsalted butter, 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder and 3/4 Tbsp salt.
Pound the meat on a smooth stone with a wooden mallet. While pounding, remove any white tough fibre. Keep pounding till the meat changes colour. When its lightened in colour, add fat/butter and cardamom powder. Continue to pound till meat is soft and very light in colour. Add salt and mix well. Wet hands in chilled water and make balls with the meat paste. Keep aside for rista or gushtaba. Each rista should weigh 75 gms.
OPTION- * I would buy the mince ready made from the butcher and finely grind it with spices in a mixie but I thought I should inform you how the experts make rista as well !

Now to make the rista with gravy
10 pcs rista12 cups of stock made with 8 bones boiled in 15 cups of water covered for 45 minutes and then strained
12 green cardamom
6 cloves
3 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup ghee
1/4 cup/ garlic water
1 1/2 Tbsp onion paste fried
2 tsp/4 gm kashmiri red chilli powder dissolved in 1 cup water
1/4 tsp saffron
1/4 tsp black pepper powder

* Garlic water is made by mincing 1 1/2 Tbsp of garlic and mixing it with 1/4 cup water. Let it stand for 5 minutes and then rub it with hands through a muslin cloth

1. In a pan, add the rista, stock, green cardamom, cloves, turmeric, ghee, garlic water, onion paste, red chilli water and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, Mix well and cook covered till the rista is tender and the gravy is soupy.
2. Add saffron, black pepper powder and salt. Mix well.


1 kg Mutton/Lamb
6 cloves garlic
3 teaspoon red chili powder
1 cup plain Yoghurt
3 onions chopped
4 cloves
2 black cardamom
4 green cardamom
2 Bay leaves
1 blade of mace
1 ½ teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon fennel powder
1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste


Cook the meat in one cup of water and the garlic for 20 minutes
Make a paste of the red chili powder with water and keep aside.
Whisk the yoghurt and keep aside
Fry the onions, and add cloves, cardamoms, bay leaf, and mace and continue frying.
Add the coriander, fennel, ginger and turmeric powders and then the chili paste and keep frying.
Remove the meat pieces from its stock and stir. Then add the stock.
Whisk in the yoghurt and cook on a low flame till the meat is tender.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

DHANIWALI MURGH KORMA (Chicken korma with coriander leaves)

1 kg chicken pieces
6 garlic cloves
10 strands of saffron
2 medium onions chopped
2 cups thick yoghurt
6 green chillies chopped
3 tablespoons oil
4 cloves
6 green cardamoms
4 2" cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
salt to taste
2 cups chicken stock (made with chicken bones/ use soup cubes alternatively)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves

Boil the chicken in 3 cups of water with 2 cloves of garlic for 10 minutes. Strain. Keep the stock.
Pound the remaining garlic and soak it in 1/2 cup water. Strain it to get a garlic infusion. Soak saffron strands in 1/4 cup of water.
Grind onions and green chillies. Whisk yoghurt and set aside.
Heat the oil and fry onion paste till golden brown. Add cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Add turmeric. Add chicken pieces and the garlic infusion. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the whisked yoghurt. Cover and cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
Add ginger powder and alt and saute. Add enough chicken stock to give you the desired amount of gravy. Simmer till chicken is cooked.
Once the chicken is cooked, add the saffron infusion, pepper and fresh coriander leaves.

AAB GOSHT ( Lamb cooked in milk)

750 gms to 1 kg of mutton
100 gms small madras onions
10 strands of saffron
4 tablespoons oil
1 cinnamon leaf (tej patta)
4 cloves
6 green cardamoms
2 pieces cinnamon 1 1/2 "
1 1/2 litres milk
1 tablesppon cream
1 1/2 teaspoons of fennel powder (saunf)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/3 teaspoon white pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Soak the saffron strands in a little water. Wash the lamb and keep aside
Grind onions and fry in a little oil till golden brown.
Boil meat in 6 cups of water, salt, cinnamon leaf, 1 clove, 1 cinnnamon stick, and the fried onions. When the meat is tender, strain and keep stock aside.
Boil the litre of milk, with the rest of the cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon stick. Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer till the milk thickens and reduces to half the quantity. Once it cools add the tablespoon of cream and stir.
Add the meat and stock to the milk and cook on a low heat.
Heat oil, add saunf powder, cumin powder and pepper. Fry for a few seconds and add to the meat. Add sugar and stir it in.
Add saffron just before serving.
If you'd like this dish spicy, add slit green chillies to the milk once the meat and stock is added.

MARCHWAGAN KORMA (Red hot meat curry)

1 kg meat
10 cups water
1/2 cup ghee
1 tablespoon garlic paste
10 green cardamoms
4 black cardamoms
5 cloves
1 cup kashmiri red chilli powder dissolved in water
3 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 cinnamon sticks 2" each
2 teaspoon dry ginger powder
1 teaspoon shah jeera (black cumin seeds)
1 teaspoon dry mint leaves

Bring water to a boil, add meat. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain out and retain stock.
In a pan add boiled meat, ghee, salt, garlic, green cardamoms, and cloves. Mix well. Fry till meat is light brown in colour.
Add red chilli water, black cardamoms, turmeric powder, cinnamon sticks, and dry ginger powder. Stir and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover the pan, and cook till meat is tender. If the meat sticks, add small quantities of stock and stir occasionally.
Add roasted shah jeera and dry mint leaves. Mix well.


Make the meatballs the same way as the rista. The gushtaba are made slightly larger than rista. Each meatball could weigh 100 gms each.

10 gushtaba
5 cups cooked yoghurt
2 tablespoons oil/ghee
4 cups stock (made with 5-6 meat bones boiled in water for 20 minutes and strained)
8 green cardamoms
6 black cardamoms
6 cloves
3 teaspoons fennel powder (saunf)
3 teaspoons dry ginger powder (sonth)
1/4 cup garlic water
1 tablespoon onion paste made from fried onions
1/2 teaspoon dry mint leaves
* to make garlic water refer to the Rista recipe.

In a pan, add the gushtaba, cooked yoghurt, ghee and stock. Bring to a boil.
Add green and black cardamoms, cloves, fennel powder, and dry ginger powder. Continue to boil for 15 minutes.
Add the garlic water and salt. and boil for 10 minutes.
Pour in more stock/water if required to keep a soup like consistency in the gravy. Add the onion paste and cook till gushtabas are tender and the gravy has thickened.
Sprinkle the dry mint leaves.

To make cooked yoghurt:
Take 2 cups of thick yoghurt and whisk it. Add 1/2 cup water to it and blend. Boil this mixture and then lower heat and simmer. Keep stirring and cook till the quantity is reduced to half and and the colour changes to off white.


asma rahman said...

Vry helpful n vry clear.. thanq ria :)

travellingwings said...

Loved the article. Sharing your link in my blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanx.... A lot ria.... It was too helpful....

Unknown said...

ria in marchawanga korma its not red chilli powder water ... its a thick paste made out of dried red chiilies soaked in hot water and then blended into grinder to make a paste then to make it bit think we add water to it ... !

Anjali Noronha said...

Authentic Kashmiri recipes do not use onions or garlic - ginger yes - usually dried. please remember - neither an gosht nor mutton yakkhni has any onions or garlic