Wonders of the Wazwan

Pounded meat and traditional spices come together to recreate the art of Wazwan cooking in this food fest

Published - April 11, 2012 08:42 pm IST



The rich and authentic taste and aromatic flavours of Kashmiri cuisine will attract you like a magnet towards Seven, the pan-Indian restaurant, and Le Café, the 24-hourmulti-cuisine café at The Suryaa New Delhi, to experience “Wazwan – The Kashmiri Food Festival', on till April 15.Wazwan means a royal multi-course meal. It is the ultimate formal banquet in Kashmir and is treated with great respect because its preparation is considered an art and regarded as the pride of Kashmiri culture and identity. “It takes hours to cook and prepare. Even the meat for some of the Wazwan items requires being really fresh. More than half an hour cannot elapse between the slaughtering of the goat and the pounding of the meat,” says Pearl Khan, curator of the festival. She is personally taking care of the authenticity of the food to be served. Even some of the spices are being brought in from Kashmir.

Wazwan comprises 36 mouth-watering dishes, traditionally served in a tirami. I started with tabak maas, made of lamb breast. It's deep-fried and so crispy outside and tender inside that you can even chew on the bones. “Enjoy it with the pumpkin and walnut chutney,” suggests Pearl. Though I didn't want to move on from the tabak maas, the main course proved even more tempting.

In came the Kashmiri pulao. A little sweet with all the dry fruits in it, it adjusts your taste buds to the mirchi qorma that follows — a bit spicy but not too much; enjoy it with sheer mal to balance out the spice. The much famed rista and goshtaba, made by pounding the fresh meat for hours, is not only a dish but an art form of the Wazas. Though for Delhiites it might seem a bit salty, that is how it's supposed to be because it's served with steamed rice, which neutralises its saltiness. End the main course with aab gosht, and then proceed to the kehwa and firni. Aab gosht is made with water and milk — it is low on spices and a favourite among kids and the elderly.

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