Srinagar Winter Food Trails: Savoring Hot Kahwa and More

The best winter delicacies of the capital city.


Blog Home | Haveed Hilal | 30-11-2023


Kashmir – Beauty of a Dignified Culture

The tranquil valley of stunningly beautiful Kashmir is a famous place for vacations and holidays. This becomes possible because of its natural resources such as tall snowy mountains, heavenly glaciers, and glazed meadows of green grass from which gushing streams flow to create some of the most beautiful valleys on earth.

A tribesman sitting beside a local Kashmiri vendor, who is smoking the traditional hookah called ‘Jajeer.’ Source: Kashmir Online

Talking about the people residing in this heaven, they are a different breed, having a unique culture that is reflected in their every act. Kashmiri people have adapted to the harsh winter of the region by practising many ways. This consequently makes their cuisine also a unique one with a good relation to the Persian food. Having Kashmir winter dishes is a great exploration if you are an epicure and love to find new tastes.

Authors Note

I as the author of this blog would like to share with you that this piece of writing contains lots of love for my motherland Kashmir. I draft my blogs to give you a local experience of Kashmir. As for this blog, we are heading towards the food lanes of Srinagar. We will explore together the Srinagar winter cuisine, Kashmiri winter dishes and other related topics. For any suggestions about the blog, you can email me at blackfisher99@gmail.com or contact me on my Facebook.

Introduction

Srinagar city can be called as the image of Kashmiri culture as most of the culture and traditions of Kashmir, even the oldest ones can still be observed here. People believe that the purest form of the Kashmiri language remains within the dialect spoken in Srinagar. That is why we are specifically taking the cuisine of Srinagar because it covers most of the items present in the Kashmiri cuisine. Let’s explore now the delicacies of Srinagar winter cuisine.

Harissa – The Winter Companion

Kashmiri dish of Harissa, served in a bowl with a Kebab on top. Source: Mughal Darbar

Srinagar winter cuisine is incomplete without mentioning this super tasty dish. Harissa, a non-veg dish, includes grinding lamb meat till it attains a paste-like form. After adding spices and other necessaries, it is cooked in oil. This dish is the best friend of Kashmiri people in chilly winter mornings and marks the start of the day.

Wazwan – The Symbol of Kashmiri Cuisine

A plate of Wazwan, ready to be served to the guests. Source: Holiday Hunts Travel

Wazwan, the most popular non-veg feast among Kashmiri winter dishes is a collection of several dishes, prepared mostly using meat and served on the most royal occasions. It can be called the symbol of Kashmiri Cuisine as it stands at number first in the favourites of Kashmiri people. It includes at least a few dishes and up to ten or more on special occasions.

Nadri Monji

A street vendor selling Nadri Monji and other snacks of the kind. Source: Kashmir Online

Want some snacks for the evening, Nadri Monji is a tasty and crispy food item that is one of the tastiest in the Srinagar winter cuisine. These are prepared using lotus stem or ‘Nadru’ in the local language. These lotus stems are sliced into small pieces, mixed with besan (gram flour) and deep fried in oil. Hot and crispy Nadri Monji in the chill is a delightful snack for sure.

Masale Tchot

A woman selling Masale Tchot on a street. Source: Youtube

A delicious veg roll called Masale Tchot consists of boiled peas and chatni that are stuffed in the Kashmiri bread ‘Lawasa’. The bread is like a Rumali Roti. Masale Tchot is loved by everyone and you can find the migrant labourers in Kashmir savouring this delicacy often. It is one of the tastiest foods in Srinagar winter cuisine.

Hokh Syun – Dried Food

Two bags containing the dried vegetables for use in winter. Source: Kashmir Reader

‘Hokh’ means dry and ‘Syun’ means a dish. This name is a whole category of dried vegetables and fruits. It is a practice that dates back many centuries when Kashmir witnessed heavy snowfall. The winters were way more harsh than we see today. People would have very less to eat as they depended mostly on their farm produce and many facilities were also unavailable at that time.

To survive the winters, people would dry the vegetables and some fruits in summer and pack them in containers. They would then prepare dishes with this dried reserve in the harsh winters and consume them till the spring. Hokh Syun is one of the oldest foods among Kashmir’s winter dishes.

Gaer Goji – Water Chestnut

Raw water chestnuts, peeled from their hard covering. Source: Village Square

Locally called Gaer Goji, these Singhare grow in Kashmir inside the waters of the Wular Lake and several other lakes. These water chestnuts are of three types, found in Kashmir. These are great meals with plenty of medicinal value. These are mostly eaten after roasting and served hot. They taste very good and are among the favourites of locals in the list of Kashmiri winter dishes.

Kashmiri Chestnut

Chestnuts on pans, being roasted to remove the hard covering. Source: Kashmir Life

These are also a kind of nuts that are a distinct species found in Kashmir. The produce from Kashmir is not very high and that is what makes these expensive. Sweet in taste, these are only eaten after roasting and are among the most tasty and nutritious foods in Srinagar winter cuisine.

Nun Chai – Staple Kashmiri Tea

A cup of Kashmiri Nun Chai served with bread. Source: Gyawun

The most favourite everyday tea of Kashmiri people is the salted tea, Nun Chai. Making this tea needs gunpowder tea leaves and salt. It boasts a pinkish colour, consumed with local Kashmiri breads. Locals can not start a day without having this tea in the morning. It is one of the staple foods in Srinagar winter cuisine.

Kesari Kehwa – A Winter Remedy

A cup of Kashmiri saffron Kehwa poured in a cup, with a yellowish-orange colour. Source: Untold Delicacy

Hot Kehwa Srinagar, one of the most famous recipes of Kashmir, the Saffron Kehwa is the emblem of Kashmiri cuisine and one of the most nutritious foods in Kashmiri winter dishes. This green tea is prepared using cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron, added with some dry fruits and sugar. Its unique taste makes everyone have at least another cup of it. It also gives warmth to the body in the chilly weather.

Savour the delights with us!

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Author Profile

Author is a student who loves to explore new corners of learning. He likes writing and travelling while taking challenges that question his abilities and skills. His hobbies are helping people and spending time in nature.