Kashmiri Cuisine

Kashmiri Food

Kashmiri food that we have today in the restaurants has evolved over the years. Highly influenced by the traditional food of the Kashmiri pundits, it has now taken some of the features of the cooking style adopted in Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan. Kashmiri food makes an extensive use of turmeric and yoghurt. Superb preparation and fabulous aromatic flavor of the Kashmiri food is so alluring that even those who are not feeling hungry end up yearning for more.

In the making of Kashmiri dishes, garlic and onion are not used much as in the case of other Indian cuisines. Absolutely rich in taste and exotic in flavor, Kashmiri cuisine has become a popular choice. The strong influence of Kashmiri pandits, who are predominantly meat eaters, explains the reason why the cuisine of Kashmir has more of non vegetarian dishes. Kashmiri thali is preferred mainly for its non vegetarian dishes. However, there are some real mouthwatering vegetarian dishes too, which are relished by all.

Traditional Kashmiri thali consists of Wazwan, which demands lot of preparation. Infact, preparing Wazwan in itself is considered a great art. Substantial time and effort is spent on the making of this special feast. The cuisine of Wazwan encompasses near about 36 dishes. The head chef known as Vasta Waza does all the requisite preparations. It is mostly prepared on some big family occasion or festivity.

The use of curd in the preparation of food gives the dish a creamy touch. To enhance the flavor of the meat dishes, Kashmiris add asafoetida (Hing) to it. Other addictive spices used to add to the taste are dry ginger and Saunf (aniseed). Sometimes, ginger is used in excessive quantity that makes the dish pungent. Kashmir being the leading producer and chief exporter of saffron makes an extensive use of it in the form of a colorful flavoring agent. For its amazing aroma, it is added to pulaos and sweets.

Kashmiri dishes make a regular use of dry fruits, especially in the preparation of curries. Kashmiris use ghee to cook meals, though in urban areas, well educated families have started using mustard oil as an alternative, to avoid the intake of high fat in ghee. Kashmiri rice is also quite aromatic and light and thus the Kashmiri rice pulao is well liked by people. The cuisine of Kashmir is truly unique and has absolutely no comparison.


1. Dhaniwal Korma

2. Gustabha

3. Kashmiri Mutanjan

4. Kashmiri Qumburgha

1. Dhaniwal Korma (Lamb in Yogurt Based Gravy)


  • 1 kg: Leg of lamb
  • 1 cup: Cooked yogurt
  • 1 cup: Desi ghee
  • 12 ½ cups: Water
  • 1/3 cup: Onion
  • 1 tsp: Garlic
  • 8 : Cardamoms
  • 4 : Cloves
  • ¼ tsp: Saffron
  • ½ tsp: Turmeric Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp: Coriander
  • ¼ tsp: Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp: Green coriander (chopped)
  • Salt


  1. Boil the water in a deep pan; add the meat and bring the water to a boil again. Blanch for 2-3 minutes and then drain the water. Cool the meat and wash under cold running water. Keep aside.
  2. Put the blanched meat in a pan; add the pure ghee, onion puree, garlic, cloves, green cardamoms, salt, saffron, cooked yogurt, turmeric and coriander powder. Mix well and cook until the ghee separates from the mixture. Add just enough water so that when the meat is tender, very little water remains. Sprinkle the black pepper powder and stir.
  3. Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves.

2. Gustaba


  • 750 gm: Lamb, lean (or mutton)
  • 250 gm: Lamb fat
  • 1 C: Milk
  • 1/2 C: Yoghurt
  • 1/2 C: Khoya
  • 2 tbs: Ghee
  • 2 tsp: Cayenne
  • 2 tsp: Fennel seed
  • 2 tsp: Kashmiri garam masala
  • 2 tsp: Pepper (black)
  • 1 tsp: Ginger powder
  • 1 tsp: Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp: Sugar
  • 4 : Cardamoms


  1. Chop the meat, fat, cayenne, fennel, ginger, coriander and 1 tsp. garam masala in a food processor. Keep chopping, adding a little yogurt and ghee, until the meat is a smooth paste.
  2. Form into balls 1.5-2 inches in diameter.
  3. Heat remaining ghee in a pan. Add sugar, khoya, yogurt, garam masala, and salt to taste. Pour in the milk, add the koftas, and simmer until the liquid evaporates and the koftas are very tender.



3. Kashmiri Mutanjan (A Type of Lamb Pullao)



  • 250 gm: Rice
  • 500 gm: Lamb (cubed)
  • 2 large: Onions (quartered)
  • 2 pc(1 inch): Cinnamon sticks
  • 10-12: Cloves
  • 12 pcs: Peppercorns
  • 6-7: Cardamoms
  • 1/2 tsp: Coriander powder
  • 1-2 tbs: Sugar
  • 1 tsp: Lemon (juice)
  • 1 tsp: Almonds or pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp: Saffron (soaked in 1/4 tbs milk)
  • 4 tbs: Ghee
  • Salt to taste


  1. Make bouquet of onions, cinnamon, cloves, 8 peppercorns, 4 cardamoms, and coriander.
  2. Put bag of spices in a pan, add meat, salt and enough water to cover. Cook until water reduces to half. Remove bag of spices and squeeze out the flavor. Add the sugar and juice from 1/2 lemon; cook until liquid is syrupy.
  3. In an another pan boil the rice in water with the remaining spices and some salt until barely tender; drain.
  4. In a casserole put a layer of rice, then the meat, then remaining rice.

Pour saffron milk over top, sprinkle with nuts, cover tightly, bake like pullao (~350 F for 30-45 minutes

4. Kashmiri Qambargah (Lamb Rib chops cooked in a spice mixture then coated in besan batter and fried)


Kashmiri qambargah is a non vegeterian recipe from a Kashmiri cookbook in India. Lamb rib chops, cooked in a spice mixture then coated in besan batter and fried. Arrange the ingredients and cook according to the instructions given below.


  • 12: Lamb rib chops (large)
  • 1 litre: Milk
  • Besan batter (made from besan and water)
  • Yoghurt (thick, beaten)
  • 1 tsp: Ginger powder
  • 1 tsp: Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbs: Fennel seed
  • 6 pcs: Cloves
  • 4 pcs: Cardamoms (black)
  • 2 pcs: Cardamoms (green)
  • 2 pcs(1 inch): Cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3: Bay leaves (Indian tez patta)
  • 1 piece: Mace (or grated nutmeg)
  • Ghee
  • Salt to taste
  • Method
  1. Flatten lamb chops.
  2. Tie spices in a muslin/ cheese cloth bag.
  3. Heat the milk. Add meat and the bag of spices and simmer until liquid evaporates and chops are tender.
  4. Now dip each chop in beaten yogurt, then dip in besan batter. Then fry on both sides in ghee.
  5. take out on a paper towel to soak up any extra oil.
  6. Now it is ready to eat. Serve after rubbing garlic on the chops.