Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Girda, Tao Gugji, Meethe Chawal

A Kashmiri meal is the right balance of vegetables, lentils, dry-fruits, dairy and fresh seasonal produce. No Kashmiri meal is complete without a rice dish, home-baked breads like girda and a spicy curry like the much-loved Kashmiri dum aloo or tao gugji, made of abundantly available turnips often followed with a rice dessert like Zarda. Additionally, Kashmiri food is always relished with fingers as it tastes more authentic and delicious that way.

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Girda
  • Duration:12 hours
  • Serves:4–5 people

Authenticity Slice

Kashmiri

Begin the preparation to make bread one night in advance. This way, the dough could easily be fermented for 10–12 hours. It can be baked in the morning and served through the day.

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour (maida) (2 cups)
  • Whole-wheat flour (atta) (2 cups)
  • Clarified butter (ghee) (1 tbsp)
  • Sugar (1/2 tbsp)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Yogurt (dahi) (1 tbsp)
  • Poppy seeds (khus khus) (1 tsp)

Method

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour (maida) and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Knead dough, using 1 tbsp water at a time.
  • Let this dough rest for at least 12 hours. These 12 hours are needed for fermentation.
  • Keep the dough covered in a warm and draught-free enclosed place.
  • Once the dough is fermented, in another bowl, mix ghee, wheat flour, salt and sugar.
  • Combine this mixture with the fermented dough and again, knead the soft, malleable dough using water.
  • Divide the prepared dough into even-size small pedas (balls).
  • Roll out bread of oval shape from these pedas of about 4–6 inch diameter.
  • Coat the bread’s surface with curd and sprinkle poppy seeds on it.
  • Make small depressions on these breads with your fingertips in about four rows.
  • Heat a pan (tawa) over medium-high heat.
  • Cook girda on the pre-heated tawa by covering it with the pan’s lid. Cook until the bread is light brown in colour, after which, cook it directly over the flame.
  • Enjoy your hot girda with noon chai.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo
  • Duration:40 minutes
  • Serves:2-3 people

Authenticity Slice

Kashmiri

Make sure to whisk the yogurt till smooth before pouring it into the gravy. After all, no one wants to taste a lump of yogurt whilst savouring this spicy Kashmiri delicacy.

Ingredients

  • Baby potatoes (aloo) (500 gm)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • MTR Lal Mirch/Red Chilli Powder (2 tsp)
  • Ginger powder (1/2 tbsp)
  • Fennel (saunf) powder (1 tbsp)
  • Caraway seeds (shah jeera) (1 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (dalchini) (1 stick)
  • Cloves (laung) ( 2)
  • Black cardamom (badi elaichi) (1)
  • Black peppercorns (kali mirch) (1/4 tsp)
  • Green cardamom (elaichi) (2)
  • Yogurt (dahi) (6 tbsp)
  • Mustard oil (2 cups + 2 tsp)

Method

  • Rinse the baby potatoes; boil them in a pan till they are just cooked through. Make sure they do not turn mushy.
  • Once cooked, drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool at room temperature.
  • If you prefer, peel the skin of the potatoes else leave it intact.
  • With a fork or skewer, poke holes in the potatoes.
  • Simultaneously, whisk the yogurt till is smooth. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix 2 tsp MTR Lal Mirch/Red Chilli Powder with water to form a paste.
  • In a pan, heat 2 cups of mustard oil over high heat till it reaches smoking point.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the parboiled potatoes. Deep-fry them on low to medium heat till they turn light golden and crisp. Place them on kitchen towels.
  • Now heat 2 tbs mustard oil in a pan over medium heat and add the chilli powder paste to it.
  • Next, fold in the whisked yogurt. With a spoon or wire whisk, mix continuously, so that the curd does not split. Add in 2–3 cups of water and stir until well blended.
  • Add fennel powder, ginger powder, salt and whole spices. Stir to combine and then add fried potatoes.
  • Cover the pan tightly with a lid and cook the Kashmiri dum aloo for 8–10 mins on low to medium flame. Check consistency, the gravy should be thick.
  • Serve the delicious dish with girda or Kashmiri pulao.

Tao Gugji
  • Duration:40 minutes
  • Serves:8 people

Authenticity Slice

Kashmiri

For that real Kashmiri goodness, fry the turnips in ghee for not more than 3–5 mins.

Ingredients

  • Turnip (shalgum) (1 kg)
  • Clarified butter (ghee) (4 tbsp)
  • Cumin seeds (jeera) (1 tsp)
  • Asafoetida (hing) ( a pinch)
  • Green chillies, chopped ( 2)
  • Ginger, grated (1 tbsp)
  • Clove (laung) (2)
  • Dry ginger powder (saunth) (1 tsp)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • MTR Lal Mirch/Red Chilli Powder ( 1 tsp)
  • MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder ( 1 tsp)
  • Sugar (1 tsp)
  • MTR Dhaniya/Coriander Powder (2 tsp)
  • MTR Garam Masala ( 1 tsp)

Method

  • Peel, wash and cut the turnips into quarters.
  • Heat ghee in a frying pan and lightly sauté them in ghee, set aside.
  • To the same ghee, add cumin, hing, cloves, green chillies, grated ginger and dry ginger powder, fry for 1–2 mins.
  • Now add turnips, salt, MTR Lal Mirch/Red Chilli Powder, MTR Haldi/Turmeric Powder and sugar along with 1 1/2 cups of water.
  • Simmer on low heat for about 10 mins, then add MTR Dhaniya/Coriander Powder and MTR Garam Masala. Stir to combine.
  • Let the turnips simmer over medium heat till the water evaporates.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Serve tao gugji warm with chapatti.

Zarda (Meetha Chawal)
  • Duration:40 minutes
  • Serves:2-3 people

Authenticity Slice

Kashmiri

While adding water for cooking rice, it is best to add less than the usual amount, as rice needs to be only par-cooked till that stage.

Ingredients

  • Basmati rice (250 gm)
  • Ghee (50 gm)
  • Raisins (kishmish) (2 tsp)
  • Almonds (badam), skinned and sliced (2 tsp)
  • Cloves (laung) (4)
  • Sugar (1 cup)
  • Saffron (kesar) (a pinch)
  • Keora water (exotic Indian plant also known as kevda) (1 tsp)
  • Green cardamom (elaichi) (5)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • MTR Garam Masala (1/4 tsp)

Method

  • Soak the rice for an hour, drain and set aside.
  • Heat ghee in a heavy-bottom pan and sauté raisins and almonds in it.
  • Once the raisins are plump, strain and set aside.
  • Now add in cloves and fry for a minute.
  • Next, add soaked rice and fry for 5–10 mins. Pour 3 cups of water in the pan and allow the rice to boil.
  • Once the rice has absorbed the water and is not fully cooked, add sugar. Stir to combine.
  • Mix saffron with keora water, and grind the cardamom seeds.
  • Add, and mix them into the rice along with sautéed almonds, MTR Garam Masala and raisins.
  • Cover the pan and reduce the heat to lowest. Let the rice cook for 10 mins.
  • After 10 mins, open the lid, add milk, stir, and once again cover the pan for another 10 mins.
  • Before serving, fluff the rice with a fork or a spoon.
  • Sprinkle with sliced almonds, pistachios and serve warm.

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