We have often written about the traditional Wazwan cuisine of Kashmir on this blog. P Mark Mustard Oil has also produced a multi-episode television series titled Mezbaan-e-Wazwan. However, there is another type of cuisine in Kashmir that is lesser known. It is called Kashmiri Pandit cuisine. Like Wazwan, Kashmiri Pandit recipes also use cold-pressed Mustard Oil along with traditional spices like Kashmiri red chilli powder, fennel (saunf), asafoetida (heeng) and saffron. A key point of difference is that Kashmiri Pandit dishes do not contain any onion or garlic. In fact, older generations of Kashmiri Pandits also avoided using tomatoes, eggs and chicken in their food – they preferred lamb and fish.
Like the Waza (chefs) of Wazwan, Kashmiri Pandit food too has its own traditional chefs. One such modern-day specialist and ardent proponent of this cuisine is Chef Suman Kaul. Interestingly, Chef Kaul did not start out as a chef. She learnt how to prepare authentic Kashmiri Pandit dishes from her mother and grandmother. Her family had settled down in the city of Hyderabad and Kaul was working in the information technology sector. Cooking was just a hobby and she used to regularly contribute recipes to a daily newspaper. But all that changed in 2006. The legendary Chef Manjit Gill spotted her culinary talent and invited her to join the ITC Maurya Hotel in New Delhi as a specialist in Kashmiri Pandit cuisine.
This new role gave Chef Kaul an opportunity to revive Kashmiri Pandit food and protect its heritage. For her, this was particularly important because she noticed that new generations of young Kashmiri Pandits were forgetting this traditional cuisine and its unique recipes.
Like Wazwan, Kashmiri Pandit cuisine too uses the warm pungency of cold-pressed Mustard Oil to bring the recipes – and the gravies – to life. Like Awadhi cuisine, it also leverages the slow-simmer technique of cooking to bring out the full-bodied flavours of the spices.
So the next time you think of Kashmiri cuisine remember that the culinary journey doesn’t end with Wazwan. You must try Kashmiri Pandit recipes as well.
You can find more recipes at : https://www.purioilmills.com/recipes-in-english/