Decoding Kashmiri flavours
It seems like winter in Bengaluru is in no mood to leave soon. So instead of curling up in a quilt on a cold wintry evening, we decided to step out and try some authentic Kashmiri dishes at Jamavar’s Taste of Kashmir festival. Chef Farmaan Ali, who is helming the promotion, tells us how Kashmiris in the past centuries were predominantly red meat and fish eaters, so the festival too focuses on lamb and seafood.
From the starters section, we were first served Maaz Kabargah. Milk-braised lamb chops, batter fried and flavoured with fennel and cardamom, these were utterly delicious. The hint of milk combined seamlessly with the fennel flavour. What made these extra special was while the batter covering was crisp, the meat within was falling off the bones.
Kokur Ke Gulabi Pasandey — pan fried slices of chicken breast marinated with yogurt, rose petals and spices was served next. Slightly on the spicier side, this starter is on par with the lamb chops on taste.
But we couldn’t taste the rose petal flavour. We thought the spices were overpowering.
From the vegetarian starters, we preferred the Kangucchi Ki Subz Seekh — a kebab of Kashmiri morels, corn kernels and cottage cheese. The delicate texture of the morels is highlighted with the use of cottage cheese and the contrasting crisp corn kernels.
Before the main course was served, the chef suggested we try the Sheermal and Baqar Khani — authentic Kashmiri breads, which were the high point of the evening. Baked to perfection, both were fluffy, delicate and had the right mix of pista, saffron and glazed sugar. For mains, the Maaz Rista — pounded lamb dumplings in saffron-infused yogurt gravy with browned onions is a must-try. The velvety dumplings are extremely delicious since we could distinctly taste the flavour of saffron, tanginess of yogurt and the caramelised onions. The Gaad Ruwagan — simmered fish morsels in rich tomato gravy — is creamy and smooth. The Kokur Yakhni is a curd-based, mildly flavoured chicken gravy. The saffron flavour works well with the tanginess of yogurt. From the vegetarian options, we enjoyed the Bhindi Nazakat, the vegetable was shallow-fried in Kashmiri masalas and with its crunchiness still intact.
For dessert, we were served the Hare Seb Ki Phirni and Panjeri. The phirni — apple and rice pudding with cardamom and nuts — is a delectable mix of complementary flavours. The Panjeri — nuts and raisins fried in ghee — is a power-packed dessert. At the end of the meal, we could say with confidence that the rich and bold flavours of Kashmiri cuisine are well represented at Jamavar.
Rs 4,500++ upwards for two. Until February 14. At The Leela Palace Bengaluru