My Kashmiri Wazwan

In Gulmarg this winter, I had my first taste of a Kashmiri wazwan. A vegetarian wazwan. Have you finished sniggering? Then, go on to read about what I ate.

I was staying at The Khyber for a few days in January and on my first night there, I had a wazwan. It was served on the traditional copper vessel called the trami, which the staff opened with great fanfare.

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Wazwan refers to a multi-course meal (going up to 36 courses) full of meat, especially mutton dishes like Rogan Josh and Gushtaba. Read more about it here

My vegetarian meal, its poor and rather unheard of cousin, had these dishes:
– nadru – lotus stem, known as kamal kakdi, which was a new taste for me. It was fibrous and juicy, and I loved it
– haaq – a green leaf, somewhat like spinach, sautéed and mildly spiced
– tamatar chaman – succulent paneer in a tomato gravy
– dum aloo – a dish popular all over India, considered of Kashmiri origin
– kabab – if the wazwan itself was vegetarian, the kabab too was obviously all vegetable and lentils.

All of it was served with a bed of rice in the centre of the trami, and a variety of chutneys (of which the walnut chutney was outstanding). And the meal ended with a dish of creamy phirni – although Kashmiri cuisine does not have much dessert options, this is one of the few sweets occasionally served at formal dinners.

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4The food at The Khyber was overall excellent, but my absolute favourite was the sweet kahwa served at the Chaikash tea lounge – I had endless cups of kahwa through the day, an absolute delight.

I did bring back some instant kahwa powder, but it just doesn’t taste the same at home. I think I should learn to make it from scratch (friends who do it tell me it is not so tough).

So, is it any wonder that food is a big part of my Six great reasons to stay at The Khyber?

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Prasad Np says:

    Just thoughts of a 36 course meal made me wonder what all will be in it. I am happy with the vegetarian fare that itself looks very elaborate 🙂

    1. charukesi says:

      I believe most of the 36 dishes are mutton in some form or the other. But to be honest, I found this small platter of 5-6 dishes too much and I couldn’t finish even half of it 🙂

  2. Kashmiri Wazwan, heard about first time but it looks great. Thanks for the post.

    1. charukesi says:

      Thanks, Vishal — it was a great culinary experience!

  3. Tanmay says:

    Well written and lovely pictures.!! M getting more and more excited for My trip to India. Just 6 days left.!!
    Thanks for keeping the enthusiasm rocking.!!
    Lovely reading this.!!

    1. charukesi says:

      good luck with your India trip!

  4. Wow 36 is no small number. Your meal looked very interesting… I love trying out new flavors and happy that vegetarians also get catered too… 🙂

    1. charukesi says:

      yeah, I would have hated to miss out on this experience just because I don’t eat meat – a vegetarian wazwan is unheard if but am glad the chefs pulled this off 🙂

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