“Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast”Amir Khusrao on Kashmir
Kashmir, the heaven on earth according to Amir Khusrau, and forwarded by Jahangir on seeing Kashmir. Kashmiri cuisine has always been associated with meat because its a well known fact that, the people of Kashmir love their meat delicacies. Now, when we talk about Kashmir and its food, we credit it with the communities that live here, Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims. There is a contrast in dishes and the process of cooking them in both the communities.
In meat loving Kashmir, where even Kashmiri Pandits eat meat except beef, the Pandits who don’t even eat tomatoes & onions are referred as Dal Battas. There are plenty of recipes which we aren’t aware of & which are cooked in households and later passed on to generations as traditional recipes.
Here is Kashmiri Dum Aloo, the most famous and the most wrongly cooked dish in India. Yes, you read that right! When I say wrongly cooked, I mean the Dum Aloo that we get in most of the restaurants around us isn’t authentic. However, I am not a believer of authenticity because whatever we cook is nothing but a variation to the authentic dish that was cooked for the very first time.
Talking about variations & authenticity, the recipe for this one has no onion, no garlic, no tomatoes, its made Dal Battas style. Imagining how it tastes without our most loved & most used ingredients ? Let me answer that, The dish has a pungent aroma of mustard oil, creaminess of potatoes, sharpness of ginger powder, and freshness of fennel powder, this is Kashmiri Dum Aloo.
Fun Fact: Our beloved Aloo, isn’t ours. The Portuguese brought it to India, and since then we have made it ours. They called it ‘Batata’ and in some parts of India it’s still called that. This again brings me to the authenticity part, now tell me what is Authentic?